Monday, December 25, 2006

Meet the Nelsons!

Here's the whole lot of us! This was taken by Chris Becerra of Becerra Photography. You can see the rest of the shots there. We are just behind my father-in-law. My son is in the blue shirt, sitting on my knee, my daughter behind me to the right, and my DH is holding my squirmy 3yo.

Smiles to all!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

So I should be working but....

I'm overwhelmed and tired. I looked at the calendar, and in the 23 days of December we have had so far, I've been home in the evenings with nothing to do a total of 3 days. Yep, just three. The days have been packed with work and cleaning and cooking and planning and errand running and the gestalt of my daily life. So that now, when I finally have a bit of a free day (yes, we have somewhere to be tonight---we are having a Nelson Family Caroling night to cap off the 50th Event) I don't know where to start, and more importantly, I DON'T WANT TO! I just want to have a day to sit and breath and delete the 800 or so emails I've been ignoring for the past 23 days. I'm not ready for Christmas to be here. I need more time. This is why I don't even try to send out Christmas cards or to make any kind of meaningful Christmas gifts. There just isn't time.

On the flip side--we spent the day at OMSI yesterday seeing the huge Star Wars exhibit and it was SO FREEAKING COOL! I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and I'm not even a Star Wars Geek by any stretch of the imagination. This was a two-level, ginormous exhibit with actual costumes and props and models used in the movies, as well as interactive, hand-on science displays to explain and allow the kids to play with the science prinicples behind some of the movie's technology (like air scooters and maglev hover cars, etc) and an interactive movie showing what's being done with robotics today and big cut outs for pictures and a lot more. Even my three-year-old had a good time! (Just for further information, we took Joel's brother and family who were visiting from Utah for the Event). We also saw the new Planetarium show "Black Holes" If anyone reading this blog can get to the OMSI Star Wars event before it leaves in January, GO NOW!

Well, back to work. I have to make some treats for my girls at church tomorrow, as well as write each of them a Christmas card, make some bracelets for gifts, and get things cleaned up some more so we can go caroling. I also am singing for tomorrow's service, so I need to make sure I'm ready for that.

Take Care all....and may your Christmas, in your galaxy far, far away, be a Merry one!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I know, I know....

I have so many blog posts running around in my head! However, we are smack dab in the whirlwind of Joel's parents 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration. I have to word it like that, because it's turning into a week long event. ALL of Joel's NINE siblings are in town, with their kids. We had a family evening last night with about 50 people. That's just the immediate family folks.

It's busy busy busy busy busy....!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Just a quickie....

Just wanted to say that I was still here! The craft bazaar went well, and I had a good time. I didn't sell as many bracelets as I expected to, but it was still good, and I met my sales goal. Plus I was able to barter for some fun stuff for me and some gifties for the boys. We've pretty much decided on bunk beds for the boys for Cmas. Not your most exciting gift, but when it'll free up lots of space for play and role-play, and make it easier to keep your room clean, it's a good thing. Plus all H really wants for Cmas is some gamecube games. He's pretty easy to please.

Today I was planning to attack the apples that are still waiting to be made into applesauce. I still may, but for the morning, I am reveling in the quiet. C slept in, so I had NO RESPONSIBILITIES for about an hour. That was very very very very nice! It's a good mental health break for me. I haven't decided if I will laze about all day or go run errands or attack the apples after all. All I know is that it's good to relax, good to not feel like I am neglecting something good for the something I have to take care of right then. I am reveling in the break.

Relaxation, it's a good thing. And that's the other side!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Busy Season

I am smack-dab in the middle of my busy season. Everything seems to happen about this time of the year. I am rehearsing for the big Christmas concert our church puts on for the community (I also am the assistant director and usually I have a solo somewhere in the production), we have the usual family demands on our time, and I am also participating in a couple of Christmas Craft Bazaars in hopes of raising a little extra holiday cash. Last year, I finished my busy season and went "Whew! I survived!" but it was obvious that I needed to let something go for next year--I lucked out and didn't have to teach music at the elementary school this year, since they hired a music teacher and no longer needed the squadron of "Music Moms." Then my son turned eight and started the Scouting program at church.

This I was not ready for. Now I have taekwondo on Mondays, preschool for C on Tuesdays and Thursdays (it's a county preschool to help him catch up w/his speech; he rides the bus home and arrives about 4:30 in the afternoon), church youth group on Wednesdays, Scouts on Thursdays (also at 4:30---that's interesting!) TKD on Fridays and Saturday mornings (when we remember to go). Everything happens in the afternoons. It's chaotic and requires a lot of juggling. At the same time, we are working on finishing homework, household chores (I believe that children need to learn the value of taking care of our home together), and instrument practice.

Here's what we did last Saturday:

8:45--leave for TKD school to prepare for the Veteran's Day parade (Albany has the largest in the nation...)
9:00--get J to school so she can go through their forms for the parade
9:30--get J to the TKD parade slot; get H to the Cub Scout parade float
10:00--realize that I'm parked in a parade float slot and need to move my car to the end of the parade, about two miles away.
10:15--get a decent parking spot, and find a corner to see the parade in. Of course, it's on the edges of a puddle.
10:30--still waiting for the parade to start---it's not long now! But it's raining hard--really hard. Hopefully the kids plastic ponchos are doing their job. I am now standing in a puddle. Good thing I brought my umbrella! Everything on me is pretty dry and warm. The more it rains, the more I tell myself, "After what our Veteran's went through so I could have my freedoms, the least I can do is stand in a puddle!" The parade is really great, and I am filled with emotion and gratitude.
12:00--saw both kids, and walked the six blocks or so to the end of the parade route to catch H (who was ahead of J) and wait for J to finish. Both kids are cold, tired, and wet. We realize that most of the cars that brought the TKD kids to the beginning of the route are still there, two miles away. I pick up a couple of extra kids, and drive to a nearby park to meet Joel w/C so that he can go work "guest services" at the OSU basketball games that day. Joel is late, traffic is weird because many streets are closed off, pedestrians are everywhere, and police are directing traffic. It's a bit stressful.
1:00pm--head back to the TKD school for pizza
1:45--go to the grocery store
2:15--back home. We are all exhausted. All but H head for short naps. We have to be in Corvallis for a nephew's baptism at 4pm.
3:30--everyone gets awakened and changed into church clothes.
4:08--we arrive in Corvallis, things have started, but we haven't missed the good parts. C thinks it's playtime and wants to run all around the church.
5:00--head to Aunt Kathy's for light supper and cousin playtime.
5:45--leave to go to Office Max to get labels for the newly planned 50th anniversary celebration invitation stuffing and mailing party planned for Sunday.
6:00--head back to Albany to pick up pizza for the missionaries. I signed up to feed the missionaries not realizing that no one would be home. Good thing they like pizza!
6:25--pick up pizza. Had to take a detour because the highway home was closed by the cops. Flashing lights and flares are everywhere. I still don't know what happened.
6:35--drop off pizza
6:45--go home and collapse. After about 30 minutes, I realize that nothing has been picked up for a couple of days. I change my clothes and start picking up, doing the dishes, etc., and wait for Aunt Kathy to call to tell me that it's time to meet her halfway to get H and J. I also start chicken and broth/stock for the crockpot potluck during the envelope/invitation stuffing for tomorrow.
8:00--Uncle Mike drops off the kids on his way back home to Vancouver. I put them to work picking up their piles I've made during my picking up.
9:40--Joel is home from working the games. He's been on his feet for the past 8 hours, and he's beat. The kids head for bed. Joel and I have a little couple time and watch the CSI we taped last week.
11:00--Joel heads to bed and to move H to his room. I stay up to finish dishes and stuff so we don't have to wake up Sunday morning to a huge mess.
11:30--I head to bed.

This is the busy season. This week I am pulling out all the stops to get a sizable amount of products to sell at the School Yule Craft Bazaar at the elementary school. Then it's Thanksgiving. Then another, much larger, county craft bazaar. That weekend is also J's 12th birthday. Then it's the church Christmas Concert. Then our anniversary and J's Cmas band concert. Then a Cmas party for the scouts. I still have church youth group each week as well. Then school gets out. Then we have the 50th Anniversary party for Joel's parents. This party will be HUGE. Then Christmas. Funny how you look forward to Christmas day because it's the first real break you get for months! We are thinking of going away and disappearing for about a week to catch our breath.

It's the busy season. And it's not going anywhere. I just have to press on and go through it. And get to the other side.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It's Raining, It's pouring

It's a wet, wet day.

I realize that rain in Oregon, especially in the Willamette River Valley, isn't a big surprise. If anything, it's more surprising to find out that it really doesn't rain all the time. But this is what we soggy Oregonians call "real rain." Where you are gently pummeled with raindrops and soaked within seconds. Where it literally rains non-stop for more than twenty four hours. The ground cannot keep up with the deluge and gives up. Many of the drains on the intersections and roads also cannot keep up with the run-off, and they quit trying to pull it away, leaving mysterious looking bodies of water where there was none just a few hours before. Puddles become ponds, and ponds become lakes. People who normally bike to work decide that staying dry is more important than making a statement and crawl into the cars that they normally leave behind. Elementary kids pull on rubber boots instead of their normal shoes. By the end of the day, they've waded through puddles so deep that their boots collect as much water as they deflect, deafeating their purpose. College kids decide that their usual cargo shorts are fine because they'll dry faster, and head out into the constant sheet of water. Umbrellas are everywhere; coats are optional. When it rains this much, it gets very warm anyway, so no one is cold; we are just all wet.

Frogs come out when it's this wet and warm. Their chorus is an added complement to the constant tumbling sound of the rain. I always feel bad for the bugs and other fauna that come out to play in the warm rain because I know that the cold weather isn't too far off. In fact, we've already had our first frost. About ten days or so, we had temperatures that dipped into the 30's during the night. I had to scrape the windshield more than once. (How I long for the day when I can park the car in the garage.....especially when it's this wet outside...but that's another story). Bright and sunny and cold! That was the precursor to all of this wet but warm weather. Just as this warm, thick, wet rain is the precursor to the winter rains. Winter rains are cold, needle sharp and relentless. Worse than these warm rains, even if there is less water being dumped on our heads. No one go anywhere if they can help it. Often there is black ice on the roads. It's a dangerous time.

For now, I'll take the puddles and ponds. And the frogs.

And that's the other side.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Hope all of you enjoy a Happy and safe Halloween today.

On a totally unrelated and somewhat funny note: My brother celebrated his 34th birthday yesterday, and I am officially 36 and a 1/2. We are exactly two and a half years apart to the day. For a long time, we'd get half-birthday presents on each other's birthday. Until the rest of the sibs came along and that wasn't really practical anymore. It was still a lot of fun, and makes each of our birthdays a little more special to us---like we are sharing a private joke or something like that.

Here's the funny part: Last year, when I designed my planners, I ended the month of October on the 30th. Left off Halloween completely. In my mind, my brother's birthday was the most important holiday in October. I must have made about 40 planners last year and never caught the mistake. AND NO ONE TOLD ME ABOUT IT EITHER. I noticed it when I redid the planner master file for this year's planners. Now this may not be funny to you, but it made me laugh!

Happy Halloween! The pumpkin above was designed by H. and executed by Mom. This variety was grown by my in-laws, and is called "Big Mac." Easiest carving pumpkin I have EVER done. Start to finish, it took about 15 minutes. I totally saved seeds to grow our own next year. Most of the time I HATE pumpkin carving. This year it was quite pleasant. Here's J's:

Both pumpkins will be greeting any trick or treaters brave and bold enough to venture down to the end of our dark street where we have mostly retired couples who ignore Halloween. (Although our lovely widowed neighbor, Neighbor Jane, did get some special Halloween gifties specifically for our kids on our first Halloween in this house, since we were the only children on our street. Of course, that was the year Halloween fell on a Sunday, and we didn't go trick or treating. She was all ready for us, and we didn't show up. I felt a little bad about that, but also thought it was cool that she went to that much trouble for my kids. It worked itself out, and good feelings were shared by all)

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Retraining myself

So when I was younger and living at home, I did a lot of house work. Felt like I did all the housework, but I know that can't possibly be right. It's just my child-size memory. So when I lived away from home, I did as little as possible. Lived in cafeteria dorms, cleaned only when necessary--and often had roommates who would clean before I got there. When I got married, we were so busy with school and jobs and then children and school and jobs that the household tasks got put off for later. And then that became a habit.

Now I am basically a SAHM. My website is slow to nothing, so I don't have to worry about inventory or shipping very often. I teach classes at Stampin Cat once or twice a month, so while I do have to work creating and prepping the class, it's not nearly the workload graduate school while working while dealing with an infant is. Yet I still put everything off, and then try to do as much as I can in a mad rush before DH gets home.

I've been getting the Fly Lady emails for years now, and usually I just delete most of them 'cause I'm not really following her "zones" or "missions", just trying to come up with a daily routine I can stick to. One thing I have had success with is her use of a timer, with the mantra, "I can do anything for 15 minutes!" She feels like we can make ourselves do even the most distasteful tasks for 15 minutes and then we are at least that much more ahead. My average time unloading the dishwasher: 6 minutes. Loading it? Another 6 or so. Yet I can leave the sink full of dishes ALL DAY LONG!

So for now into the holidays, I am retraining myself. I've gotten pretty good at emptying the sink and running the dishwasher before I go to bed at night, and doing a couple of loads of laundry each day--leaving the washing machine empty and ready for a new load in the morning. And our bathrooms are being cleaned weekly. The kitchen floor is swept and swiffered regularly as well. And I do like my purple FlyLady feather duster and I use it weekly as well. The thing is, I'm still putting these chores off until the last minute. With the exception of the laundry, I usually do these things late at night right before I go to bed, and I fret all day about needing to get them done. My goal: do them first. Do the dishes right after we are done eating, if I can. Sweep and Dust and Vacuum in the mornings. Give myself play time w/o the guilt. Retraining those habits of putting it off until later.

Another thing I like about Flylady? Her belief that "you are never behind." You just keep going. Start right where you are, and don't beat yourself up over what you messed up on. So even if I am not successful at this right away, it doesn't matter if I keep trying and making the effort. At least things will be neater around here--improving my peace of mind.

And that's the other side.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Look what I've been up to!

I am doing two different craft bazaars this holiday season. And while I did pretty well selling cards and planners last year, this year, I wanted to expand my offerings a bit. So I decided to make a bunch of bracelets. I started doing this about a year ago, and have been learning so much about it! What kind of beads are best, where to buy good deals, and the pain of inferior crimp beads and crimping tools. I've also found this to be very therapeutic. And I can do it sitting on the couch--something I've yet to be successful at while scrapbooking! I'll be selling these for $15 each. If you see something you want, and don't live near enough to make it to the craft bazaar, let me know and we can work something out! There are a variety of materials--crystal beads from Austria, Swarovski crystals, sterling beads, pewter beads, glass beads, and the like. It's all mixed together. Some also have semi-precious stones like rose quartz, alexandrite, and tiger eye.

Enjoy the sparkles! I know I am!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

YAY! An updated blog!

I know I've been away for awhile. It's been pretty hectic. First my Grandma died. Then we had family alight in our little spot of Oregon. Then we had the funeral. Then I found out it was my cousin's birthday the day after the funeral, and since he was staying with us, and wasn't heading home right away (he lives in Seattle) we just had to celebrate his birthday. Then it was Henry's birthday. Then he got baptized (in our church, children are baptized when they are eight years old, because at that point they should know right from wrong and can take responsibility for themselves). Then we had a surprise party for him. (we told him we weren't having a birthday party because Dad made a mistake with the budget. He totally bought the story, and then proceeded to tell EVERYONE that he wasn't having a birthday party because Dad "messed up our money." When he told the new principal {in my presence} I just about died of embarrassment. That'll teach me to tell lies!) And before I knew it, a month had flown by. I was in somewhat of a "high stress" mode, where anything NOT crucial to surviving the day and accomplishing the most basic and important of tasks didn't get done. My life ran me over, so to speak.

On top of all the business, I realized that I lived with or near my Grandmother for as long as I lived at home with my parents. I really miss her. I truly believe she's gone to a better place, and I don't really have any regrets about how I spent my time with her. She knew that I loved and cherished her. I got to serve her until the end of her life. I just wish we could hang out again, that she could be one of my grown up friends and we could talk and be as equals together. It's a good thing that I believe in the next life, because I fully plan on taking advantage of that. So along w/the chores of my life, I had to give myself time to really grieve for my grandmother--to do the grieving I didn't have time to do during the funeral preparations and the service.

I also spent some time watching the Terri Irwin/Ray Martin interview. (Google it if you want to see it--it's about an hour though, so be warned). I watched it about 3 times. I was struck by a couple of things she said. The first, when questioned about their "love at first site" between her and Steve, she agreed that it was corny, but that it was absolutely true. She also said that she had a fairy tale adventure life. And then she said the statement that will stay with me forever, "I knew it while I lived it." She elaborated that she wasn't just looking at the past through rose-colored glasses, but that she truly loved every day of her life with her Croc Hunter husband and her family, and that she understood the magic of it all as it happened around her. The other thing she said that will stay with me was "you have to be thankful for what you can." She told about how her family wasn't with Steve when he died because there wasn't room for both the film crew and the family on the boat and how grateful she was that the children didn't have to watch their father die. She also talked about how Steve always thought he'd die young--either in a car accident or falling out of a tree or something like that, and how she wished that he would have been around for ten more years--for the children's sake. And then she said how grateful she was that it wasn't ten less years. Be thankful for the things you can be thankful for. Recognize the magic while you live it. What a great lesson.

How many times have you been in the moment and missed the magic? I think that's why I blog and I scrapbook. I want to remeber the small magical fairy tale adventures you find in every day. And when I'm having a day covered in the less magical parental chores of diaper changing and cleaning up vomit, I tell myself how quickly this time with them will go. How quickly they will grow up. My daughter will be twelve in about six weeks. Joel and I realized that her time at home with us is growing shorter every day. Most of her time with us as a child is already spent. My baby is really more of a little boy--and we probably won't have another one. Usually by now in our family cycle we are "cooking" the next one. Not so this time.

It's time for the next phase in our family life. When the kids are a little older, a little more self-sufficient. Tall enough for the fun rides at Disneyland. Time to create our own fairy-tale adventure.

I'm ready to know it while I live it.

And that's the other side.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


We've had a bit of a seasonal weather change here in the great Pacific Northwest (rainy and gray in the morning--well more just wet and drizzly than rainy--and warm and sunny in the afternoon, typical of fall weather here) and it has my butt draggin' on the ground. Seriously. I just want to curl up in my bed and nap all day long. Now if this wasn't the week of my Grandma's funeral, and if I wasn't the only family member who lives in this area, this wouldn't be so much of a problem. I'd just stay in my sweats and my favorite ratty sweater (which would be the first thing to go if I ever got on "What Not to Wear." Unless they keep it and make it the supreme example of What Not to EVER Wear, but I digress--and I love it anyway--!) and I'd go w/the flow. Let myself adjust to the change of seasons gradually. Nap a little, play w/youngest DS a bunch, just go with the draggin' and not beat myself up about it.

Except the funeral is Saturday, and my mother is coming to town and I want things to be nice when she is here. Better than our every day nice. So I can't go w/the flow.

I read a lot of FlyLady emails. I'm on the daily email list, even though I really only follow about half of what she says 'cause that's all I feel like I can handle right now. I'm really taking to heart her "you can do anything for fifteen minutes" mantra. I am forcing myself to clean and scrub all of the little messy corners of my life. You know, the ones your Swiffer leaves behind and most of the time you don't really care. I have given myself quite a list of things to do before Thursday evening.

So what am I doing here then? I'm on my fifteen minute break. And I feel like talking a bit. That's one of the things I've realized. When someone close to you dies, you suddenly feel the need to tell all the stories you can about them. To make them real to people who never knew them. Like the time I was living in my Grandma's basement and we got a LOT of nasty spiders moving in with me into my basement sanctuary. They REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY freaked me out, and would often startle me into a blood curdling scream. My Grandma figured out what this scream meant rather quickly, and would shuffle her way to the basement stairs and make her arthritically painful way down the stairs to kill the spider for me. Because I was frozen with fear. Literally. This was just one of the small ways my Grandma loved and served me. I paid her back by vacuuming the living room carpet in perfect vacuum cleaner lines and by walking around the perimeter of the room for the rest of the week so's not to disturb the aforementioned perfect vacuum cleaner lines. I felt it was the least I could do to repay her for her awesome spider killing abilities and for not deriding me for my spider phobia. We were good for each other.

Well, my time's up. Now on to another housecleaning job before I take C to preschool.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Time Passages

My Grandma passed away this morning.

First of all, don't be sad. This is a good thing. If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you'll know she had advanced dementia. She's been going for a long time. I'm fine.

In fact, I'd almost say I'm better than fine. We got the word on Saturday that she was beginning her journey home. I was able to spend about three hours with her. I called people important to her to come and say "good-bye." I held her hand. I called my Dad (her son) and held the phone to his ear so he could also say "good-bye." She'd called me "Sweetie" several times before that, and a bit after I hung up the phone, she grabbed my hand, pulled me close and said "I love you." I don't know if she was talking to me or my Dad or both of us, but it was still nice to hear. That was pretty much the last thing she said before she slipped into the space you go just before you die. I sang hymns to her for about an hour and a half. I also went back Sunday night to hold her hand and sing to her some more. I was there yesterday as well. It really felt like yesterday that her body was holding on to her spirit, and her spirit was nearly gone. Everytime she'd stop breathing I would tell her to "go home."

All in all, this has been a really choice experience. Although I don't blog about it here, I am a deeply religious person. This has been a very spiritual experience for me. I have loved this opportunity to serve my Grandma on this level. She has served me nearly all my life--until she couldn't physically and mentally serve me any longer. Many of the things I count as blessings in my life today are because of her. I firmly believe there is a level of love and charity you don't get to learn until you are in a position like this. I have truly enjoyed it.

I'm sure I'll have more to say later. This will probably consume me for a little bit. Thanks for understanding.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Will you Still Love Me...When I'm 64?

It has occurred to me over and over recently that one day I will be old.

Why this hasn't occurred to me before, I don't know. I mean, I knew I would "grow up" and stuff, but I hadn't realized the actual realities of growing old. It used to be that I would read that you didn't need to worry about mammograms until you are over 35. "No Problem!" I thought, "Doesn't apply to me!" Well now it does.

Gray hairs? Other people had them, not me. Well, since I chose to stop coloring my hair when I became pregnant with my third child more so that I could remember what my natural hair color was than from a fear of birth defects, I have discovered that I too, have gray hairs. Or in my case, silver white platinum hairs that are curly where the rest of my hair is straight. I've also found out that you can have silver eyebrow hairs as well.

I used to see little old ladies doing their shopping (and really, they probably weren't THAT old, most likely in their late 50's) and think to myself "What a sweet looking grandma!" I now realize that sooner than I am ready for, I will BE that sweet looking grandma! Because I don't see my parents regularly, it surprises me to see the changes in them as well. I think of the Bonnie Raitt song "Nick of Time" where it talks about the child/parent relationship and seeing those physical changes as we grow up and it suddenly makes a lot of sense to me. I am going to be old someday, and that day is a lot closer than it used to be.

I saw a Crankshaft comic strip this summer that sums up my feelings well (and I wish I had a copy of it!): Crankshaft was talking with his daughter at the high school graduation party for his grandson. His daughter was talking about how she never thought that day would come. Crankshaft responded that he knew that his children and grandchildren would grow up, he just didn't think it would happen so quickly. I knew that I would grow up and be older; I just didn't realized how quickly it would come.

So what's the lesson here? For me, it's to start taking care of myself physically NOW so that I can enjoy my life when I'm old. Eat healthy, get enough sleep, drink enough water, exercise, blah, blah, blah and yadda yadda yadda. All of those platitudes make a lot more sense now that I'm on the road to old.

And that's the other side

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Maybe I'll have more time to blog when school starts on Tuesday.....

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A sort of Catch-Up Post and a Clearance Sale

I've been busy! I've been cleaning/rearranging my house, dealing with back to school stuff, helping my daughter get her red belt in Tae Kwon Do, driving for family outings and mini-reunions, hanging out with Karen Burniston, and so on.

I'll write a more detailed post later, but I wanted to say that I've decided to revitalize my online store. Lots of stuff on clearance, and lots more coming. Check out the link on the right to The Cardstock Queen!


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Some Sneak Peeks...

So these are the sketches I created for my Scrap 1o1 Beginning Scrapbooking class for Stampin' Cat last month. I am teaching that class again, as well as a Scrap 201 Intermediate Scrapbooking class in September. I wanted to use the same sketches again...sort of to ease the beginners into a more advanced style of scrapbooking. This time though, to make it (still) interesting, I am using different patterened paper. This was kind of a challenge for me--to use the same sketch but in a different way. I really love how my Scrap 201 layout turned out--really a bit different for me, and growth in the way I want to go. And after fussing w/my pictures for a bit (I had pics I wanted to use, but couldn't for different reasons) I am pleased with my next Scrap 101 layout as well. I'm also teaching my Inspiration Bookmark class as well as my Planner class. I'm really enjoying teaching these classes and learning how to work with a deadline. Definitely skills I'm going to need should I ever get my dream job working for a scrapbooking magazine!


Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Power is in DOING!

So I've been looking a bit at my life and how I spend my time. I admit it, I am an Internet junky. I LOVE looking things up on the Internet, reading news and entertainment gossip, looking for new art and scrapbooking inspiration, learning about new hobbies like photography and collage/mixed media art, and reading blogs. I love reading people's stories! I actually have to set a timer to remind me of the passage of time so I don't spend all day reading about things on the Internet. (And if my mother is reading this, yes, I know this is not the best use of my time. Keep reading for my realizations. Love you Mom! MWAH! Big Kiss and Hug)

I've also been a bit frustrated by my desire to create pages and sew for myself and other things, but feel like I have no time left after caring for my home and doing my essential daily household tasks. (I'm sure you can see where I am going with this...)

The other day, I realized that I was tired of looking for new ideas and inspirations. I need to actually be DOING something. When we stop thinking, planning, dreaming, wondering, wanting, wishing, learning. visualizing, thinking, planning some more, and start DOING we claim our power. The power is in the actual doing, not the thinking about doing. No matter how small that first step is, it's still movement, not sitting there just thinking about moving. I wrote a blurb once that started with this sentence: The pursuit of a dream requires action. The key words there are pursuit and action.

Have you thought about your dreams lately? Have you forgotten them in the mad rush of daily life? Have you set them aside for a time, so you can focus on what needs your attention right at that moment? Or are you learning, thinking, planning, preparing for the day you put action behind your pursuit of your dream. Take that first step.

My moral of the story? I closed the laptop and started doing. I scrapped a little. Baked some cookies and muffins. Played games with my kids. Worked in the yard a little. I started moving.

No one can get your dreams but you. The power is in doing.

And that's the other side.

Friday, July 28, 2006

A Dream I Had the Other Night

So this is a real dream I had. If anyone reading this blog likes to interpret dreams, I'm all for it!

It was EAAARRRLY in the morning (sometime before 7am) and I was doing my best friend a favor by dropping her kids off at the preschool for a preschool field trip. As I was closing the doors of my van, getting ready to go home to my own kids, other parents and adults kept getting in the van. I shooed them out, explaining that I wasn't driving for the field trip, just dropping off my friend's children. But as quickly as I got one set of adults out of the van, another got in.

The dream morphed a little bit here, and instead of parents wanting rides to the field trip destination, it was adults wanting rides to work, as if I was their carpool leader. I explained again that I wanted to go home, that my kids were at home waiting for me (my oldest daughter babysitting) and that I wasn't driving anywhere else that morning. Blank faces stared at me as if I wasn't speaking english and they couldn't understand why I didn't want to drive them all to work. I explained again. More blank faces. Then I lost it and threw a bit of a temper tantrum, with foot stamping and everything. I AM NOT DRIVING YOU TO WORK!!! I AM GOING HOME!!! More blank faces staring back at me.

I then yelled "Fine! It'll be a hundred bucks CASH ONLY from EACH of you before we go ANYWHERE! And that's only for the first thirty miles. After that, it's another hundred. CASH ONLY!" At that point, they all nodded and understood exactly what I was saying and started passing cash up to me. I had no choice then but to drive them to work.

The dream morphed again, to me in the kitchen visiting with some friends and my husband as I told them the story of how I started driving people to their office buildings. I ended the story talking about how I was now pulling in between 12 and 15 THOUSAND dollars cash each month, and how grateful we were because now we were able to get out of debt and make some headway towards financial freedom, and all I had to do was drive grown-ups to work each day for about an hour. (a little "editor's note" here: I didn't drive them home...I'm not sure how they got home. I only drove them in the mornings...the bottom line was: I was glad to have the money) Then I woke up.

Any ideas on what this means?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A little project...

I'm teaching 3 upcoming classes at Stampin' Cat Studio--the first one, a beginning scrapbooking class, being today. After that I'm teaching a "Kid's Fun Pack" class and then this "Studio Decorations" class--otherwise known as "the Ribbon Jar Class". Seems like owning a Crop-A-Dile makes me want to punch holes in just about EVERYTHING so between the store owner Lisa and I, we came up with this nifty storage for ribbons. And while it's a cool class, it won't take 2 hours to punch 10 holes and rubon some letters, so we added the "Embellished Letter Art." This is a torn page from a board book that has a large, embellished letter on it, as well as a pithy quote. Those of you from the old ScrapHappy Yahoo group (now the Scrap101) group should recognize the letter from the Monogram Swap we did about a year ago. This will be taught later in August. I'm doing the "Kid's Fun Pack" on August 5th. And no, I didn't take pictures, 'cause I was caught up in "phew! Finished the samples, and made the checkerboard and checkers for the THIRD darn time and now if I see another checker piece I'll probably run screaming from the room so let's just drop it off at the store!" mode. I'll take pictures of it today. It really is super-cute!

Thanks for looking!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Some Ocean Love

We really had a good time at the Oregon Coast. Here are some pics of the boys playing in the ocean at Agate Beach in Newport, Oregon. C wasn't too thrilled about the temperature of the water--anyone familiar with the Oregon Coast knows that the water is COLD! Either way, both boys enjoyed the water immensely! C was a little nervous when the water rolled back into the ocean--I think he felt like he would go with the wave. I had to keep coming over to him and hold on to him so he would feel safe.

I love this action shot! H, my oldest son, has had a life long "caution" around water. He's not necessarily afraid of it, he just knows that when he is in water, sometimes the water controls his body, not the other way around, and he doesn't like it. This is the FIRST TIME I think, he's ever romped around so freely in the ocean. It is the first time I've ever seen him have so much fun with the water. They were playing "chase" with the ocean waves, and would yell "aaauugh!" as the ocean came to get them.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Stepping Out

I'm stepping out of my comfort zone. I've wanted to start taking casual portraits for people in an official capacity. I've been reading about light, rule of three, framing a shot, really any photography tips I can find. I asked one of the sweet girls I work with at church if I could take her senior pictures for her as part of this practice. This one is one of my favorites. Hope you like it!

According to the blogging thread on 2 Peas you are supposed to post an organization tip for your studio. I don't know if I have any tips, but there are some things that have helped me. Think about how you scrap BEFORE you buy a bunch of organizing stuff and (as no fun as it is, it's true) put thing away AS SOON as you finish a project. I get so scatterbrained w/my stuff I have to put things back IMMEDIATELY after I use them whether I'm finished with a project or not. Otherwise I'll lose them halfway through whatever it is I am working on.

That's all for today...Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Hey check this out!

I bought a domain name today. (Yahoo was having a sale...) Anyway, I was playing around with my front page (I have just the basic, basic package) and this is what I created:

Mostly, I wanted to have control over the domain name. I don't know if I'll do anything with it, but now NO ONE ELSE CAN HAVE THIS NAME! (evil laughter and hand wringing here). I also have purchased through GoDaddy (who host my online store as well). I've had that for about a year, but haven't done anything w/the domain name. I'll have to see how much I want to do and get my wonderfully computer-savvy hubby to help me set something up. I want to have a place where people can buy my class kit designs, my quote pages, ask me to teach classes for them, and so on.

I know it's just a placeholder page, and there isn't much else I can do with it, but it makes me happy nonetheless.


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Count your many blessings...

It's time for a little blessing countin' here!

I find myself in an "I want it" funk. As in "I want a better house, a nicer yard, a better scraproom....yada, yada, yada. All a bunch of junk.

Even though my rational mind knows this to be true, and knows that all, in all, I'm pretty well off and pretty lucky by a lot of standards, my "inner brat" is having one HUGE pity party! It's not easy when you are living to the ends of your income and doing all you can to keep bills paid and food in the house and give your kids things like tae kwon do and cable tv and there simply isn't any money left to redo the kitchen (that's literally falling apart around you), or even finish big projects like the big hole in your bathroom where the shower stall USED to be that stripped to the studs that you've been living with for over three years now... (and yes, we do have another shower, so don't worry about my personal hygiene, thanks...). It's hard when you read magazines to get ideas to work with what little you DO have and everything, even the "cheap" ideas still cost a couple of hundred dollars that you do NOT have. It's VERY easy to get depressed and concentrate on all of the things you DON'T have. Whine, whine, whine, whine, whine.

So, rational mind is taking over. Inner brat, go somewhere else! It's blessing counting time!

And that's the other side.

Monday, July 03, 2006

A funny for you...

Hope this works....we don't get any newspapers, so I read my comics online. LOVED THIS! Love that Scrapbooking is getting mainstream enough to make jokes about it.


Thursday, June 29, 2006

IN my head....

I've decided something.

Instead of keeping all of my thoughts jumbled around in my head, I'm going to try to write them down here a little more often.

Today's thoughts: why we women need best friends.

I went through a period of time where I didn't really have a best friend. I had lots of nice women that I called my friends, but not one of them did I feel that I could trust with my intimate thoughts--usually revolving about venting about something my husband did--and the like. All kidding aside, it's very lonely when you don't have someone like that in your life. Someone who doesn't judge you, and who listens when you talk, and who thinks you are wonderful just because you are you, and who doesn't really mind all your crap, 'cause they know they have crap of their own and you know all about it. I hope you get my point.

So when we relocated about twenty miles away from where I'd lived for the past 16 years, I was surprised and pleased to find someone who grew into my best friend. Very nice. Not perfect, but who wants a perfect friendship all the time? More than that, who wants the pressure to be perfect all the time?

Anyway, the point of my story: Saturday, I had to run some errands. DH was home, 3 kids playing outside in the newly purchased wading pool. VERY hot for our neck of the woods. Instructed above mentioned 3 kids to either "get sunscreen or shirts on" or they would regret it. Came home just over 2 hours later to NO sunscreen and NO shirts. Needless to say, they ALL got sunburns of various degrees and painfulness. I was SO ANNOYED!!! Angry, frustrated, flabbergasted, annoyed some more, stunned that DH didn't think about double-checking the sunscreen when HE came outside, mad, frustrated, and just pained in my heart that my babies had to suffer so afterwards. NO ONE ELSE in my family could understand why I was so mad.

Monday--two days later. Explained/vented the whole thing to above mentioned BF. She summed it up so eloquently before I even got to finish:

That just makes you the chokin' and explodin' kind of mad!

That was it. She got me. No explanation needed. And suddenly I wasn't mad anymore.

THAT's why we need best friends.

And that's the other side.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Something New! Something Different!

I decided last Friday to take a whirlwind trip to a rubberstamp store in Salem. (LINK here for store) I figured I'd get there about 15 minutes before they closed, giving me plenty of time to look around and see what they had. I was kidless, so you know I was enjoying myself! Well, traffic being what it was (and my a little whacked out sense of timing in the car) I got there FIVE minutes before the store closed. I looked around, found a super cool pocket watch stamp (I've been looking for cool clock and compass stamps for awhile now. Don't know EXACTLY why I need them, but need them I do!) and got into a lovely conversation with the owner, Lisa. Long story short, she was needing a teach to start some scrappy teaching and other papercrafting projects, and asked me to come back some time with samples of my work. (I explained how I've been creating classes for people to take in their homes). We really hit it off, so I was excited to go back--I went the very next day. She loved my work and now I am teaching one to two classes a month at her store!

This is great for me, because not only is it a HUGE validation, but it's GOING SOMEWHERE! I love the saying "Go forward, not backward" and I feel like I've been stalling with my teaching, or I'd take a bitty step forward and then a few more backwards (through no fault of my own). My "Scrapbooking Your Personal History" class at the Parks & Rec Senior Center is stalled--not enough people sign up for it to hold the class (according to the Sr. Ctr rules) even though we've offered it twice. The gal I work with there is on vacation, so I'll contact her in a couple of weeks and hope that the third time is the charm!

I've already created the samples for my first class--Scrapbooking 1o1. I forgot to take pictures before I dropped of the samples at the store, so I'll show you later. For now, here is a shot of my Wall Art (I'll be teaching that class later in August) made from a toddler-destroyed baby board book.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Check this out!

VERY fun and fascinating!

A little Cheese...

I'm loving this picture of my kids! All three of them have pleasant expressions on their faces. The big tree is cool too. J is wearing a blanket 'cause it was about 45 degrees outside and she didn't have a jacket with her. H didn't bring a coat/jacket/sweatshirt or anything like that (even though it was on the packing list...) and C is wearing his hoodie. Still, gotta love them. They had a great time traipsing through the woods in the North Grove of the Big Trees State Park.

More later...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I know, I know,

It's be awhile since I posted. I'm recovering from being gone half of the month of May while still keeping up with the church youth group, the school end of the year concert (I've been volunteering my time to teach and lead the music for this concert) and getting my youngest into a county Early Childhood Special Education preschool speech class for his speech delay. Add to that one hearing test with a pediatric audiologist (for my youngest--bumped because of an unknown ear infection), doctor's visits for a possible broken elbow (my oldest dd), strep throat (middle child, my oldest ds), the above mentioned ear infection (youngest ds), end of the year school projects (dd), the 5th grade graduation planning commitee (for dd), AND all of the cleanup/preparation for the above mentioned traveling--basically I'm just plain worn out.

I've a lot on my mind, and some neat pictures of the Big Trees State Park and the Columbia State Historic Park I want to share here, so stay tuned.

That's the other side for now!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Man I love Pictures!

Last night I was in charge of a church youth group scavenger hunt. Not just any scavenger hunt, but a Digital Camera Scavenger Hunt. My little group of girls made up a list of 10 things to find and then we split into groups (boys and girls) and went out into Albany to find them. It was such fun to see how each group interpreted the lists! I think my favorite shot was the "something big, round, and red" that my group took first. Here are some interpretations for you!

I feel like I am moving from "just lucky" with my camera to knowing how to set up and get good shots. I still haven't read my manual all the way through (I and I know I should have done that a long time ago) but I am figuring out more and more how to frame a shot, use the light to my advantage, and click at just the right moment. It's becoming a wonderful challenge to me to take just the right shot. I hope you enjoyed these!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A RECORD high!

I'm not sure what the official high was yesterday, but I heard it was a new record. We've been having lovely mild summery temperatures in the 7o's, but yesterday, according to the temp in my van, it was up to....99 degrees! It hovered around 95 for the most part, but it was still HOT! Thank goodness my hubby said "It'll be real hot today, close up the house" in random passing about 8 am as the kiddos left for school, 'cause we stayed pretty cool all day. I'm also thankful for the ac in the van and the wonderful built-in hepa filter that filters out all of the cottonwood and other pollens.

On unrelated news, I head back to one of my favorite places in Oregon--Seaside--for a wonderful scrappy weekend with a very select group of ladies. Should be a wonderful, rollicking good time, as the women I am going with are all some of my favorite people in the whole wide world! I'll post pics of what I accomplish when I get back! I'm feeling VERY creative and very much in the groove!

Enjoy your day!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Just a couple of pics....

I just wanted to share some of my favorite pictures from Boston. One is the old aqueduct/dam on the Charles River. The other is a site of a sister duck boat on the Charles River during the tour. And the last is my favorite picture of Joel and I on the trip. We are sitting on the edge of the fountain in the Paul Revere Mall.


Monday, May 08, 2006

Home Safe and Sound

We made it home safely. It was a wonderful trip. Definitely broadened my horizons. I think that everyone should travel when and where they can. Anything that broadens your mind and expands your sense of self should be enjoyed. I'll have more to say later, but I wanted to say here that what I felt most while seeing all of the historic sites of Boston was gratitude. I'm grateful to everyone who stood up and spoke out and fought and died for the freedoms I enjoy today. I hope that I can be as courageous should the need arise.

The picture is of the center of the Quincy Market. This was the original marketplace of Boston. When they needed more land, the people of Boston chopped off a hill and filled in the harbor that was on the edge of the marketplace. Now it's shops and restaurants and bright and beautiful. All of the signs are original to the marketplace. And I have to tell you, the restaurants all smelled AMAZING!

But back to the gratitude. I think that freedom's biggest enemy right now is apathy. Too many of the American people aren't doing anything--even voting. I think that this recent news blurb sums it up best. A father was running for a state senate seat and the voting in the primaries ended in a exact tie. AND NEITHER OF HIS TWO SONS VOTED! And, to make things more interesting, BOTH sons were registered voters in the same political party as their father!

Please, whatever your political views are (and I don't want to start a debate here) enjoy the freedoms that came from the sacrifices our forefathers made. Educate yourself about the issues and exercise your right to vote.

And that's the other side.

Friday, May 05, 2006

20,000 steps

So according to my step-counter, I took about 20,000 steps yesterday, or roughly, ten miles. It feels like it too! Thankfully, my legs and ankles aren't so sore I can't continue to walk around today! So far, we've seen the Old North Church (one if by land...two if by sea...), walked past Paul Revere's House, Copp's Hill Burying ground, walked through the Italian District, went to the Museum of Fine Arts, lots of time near Faneuil Hall and the Quincy Market. I have tickets on reserved for a Duck Boat Tour this afternoon. That way, we'll see the majority of the sites WITHOUT WALKING them! Hooray!

More later...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Fenway and More!

So the game was on! It was foggy/misty, and by the time the 5th/6th inning came into play, we were pretty wet. We were wet, then dry, then wet, then dry. Thankfully we ended dry. It was an exciting game! Tied off and on, and even up to the middle of the 9th inning. The Sox lost (barely) but it was an exciting game!

Today I made it to Paper Source and walked around the Boston Public Garden as well as Faneuil Hall and the Quincy Marketplace. I took myself out to lunch at Cheers (even though no one knew my was still fun!) All in all I had a wonderful, sunny, yummy day.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


It's a long flight from Oregon to Massachusetts. That's all I have to say. Plus, nothing makes you realize your size like cramming into airplane seats. We had a smaller commuter plane from Oregon to Salt Lake City, Utah (about 50 people on the plane) and I had to comment to Joel, "It's a good thing we are friends!" because we were literally squished into each other. Thankfully, once we got on the 737, we had bigger seats and a row of three seats to ourselves. I took the window and Joel took the aisle, and we were quite comfortable for the duration of the flight from Utah to Boston.

It's been cloudy and rainy. We found out that Tuesday's Sox game was called on account of rain AFTER everyone was seated, so we are hoping for a let up on the drizzle for the game we have tickets to tonight. I spent the morning hanging out at the hotel, and the afternoon walking around the Harborwalk and the USS Constitution and the USS Constitution Museum. Enjoy the pictures!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Boston, Baby!

So tomorrow is my birthday, and my husband has a class he has to take for HP starting Wednesday in Boston. And, this time, I get to go with him! I'm looking forward to having a little time away, as well as seeing some of the historic sites to be found in Boston. Our hotel, for instance, is RIGHT on Boston Harbor--home of that famous tea party. Plus, there are THREE, count 'em, THREE Paper Source stores within miles of our hotel. It's gonna be hard spending as little as possible there, let me tell you! Plus we are going to a Red Sox game on Wednesday night (thanks eBay!).

I'll be sure to take lots of pictures as I wander around during the day. Maybe even something for a new banner!

Woo-hoo! We're going to Boston, Baby!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Jumped on the Bandwagon

Well, I caved. I bought some Crocs. I first discovered these shoes a couple of summers ago, but didn't want to buy them online. I wanted to try them on first, see if they were all that they were cracked up to be, and stuff like that. Well, now they are SUPER popular, and I found them locally at the sporting goods store G.I. Joes. I now feel like I want SEVERAL pairs! There's a teeny weeny store in Seaside, Oregon that also sells them, and I'm going to Seaside in a few weeks for a scrapbooking retreat. Hmm...I think I hear a pair of lime green ones calling me....

Truthfully, they are comfortable to wear and light as a feather. I walked all over Costco on those concrete floors without any pain or discomfort. We'll see how the summer goes.

Either way, life's too short to wear uncomfortable shoes!

And that's the other side.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A little color...

Now that I have you all voting for a black and white, here are some color shots I took later in the day. I really fell in love with this light and tooks some great shots of my kids. (I hope to share later....)

Thanks for all of the feedback!

New Year--New You!

So it's been a year since I took my first set of self-portraits. My birthday is in April (on the 30th) so I've decided to take a self-portrait every year in April. Here's what I though was the best 4 (out of the 21 I took so far). Which one do you like best? Count from one to four in clockwise from the upper left and let me know!


Monday, April 17, 2006

Getting closer!

Well, my banner is SUPPOSED to look like the picture in the post below. But I am getting closer! I have no idea why it split itself into 4 parts. If anyone out there knows, please leave a comment and tell me!

Thanks in advance!


Originally uploaded by dianneknelson.
trying to make a banner....keep watching to see if I figure it out!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Look what I made!

So I've been collecting these Crystal Light canisters because I was SURE I should/could make something with them, and last night it hit me--I'll turn them into Inspiration Bookmark Canisters! So I put one together as a gift for a Secret Sister at church, and I am VERY pleased with the results! I am giving away some scrapbooking gift baskets at the school carnival next month, and I think that the free class I will give them will be a Bookmark class! Ta-da!

Plus! I learned how to make a photoshop collage using PSE 2. Yay for me!

And that's the other side!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

I Can Change the World

I've been reading the Studio Friday blog and yesterday's posts were all about "working hands" which just kept putting Ben Harper's wonderful song from the Curious George Soundtrack "With My Own Two Hands" in my head. These are my daughter's hands. And, just to share, here are some of the words to the song (I'm not putting all of them in because there are a lot of repeats). I'd try to share the actual song, but that is beyond my blogging knowledge right now, and if anyone has a tutorial, I'm open!

I can change the world
With my own two hands
Make it a better place
With my own two hands
Make it a kinder place
With my own two hands
With my own
With my own two hands

I can make peace on earth
With my own two hands
I can clean up the earth
With my own two hands
I can reach out to you
With my own two hands
With my own
With my own two hands

I'm going to make it a brighter place
With my own two hands
I'm going to make it a safer place
With my own two hands
I'm going to help the human race
With my own two hands

I can hold you
With my own two hands
I can comfort you
With my own two hands
But you've got to use
Use your own two hands
Use your own
Use your own two hands
With our own
With our own two hands.

It's an excellent soundtrack. Hope you liked the words.

And that's the other side.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Feeling a bit better

So I still have stuff to work out in my head (don't we all?) but I am feeling better overall. I plan to get back in the creating groove here asap! My Parks-n-Rec Class was postponed to this summer (because only one person signed up!) We are opening it up to the general population (instead of just for Seniors) and I've also been asked to do my "Baby's First Year" album class. That one will be just for a couple of hours in a workshop setting rather than as a 4-week class. I need to get my samples done asap to show off at the Senior Center to drum up business.

We've decided to go to California for Memorial Weekend for a Price Family Reunion (my Mother's side of the family). I can't remember the last time we got together as a family of Prices--it was between 10 and 15 years ago. I know I scrapbooked it--just have to find that album and see! I literally don't expect to even recognize many of my cousins; I'm the oldest Price grandchild, and I think I'm at least 5 years older than the rest of them. I could be wrong, but that just shows how out of touch with that side of the family I am. Joy is pretty excited. She's really getting into knowing her roots and her heritage right now. It'll be our big trip for the summer.

Well, that's all for now. Make it a great day!

Sunday, April 09, 2006


So I'm in a weird sort of mood. I went on a "personal retreat" to the Oregon Coast with a dear friend. Got a lot of talking done. She's in the mental health field, so lot of it was good, but it's been making me think a lot. (And you guys should really check out Seaside Scents and check out their fragrance oils--YUMMMY! I esp. like their Vanilla Musk, Lime and Coconut, Laura's peach cobbler, and the Lemon Verbena Mint hand cream.)

The bottom line: I just want more from my life. But at this point, I'm not sure I have the energy to do it. Or even if I could say WHAT exactly I want MORE of!

I'm reminded of the title line from the Jack Nicholson movie, where the main characters look around and say, "Maybe this is as good as it gets" I've been looking around and I think that if the way my life is right now is as good as it gets...I'm not sure that's what I want. I love my kids and my husband and a lot of things in my life--but I'm not liking the clutter and the bickery fights my dh and I seem to be having more often and the pervading sense that I should be doing something more--even though I don't know what that is.

I'll have to get back to you on that one.

And that's the other side for today.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ooh! Forgot to tell you!

I decided I needed a professional look for my classes, so I bought myself this apron from a local company called Beelart Embroidery . Beautiful work, and Colleen the owner/embroideress extraordinaire even rushed the job and delivered it to me personally. I plan to order some more--I want a longer apron just for kicks. (this is the shorter one, like you see in restaurants....) Good stuff though! If you are looking for something similar (or bags, blankets, other good stuff), I recommend them wholeheartedly!


Running through my Mind....

So I've had so much going on, I just didn't have time to sum it all up in one post, but I'll try to anyway....

Joel is in ENGLAND right now. First foreign travel for either of us. He's enjoying himself, although he said the food tastes different, and NO ONE told him that our bank has all of their debit cards blocked in the country of England, so he is without a lot of money. Thank goodness for American Express! His plan was just to withdraw cash as needed from an atm, but no such luck. Apparently England doesn't like Credit Unions. I spent some time on the cell phone with him on one side, an IM window open between us, and on the other side, a very nice girl named Sara from the OSU Federal Credit Union on the other phone trying to explain the situation to us. DH's response? "Well, tell them to UNBLOCK my debit card then!!!?!" My response, "Uh, Honey, it's not just you--it's debit cards in general. England doesn't seem to like them. You'll have to talk to the Queen to unblock yours...." Ah well, things you time it will be better.

We've had the same cold off and on since December. Last night I decided I'd had enough of it. I've been coughing so hard I can't breathe this week, and my youngest son has been coughing until he pukes. NOT FUN! Supposedly, there is a three-month virus going around the Willamette Valley. This was our fourth month. All four of us (me, dd, ds#1, ds#2) went to the doctor today. $60 for doctor copays; another $50 for drugs. This had better be the END of the cough!

I've been thinking about goals, dreams and aspirations lately. When I was super-involved in MK, someone once said, "God doesn't give you dreams without also giving you the way to achieve them!" I really believe in this statement. I believe that our Heavenly Father isn't mean or malicious--that he really wants us to be happy. I have some big dreams for myself when it comes to creating and scrapbooking and papercrafting and writing. I just can't see now how to achieve them. Right now I'm in "education mode." I'm reading all I can about collage, paper art, digital design, graphic design, art in general, and other things. I'm hoping that the right inspiration will come my way, and I'll just get a glimmer of how I can achieve these big dreams.

I may not know how to do it yet, but I do know that I have to try.

And that's the other side.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

In 10 years it will all be different

So, I just got off the phone with a very dear friend who has been in my life for about 14 years now. We started being friends shortly after Joel and I got married--in fact they were our first "couple friends." Time being what it is, we've drifted apart some, and we just spent the last 2 hours on the phone catching up on the past 2 years. Even though we haven't lived more than 20 minutes apart during that time, we just haven't been close on a daily basis. It was nice to touch base with her again, to get a snapshot view of my life right now as we talked.

I have to remind myself when I get caught up in feelings of desperation (are we EVER going to get out of debt? Will I EVER get the career I want out of writing and scrapbooking and papercrafting and paper art? Will my 3 year old EVER eat anything more than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and the dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets? Will the house EVER be relatively clean and clutter free on a daily basis? And so on...) that my life is SIGNIFICANTLY different than it was ten years ago. Ten years ago I was going to school and managing apartments. Joel was working weekend graveyard at HP and thinking about going to school--and maybe he had a class or two--I don't really remember. We had one child, a very precocious one year old. I worried about school assignments, daycare for my baby, finding time with my husband, handling difficult tenants and empty apartments. I know we were busy with church. We were pretty broke.

Now, We're still pretty broke, but with better cars, nicer furniture, and we can pay for things like cable, a mortgage, taekwondo for H and J, a Trendwest membership for fun family vacations, this very nice HP laptop, my very nice HP Photosmart 945 Digital camera, and so on. We live pretty comfortably, all in all. We can meet our monthly obligations and still have some left over. Our marriage is still pretty strong, our kids are polite and well-behaved and well-liked. Things are good for us.

In ten years my daughter will be 21 and most likely not living with us any more. My baby will be nearly 13. I will have had the opportunity to work full-time (once the baby is in school all day, that is the plan to reduce our debt) and hopefully our debt will be gone and we'll have a comfortable retirement savings in place. That's my lesson for the day--start planning your financial future now! But enough of that soapbox.

My point is, ten years is a SHORT long time. Much will change, and while I KNOW I'll have new things to worry about, most of the things I worry about now won't be issues any more. I just have to remember to take a break from my worries and enjoy the now.

And that's the other side.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Sometimes you just gotta sleep...

So today was one of those days. We have a virus going around the Willamette Valley that comes and goes for several months before you are well. I think I'm on my third bout, so hopefully that's at an end soon. I just didn't feel like getting out of bed this morning. Thankfully, my church responsibilities today were covered, and my son also wasn't feel well, so we stayed home. I slept until 1:15 this afternoon, and probably could have slept longer, but wanted to be able to sleep tonight.

Sleep--It's a good thing.

And that's the (still) sleepy other side.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Gettin' ready

Well, I am preparing today for a class I am teaching tomorrow on my planners and blank journals. A dear friend of mine is helping me jump start my class business. I will also have things ready for them to make cards. Should be fun, and help me use up some scraps! I have A TON from all of the planners I made at Christmastime.

I have a "Family Yearbook" class on Friday. I'm stoked 'cause it's a different group of people, AND because everyone pre-paid like I like. I hope to get more classes from this. My business cards from vistaprint came just in the nick of time today. They really are beautiful, and I am very pleased! I'll take a picture later.

I'm teaching a class at the Senior Center for Albany Parks & Rec in April called "Scrapbooking Your Personal History." I'm not only designing an album for this, but I'm also creating a Family History Workbook to use in conjunction with the album. Sort of a book of "scratch paper" so you can get all of your information in place before you make the album. I'm pleased with how it's coming together so far.

More later...that's the other side for today!

Friday, February 24, 2006


This would have been a HOF layout, but I mixed up the contest ending dates. I did the assignments anyway, just for my personal satisfaction. This one was for the candid photography. It shows my youngest DS at the playground, Buzz Lightyear toy clutched in his hand. Materials use: black staples, red waxy flax, Bazzill cs. QK photo corner die cut. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Some Family Shots

This is the whole gang! Matt, Joel (dh), Cooper (youngest ds) Uncle Scott, Joy (dd), Aunt Joy, Aunt Lila, Nate, Cindy, and Henry (other ds).
This is (from R-L) Matt, Uncle Scott, Joy (my dd) Aunt Joy, and Aunt Lila

Swimming through Words

I am surrounded by words. Words run through my head like the binary code that runs at the beginning of the movie Matrix. Words I read on the several emails/newsgroups I get every day. Words I want to write down. Words I say. Words I should say. Words I am thinking abouat saying. I am swiming every day in a sea of words.

I've been thinking a lot about my Grandparents. My Grandma Price died in February shortly after I got married. I don't know if she even realized that I did get married. My grandfather also died in February when I was sixteen. I've always thought that he died just as I was becoming interesting to him (I don't think he had much patience for small children). So in February, I think about my Grandparents and my heritage. It helps that I recently had my cousin and his girlfriend, his parents, his little brother, and my Aunt from Utah here this last weekend. Nate and Cindy came to visit me; Aunt Joy and Uncle Scott drove from Spokane to check on Grandma Reese, and Aunt Lila decided to join them. Matt just came along for the ride.

I've decided to write a memoir of sorts...mostly just a collection of small essays--but things that are more auto-biographical than fictional. Mostly, I want to get some of these words out of my head! I need to sleep at night, and these words and stories keep tugging at the edges of my brain demanding to be heard. I'll post here least a rough draft.

On a side note: I've been asked to teach a scrapbooking class through the Albany Parks and Rec for their Senior Center. It'll be a four week class, mostly for seniors, with different levels of scrapbooking experience. I'm expecting them to be beginners. I've titled the class "Scrapbooking Your Personal History. I'm looking forward to it. I've also lost about 15 pounds since December. I've been doing what I call "old school" aerobics in my office, walking more, and doing Pilates 4-5 days a week. Man I LOVE Pilates. More about that later though.

And so it begins. And that's the other side.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Cardstock Queen is Coming Back!

I'm pretty stoked! As I sat here recovering from a Costco Chocolate Cake coma, I realized what I wanted to do with my store. I've been creating scrapbooking classes--classes simlar to what you'd take in the local scrapbooking store, but instead in your home--I have a hostess program and everything--and I realized I really wanted to go that route--the teaching route (and if you made it through that sentence, I'm impressed. I'm sure it's not grammatically correct at all...)

Anyway, I am going to reopen the store in a MUCH scaled down version...a web store to support my classes. I have three classes booked for the end of Feb/beginning of March. I'm pretty pleased about that. I missed the store. Well, I missed making some of my own money and I missed buying products to use in the store. I'll also have class kits available for some of you who asked about it in the past, you'll be pleased!

Stay tuned for more information!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Been Reading

I have been enjoying a reading binge. So far in the last few weeks I've read:

A couple of Clive Cussler Dirk Pitt Novels (Highly entertaining, and I really recommend them for a fun read. I got into these after seeing "Sahara" with Matthew McConaughy. He will always be Dirk Pitt to my mind's eye when I read. Not so sure about the actors playing Rudi Gunn and Al Giordino though....and the book IS better than the movie!) I honestly will be bummed when I've read all of the books in the Dirk Pitt series.

A couple of Jude Deveraux novels. Specifically, Wild Orchids and The Summerhouse. LOVED The Summerhouse, liked the other. I'm going to put her "Carolina Isle" on hold at the library. I read a lot from the library. It's free--well for most people. I seem to easily collect late fee fines. I tell myself it's my way of supporting the Library.

The Unbidden Truth by Kate Wilhelm. Oh Man! If you haven't read Kate Wilhelm's books about Barbara Holloway--RUN to your library and find them. They are also sold here at Costco pretty regulary, since she now lives in Oregon. The Barbara H. novels are all set in Eugene and thereabouts. I've yet to read such a wonderful female protagonist. Really. Go find these books. Kate Wilhelm's been writing for a looonnng time, and she's really honed her craft. I just finished this book yesterday, and had to go back to the library today for more. I think there are 6 or 8 or so. I have a stack of 3. I can't wait!

I also have the 2 latest Patricia Cornwall books in my bag, as well as The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffigger. I've been seeing this one around a lot, and it intrigues me. This stack of 6 books should keep me for a week or so.

Catch up to you later!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Layout Blueprints

So a friend of mine from my ScrapDivas of Oregon yahoo group is publishing a book titled "Layout Blueprints." Here are a few of my layouts that I submitted for that book. If YOU are interested in submitting--there is still time! You can submit until January 31st. Just go here for more information.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

We are under water...

For those of you on "Flood Watch '06" you should know that the Willamette is about to flood in this area. Highway 34 closed early this morning. Monroe area schools are closed. People in some areas are beginning to commute by boat. You can get more of the story here and here. I'll keep you posted if we have to evacuate. It's really too soon to tell, but we DO live in the hundred year floodplain. Joel may be living with his parents for a few days so he can get to work. Today it took him an hour--it usually takes about 15 minutes. That's because all of the people who usually use Highway 34 had to take Highway 20. My friend Kate was coming for a visit, but had to bail when she realized the usually 15 minute drive was going to take over an hour.

Hopefully we won't float away!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Some Happy

We had a nice weekend here at the Nelson home. We took advantage of the three-day weekend to use our Christmas Gift membership to OMSI (HUGE THANKS to Uncle Jared and Aunt Beth!) and we hosted my cousin Nathan and his girlfriend for part of the weekend.

I've written about my Grandmother before, so I'll skip a lot of the background information. Nathan is also her grandson. Until she started slipping away inside her mind, I really had no relationship at all with my Reese cousins. Not so now. I've had Nathan over twice for some overnight stays, his sister Megan has also been a houseguest of mine, and his sister Kayla and her husband and children have dropped by on the way to other places. I also now get Christmas cards and birth announcements from my cousin Phil. These are choice to me, and I'm glad to have this contact with my cousins.

As one of the oldest cousins in our little family, (I only have one cousin who is older than me...) it's always been important to me to work to keep those family relationships, well, there at least, if not friendly. And I think that if my Grandmother had just died, instead of slipping away into herself, I wouldn't have these friendships with my cousins. I'm grateful for them. I sort of think she'll hang on until more familial relationships are mended or made.

So go find someone you loved once, but haven't talked to in awhile. Reach out. If they rebuff you, at least you tried, and now THEY can own the problem. Find a long-lost cousin. Sometimes, in finding your family, you can find a little bit more of yourself.

And that's the other side

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Some Musings on some Shoulds

It's a New Year. A New Year brings new enthusiam for things in our lives. These can be old things (like losing weight/getting in shape) or new things (This year I am going to try/do [fill in the blank]). But it's the enthusiasm that's important!

I've been reading and hearing a lot of talk on different boards and groups and within my circle of friends about the things we SHOULD be doing as women. Working out, caring for our homes, caring for our children, volunteering at school, sewing, home decorating, cleaning, yard work, taking pictures, laundry, shining our sinks, scrapbooking, and maybe, just maybe, caring for ourselves somewhere near the bottom of the list if and when all the other things are finished. Some of my women friends, both in person and online, even feel guilty that the things they should do are undone, or feel guilty if they take a little time for themselves--because that time SHOULD be spent doing the rest of the things on the list--especially the undone things. How enthusiastic can you be about laundry? The boxes of pictures that are tugging at the edges of your mind? Yet another pile of toys to conquer? The guilt and "shoulds" just keep piling up.

I think that's rubbish. I really do. The guilt and "shoulds" will only pile up IF WE LET IT. Who decides what we SHOULD do anyway? Who has the right to suck our enthusiasm for our life right out the window? Who decided this set of "rules" that we have to live our lives by? That is one of the things I like about the FlyLady philosophy: You decide your OWN shoulds, and release yourself from someone else's.

My Grandfather Price felt that all women in the world should be revered and honored JUST BECAUSE they were women. I LOVE that idea. We women keep the world in order. Some of us bear children; ALL of us love and nuture the next generation. We keep our homes in order--some days more than others--and we love our friends, our families, our hobbies. We can take a break if we need one. We can keep working if we feel like it. We make the world a prettier place just with our presence. We sing peace. We make differences around us every day.

So today, I want to leave you with some enthusiasm. Love your life--wherever it is! My best friend and I are supporting each other through a weight loss/exercise regime this year. We've been talking for years about how unhappy we've been with our weight gain and change in size, and this year, we are doing more than talking about it. Our motto is "Face It and Fix It." We've weighed ourselves and taken measurements with the mantra of "No Judgements, No Guilt--Just Face It and Fix It." This has been marvelous for me at least. I enjoy making the changes I need to make to "Fix" what I am working on this year. I want you to have the same enthusiasm in your life. Find something YOU'VE been feeling bad about and tell yourself that IT'S OKAY! And either let it go, or figure out what you need to do to fix it. No Judgements, No Guilt. Just love and support. And it's okay.

And that's the other side

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Some Scrapbooking....

Here are some LO's I did tonight....I need to fix the lighting before I take any more LO shots. It's a bit off. I have a true color light bulb ("GE Reveal" style from Costco) on one side and my Ott-lite on the other. One layout is of Cooper's first birthday (in April of 2004--working on getting 2004 done); and the other is Joel's siblings and their wives and children meeting at Mo's Annex at the Devil's Punchbowl on the Oregon Coast in June of 2004. It was good to get back into scrapping after all of that planner making and stuff. And, I was very disciplined and put EVERYTHING away when I was done!

Anyway, enjoy!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Getting Closer to the After!

Well, today I unearthed the homework desk under the pegboard. I've also switched the white dresser with another small desk that was in another part of my Scrap Nook. Now I can have my sewing machine close to my scrap desk. One of the things I want to try this year is sewing on my pages.

Let's have a game! The first three people to comment on my blog and tell me what letter is back on the wall (it was missing in the previous picture of my messy space) will get a package of Bazzill Buttons (colors will vary--but do tell me if you have a preference!). Look closely! (NOTE: this game is separate from the SBT game--please don't post here AND there. Thanks!)

If you really want to work for a prize, tell me what the letters stand for and I'll throw in something else as well!

And that's the other side--cleaned up!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Great Space Reclaim~~

I've lived with this mess for TOO LONG! This has been typical of our office area looking into my scrapping area (and after several hours, my scrapping desk is pretty clean!). My mission this week is to get a handle on all of it, and work to break the "I'll clean it up later habit." It's been my sad experience that "later" never comes. My DH is pretty bad about this. I have piles of things for him to look at "later." I'll probably just start throwing it all away and hope I don't toss anything important. That way, the piles don't move into boxes (and I have a few of those as well!)

I'm having a good time on the Scrapbook Talk Yahoo group. I'm leading the "Great Space Reclaim" challenge and am really enjoying being involved with this group. I'll add the link to my link section in case you want to check it out!

Go Reclaim some Space that's important to you--whether it's your bedroom, your living room or your kitchen. It'll make you feel better!

And that's the other side.

Monday, January 02, 2006

It's a bit wet...

Well, here in the Rainy Northwest, we are living up to our reputation. This is a local park, and what you are looking at is the top of the picnic table shelter, and if you can make out the green pipe-thingys, that's the top of the play structure. The white squares are the basketball hoops. The river that is flooded is the Calapooia River--which runs into the Willamette River. This park borders the junction of the two rivers. Just a bit wet here....