Wednesday, November 30, 2011

We're Still Here!

I have been neglecting the blog for the past couple of weeks. Sorry about that. We have been so busy and things have really picked up at work so I haven't had the chance to sit down and punch out a post. We had a very busy Thanksgiving weekend. Every day we were going non-stop. Wednesday night my mom took me and Ed to see the Rockettes at the DPAC in Durham. It was really great. The girls were amazing, Ed really enjoyed the 50 foot LED board that made it hard to decipher whether or not the images were on the screen or were real, and the dancing and singing was phenomenal. Other than the obnoxious drunk coeds sitting behind us, we had a great time and Ed was a great sport about going to a theatre performance for me. Deuce stayed with my stepdad at the house until we got back. Night number 1 of falling asleep in the car.
the toy soldier part was amazing. it was Ed's favorite scene.

Thursday we spent lunch and early afternoon over at my mom's house. It was a very quiet meal with it being just me, Ed, Deuce and my parents. I think that is the first Thanksgiving ever that I have not spent with my sister. She went to Lincolnton with her boyfriend for the day. After we left mom's house we went to Ed's parents for dinner. His brother, niece and nephew came in from Knoxville so we spent a good amount of time there and didn't head back to Greensboro until about 11pm. Night number 2 of going to bed in the car.
Friday, Ed had to work. Boo. Deuce and I got up and got back in the car and headed 2 hours east to Clayton to visit some of my family. My cousin Jami was home from SJU for the break so I wanted to make sure that we had the chance to go see her. We picked up Laura in Raleigh on the way and spent the whole day in Clayton, eating leftovers and lounging around. It was awesome! Day number 3 of falling asleep in the car.
Saturday was extra busy! Deuce had his 8:30 swim lesson and Nana came up to go swimming with him. He really enjoyed having her in the pool and showing off his new "skills" which consist of trying to push off of me so he can "swim" by himself. We took Nana out for breakfast and then he went home with her for the afternoon. We went to the Carolina-Duke football game and had to leave early (which we NEVER do) because Ed was playing in the 2nd 80s vs. 90s alumni basketball game at CHHS. After Deuce took a 3.5 hour nap (HOLY COW!), Nana brought him to the high school to watch daddy & Uncle Schultz play basketball. Daddy's team won by double digits. Then we went back to Ed's parents house and watched the Carolina-UNLV basketball game, which didn't start until 10:30. And after that 3.5 hour nap, Deuce was still kicking at 12:30am. Day number 4 of going to bed in the car.

Sunday we didn't do anything. Deuce slept until 10:30am. I went grocery shopping and decorated the house for Christmas. Ed's brother stopped by on their way back to Knoxville and when it was time for bed... he was not having it. Night number 1 of screaming his way to sleep. In his crib. Flipping the lights on and off.

So we have spent the past 3 nights crying it out. All over again. I am not enjoying this. I am tired. My heart hurts to hear him scream. But I hope it's getting back to normal. Sunday night he screamed for and hour and a half before giving in. I went in after the first 30 minutes and repeated the bedtime routine. Still didn't work. So I let him go an hour before he finally gave in. Monday night he went an hour and I didn't give in. Last night he went 30 minutes before quitting. Hopefully we are working our way back to bed. The funny thing is, when he wakes up in the morning he doesn't want to get out of his crib. He just sits there and plays. He literally shakes his head "no" when I try to get him out. Darn kid.

We have a lot getting ready to happen in the next few weeks. Me and Ed's birthdays are next week. We leave for a 4 day stay in Knoxville next Thursday for my cousin Jordan's graduation from UT. The following week will be my last week at work for the year (wahoo!). Deuce and I are going to stay with my dad for a few days that Thursday and then the next weekend is Christmas! Wow...this year has gone by fast.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

print work. and a super awesome tutorial.

Just wanted to share with you some of the print work I have been doing lately. I've been working on birth prints, baby showers, invitations, wedding prints and all sorts of goodies! My mom threw a baby shower for one of her coworkers and asked me to do the invites. Below is one of the new mommy's maternity shots and looky there... she took along the little blue invite!!
photo courtesy of Kat Cole & Laddy Kortekaas Photography
The diaper flaps open up to reveal the shower information.

I was also asked to do some wedding prints for friends that got married on 11-11-11 in Charleston, SC. The wedding was very country-chic with lots of burlap & lace {& boots of course} so I dyed the paper and printed away. They were displayed in a vintage frame outside of the reception hall.
photo courtesy of Lisa Stevens

And I totally have to share this nail tutorial with you. I've seen the nail skins that are for sale in the beauty aisles but they are too expensive for my wallet. So I just stick to painting my nails like normal. But when I saw THIS I thought it was too good to be true. Nail skins for FREE? And yes it totally works. I did this in about 15 minutes last night. I must add, I was so skeptical that I didn't bother to take my time painting my nails and I basically just let the paint fall where it may - even if that meant on the outside of my nails. Whatever. And I didn't bother to tidy them up after I was done because I was so excited about how they turned out. So don't critique my painting skills. You are supposed to be like "wow that is awesome!" It's the little things that make me happy...
Yeah, I know. My cuticles need work. The tutorial says to use digital scrapbook paper but I was not about to purchase any of that stuff to put on my nails. I'll just go the the nail shop if I want to spend money. The point of this is to be free! Since the chevron pattern is all the rage right now I googled "chevron image" and found one that I liked. Then I used Publisher {I don't have Photoshop like the tut says} and I resized the image to .75 x .75 inches and copied and pasted it about 20 times {enough for some re-dos if need be, but I didn't need them}. Then I decided that I wanted a small heart on my ring finger as opposed to the pattern so it would stand out. I found an image that I like and resized it on to my publisher document. This is how my document looked.

See, plenty of extras in case I messed up. Then I just cut them out and followed the tutorial using rubbing alcohol. I used a clear coat that has a little glitter in it for a little extra shine and I was all done! Super easy...just think of all of the possibilities with this!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Coloring with Harrison.

Last week I took Deuce over to Harrison's house after work since it had been awhile since the boys had seen each other. Val made us some yummy tortellini and we caught up while the boys played. Deuce was once again enamored with Harrison's dog Felton and he also found Harrison's Tickle Me Elmo {which he loved and might just have made it's way into Nana's Christmas shopping cart already}. After dinner the boys decided that they would color some.
They did a pretty good job of sharing their markers and they definitely mastered the art of taking the tops off of the markers and then putting the markers on the floor. They were not so good at putting the tops back on.
I am so thankful for a friend like Val and think it's even better that we had boys exactly 3 months apart. Val and I are so much alike. I don't know that I can really describe it but I feel like she's a blonde version of me. I think that alot of our parenting philosophies are very similar and we have traded lots of tips with each other. She doesn't stress about making sure that her house is magazine perfect all of the time, it's more about hanging out with her little man. This makes me not so paranoid about Deuce when we are over at their house. And she likes sports just as much as me so that's a big plus too. Maybe one day we won't live so far apart so we can hang out more.
Harrison kept trying to take his diaper off but was never completely successful so he kept walking around the house with his diaper sagging off his booty. It was hilarious. And not only did the boys color on paper...they colored on themselves. Thank goodness Harrison has the washable non-toxic markers!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Swim Lessons.

Deuce is 2 weeks in to his 6 week session of swim lessons. And he loves it! Class meets every Saturday morning at 8:30 (talk about refreshing wake-up for the day...) and there are about 7 babies in the class. Deuce is actually the second oldest in the class. I was surprised by that since this is the 3rd time I have tried to sign him up. I made sure I went to the Y the day registration opened to get in. There is a boy who looks to be about 3 in the class {in the below picture} and other than him and Deuce, none of the babies can even walk yet. Ed came to the first class to take some pictures for me of the first ever swim lesson. Beware: you will see me in a bathing suit. And it may be the only time you will see such a thing. Ever. :)
We start by pouring water all over ourselves with a cup. I direct him to pour it on a body part and he does it. He loves this and does it in the bath/shower all the time.
He jumped off the side of the pool from both a sitting and standing position. He only did it from a standing position a few times because none of the other babies were doing it since they can't walk yet. He seriously looked around and then sat down to do it. At least he was trying to following the group, I guess.
Then he kicked the beach ball with his feet. He really loves this part and giggles everytime it's his turn.
He also pushed the ball with his hands.
He floated on his back and practiced his flutter kicks.
Here we are blowing bubbles. He probably drank more pool water than he blew but he's getting the hang of it.
He got to select a toy from the bucket and throw it as far as he could and then "swim" to get it. Of course he selected the only ball in the bucket, a football. Some of the dad's were making comments about how far he could throw because it was obvious he wanted to play with somebody. He kept throwing it directly to the dad's in the pool {even hitting some in the back. my aplogies were frequent.} This week one of the dad's got the football for their little guy and Deuce was not pleased. I had a hard time getting him as excited about throwing a tiny purple boat as I did a football. Let's just say we had to move to another part of the pool to avoid swiping of the football.
And there's me. Obviously still only half awake at 8:30 in the morning sans make-up.
You're welcome.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Days We Just Walk.

So lately I've had this urging desire to get out and walk. Not for the physical health benefits but the mental. Ed and I have been having a very challenging time at home with TJ and it has taken a toll on both of us. I find myself  frustrated and feeling like I can't escape the walls of my own house. It's so small that there is really no where to go. Being a step parent is so hard.

So I walk, sometimes for several hours. I like to take Deuce to Country Park. Before I came back to work I would take him here several days out of the week in an attempt to burn the post baby blubber. Now that I have Thursdays and Fridays off, I can get back to my 1 mile loop at the park. We talk to the waterfowl and we quack at them because you know, they are all "ducks" to a baby.
Country Park leads right in to the cemetery where my grandparents are buried. So we go visit them. Deuce takes good naps on these long walks. But he won't nap unless he's tounching me in some way. And I have quiet time to myself to think. To think about where I am in my life. To think about all of the wonderful blessings I have been given. To think about all of the changes that need to be made. To think about all of the things that I still need to get done. To plan for the future. To reflect on the past.
And just to talk to my grandparents. My grandparents that I never really got to know. My grandparents that would be {are} so proud of me. My grandparents that meant so much to so many people. Read more about them HERE and HERE.
The cemetery can be so daunting but for me it's so peaceful. Instead of dwelling on the fact that my grandmother and grandaddy were gone before I finished 2nd grade, I like to focus on the fact that I can go talk with them whenever I want. Their grave is not across the country, only a few miles down the road. And while I know that there spirits were never in those graves, it's a resting place for their bodies and for my mind. I understand that others may feel differently.
 But for now, it's my quiet place.
And it's the place I can take Deuce to tell him all about his great grandparents.

Friday, November 4, 2011

My Little Tiger.

Halloween 2011 came and went like the blink of an eye. I didn't think that we would be trick-or-treating on Monday because it was pouring down rain when I left work at 4:30pm and it was still pouring down when I picked Deuce up in Chapel Hill. I thought that maybe we would just dress him up and let him hand out candy but then that would mean I would have to stop and buy some candy. I wasn't prepared for that since we were supposed to be going out. As I started the drive home, the sky cleared up and when I got to Greensboro it looked like it hadn't rained at all. So we ran in the house to get dressed. This was what I got...
Really??? I wasn't surprised though. He hates anything touching his oh-so-precious hair. He doesn't like hats. He doesn't want anyone to brush his hair, unless it's him, he doesn't like his head rubbed {unless he's on the verge of sleep}, etc. So I kept trying to put the headpiece on and he kept taking it off. I was actually more worried about him being cold but we went on outside anyway. As soon as we opened the door there were some kids in our cul-de-sac. It was like once he saw them in their costumes he LOVED his, complete with a "roar" and everything! He took off down the cul-de-sac.
We walked through our neighborhood and he did really well. After the first few houses he became more confident and started walking up on his own. He wouldn't speak though. He wanted me to pick him up after about 45 minutes so I obliged.
After about 45 minutes in our neighborhood we loaded up in the car and drove to the neighboring neighborhood where TJ goes to school. We go over there every year. Most of his classmates live in the neighborhood so TJ usually meets up with alot of his friends. Deuce found TJ's "girlfriend" Quiarah {in the pinstripes - she loves Deuce and is so good with him.} She hangs out with Deuce at every one of TJ's football practices, playing with him and carrying him around. She's my future babysitter, I'm sure.
The little girl on the right, Katrina, is in TJ's class this year also. I had never met her before but she walked up to me and asked if I was TJ's stepmom. When I told her that yes, I was, she proceeded to thank me multiple times for making the Halloween bark that I sent to his class that day. She told me she loved it. And that, my friends, is why I stayed up until midnight making those things. So Halloween was a success and I'm looking forward to the holidays in November and December.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Oh Yeah, That Haircut.

It was time again for the dreaded haircut. The 2nd one to be exact. The first one went well but was long and tiring. We were scheduled to have family photos taken over the weekend so the hair had to go before then. On the suggestion of my friend Carrie, I decided to try out peek-a-do salon over at Southpoint. It's a children's salon and there is everything under the sun in there to distract the kids from the fact that they are getting their hair chopped off. I wish there was one in Greensboro.
At this point he's all "I don't know where we are but this place is awesome!" We were simply waiting our turn. Little did he know... When it was our turn he immediately clammed up and wouldn't let me put him down. They have 3 infant chairs for them to sit in: a car, a boat or a plane. I was sure he would sit in one and love the steering wheel. He loves the big Jimmy Johnson race cars at Lowe's and the grocery store. But I was totally wrong. He was clinging to me for dear life and the waterfall had already started. So we decided we would try sitting him in my lap like last time. Camille was the stylist and she was wonderful. As soon as she got near his head, his bottom lip poked out and he just started crying. He wouldn't even let her put a cute mini cape on him. So he had to suffer with hair all over him!
Camille took her time and we distracted him with everything we could. She turned Dora on the DVD player at her station and that worked temporarily. Thank goodness for my dear friend Patrice, who danced, and played with every toy the store owned trying to turn his head this way and that way. She was a lifesaver.
This was the one and only lick of the lollipop that he took. Then he just held onto it like it was money.
"Here, you wanna squirt yourself in the face with this water? Whatever works?" Can you tell I was sweating?
This was where he started to get sleepy. My plan was to give him a nap while we were at Patrice's so he would be in a good mood when it was time to get the cut. But of course he fell asleep right before we got to Patrice's and I was able to transfer him all the way in the house. But as soon as his head hit the couch, BOOM, he was wide awake and ready to play. So I thought the hair cut was just going to be a downright disaster. And it was for a little while. Then he got tired and just sat in my lap half asleep. I had told Camille that Ed wanted him to have an edge up if possible and she said she thought she could do it since he was so tired. And she was right. She got out the clippers and edged his entire head up. And when she went across the front, he just closed his eyes and let her finish. It turned out to not be so bad after all.
And then when we were done, he was ready to play! Like it was as though he really wasn't tired or something. The salon has those reflective windows that you can see out of but can't see in. When we got outside, Deuce could not stop staring at himself in the windows. He was giggling and laughing. It was hilarious. Then he started his football plays and all was well with the world. So we took Patrice to Sweet Frog's for yogurt as a thank you for her hard work. I think Ed was a little sad that he missed the first edge up. That's so important to the daddy's. Or at least this daddy. The one who's a perfectionist over the quarter-inch length hair that he has...
Just thought I would share a secret with you....
Lifestyle Crafts has a giveaway going on right now!
The giveaway is a Canon 60D DSLR camera and a Jo Totes camera bag. Sweet.
I'm entering as many times as I can.
Head on over to enter!
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