We Finally Announced Him, Officially:

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

This is the birth announcement I made up to send out to friends and family... It became sort of a belated Christmas card and a birth announcement. If you didn't get one but you want one, email me and I will happily send one along!
To answer questions about my cute little announcement--

1. How did you make it, with paper or is it all digital? Photoshop? If so, how did you print it? I'd love to know your steps if you'd share! -Bobbi
This is all digital. I created it in Photoshop, getting my inspiration from other designers I found online. To print it, I made sure it was 4x6 and then simply went to and had them printed as if they were photographs. It meant that they were on photo paper instead of lovely, heavy cardstock, but that was what we could afford for the quantities we wanted to make.

2. Where in the world did you find that great b/w background? i love it! very bold! -Jodie
I have had this set of digital scrap papers from, here. They are damask patterns that can be customized, but for this project, I went with the straight black and white original file.
(I was directed to these papers from another blogger I stalk, Danielle T.)

3. How did you print it to maintain the bold color? Or was it an emailed announcement? -Melanie
As I said, I just decided to print the whole thing as if it was a photograph, and so it really ended up looking just like this! I mailed them in red vellum envelopes, just to add that final touch.

Thanks for asking, all!

Oatmeal Days


It is currently 16 degrees outside. It is getting dangerously close to the glummest, gloomiest month of the year. It's cold, dark, depressing, endless, hopeless and exhausting.
How to cope?
Well, yesterday, while listening to my iPod, the 4th movement of Beethoven's 9th Symphony came on, and I was reminded of one of my favorite essays by Robert Fulghum. If I ever needed to get out of my midwinter slump, I'd do exactly what he does.
So click "play" on this little video clip, settle back, and read one of the coolest tributes to one of the coolest pieces of music ever written. And try to let it help you out of YOUR midwinter slump. It's completely up to you.

(seriously, even if you DON'T typically listen to classical, please give this a try-- especially with Fulghum's amazing writing. Volume loud helps. You gotta listen to the very end. It's the part he is talking about.)***

"Talking with a nice lady on the phone. She has a case of the midwinter spiritual rot. And a terminal cold she's had since September 1.
'Well,' rasps she, 'you don't ever get depressed, do you?'
'Listen,' says I, 'I get lows it takes extension ladders to get out of.'
'So what do you do?' asks she. 'I mean, what DO YOU DO?'
Nobody ever pinned me down quite like that before. They usually ask what I think they should do.
My solace is not religion or yoga or rum or even deep sleep. It's Beethoven. As in Ludwig van. He's my ace in the hole. I put his Ninth Symphony on the stereo, pull the earphones down tight, and lie down on the floor. The music comes on like the first day of Creation.
And I think about old Mr. B. He knew a whole lot about depression and unhappiness. He moved around from place to place trying to find the right place. His was a lousy love life, and he quarreled with his friends all the time. A rotten nephew worried him deeply--a nephew he really loved. And Mr. B. wanted to be a virtuoso pianist. He wanted to sing well, too. But when still quite young, he began to lose his hearing. Which is usually bad news for pianists and singers. By 1818, when he was forty-eight, he was stone-cold deaf. Which makes it all the more amazing that he finished his great Ninth Symphony five years later. He never really heard it! He just thought it!
So I lie there with my earphones on, wondering if it ever could have felt to Beethoven like it sounds in my head. The crescendo rises, and my sternum starts to vibrate. And by the time the final kettledrum drowns out all those big Fs, I'm on my feet, singing at the top of my lungs in gibberish German with the mighty choir, and jumping up and down as the legendary Fulghumowski directs the final awesome moments of the END OF THE WORLD AND THE COMING OF GOD AND ALL HIS ANGELS, HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! WWHHOOOOOOOOM-KABOOM-BAM-BAAAAAA!!! Lord!
Uplifted, exalted, excited, affirmed, and over-whelmed am I! MANALIVE! Out of all that sorrow and trouble, out of all that frustration and disappointment, out of all that deep and permanent silence, came all that majesty--that outpouring of JOY and exaltation! He defied his fate with jubilation!
And I never can resist all that truth and beauty. I just can't manage to continue sitting around in my winter ash heap, wringing my hands and feeling sorry for myself, in the face of THAT MUSIC! Not only does it wipe out spiritual rot, it probably cures colds, too.
So what's all this noise about winter and rain and bills and taxes? says I to me. So who needs all this talk about failure and confusion and frustration? What's all this noise about life and people being no damned good?
In the midst of oatmeal days, I find withing Beethoven's music an irresistible affirmation. In deep, spiritual winter, I find inside myself the sun of summer. And some day, some incredible December night when I am very rich, I am going to rent me a grand hall and a great choir and a mighty symphony orchestra, and stand on the podium and conduct the Ninth. And I will personally play the kettledrum part all the way through to the glorious end, while simultaneously singing along at the very top of my lungs. And in the awesome silence that follows, I will bless all-the-gods-that-be for Ludwig van Beethoven, for his Ninth, and his light.
--All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: Uncommon thoughts on common things, by Robert Fulghum. ©1988, Villard Books, New York

Who Can Be Grumpy While Eating a Cupcake??

Sunday, January 27, 2008

So, about three blocks from our apartment, we have a new cupcake shop called The Cupcakery. Isn't that all I need to say??

Okay, okay... I'll say a bit more: Joe, my sis Beckie and I have become OBSESSED. They have five standard flavors (Tuxedo, Gold Rush, Confetti, Peanut Butter Cup and Double Chocolate), and they have two or three specials each week-- flavors like Grasshopper, Tropical, Graceland (PB & Banana), and Red Velvet. The cupcakes are huge, they're only $2.25 apiece, and they are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. In fact, when Noah was born, Joe grabbed a box of these cupcakes to pass around to guests at the hospital as a sort of "cigar substitute"!

So besides making a cupcake run to this tempting new shop (oh, at least once a week), I have also gotten really enamoured with the idea of creating beautiful cupcakes of my own. My mom is a baker and cake decorator, so I grew up with frosting, piping tubes, dragees, layer cakes, etc. Mom taught us a few skills along the way, but I confess that my lack of patience has often found me in the baking aisle, purchasing store-bought frosting that is only good for smearing, not decorating with. Well, earlier this past week, my cupcake-crafting desire finally boiled over. I simply had to create some pretty cupcakes of my own. I got a few decorating supplies and some lemon cake mix, put on my clever little apron, and got down to work. And?

...Cupcake magic!


For more amazing cupcake pictures and pretty much anything else cupcake (art, jewelry, recipes, cupcake shop reviews), go visit the Cupcakes Take the Cake blog. They feature some pretty inspiring cupcakes from all over the world, and they manage to find new things to post multiple times a week. I pop on there often to drool and dream of future artistic concoctions of my own. So feast your eyes on a few of their recent images, then go find or make a cupcake of your own. I have a few more lemon buttercream beauties left in my kitchen calling my name!

All photos found on the Cupcakes Take the Cake blog.
Click a photo to go to that specific post:

a few more cupcake links--
All Things Cupcake
Some Cupcake Etsy Art I Want
Cupcake Pin Cushions
Cupcake Knit Baby Hat

You Gotta Do What You Gotta Do.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

So I had to throw a load of laundry in the wash, and it took both hands... What else was I supposed to do??

He doesn't look too bothered by it.


{fun cross-process action by Leah P., Frame by Tia Bennett. Photo by me.}

Things To Do Today (or maybe tomorrow):

Tuesday, January 22, 2008








Still Left:

...well... it's a start! It's sunny outside, which ALWAYS motivates me more. Baby is sleeping in his swing. Hubby is being so helpful with making lunch, getting Noah down for naps, taking out garbage, etc. And except for those few little piles shown above, my home is pretty darn tidy.
Life isn't too glamorous up here in the Mason attic, but I'm pretty happy with it!
Tonight I'm making Shepherd's Pie for dinner, Joe and I will probably just watch a DVD and try to get sleep, and we'll start again tomorrow. Maybe someday soon we'll get interesting again-- travel to Italy again, design and make something amazing, learn a new a fabulous party... Someday.
Today, I'm celebrating ORDINARY, and making the most of what we have.

I'm off to go mail those boxes and birth announcements. If you don't get one and should have, email me. My bad!


Sunday, January 20, 2008

This is Noah, usually. Since he has figured out how to smile at six weeks, we can get this happy, cooing baby about 7 times a day, right after he eats and before his naptime. It is a delight to behold, and his huge grin- complete with dimples- is contagious.

Sadly, smiles aren't the only thing that is contagious... Diseases are too, so our poor boy had to be vaccinated yesterday. Thus, this is Noah today:

He's running a little fever and has been really fussy and cranky today. He hasn't slept well, which compounds the problem. And rather than make us stressed and irritated, it mostly makes us sad. His little cries break our hearts because we KNOW he is uncomfortable and we can't do much to help besides cuddle, pat, kiss, soothe and rock...

So say a prayer for the little guy, and hopefully in the next day or two he will be back to his usual happy, spirited self.


To my readers/lurkers:
Hope everyone's upcoming week is marvelous! Thank you for reading and for your generous kindnesses via comments... You make my winter "homeboundness" much nicer to endure!

My Mei Tai Sling From Jaime

Friday, January 18, 2008

Becoming friends with my amazingly creative amiga Jaime has been a delightful St. Louis surprise. When I first got married 3 years ago, I thought for SURE that I had left behind all possibility of having cleverly right-brained, artistic, crafty type friends when I left my college home of Utah. I thought for SURE that I'd have to settle for plain, white-bread, no-nonsense Midwest types for my social circle. Luckily, my ward turned out to have several really inspiring gals, Jaime being one of the front-runners. She beads, makes silver jewelry, digitally scrapbooks, take pictures, blogs, makes kiddie crafts with her little ones, and she SEWS. Oh, my how she sews! (Check out her Etsy to see some little treasures you can buy!)

When she heard about my forthcoming little baby, she got right to work on some really cute treasures, including burpie towels, bib clips, bibs, booties, and this remarkable, incredibly well-crafted mei tai sling in sock monkey fabric.

When she presented me with this gift, I was overwhelmed. It was clear she had put a lot of time into her gift, and it was obviously very well-made. Seriously though, I didn't really look at the quality aspect first-- I was enamoured with how dang CUTE it was! I mean, sock monkeys??

After some tying lessons and demonstrations, this darling sling was mine forever. And as you can see from the pics, it has been well-used. With a pacifier held in his little mouth and a little hip-sway action, I can get this little booger to sleep in a matter of minutes!

So check out my hip, cool, funky, WELL-MADE mei tai sling, compliments of my thoughtful, creative, beautiful friend Jaime. Thanks, J!

{the brown, soft insert, btw, is a "turtle shell" by this gal, but it was Jaime who emailed me the link to it, as a suggestion for making my newborn more comfy in the sling. Incidentally, these slings can be used until your little one is 4 or even 5 years old, unless they are big chunkers. :) }

Wouldn't This Brighten YOUR Day?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

When Noah wakes in the morning, he is SO full of sunshine and big, dimply grins. Really, what more can a girl ask for? I am so blessed to have my little attic full of light and love... Joe giving me lingering hugs, Noah giving me sparkling smiles... All of us with bedhead and a whole day in front of us to just love on each other...

My life IS pretty blessed.

And thank you, friends, for letting me be "blah" here and there. It's kind of isolating to be home for days on end with a teeny new baby, so this is kind of my "girls night out" chat, or my "lunch date gossip session"... With virtual friends to talk it out with. So, thanks. I'm feeling better. We're not just going to be okay, we're going to be AMAZING. Frankly, it doesn't get much better than this:

*see what I mean?*

a far-fetched dream...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Since Joe has posted about his life changes on his blog, I feel like I can bring it up over here. Joe is really thinking about NOT being a nurse, since failing this past semester. He's begun to think about teaching French, possibly, and so he is starting to explore his options.

I love my husband, but I have to be honest: I'm scared.

I know I tend to be really upbeat here on my blog. I guess life just never seems rough enough to have to dump it all here. But frankly, sometimes life isn't rosy, and sometimes I'm NOT happy/comfortable/on top of my own life. And this issue is one of the doozies.

Since being married, I've been able to plot my next few years pretty comfortably, give or take a few details and time shifts. Joe was going to finish nursing school while I taught high school English. He'd finish school right when we started a family, and I'd become a stay-at-home mom. We'd live in the Mason Lodge until he had a year of real nursing under his belt, then we'd go do "agency nursing" somewhere for a year to accrue some money for a house. We'd end up back here in Misouri, buy a modest 2 or 3-bedroom home, and begin our long-term life. Joe: a nurse. Me: SAHM to 3, 4 or 5 kids. Maybe I'd teach again when the kids were older. Maybe Joe would go on to get a Masters in nursing and we'd move on and up to a bigger house.
Eventually, I'd be nestled in my farmhouse on some acres of land (not so ritzy and expensive as it sounds. In Missouri, this can be done for under $200,000.) Joe would wear his sexy scrubs, head off to work with a pager on his belt, happy and fulfilled. I'd be home, teaching my kids to explore, imagine, absorb knowledge, and love life. We'd be in the world but not OF the world. Of course, we'd be comfortable, financially, but not rich.

It was pretty much a 10-year plan, not instant perfection, but attainable over time.

Now I look ahead, and ten years from now, I can't see much. It's all blurry. But I don't think it includes that farmhouse. And that breaks my heart. And then I feel terrible for being so... oh... I don't know. Greedy? Inflexible? Hopeless? Plan-happy?

So I'm scared. In less than seven months, my salary will end, and we will be living on Joe's $10 an hour. We have our rent-free situation for now, but we were only going to continue that for one more year. Then what?

I still believe in being a stay-at-home mom. That hasn't and won't change. It's just that now, I face a reality that is much closer to my own childhood where scraping by and extreme thrift were the norm. I didn't think that would be us. My bad. Counting chickens and all that.

So. There's some of my reality. Not fun. But also probably not going to be as rough and terrible as it feels like it's going to be... It's just still something I'm getting used to. I'm trying to be supportive of Joe's choices. After all, a career is a LOOOONNG road, and he should have some chance of happiness at it if he can.

I just wish it was still the way I was planning for it to be. I wish things hadn't changed so suddenly. I wish I didn't feel so uncomfortable.

(and now that I've opened THAT can of worms, y'all wanna hear about the times I feel a bit of the baby blues? 'Cause THAT takes away from the cheerful baby posts I usually put on here. No one wants to hear about moms feeling incompetent or selfish or...)


A Few Notes About Me Wee Little Bloggy:

Sunday, January 13, 2008

1. BananaPhone
I never thought I'd see the day when a RAFFI song wound tickle my eardrums, but this is that day. So if this is too too much for you, just click the "pause" button when you open my blog and you can view things Raffi-free. Also, I rarely keep these jukebox thingys on my blog for long, so be patient and it'll all go away.

2. Video!!
To the right of these blog posts is a video clip of my brilliant and entertaining son. I have just found out that hosts video clips quickly and easily, so I will be trying to remind myself to update this blog clip every so often. Click on it to enjoy real video snippets of my little world.

3. Twitter is a random, fun little site that you can go post a one-liner on every so often to let folks know exactly what you're up to that very moment. It's kinda like a MICROblog.
My Twitter updates are on the sidebar of this blog, and since I'm pretty homebound and therefore computer addicted, I do update at least once a day. Feel free to join up and twitter with me. The cool people are doing it.

4. A Noah Blog?

As if this one wasn't Noah-intensive enough as it is?! I am trying to balance my addiction to my new son with other facets of my little world, so even if to you this seems a Noah Tribute Blog, it's really still a forum for many other aspects of my life. Therefore, I have created a blog of ONLY Noah, for my own personal history purposes and for the grandparents. But you are free to pop by too. You won't hurt my feelings if you don't, I'm just introducing the option. Besides, it's not much, yet.

5. My New Blog Header
Last but not least, if you have noticed my lovely new blog header, here is the scoop-- it's done on an online digi-scrap site called Scrapblog. It's really user-friendly, has LOTS of options and things to try, and basically takes the need for real skill out of the equation. (So sorry Jaime!! This probably horrifies real artists like yourself!!!) I also worked one of these headers out for Joe's site, so check his out as well. And then go sign up for Scrapblog for free and do one yourself!!

And because I can't in good conscience do a photoless entry, here's ma' boy:

{... he's being held by Joe next to our bedroom window... hence the lovely catchlights in his lovely eyes.}

Flashdance Fever!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Legwarmers are hot. Especially on chubby little baby legs. In fact, there is a PRODUCT called Babylegs (click here) that are basically legwarmers for infants and tots. Cute stuff! But the official Babylegs are $12 a pop, and a friend told me that there were tutorials that show how to make them yourself (Tutorial Slideshow)... so after purchasing a manly pair of argyle knee-hi ladies' socks, I decided to try this out for myself.


...and I don't care who else approves or disapproves of this punk-ish look for my baby BOY, I am dying over how cute he looks. Totally manly. Ladies' socks and Flashdance notwithstanding.

I think I'll be making some more.

Brothers and Sisters:

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I come from a family of seven kids, and Joe comes from four. We are both the second oldest, and in terms of boys vs. girls, our families are opposite: I have all sisters with one brother and Joe has all brothers with one sister. With the arrival of their first nephew, I have had lots of photo opportunities... So enjoy! Meet the sibs!

Joe's Siblings (oldest to youngest, left to right):

Mary is the eldest and the only girl. She and I were friends way before Joe came on the scene. She is creative, stylish, emotional, and deeply loyal.

Dave is younger than Joe. He is currently getting his Masters in design/advertising on the East Coast. He is witty, informed, sarcastic, and creatively deep and inspired.

{the three boys, together on Christmas}

Peter is the youngest. He returned last year from a mission in the Dominican Republic. He is carefree, very outgoing, and a big lover of life.

{I love these next few of Pete with Joe!}

...And my family is (oldest to youngest):

Julina is the mama bear to the rest of us. She lives in Indiana and is so good at keeping in touch and keeping up with the rest of our lives. She is brilliant, sensitive, strong, and independent.

Elise is next. She teaches Spanish in an Indianapolis high school. She is the dreamer of the group-- emotional, romantic, sweet, and guileless.

Beckie lives just three or four blocks away, and I LOVE it. When it gets warmer, there will be much more of this:

Beckie (shown below with Kyle, one of the best things about Beckie...) is authentic, opinionated, generous, funny, and true.

Steven is my lone bro. This past August he married Tamara, one of the smartest moves of his life. She is a smart, tough cookie with the best Tennessee accent. Steven is innocent, happy, informed, dedicated and spiritual. Here, they get a minute with Noah in Historic St. Charles:

{Here they are last week... Good-looking duo, eh?}

Sarah: Sarah is majoring in some kind of animal/conservation science at Mizzou, and I love to hear about the fascinating classes she takes... ones like Ornithology, Entomology, Ecology, etc. Sarah is wise beyond her years, patient, deep beneath the still surface, and full of potential. Her heart is true.

And Kirsti-- Never one to be left behind, she was walking by 9 months and hasn't slowed down since. She loves to prove to the world that she can do ANYTHING she puts her mind to. Currently, she is focused on her acting and is doing a play and a musical for school. Kirsti is stubborn, determined, multi-faceted, bright, and sweet.

... We really are so lucky to have these guys. Noah is lucky, too. Together, both sides, it is a whole pile of brains, talent, looks, and humor that is pretty irresistible.
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