Here are some recent layouts I did. The first few aren't my favorites. I used a "Six Minute" kit I'd purchased at Wal-mart. The paper is flimsy, and the overall quality is average, but whatever. It's nice to just get some stuff done and feel like I've accomplished something.

My apologies, too, for the awful quality of the images. I use a point & shoot and hate it hate it hate it. I'm hoping to purchase a super nice camera after the holidays. (Any suggestions, anyone, on make/model, etc.?)

Happy Thanksgiving

Greta Laine's 2nd Thanksgiving
Here she is, hanging out with her Uncle Jason & cousin Jaimee.
She didn't eat much of the Thanksgiving dinner,
except for the cookies I decorated to look like turkeys.
Oh well, more for us!

What Mamas Get Excited About

I had Greta's Bum Geniuses converted from velcro closures to snap closures. I found this fabulous girl on Diaper Swappers, and she did an amazing job. No more velcro-snagging. Yay!


I Couldn't Ask For More

It's Thanksgiving, mid-day. I slept in this morning, watched the Macy's parade, took a nap, lazed with Eric & Greta in bed, took a long hot shower -- and even had time to shave my legs! What more could a girl want?!

It's been a great morning, but even more so, it's been a great life. My cup runneth over in so many ways. Today -- and always -- I am thankful for so many things:

for this handsome feller...
who tolerates my cranky times along with the good...
who provides for us in so many ways...

for an awesome husband who is:
my one and only.

for this sweet little pumpkin
who makes me realize I never had so much love in my heart
& helps me see that there can be beauty in every day,
in the simplest of things.

for this dog
who keeps the floor clean from baby-thrown food
& reminds me to remember that love is always unconditional.

for my two favorite people in the world,
who made me a mother.

for this little family:
the hard moments, the tired moments, the cranky moments,
the funny moments, the silly moments, the beautiful moments.
For all of life's journeys.

I am blessed.


Fun Family Times

At the close of most weekends, I'm usually reluctant to start the next week. I've never been a fan of Mondays. This weekend, Eric and I spent some quality time together and with Greta, and it was so nice. Friday night we went to the Macy's Festival of Lights. We loved seeing Greta check out the sights and sounds of the fireworks colorfully exploding in the sky above our heads. She seemed to enjoy checking out all the people, and she was especially fond of the candy counter at Macy's. The girl is mine.

While I cropped all weekend, Greta and Daddy had some time to themselves. Eric took Greta to the park, and he said her favorite thing was swinging! She's got a big grin on her face in all the photos taken while she was swinging. She loves it!

Sunday, we walked through Tilles Park and checked out the Winter Wonderland lights display. Greta didn't seem quite sure what to think, but she seemed to enjoy it. I can only imagine how hard it is for a 16 month-old to "get" what all this Christmas hub-bub is about! All the pretty lights! And the fun songs mama sings to her in the car.

I had a great time enjoying my little family this past weekend, and I think it's just what I needed. I didn't feel stressed at the end of the weekend. I felt we took the much-needed time to recharge and reconnect. I'm thankful for many things, but right now, I'm especially thankful for the rare time I got to spend with Eric and Greta doing family stuff that families do.



It's Sunday night, and it's drizzly and yucky outside here. That's November weather in St. Louis -- 70 degrees and sunny one day and cold and wet the next. Bleh. While I'm not all too thrilled with the quickness of the weekend, or for November, for that matter, I must remember the things I AM thrilled about. This weekend in particular I feel blessed...

Helped a friend with her baby registry at Babies 'R Us. Feeling SO THANKFUL that I never have to enter that store as a first-time parent EVER. AGAIN. I hate that place.

Had coffee with a friend and discussed that maybe we're getting old because we now like getting up early like old people do? Reading the newspaper, watching the news on TV -- that's what we like. And so do old people. Thankful for open-minded friends, hot tasty oatmeal, and Companion bread.

Had cousins over for dinner. Thankful for a husband who rocks at making spaghetti and meatballs, but even moreso thankful for that same husband who let me get TWO TWO-HOUR naps this weekend. Priceless. Thankful for the cousins who are more like friends who brought over a tasty Federhofer's cake to share. YUM.

Thankful for a little me-time but thankful to get back in the swing of things and play with the little girl who currently refuses most foods and only nurses and eats American process cheese. And cake. Or brownies.

Thankful for the world's sweetest dog who doesn't like to listen to me when she's fleeing the front yard and I'm yelling, white trash-style PAYTON, GET YOUR ASS BACK HERE. But she loves to snuggle, and she sure is soft.

Thankful for Eric's family who have always treated me like their own. They know I'm quirky and sometimes obsessively crazy, but they love me just the same. Or at  least they do a really good job of acting like they do, and hey, I'll take what I can get.

All in all, the weekend was dandy. Unfortunately, weekends, like all good things, must come to an end. And while Mondays aren't my favorite of days, they're inevitable, and a Monday as tomorrow is better than no tomorrow at all, right? That's what I'm telling myself.


Broken Glass

There's a three-inch chunk of glass sitting on the window sill above my kitchen sink. It's sharp and jagged and could really hurt someone badly. I put it there earlier today after Greta handed it to me. Yes, after my 16 month-old daughter handed it to me. That's what I said.

I went upstairs to grab Henry from his morning nap, and I left Greta downstairs. Momentarily. 

We babyproofed our house the best we knew how, so we thought. As I was getting Henry, I heard glass shattering. I left Henry in his playpen and shot downstairs so fast (but it seemed so slow motion at the time). There was Greta with the piece of glass in her little hand.

No blood. 
No cuts.

Holy shit, my heart stopped beating, I think.
She was okay.

I had left my glass of soda on the kitchen desk. Somehow, she reached it and knocked it over. There was glass all over the kitchen floor. Big pieces and small chards. EVERY where.

Prior to this "incident," I had high hopes to spend the afternoon outside to enjoy the sun. Instead, I spent the afternoon sweeping and vacuuming and sweeping again and vacuuming again. And wiping and mopping. The babies stayed in playpens while I frantically cleaned. They didn't complain (much!), and neither did I. Sure, I wanted to be outside breathing in fresh Autumn air, but at the moment, I was glad to be cleaning up a mess instead of having Greta's hand stitched at the local Urgent Care. I meticulously cleaned the floor. Meanwhile, I praised God and anyone else who could hear my thoughts. What a close call. I can't stop thinking about it.

I'm the type of person who thinks of all the what-ifs; I've crawled on the floor myself, just to get down on Greta's level to see the world from her perspective. I've locked cabinets and gated stairs and guarded windows. I'm not saying I'm perfect, because I'm not. It's just that -- well -- this is my first real scary incident where I've been forced to realize that as much as I can try, I can't always protect Greta. I don't like feeling helpless. And I keep playing in my mind, how bad it could have been. I'm trying to not lecture myself or beat myself up mentally, but it's hard not to. 
There's a three-inch chunk of glass sitting on the window sill above my kitchen sink. 

And I'm not sure when I'll throw it away. I might just keep it there for the month as a reminder. So blessed. So thankful. So grateful. So relieved. It could have been so worse. She didn't have a scratch or cut on her. I can't stop saying THANK YOU, GOD.



I used to be a two-page-layout-ONLY scrapper. I don't know if it's because I didn't know any different or if I was just afraid to break outside the box. Lately, I've been loving doing more mini-albums and smaller projects. Below is a name album that I made for my friend Brianna's little boy, Dominic.


Scrappy Stuff

Some recent layouts...


Written Proof

Life has been so busy lately. Seemingly routine tasks like putting away folded laundry and emptying the dishwasher have turned gruesomely exhausting, much like writing a 30-page research paper where you must break the process into steps if you've any expectations of ever finishing ANY part of it. That's us. Put the socks away one day and three days later, when searching for clean undershirts, dig for those in the basket on the floor in the corner of the bedroom. Oh, and while you're at it, you might find a sippy cup that you forgot to take downstairs and set in the kitchen sink five days ago. But you forgot because, well, the phone rang, and then the DVR was asking if you wanted to keep Dancing with the Stars, and the microwave was beeping because the steamed corn you put in there ten minutes ago was cooked. Cooked. Much like my little noggin these days.

As I said in a previous post, I've been bitching and griping at my husband lately. He works all the time. And I have high expectations, as one of my best friends pointed out the other evening. While chatting with another good friend this morning, she mentioned that her husband often drove her nuts, too, but that she tried to focus on the good stuff. I knew I kept these ladies around for a reason; a true friend offers insight, even if sometimes, it's not really what you particularly want to hear.

Yesterday was our fourth wedding anniversary. We plan on celebrating this weekend by going out for dinner. I feel a little guilty for not making a card for Eric, so to make-up for that, I'm sending him an e-mail I found just the other day while cleaning out old folders. I wrote it mid-day, the day Greta was born. At that point in the day, I had no clue I was going to be having a baby that day. I'd been in the hospital on bedrest three days and was scared, bored and uncomfortable. I was cranky. (Recurring theme, anyone?) And I'm sure the stress of the situation wasn't only playing on my nerves but on the soon-to-be daddy's mind as well.
I am the type of person who likes to be in control,
and I had no control over anything at that point.

Eric was a trooper. Because I was in the hospital, I was unable to attend one of my baby showers that was scheduled for that day. Eric attended in my place. (For the record, he had NO CLUE what half the gifts were.) So, while Eric was off playing the role of his pregnant wife, I took a moment to write a list title, "Reasons I Am In Love With Eric Walter."
  1. You cut up my well-done hospital ribeye steak.
  2. You retrieved my much-needed ChapStick from my car.
  3. You mowed the grass.
  4. You take care of my puppy dog.
  5. You bring me whatever I ask.
  6. You've brought me clean clothes.
  7. You specifically located the underwear I asked you to grab (not the too small ones in my dresser drawer).
  8. You brought me my favorite flavor Combos.
  9. You brought me Gatorade in my favorite flavors.
  10. You offered to help wipe my butt, if I needed you to.
  11. You pushed me in a wheelchair to see the babies in the nursery.
  12. You oohed and ahhed over the cute babies with me even though you were very hungry and exhausted and wanted to get home.
  13. You registered with the CBR!
  14. You located the travel system at a Babies R Us other than the one near our house where we shop.
  15. You drove to Chesterfiend Babies R Us and bought our travel system.
  16. You've made it a priority to get the car seat installed.
  17. You step outside the room each time you answer your cell phone because you know cell phones drive me nuts.
  18. You had a "talk" with your dad about not being too annoyingly positive when he and Mimi came to visit me.
  19. You're willing to play "mama" and attend my baby shower in my place, god bless ya.
  20. You take my dirty clothes home.
  21. You refreshed my travel tolietry bag to make sure I had new razors and a toothbrush.
  22. You brought me my smell-goods.
  23. You rub my carpal-tunnel syndrome-ridden sore hands.
  24. You encourage me to lay on my sides instead of my back.
  25. You help finish my leftover food when I can't eat it all.
  26. You go refill my cup with fresh ice and ice water when the nurses cannot do it.
  27. You help me get on and off my compression leg thingies.
  28. You help me get in and out of bed.
  29. You're managing everything at home.
  30. You answer my phone calls and play secretary for me.
  31. You transferred money to my bank account so that I could pay the Target bill.
  32. You brought your swim trunks to the hospital in case I needed your help when I took a shower.
  33. You suffer through bad tv shows while hanging out with me in the hospital room.
  34. You open the blinds in my hopsital room in case there were fireworks that I could see.
  35. You help me accomplish the many petty little things on my never-ending "things to do list."
  36. You tolerate my crazy family by listening to and responding to crazy voice mail messages from my mom.
  37. You listen to me rant about my crazy family.
  38. You take care of my stuff.
  39. You got down on your hands and knees and held me after we had the Canada trip argument last week and for the first fight in our relationship I remember you saying exactly what I needed to hear and doing exactly what I needed you to do -- getting on my "level" and reassuring me how much you loved me.
  40. You held my hair back when I threw up last week late at night.
  41. You cleaned up my puke after I threw up.
  42. You have initiated conversations about our birth plan.
  43. You've called the doula to make arrangements for meeting with us.
  44. A few months ago, you arranged to get me a beautiful "push present." ;-)
  45. You brought me my bed pillows from home.
  46. You rub lotion on my dry scaly nasty feet.
  47. You looked in the vending machine with me and guessed what my favorite sweet snack was -- and you were right!
  48. You correctly picked out my favorite "salty" snack out of the vending machine, too!
  49. You wash my laundry.
  50. You fold the laundry.
  51. You help out with all the household chores.
  52. You read baby articles that you think might be of interest to me and cut them out for me to read.
  53. You listen to me talk about my nipple "issues" and willingly sit through my whipping them out to show you what I am talking about.
  54. You sit for hours on the uncomfortable vinyl-covered couch in my hospital room and keep a cheery disposition.
  55. You pretend to still like me even though lately, I bitch at you non-stop.
  56. You use a public potty and not the one in my hospital room just because I told you I'd prefer you to not use mine in my room.
  57. You continue to tolerate my neurotic tendencies.
  58. Not only do you work hard at home, but you work your ass of at work.
  59. Everything you do is for me, and I know it, and I love you for it.
  60. You eat the leftovers in the fridge that I refuse to eat.
  61. You help me remember things I need to do and ask the doctor (or whomever) by jotting down little notes and reminders for me.
  62. You hand me my book when I cannot reach it from my bed.
  63. You organize all my things and belongings nicely into the drawer and closet.
  64. You remind me to order my next meal so that I get it on time.
  65. You tell me the dog licked the phone when I was talking to her, and even if she didn't really do that, it was nice for you to say because it made me smile. :-)
  66. You smile at me when you come to visit me.
  67. You always hug me and kiss me before you leave me each night.
  68. When we get off the phone, you always tell me that you love me.
  69. You brought the baby's dresser up to her room!
  70. You returned the baby's rug to Pottery Barn Kids and exchanged it for a smaller size, like I wanted.
  71. Even though the mall is not one of your favorite places, you ventured into Pottery Barn Kids and bought another window panel so that we now have a full set of curtains for the baby's room.
  72. You briefly entertained the idea of me buying you a pink tie to wear to work once you're a new daddy.
  73. You agreed to let us get the pricey photography package so that we have a plan to capture our baby's first year of life.
  74. You let me get the baby bedding I wanted.
  75. You let me get the baby furniture I wanted.
  76. You constantly try to be the best husband you can be even if sometimes I don't appreciate your efforts or I don't agree with your efforts.
  77. You try. That means the world to me.
  78. You do without your beloved laptop all so that I can have it at the hospital with me.
  79. You occupy yourself while I'm napping in the hospital, while I'm sure you're bored out of your mind.
  80. You ask the doctors questions that I don't always necessarily think to ask.
  81. You don't tell me I smell even though I think I do.
  82. You don't make me feel that I look gross and ugly even though I occasionally feel like I do look a little unkempt and grody.
  83. You keep our baby's name a secret.
  84. You call our baby by her real name instead of by her nickname. I think it's sweet.
  85. You help me brainstorm to narrow down her middle name, and it's cute how you take it seriously and seem to get so innocently "overwhelmed" by the decision-making as I do, too!
  86. You reminded me that you were here not the doula. Sometimes, I need a little call back to reality, I must admit. (Do not mark my words! ha!)
  87. You set-up the DVD player in my room so that I can watch my Desperate Housewives DVDs.
  88. You get excited and show encouragement when my blood pressure numbers improve.
  89. You drive from Arnold to MOBAP just to visit me and show me that you love and support me.
  90. You let me choose my souvenir and get a pedicure and manicure instead of something from a New York street vendor that would just collect dust.
  91. You are kind.
  92. You are patient.
  93. Your heart is huge.
  94. You are generous.
  95. You are loving.
  96. You are honest.
  97. You are trust-worthy.
  98. You are unique in so many ways, but mainly in that no one else has the qualities you have wrapped up in one person.
  99. You are my best friend.
  100. You are the only person in the entire world I will ever want by my side. Ever.
I might bitch about him, but, you see, I DO like him. I love him!



I'm 31 years old. I'm not sure what music I'm supposed to be liking and listening to at this stage in my life, but I'm kinda embarassed to admit that I like Miley Cyrus' music.

I said it.

A few weeks ago, I heard a radio deejay talking about how there is an "elite" group of adults that identify themselves as GFMs -- Grown-ups for Miley. I'm shuttering with embarassment to even admit this, but at the moment I heard that, I didn't feel so bad, like I was the only dork above the Hannah Montana-aged audience who enjoyed her some Miley. I like Miley's stuff. That song about what she hates about you and then the song about the climb, and all the other ones.

Tonight, I'm driving home, singing along to Miley's song about waving her hips like yeah and how this can't be a Nashville party and blah blah blah there's a party in the U.S.A. Yeah, I don't even really know the words. But the song makes me happy.

And tonight, I'm overly thankful and appreciative of being able to sing in the car, windows tightly rolled-up, making sure that absolutely NO ONE knows that I am rocking out to Miley.


It's the Little Things

It's the second day of November, and it's the second day of my little self-challenge, where my goal is to blog once a day about something I'm thankful for. Here it is, just a bit after nine in the evening, and I'm racking my brain to find something to write about. What am I thankful for? What happened today that made me pause for a moment and realize, damn, I'm lucky?

The truth is, not one major thing happened today. I woke up this morning on my own, not in response to a restless baby or to a snoring husband. I started my day with a hot shower. I didn't lose much hair while shampooing, and that's a great way to start the day, considering lately I've been having some issues with hair loss (from hormones? stress?). Henry, the little boy I babysit arrived, and he's always got a smile on his face, and I love that. Greta and he played in the morning, until they both laid down for naps. Unlike most days, I took a nap at the same time as they, and it was bliss. After lunch, we spent the afternoon walking around the neighborhood, soaking up the sun and breathing in the gorgeous weather. Henry went home. I checked e-mail while Greta played in her crib. My mother-in-law came over to watch Greta while I went to the chiropractor. She folded my laundry (THREE loads!!!) while I was out. I came home to Greta running up to me and hugging my leg. My husband and I ate salad for dinner. We played with Greta until she went to bed. And now I'm heading to bed, off to finish the book, "The Invention of Hugo Cabret."

Sometimes, I think gratitude is merely a series of the little things, a compilation of all the things that went right, when they could have gone wrong. I think sometimes we, as human beings, only notice things when they go wrong. Before I pop an Ambien and head to bed for the night, I'm taking a moment right now to be thankful for an uneventful day, for all the things that went right, when they could have gone wrong.


Sometimes I Must Whine

I'm just spent.

That's what I just said to my husband after he said, You know I'm not all THAT bad. I just stuffed all the diapers. And washed the dishes.

I've been snapping at him all day. I feel bad for being so cranky with him. I think it's easiest to be the most raw and honest with those we love most. It started this morning. Eric and I both enjoy sleeping in, but, as any parent knows, sleeping-in is a long-forgotten luxury when you have a one-year old. Eric wanted to sleep-in. So did I. I reminded him that I've had insomnia lately and have been having back pains and that I NEEDED the sleep. And I reminded him that he got to sleep until noon last weekend. He didn't like being reminded of that and swore he'd never sleep-in late again because he didn't want to have to hear about it. (Whatever. This was the first time I'd mentioned it). And then while in the car driving to our family Christmas card photo session, we got to talking, and I just felt he didn't hear me. That I am tired. And exhausted. And just need a break sometimes.

And then I feel guilty for wanting a break. Am I a bad mom for wanting some time to myself? Am I wrong for wanting to call my workday a wrap at 6:00 in the evening instead of 8:00 sometimes? When you have to harp and moan about it, you start to feel guilty. And I don't feel like I should feel guilty. I need ME time. I need some fun. I need some relaxation. I need all those things so I can be a better mom.

Explaining this to a man who works 10-hour+ days -- yeah, I often feel unheard, but today, on the verge of tears a couple times, I felt ignored. In the afternoon, I retreated to our computer room and played e-mail catch-up, and just those two hours of non-mom time made me feel so much better. I went and tucked in Greta, and I relished that time more.

Still, it's the end of the day, and I feel a bit guilty for complaining. I've got a happy, healthy child, yes. But sometimes I just need a few moments to recharge.

On the topic of complaining, I'm challenging myself this month. It's the month of Thanksgiving, and I'm going to try to blog each day about something I'm thankful for. Of course, the first thing that comes to my mind, despite my day's bitching, is my family. Tonight, as we finished reading Greta her bedtime story, we all squeezed each others' noses. Greta's learning body parts. We're trying to teach her to nicely touch our noses instead of trying to jam her little fingers up our nostrils. All in due time.

Preservation of the Madness

A friend recently sent me a link where you can print your blog. I love the idea! As bad as I am with blogging regularly, I'm even worse at keeping up with Greta's scrapbooks.