Tuesday, November 30, 2010

the evolution of an owl and GIVE AWAY

Thanks for the kind words about yesterday's post.  I've had a few family members call and ask how today was---in comparison to yesterday.  In case you were curious, today has been MUCH better.  We didn't try the gym today (even though I wanted to try my friend's spinning class and zumba this a.m.) but we stayed home and I've been working on Christmas cards.  That's right.  Be proud.  Cal seems to feel much better (glory, glory!) and Tillie is remembering that she is potty trained.  All's good in the Wood house. 

So, remember when I did a fake out with my Etsy store a few days ago?  Me too.  That was awesome.

ANYWAY, during the few hours I had my store up I was asked to do a birthday party invite for her baby boy.  The gal wanted to know if I happened to have an "owl" image instead of the elephant one she saw in the shop.  I told her I didn't, but I'd try my hand with a few and see what she thought.  If she wasn't a fan, she'd go with the elephant.

I know that OWLS seem to be all the rage lately, and it's not like I'm NOT a fan, but I haven't been super PRO-owl either.  It's a pretty bird.  Cool looking, but I'm not about to decorate my house with them---Oh wait...

I bought these a few months ago (before I knew that OWLS were the "it" animal).  I saw them at Hobby Lobby in August with my little sister, Lizzy.  It was love at first sight.  Honestly, I have a thing for darling ceramic animals.  Don't believe me?  Ask Aaron.  He's getting nervous about my new collection.  I'll have to post the new chicken I got on Friday.  Polka dotted and blue.  Oh my.  ANNNNNYWAY, back to the owls.

Here is a picture.  It's a mama and baby owl.  Thank you, Hobby Lobby.  They are perched on top of my entertainment center.  Every time I glance up there, it makes my heart glad.  Don't call me lame.  Sometimes you need happy things to look at, especially after days like yesterday.

So, I had these owls for my inspiration and I got to work.  I thought you might want to see a little bit of my process.  Here's the evolution of the owl. The first one (top left) is not so cool.  I always end up simplifying majorly by the time we get to the finished product.  Next, I did a more stylized to the right.  Then we go to the bottom left.  I quite liked this one, but the gal thought it looked a little too sad for her son's birthday invite.  Good point.  So, we brightened up the eyes and viola! 
In honor of her son (aka the big birthday boy), I'm naming this little guy WINSLOW.  Is that not a perfect little name for this owl?  And, don't you love that name for a little baby/kid/adult?  I know.  I kind of think of Officer Carl Winslow too (thanks, T-G-I-F (Family Matters)), but my love for the name over-rules the image of Carl and Steph-an (aka cool Urkle). 
oh you, winslow.
I changed the contact information, so don't get all wigged out that I gave out their personal information.  Here's how the invite looked digitally in the end:

We also made thank you cards to match.  Here are some actual photographs I took before I sent the package out.

And, then the wheels in my head started turning.  This could be cute stationery for ANYONE (boy, girl, man, woman, baby, etc.).  So, I changed the "thank you" to "woot. woot."  It could be a congrats card, thank you, "hey, how's it going?", etc.  I think the biz world calls that an ALL OCCASION card.  So smart of them...

on pale blue textured paper

gray paper

Then I tried to do a little "STYLING" like Martha...  Well, here's my sad attempt.  Tillie had all her crayons and colored pencils out... we don't have a sharpener... and Bam!  styled.  kind of.

on gray paper

on kraft paper

all three colors of paper. together. united.
little winslow stickers
Anyway, since it's the SEASON OF GIVING (just call me Santa), and everyone loves a good give-away---if you'd like to earn yourself a little mixed 10 pack of the woot. woot. winslow cards + 20 stickers (because I can) = enter a comment.

Win them for yourself or check someone off your giving list.  One vote per person.  And, this give-away is open to all you international friends (I act like there are so many of you, but there's really only like 10).

The give-away will end on Monday, December 6th at noon Central time.  I'll pick the winner at random.

So, there you have it.  Go forth.  May the best owl lover win.

Monday, November 29, 2010

sometimes the plan fails.

I had expressed some interest in seeing what our local gym had to offer.  Remember how I knocked it?  Everyone said the classes are where it's at.  And this gym, in particular, apparently has a great kids club---thus allowing you to really concentrate on your work out (instead of my normal exercise in the family room with kids climbing on top of me, asking me to grab their drinks, etc.).
So, I decided that I should give it a try.  Fortunately for me, I have a friend who is a spin instructor and she gave me some "free week trial" passes.  So, why not?  We'll give it a go and see if it's worth the expensive membership fees.

I have been planning for the last week and a half that today, Monday, Nov. 29th would be my start up day.  I have to gear up for these things, b/c I rarely like to leave the house with both kids.  Yes, I do realize that Calvin isn't a newborn anymore, but leaving the house still gives me anxiety.  Life is so much easier at home.

Anyway, I got up early (thanks to Matilda), I had the class time I wanted to attend all figured out.  Fed Tillie.  Got her dressed in her new Christmas shirt from Nana 'Nise.  Cal woke up.  Changed him.  Fed him a ton of cereal (he seemed really hungry).  Got Cal dressed in his new shirt from Nana.  Feeling good.  Ahead of schedule.  Awesome.  Gave myself a mental pat on the back.

This is when it started unraveling.  Doesn't life ALWAYS go awry when you give yourself mental pats on the back?  I should have known...

We couldn't find Tillie's water-bottle (aka her security blanket---p.s. these really are great bottles, more on them later).  I was getting frustrated and she started crying. Calvin was sobbing b/c he wanted me to hold him as we were frantically running around the house looking for the blasted Ariel water-bottle (we have about a 6 other ones, but she "needed" Ariel today).  Finally, I decided that it was ridiculous spending the time looking for Ariel, and I should just grab her a new one.  So, I decided to get them both in their car-seats while I grabbed the replacement bottle.  Tillie was adamant that she didn't want to wear her Crocs... She actually wanted her boots or sandals.  Knowing that the sandals require more effort to do the little straps and that her boots meant socks (which she always takes off), I was refusing her requests.  Honestly, I had no idea 2 year olds had such opinions!  I had just finished strapping Cal in his car-seat, as I was telling her to "get the Crocs and get in the car... now!"

Then Cal throws up.  A ton.  Remember all that rice-fruit-cereal he had eaten minutes before?  Oh yes.  All over.  I mean, ALL over.  Poor baby starts bawling.  I'm like a frantic deer caught in a headlight.  What to do? What to do?  So, I dash inside to grab some rags and I tell Tillie to take off her Crocs (which she had finally just put on) and that we were staying home.  Thus making Tillie start howling as she throws her body to the floor saying, "No, I want to go bye-bye NOW! Bye-bye now!"  I run out to the car to rescue groddy Calvin.  It's everywhere.  I strip him down to his diaper, wipe him off, and take him inside with Tillie.  She had calmed down and decided to pull out every toy we own (well, almost every toy we own).  Cal seemed content to play as I made my way back to the stinky mess in the garage.

Let me say this.  I love that car-seats make it possible to travel with a baby in the car.  Two cheers for that.  But, I hate how ridiculously complicated they are to figure out!  Why it is SO impossible to take off the car-seat covers is BEYOND me.  I was frustrated before, but during the car-seat-cover-take-off-episode, I was FUMING.  Honestly, it was a JOKE trying to figure out how to get the blasted straps out, and undoing all the little elastic bands.  I kept debating whether or not to grab the scissors and just cut the dang thing off.  I did, after all, get it from Costco.  They'd do a return, right?  All the while, the smell.  Oh the smell...

FINALLY, after about 10 minutes (literally) I got the darn thing off.  I chucked it in the washing machine on the "Super Heavy Duty cycle" with a ton of OxyClean, detergent, and hot water (watch, it's going to shrink now).  And then realized I needed to get inside STAT to check on the kids. 

They toys were strewn about (as always), but the kids weren't in the front room.  I heard Tillie in the bathroom saying, "Mooooooom!  I need a bath!  I need a bath!"  Lovely.  She's either pooped or peed in her pants I realized as I was frantically searching for Calvin.  Poor baby.  I found him in my room (which was left open from our water-bottle search).  He had pulled himself up and was standing next my bed---sobbing.  Oh my.  So sad.  He couldn't find me so he thought to come look for me in my bedroom? (I put the question mark, b/c I'm never hiding out in my bedroom. poor baby.)

I swooped him up and tried to comfort him as I made the way across to Tillie.

I could tell as soon as I rounded the corner.  Poop in the pants.  Awesome.
I set down Calvin, who started sobbing again, as I cleaned up the little Miss.  Honestly, that girl.  She kept saying, "let's just get in the bath. It's okay, I'll take a bath."  She had peed her pants in the night (even though she assured us she was ready to put her big girl panties back on).  I had just washed her sheets and mattress pad.  I was in no mood to do this again.  So, I decided to put a BABY DIAPER on her.  Oh, the agony.  She was devastated, but it was all I could think of at the moment to teach her...

So, we're not going to the gym today.  
Plus, who knows if Calvin is going to have a functioning car-seat after the number I did on it this morning.  Its going to take a miracle to put that cover back on. 

Luckily, all is well, now.  After we were all cleaned up, and the washing machine was going---with both kids glued to me, we decided to read some books to help calm myself and both kids down.  That seemed to work.  Calvin got so tired that he was happy when I put him in his crib to take a nap.  Tillie and I cleaned up her toys (happily) so I rewarded her with letting her watch Mulan.  Sue me.  I'm that mom.

And, I am here retelling the tale that almost did me in.

So, moral of the story:  Sometimes the "plan" fails.  Sometimes things like car-seat covers make us want to swear like sailors.  Sometimes you humiliate your kids.  Sometimes you get really messy and stinky caring for children.  And sometimes you try going leaving the house and realize it's just not worth it.

But, in the end, you realize how insignificant our little traumas are.
There are much bigger problems in the world.  We are okay.  We are healthy and safe.  And, luckily, little kids forgive easily. 
And *maybe* tomorrow, we make a new plan and try again. 
The end.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I'm not going to prison.

A little lesson about crime.
Last weekend I went a little crazy in the fruit department.  I'm trying to be a little bit healthier in my life, so I've been buying produce to help facilitate that whole concept of "eating well".  I've never really jumped on the fruit band wagon in the past, because
A) fresh food goes bad so quickly
B) my inability to choose the best produce

If I were Denise (my dear mother) and I wasn't sure how to choose the right watermelon, then I'd go to the cubby where the produce people hide and find some expert to show me which watermelon is the perfect one.  He's got an apron and a name tag on.  He MUST be an expert.

Denise is a smart buyer.  If she doesn't know the answer, she'll find someone who does.
Me?  I'm a little more timid than my mom. 

Well, a few successes happened at the Wood house a la ME (I love that I just acted like I knew a little bit of a foreign language there).  Some call it successes, I might call them small miracles... either way, I feel good every time I go to the kitchen.

Not only did I find great clementines AND apples AND bananas---the real kicker is this: I also found AWESOME GRAPES!  Now, I will give some of the credit to Costco for the first few.  Pretty much THEY choose them, and any pack you grab, you're pretty set (you can never go wrong with Costco produce).  BUT! The grapes were found at my local grocery store.

I am an anti-grab-a-grape-out-of-the-bag-and-pop-it-in-your-mouth-to-give-it-a-try-right-there-in-the-store person.  I just worry that the hidden cameras they have (don't act like they don't have them, they do) all over the store will prompt an employee come and escort me to a JAIL CELL!  Call me crazy, but seems to me that popping a grape in your mouth to "TEST" it is called STEALING.  I mean, how come it's okay to "test" a grape, and it's not okay to open up the package of new peppermint sprinkled Oreos and "test" one of those (they DO look delicious, don't they)?  Do we peel a banana in the store and take a nibble to "test" it's ripeness?  You get the point.  The answer is NO.

So, even though I personally know many grape thieves, I won't report them to the authorities any time soon.  Alls I'm saying is this: I'm just glad that I won't be the one arrested.

I digress.  I didn't do a "taste test" and I was able to find the perfect plump purple grapes for me and my family.
Moral of the story, CRIME DOESN'T PAY and I'm getting better at choosing produce.  I think I'm slowly turning into a real adult.

**I'm ALMOST finished making Tillie and Cal's stockings.  It's a labor of love, really.  I started Tillie's last year, never finished (in true Melissa form).  A few weeks ago, I pulled out hers and the materials for Calvin's too.  Hours later, all I have left is to embroider their names.  Easy.  I'll show you them as soon as I'm done!  (which I told Aaron I'd have the mess out until Thanksgiving, so that gives me TWO whole days left.  I can totally handle it, don't worry.)

here's a shot of tillie's stocking a few weeks ago.  there were many many pins involved = consequently many many pokes to my fingers involved.  no worries, I'm a survivor.

**Tillie's comments continue to kill me.  Twice yesterday, as I was pulling her out of her high chair, or helping her with something, she said, "Ow, mama, that hurt me. Say sorry to Tillie Mae!"  hA!  What?!  And then, we were watching Cal on the video monitor and she said, "Oh mama, Cal is so sweet and kind."  For a 2.5 year old, I think she's pretty darn clever.  What a corker.

**Calvin and Tillie have a TON of fun playing together.  Here's a random day that happened.  Matilda's really into pulling out every pillow in the house, making a pile, and then slamming her body onto it.  She's very feminine and dainty.  Oh wait...


**New story about Calvin.  This boy is has the cheeriest outlook on life (I know that the above picture looks like he's pretty serious, but this is a rare moment for him.  Usually he's doing a wide mouth opened grin---as seen below).
Here's the thing, if we show Calvin a book, ANY book, he starts laughing.  If we take him up the grocery aisle and say, "Cal, look at this..." he starts laughing.  Hard.  It is hilarious.  We've got to capture it on film for all you nay-sayers.  Seriously, he laughs at everything.

"please, no more photos, mom."

I've gotta take some more pictures of that boy for your viewing pleasure.

Anyway, there's the 411 for now.
peace out, yo.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'm a LOSER!

Yes, I'm a LOSER.
I know, less than 24 hours ago I was proclaiming I was a WINNER!

So, I have this disease.  Now calm down, I'm okay.  You don't have to start worrying about me.  But if you do want to bring me over dinner or desserts, I won't refuse them.  totally kidding (but then kind of not).

It's a disease that I will call "Feeling-On-Top-Of-Life-So-Why-Not-Add-Another-Thing-To-My-Plate-That-Will-Eventually-Make-Me-Stressed-And-Crazy" (typing out that disease took way too long---approximately 4 minutes too long).  I know, it sounds serious, but it's easily cured.  Perhaps you've been diagnosed with the same disease before?  Why do we do this to ourselves???  Are we invincible?  Well, shoot, I'll admit it.  I'm not invincible.  Sometimes I make rash decisions and then my family suffers the consequences.  I just spoke to my ward (LDS church-speak for congregation) on Sunday for approx. 12 minutes.  I did a lot of preparation for it and was reminded of the quote from one of our prophets, David O. McKay,No other success in life can compensate for failure in the home.”  

You see, I'm trying REALLY hard not to fail in my home.  Now, I'm not saying re-opening an Etsy store would mean that I was ditching my family.  On the contrary, I think doing something creative and using your talents is a wonderful thing.  And, heck, if you can make some money doing it---more power to you.  But, what I am saying is that emotionally, physically, and mentally I'm not in a place where stocking an Etsy shop is a good idea for me right now (wouldn't that be funny if I opened it up next Tuesday? hA!).  Oh! and don't stress again for me that something is not quite right in my life.  I promise, all is well here.  I'm just trying to finish all the million projects I started years ago.  Literally, I started a huge painting for Tillie while I was pregnant.  It's ALMOST finished, but not quite.  Oh, yes, she is 2.5 years old now.  Good work, Melissa.  Way to follow through. :)  Really, for the moment, I'd rather re-decorate Tillie's room and make her some new hair bows than work on a lot of projects for other people.  

Am I making sense anymore?  probably not.  Sorry, that's what happens when you give me a computer and a blog.  You lose!  hA!  Who's the loser now?  :)  again, totally kidding. 

So, as you read last night, I was feeling like the "IT" girl.  So, in my haste, I decided to open my Etsy store again.  WHAAAT?  As soon as I finished that post, I thought, "Did I really just open up my little shop again?  Why did I just do that?  Aaron's gonna kill me."  jk.  I didn't think that last part.  Gratefully, Aaron would never want to kill me.  Why do we say things like that?  Anyway, it is funny, as soon as I told Aaron that I re-opened the store, his reaction was, "Whaaat?" 
"I know.  I know," I told him.

AAAAAANYWAY, I just put my store in "vacation mode" yet again.  You see, I really like doing prints/stationery---I do.  Like, I dream up things to put in my store and it is REALLY fun creating new things for people.  It's actually one of my MOST FAVORITE things to do.  True story.

But, seeing as I did just tell Aaron that I wanted to "SIMPLIFY" my life---re-opening my little store is probably not a "must" on my to-do list. 

So, that makes me a loser.  There were a few requests for custom orders already, and that is my favorite.  So, I have said yes to a few.  And, then, case by case, deadline by deadline, I'll see if I can do more.  I hope I haven't scared you off if you were thinking you'd like me to help you with something.  I really might be able to help.  It's just probably not good for me to be actively seeking out things.  Comprendo?

Anyway, the decision to put the store in "vacation mode" and then eat a few yogurt covered raisins has been the best medicine. 
Let the holidays come.  I'm ready for them!  BOO yah.

And, because no Melissa post is complete without a picture, let's go back to Barcelona, Spain circa 2004.  This is me jumping.
yes, I know what you're thinking, I should have been a cheerleader.  As Jo March said, "I should have been a great many things..." 
 **And because I can embarrass myself and my sister, Becca, I thought I'd post these last few.  I had just recently returned home from Spain and told Becca about how awesome my jumps on film were (see above).  So, we did a "jumping" session.
I must have been PRE-jump here.  I realize that I might be a loser now, but this position I was caught in made me an even BIGGER loser back then.  Oh oh dear.  Not good.
BIG AIR!   I think we both got approximately 2.5 inches of air.
whooop!  there it is!  she nailed it.  good work, becca.
 So there you have it.  I'm a victim of my disease.  Need I say more?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Yes, that's right, I'm a WINNER!
No, it's not positive self talk, it's LEGIT, people. 

Let's start at the beginning of the day.  Fairly normal day, although, it seems the kids were messier than usual (to prove it, I vacuumed the main part of the house 3 times. 3 times, people. sheesh.).  Anyway, we got the mail and there was a package addressed to me. 
I didn't recognize the sender and was thinking, "oh no, is this anthrax?" 
jk.  Didn't even cross my mind. 
But, I asked Aaron, "Did you order something for me?" 
My mind was racing... "Did I order something for me?" 

Anyway, confused, I opened it up. 
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear... reindeer?  nope, but close!  This cd.

But, who is it from?  The invoice from amazon had no sender details.  No note, no nothing. 
(I checked my amazon account and nope, it wasn't us that ordered it)
A lovely gift and I'm so flattered!  And, I was *this close* to buying it last year (insert me pinching my pointer finger and thumb together here).  And, now, it is mine to listen to my heart's content.  It is wonderful.  I'm listening to it RIGHT THIS MINUTE (even though Thanksgiving hasn't happened. so sue me!).

Anyway, to my SECRET ADMIRER, thank you!! "The key to a woman's heart is an unexpected gift at an unexpected time."  (quick! name that movie!  do you remember? Finding Forester.  Good flick.)  So, thank you, thank you, thank you!

On to MORE good news.  I know, the mind REELS that I could have more good news.  But, tonight as I opened up my email I started hyperventilating.  Literally, I was freaking out at the computer and Aaron was like, "uhh, are you okay?"  I, Melissa, who never ever wins, WON a giveaway on Bloesem!  If you click on that link, you'll see that it says "Giveaway is closed: lucky winner is : Melissa"   ----Yes, that would be ME!
Such news I had to share with the world...  YES!  I won a book I've been coveting for MONTHS!  What book you ask?  Oh, only this one...

Are you familiar with Hillary Lang's blog?  Really?  Me too.  I've been a follower of her blog since 2006.  That's called a LEGIT fan (yes, I realize I've used "legit" twice in this post).   If you haven't seen it, you probably should.  She's great.  Her dolls are adorable.  Perfect for a little Tillie and a little Cal to play with.

And the TIMING!?!  Did you not read this post I did only days ago?  Oh my.  I still am on cloud 9.  If I had a swimming pool, I maybe would have ran and jumped in it with my clothes on.  That's how thrilled I was (do you know I had some friends who did that after they won out on an awesome ebay auction? too funny). 

Anyway, thought I'd share the good news.  Man, at this rate I MAYBE should buy a lottery ticket.  Or maybe this t-shirt would suffice? 


the end.

oops, just kidding.  almost done.  I re-opened my etsy shop tonight.  for old time's sake.  who knows how long i'll keep it open, but thought it would be fun to put some things in it.  my printer has been missing me.  I think I'm adding another few items in a few days---think cuckoo clock.  

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat.

In case you're wondering... The answer is no, I will not being eating GOOSE for dinner. Ever.


I just love those happy faces.

This year for Christmas, I'm trying to simplify.  I think I'm going to make a gift for Tillie and Calvin.  Just one.  Of course, we have a few other little things hiding in our closet for them, but I want to make something meaningful this year.  I'm thinking of a doll.  Maybe a doll for each of them?  But I've never made one.  I hardly ever sew, so this seems a little intimidating and exciting all at once.  Any helpful hints?  I'm especially curious how to go about doing HAIR on the dolls.  Yarn? Felt?  If anyone has any help, let me know. 

I was tipped off from Sugar City's blog about a few great links.  There was a  darling little photo-montage and was reminded that I want to Tillie to be like this little girl and her doll.  It is so cute.  You definitely should check it out.  Make sure you push play to the song while you watch.  Then you can thank me later. 

**I found this little Sesame Street video with the great background story from NPR linked from Heather Ross' blog.  It was pretty sweet.

**In other news, my dear friend and former roomie, Kimmy-face (she just goes by Kimmy, though. I just like to call her "kimmy-face"), well, she is pretty much living one of my dream lives in the Big Apple with her sweet husband, Chris.  She parties it up (yes, that is a picture of her with the flowers in the article) with the likes of Darcy Miller and Martha (oh, you know, Stewart) because of her awesome job as an assistant to the amazing Matthew Robbins.  Anyway, she's the real deal, folks.  And, she sent me an email the other day notifying me of this big news.

Yes, that's right.  Purl Soho just started carrying some of our fabric line.  Awesome.  I love that website and blog.  Kimmy wrote, and I quote, "GIRL, you made purl soho's site, YOU HAVE MADE IT."  Is that lovely or what?  (don't be mad, kimmy, that I took confidential emails and posted them on my blog, okay?)  I was happy for the news.  And, I was happy that they chose my favorite pattern as the default image.  I felt special and still do every time I look at it.  
**In other news, Tillie is a nut.  We know that.  And, we love her for it.  The latest and greatest happened two nights ago when Aaron was tucking her into bed.  Matilda now prays by herself with no help from us, which is funny, b/c you never know what you're going to hear... Anyway, as she was finishing up, instead of saying "Amen" she said, "The End."  She is a book lover, remember? 
Oh, she's also a poser.  Scroll down, you'll see why.

and one more close up... for good measure.  oh, and there's another awesome bang trim job.  sorry, Tillie.  I try.

 **I'm loving this stage where Matilda repeats anything I want her to say.  That's right, pretty much anything.  It's adorable, of course.  Anyway, the other day we were talking to my mom and she was getting into trouble and making Cal cry.  So, I made her first apologize to Calvin.  Next I brought her over to the phone so my mom could hear her and had her say, "Sorry, Nana.  I was rude to you and Calvin.  I will try hard to reform myself."  She nailed it.  So great. 

Anyway, I'm trying to teach her to say, on her own accord, "It's okay.  I'm a doctor."  She did, after all, win a doctor play set by going poopy in the potty.  Here she is examining poor Calvin.  It's amazing the things he puts up with.

 As you can see, she takes her job very seriously. 

**One more note, if you thought that I was the only one to enjoy the new Wacom tablet, think again.  This is Aaron's rendering of Tillie the other night.  I love it more than I could ever express.  He even included her froggy bib.  Perfection at it's finest.

You love it too. I know.  Insert hearty applause here.
As Tillie says, "The end."


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