18 January 2008

off to see the wizard...

i have close to a thousand things to do today.
blogging is not one of them.
but i feel like i need to post something before we leave...
just so i don't leave anything hanging i guess.

the condo does have internet...so i might be posting a bit from the hawaiian sand.
i do like to stay away from the computer when i'm on vacation.
especially when i'm on vacation with my family.
so...there may be updates...there may not.
we'll see.

we'll be back the 30th but don't expect anything til the first of february.
at the earliest.

until next time...

17 January 2008


right now...
i'm irritated.
for a lot of reasons.
but mainly...
because elijah just broke my favorite salad bowl.
it wasn't entirely his fault...
and that irritates me too.
if i'd just taken him up to bed
(where he is right now...peacefully sleeping)
when we got home instead of sorting through the mail first...
he wouldn't have been digging around in the kitchen cupboards.
the fact that i have a monster headache doesn't make it any better.
and i'm not really mad about the bowl.
it wasn't a family heirloom or anything like that.
it's actually a pyrex bowl that i could probably go buy at bed, bath and beyond.
i'm annoyed because i just really don't want to go clean it up and worry that i missed something.
that little fragment of glass that's going to embed itself in someone's big toe always worries me.

so. yes.
the mess is still covering my kitchen floor.
while i sit here on my computer.
i thought i'd take a little break before tackling it...
give myself a little time to let the annoyance dissipate.

it's not working.
i'm still as annoyed as ever.
and starting to stress about all the things that have to get done before bedtime tomorrow night.

at least i've started packing.
that's one thing done.
and the kitchen is (mostly) clean. (or should i say "WAS mostly clean"?)
that just leaves...
the REST of the house to clean
the REST of the packing
the laundry
the cleaning out of the refrigerator
the paying of the bills
etc. etc. etc.

i'm still annoyed.
but need to get up
and get going.
can't sit here and smolder all day.

16 January 2008

odds and ends. and a story.

just a few things today. first of all, i just wanted to share the ingenious idea i had a few weeks ago. it's called: a snack mat! i was so tired of either cleaning off elijah's highchair a zillion times a day or finding dried pears smashed into the carpet that i knew i had to do something. as going outside for snack time is usually a warm day activity, i had to figure out something i could use inside. hence the snack mat. one day, i just pulled the floor mat that sits in front of the kitchen sink out into the middle of the kitchen floor and told elijah that it was his snack mat. i explained to him that if he wanted a snack, he had to sit on his bumbum on the mat while he ate his snack. and the coolest thing is...he got it . he so understood the concept and since then, the snack mat has been a part of our daily routine. he knows i keep it (i got a new one so i don't have to use the kitchen one anymore) in the pantry so whenever he wants a snack, he just walks up to the pantry, bangs on the door with his little palm and says, "numnum?". it's a silly little thing to get excited about...but it's so much more than the fact i don't have to follow him around picking up cracker crumbs all over the place. it's knowing that he gets it. he understands me. and while he doesn't always obey me...at least i know he knows what i'm saying. that is huge. i've started explaining so much more of our day to him...like how and why we get the mail, where we're going, what we're going to do when we get there, what certain things do, etc. it's fun. and i think he enjoys it too. however...it does make me a little sad as i realized that he is no longer a baby...but a little boy now. and he's only going to get bigger and bigger. guess it's time for another one! (i'm only slightly kidding...) :D

on another, kind of related note...elijah totally gets the point of a telephone. he loves "talking" on any and every phone in the house...even if it's not a phone but kinda looks like one (for example, a broken calculator that ended up in his toy box), he'll still put it up to his ear and chat away. he's still working on the whole conversation part of things...he'll only talk if no one else is talking. so if i give him my phone while my mom's on the other end, she can't say anything if she wants to hear him talk. because once she starts talking (or laughing as the case may be...his chatter is quite hilarious), he stops and won't start again. so...we're working on that. but still...it's the cutest thing to listen to...his little conversations. love it. love this age/stage he's at right now. sure, he's exhausting...but his curiosity, precociousness (is that even a word?) and determination to figure everything out is a joy to watch and experience.

and finally...i promised a story. the above picture was taken last week when we were at our friends', bryan and shannon's house. their little boy, noah, is only three months older than e so we try to get together regularly to let the boys play together. well...as you can see...it's not always a happy occasion. poor elijah just wanted to ride on the winnie the pooh train...but so did noah. they both fit on it pretty well...but i guess elijah wasn't so much in the sharing mood. ha! actually...what really happened was that noah had just let out a shriek of enjoyment and it scared elijah. i suppose i'd get scared too if i had a little man scream in my ear but still...shannon and i just had to laugh. poor noah had no idea what was going on...and poor elijah didn't either. this is one of those pictures that we'll have to pull out when they're older and best friends and tell the story of how they didn't always get along so well. ah...good times. good times.

the countdown has begun to our departure to hawaii. we leave bright and early saturday morning...so i've started preparations. yesterday was "list making" and "appointment making" day. i made all my lists: what to pack, what to pick up at target, what bills to pay before we leave, what books to check out from the library, etc. i also made a hair appointment for friday.
today is errand day...so we'll be heading out after lunch to target and the library. and maybe trader joe's if target doesn't have anything in the "yummy snacks that are appropriate for airplane travel" department. we'll see. then tomorrow starts the packing. hopefully by getting most of it done on thursday, i won't be running around like a crazy woman friday night, trying to get everything done without forgetting anything. as much fun as this trip is going to be...it really is a hassle to actually get there. *sigh* it'll be worth it though...right?


14 January 2008

better left said.

i did a photo shoot yesterday for a local band called 'better left said'. they have a myspace page if you want to check them out. these shots are for their cd cover/jacket as well as some promo stuff. i haven't done anything like that in a really long time so this was fun. got to try out some stuff i've had floating around in my head...though i tried to keep it focused on the band and not my artistic endeavors. i did forget to try one of my ideas and that bums me out but i'm pretty excited about what i did get so i won't worry too much about one missed shot. here's a few of my favorites...in no particular order...

individual shots

sean. guitar. and some vocals.

eli. guitar. maybe some vocals? (i don't remember.)

pj. percussion.
i had trouble coming up with ideas for his shot...only because he plays one of those percussion box-thingys (forgive me for not remembering what they're called) and i didn't just want a picture of him sitting on a box. so...this is the best i could do. probably should have done a little more research...got some more ideas...oh well. next time.

ronnie. vocals.

chris. bass guitar.

in other news...i've got another story brewing for later on this week. so be on the lookout for that. got a busy week ahead of hawaii preparations. i should be pretty busy but promise to post a couple more times before we leave. until then...

11 January 2008


are you a croc lover? oh...i am. i so am. i love those silly shoes. if i was made to choose only one pair of shoes that i had to wear for the rest of my life...the only trouble i'd have making that decision was deciding which color to choose. brown? green? black? or my new love...red (i don't actually own red ones yet. but i will. in the prima style. they look like ballet flats. they are WONDERFUL!) anyways. i'm getting off topic here. the point of this post is to announce to you, my blogger friends, that elijah now has his first pair of crocs. woot!
technically, he doesn't have them yet. but they are on their way. we went to the mall today to buy some for our trip to hawaii (in a week! yeehaw!) but unfortunately...both stores that carry crocs in his size only had mickey mouse or spiderman ones. um...no. no thank you. he needs to have just plain regular crocs. this is very important you see...because we must match! obviously.
anyways...i did a little research online today when we got home. have you ever looked at the crocs website? it is crazy! who knew they made all those cool shoes? and clothes? and other stuff? seriously cool. i spent far too much time on there. not quite as much time as i spent designing my own chuck taylors (which i never actually bought. go figure.)...but still.
so...all that to say...there is a super cute mother/son picture coming as soon as elijah's shoes get here!

in other random news...elijah is not a fan of peanut butter. yet.

10 January 2008


...it is raining.
and that makes me happy.

09 January 2008

little cabin in the woods.

last week, our little family took a drive "over the river and through the woods" to john's uncle lupe's cabin. what a fun day! the cabin is in long barn (population 1,100), and it's right above the 5,000 ft. elevation line so there was definitely snow for us to play in. not as much as we would have liked...but the perfect amount for elijah's first play day in the snow.
being up there, surrounded by trees and snow, on the side of a mountain made me miss home so much...and really renewed my desire to move out of the flat-as-you-can-get central valley. seriously...the only hill i go over on my daily walks with elijah is the overpass over the freeway. not cool. so not cool. at all. thankfully, this is a desire john shares with me...but however, it cannot be a reality right now. and i know that...but it certainly provides my soul some sanity to dream about it. to pretend...for just a brief moment...that the cabin is our home...our own little cabin in the woods. i can dream, can't i? so...here's some pictures of our snow day...enjoy!

yes...i let him eat the snow.

anticipation: john was throwing snowballs. don't worry. he never hit him with one. amazingly.

the gloves were too big...but at least he wore them...only after he figured out for himself that SNOW IS COLD!

walking in the woods.

oh...how i miss this!

'lijah and papi juan


06 January 2008

my birthday.

after blogging about elijah's birthday...i realized i haven't blogged about my birthday either. a very important day indeed. :D so...as i'm sure you're all dying with anticipation, here goes. this will mostly be pictures...as i find it easier to tell a story with visual aids.

the morning of the 22nd dawned bright and COLD. it was downright frigid (by california standards). there was enough frost on the ground that if i squinted my eyes just right, it almost looked like snow. a very happy thing indeed.

we had breakfast over at john's parents house. honestly...i don't really remember what we had...except for the mimosas! yay! i love mimosas...yum.

looks like eggs and beans and probably tortillas.

oh. and coffee. always coffee.

then we played around at john's parents house with elijah for a while...he insisted on taking all the bows off the presents under the tree while i insisted on putting all the bows on his head. my very own little live present. :D

after elijah had destroyed nearly all the wrapped presents at his grandma's house, we took him home so he could help me open my presents...before he went down for a nap.

it was fun letting him do the honors...especially thinking back to what he had been doing last year on my birthday. namely: sleeping. oh...and eating. that's about it.

my mom gave me a little ladybug "dust-catcher" (as she has so appropriately dubbed items such as this one) that opens up to reveal a tiny little ladybug inside it (i think the point of the big ladybug is to hold things like rings, earrings, and such). elijah was enthralled by the baby ladybug and of course he wanted to hold it...but i wasn't about to let him do that...so he just got to look. that's what he's doing in the above picture.

you know you're pretty much an adult when you have only two presents to open, both are from your mother...and one of them, you wrapped yourself. (john's present was unwrappable as it was a set of activities and not a tangible, touchable gift. i'll get to that in a second.)

however. i was still spoiled by my mother...bless her giving heart. (love you mom!) and this is some of the loot i scored with the money she gave me to spend on myself. ooo...how i love opening a box from scrapbook.com! (even when i did the ordering...)

after lunch...it was time for john's present. he took me to downtown modesto to the new gallo center for the performing arts that just opened a couple months ago. it was a pretty big deal (the opening of the arts center, not necessarily the nutcracker). we got there just on time and actually got some pretty decent seats (though we paid too much for them). as it turned out, john had never seen the nutcracker performed before, so i had the fun opportunity to regal to him the story and the history of the ballet having seen it myself enumerable times as well as performing in it.

however, with too many years of ballet training, it was a bit hard for me to enjoy this local production as the dancing wasn't fabulous. they did a better job than i thought they would do, this being modesto after all. but still, i had to keep reminding myself to stop counting the floppy arms, non-pointed toes and unfinished pirouettes. finally, i just kinda blurred my eyes so i could still see the general movement and not the individual dancers and their mistakes. *sigh*

despite his face in this picture, he did enjoy himself.

this was supposed to be a picture of the new performing arts center, but john didn't completely understand my directions...so now it's just a cheesy picture of me. it does, however, show my very wintery, comfy outfit john's mom got me for my birthday (i picked it out, she just gave me the money).

after the performance, we headed over to my favorite downtown eatery, tresetti's. unfortunately for us, they didn't open until five pm (it was four when we got there) and a very snooty bartender informed me that the first table they had available was at eight. soooo...obviously...we went elsewhere. and after speaking with the bartender, i was more than happy to take our business to my second favorite restaurant in modesto, p. wexford's irish pub (they don't have a website, though they should).

it has great pub food (read: not diet friendly!), great beer and great atmosphere. it's usually jammed, but since we were there at 4 when only the old folks eat, we got a table right by the fire place. after eating, we considered hanging around to watch the football games on tv but we were both kind of missing e (who was at grandma's the whole time we were gone). so we finished our beers and headed home.

the rest of the day was uneventful...and not really worth mentioning in detail.
the day was a great way to start my 28th year (i turned 27 but adding my first year of life into the mix, my birthday heralded the beginning of 28 years on earth. make sense?) so...yeah. that was what happened on the 22nd of december in my little life. happy birthday to me.

05 January 2008


i mentioned briefly in my previous post about my 2008 calendar. i bought this making memories calendar with some of the birthday money my mom gave me. it wasn't a big purchase...and really, it was almost an afterthought. you see, i like alterable, do-it-yourself calendars but to be honest, i was a little burnt out on those kind of calendars when i purchased this one. i had been working on my mom's annual christmas present calendar and just really didn't think i'd be able to summon the creativity to actually do one for myself. but...it was only 8 dollars so...on a whim...i added it to my shopping cart. and when it came in the mail...i found myself getting excited about it. but also a bit intimidated. the calendar is completely blank. no idea book, no paper/sticker/die-cut kit like the ones i usually get my mom, nothing. just the calendar to do with as you wish. the lack of structure threw me a bit. i had no idea where to begin. so i set it aside, hoping for a smashing idea to come my way.
then, a few days ago, as i was thinking about goals and going through some piles of scrapbooking paper that i had tucked away in a corner of my "mess room" to save for later, i came across some really cool cork board paper (by karen foster designs) and that gave me an idea. why not make my calendar page bulletin-board-esque and post some of my goals on it as a reminder? inspired, i got to work. and although the finished product was not exactly what i'd originally envisioned, i still like it. maybe even better than i my original idea. i was also able to finish both february and march's layouts in the same creative spurt (though not on the same day)...i'll post those here on the first of each respective months. i'm excited about this project...to work on it throughout the year, to see where it takes me and most of all, come december, to look back at it as a finished album of my year. good stuff.

04 January 2008

see what the new year does to me?

something about the new year always makes me think about them.
though i've never really done anything about them.

this year, however, was different.
john and i sat down together on new years day and discussed our goals for the following year.
some were ambitious. (john's work goals will definitely keep him busy)
some were necessary. (start saving money for elijah's education)
some were silly. (travel to spain! france! brazil! all in one year! ha...right. but it is oh-so fun to dream.)
but all were appropriate for our lives and where we're at right now.
we wrote them all down and set a date to look at them again.

goal-setting is a good exercise for me, i think.
it's not something i really did in the past.
sure...i thought about it.
everyone does.
but i never actually wrote them out.
probably because i was afraid i'd fail.
which we all inevitably do...
but that's not the point.
the point is the process...
the trying...
the betterment of self.

in order to help keep myself on track this year with my goals...
i decided to be a bit vulnerable and post them here.
coming up with this list of goals was on one hand, relatively easy for me...
but on the other hand...it was ridiculously hard.
there were so many things that just came spewing out of my head once i started thinking about it that to be honest, i was completely overwhelmed.
i decided that in order to do this right: i had to be specific. realistic. and a bit optimistic.
i also had to leave out some things just because they're things i should be doing anyways.
like drinking plenty of water.
like not driving while talking on my cell phone.
like going to bed early enough to be rested when elijah wakes me up in the morning (or even to wake up before him! there a thought...).
like praying without ceasing.

you know.
the usual.

so. here's my non-usual, slightly optimistic, hopefully realistic list of goals for 2008.
  • exercise daily. by this, i don't mean, go to the gym and sweat my brains out on the treadmill. this just means take a walk with elijah every day. go to yoga once a week. maybe a ballet class here or there. just do something. everyday.
  • eat healthily. now...some of you who know me better than others would say that i already eat very healthily. i buy mostly organic foods, i always choose whole wheat over white, etc. etc. etc. but eating healthfully is an ongoing process i think and really comes down to daily choices. yes, i do buy organic food. but am i really utilizing the bounty that i have available to me? i was perusing the produce aisle yesterday at the grocery store and realized that there is a whole section of produce that i can't even identify. so, that's something i can work on...adding more fruits and vegetables to our family repertoire. trying out new recipes instead of always relying on the same six standbys. eat less processed foods (like chex mix...oh, it is my undoing!) things like that. do-able things.
  • finish one scrapbook layout per week or four layouts a month. this is a minimum. hopefully, i will be complete many more than this...but remember, i'm trying to be realistic here. and this...i think...is realistic for me. i am happy to say though that i've already reached my goal for this week...and almost for the month as i've completely three layouts this week alone. i'm working on a 12 month wall calendar for my scrap-room and i'm already starting on april. very cool. when this storm stops and i have more light by which to photograph, i will share january's page with you.
  • submit scrap layouts to magazines. this goes along with the one above. i've had many people tell me that i should submit my layouts to different scrapbooking magazines (creating keepsakes and simple scrapbooks are the two that i like the best) and i've just never really done it. it's not hard. they have a section on their website where you can upload your jpeg image and boom...you're done. they also have several contests that i plan to enter this year as well...although one of the deadlines is in february and i have yet to even start thinking about it. maybe i should put the calendar on hold for a few weeks and get started on that. especially since i'm going to be gone for eleven days this month...
  • organize photos. ugh. this just hangs over my head. ever since i switched from a pc to a mac back in may, i haven't really found a good system for organizing my photos. and it's driving me crazy. i really noticed the necessity of this when i was doing my "look back in pictures" post a few days ago. i had the hardest time finding the pictures i was looking for. also, i discovered that i have about five copies of each picture hidden in various places on my hard drive. not good. so yeah...this definitely needs to happen. and soon.
  • open etsy.com store. etsy.com is a very cool place where people like me can display and sell their wares. the cost is minimal and the rewards are many (hopefully). the only problem with this goal is that i don't really have any "wares" as of yet. so. i'm shooting for an opening date of 1 march. that...i hope...is realistic. check it out sometime. there's really a ton of fun, funky, handmade-with-love kind of stuff on there. and it's mostly reasonably priced too. when i do open my shop (and i will!), i'll post the link here for your viewing (and purchasing!) pleasure.
  • follow a budget. this is a hard one for me. i like to spend money. it's true. but, i set out a reasonable budget that i really think i can follow. i just have to do it...and not be careless with my spending, like i have in the past.
  • reduce our consumption of "stuff". this is a biggie...that john and i both are praying a lot about these days. we looked at each other one day and said "where did we get all this STUFF?" seriously. it's ridiculous. and it needs to stop. both john and i wish we could just sell this huge house and buy a little dinky one somewhere...live way below our means for a while. get out of debt. *sigh* it's the american dream right?
and a few more goals/resolutions that don't need any (much?) commentary:
  • have a weekly date night with my hubby (even if we don't leave the house. popcorn and a movie anyone?)
  • pray together as a family
  • have a play day once a week (even just walking to the park for a couple hours...something done together!)
  • read together nightly as a family (right now this involves reading "i am a truck" while elijah plays with the pages...*sigh* someday it will be the chronicles of narnia...i hope!)
  • recycle more
ambitious? yes. realistic? i hope so.
here's to a productive 2008.

03 January 2008


the birthday boy and his hat. you can't see it in the picture but the hat does say birthday boy on it. it was my fifteen minute attempt at creativity.

i just realized i haven't blogged about elijah's birthday party. oops. the holidays just kept me busy i suppose...so, here's the story. sorry about the tardiness of it all...

the night before elijah's party (the 14th), i got a call from my good friend. she was going to make elijah's cake; i'd sent her drawings of what i wanted and it was going to be stinkin' cute. that is, until i got this phone call. she was calling me to let me know that she was in the emergency room (!) and would be unable to complete elijah's cake (obviously). so. i told her not to worry, i'd take care of it. her health was (and is) so much more important than a silly cake. however, this put me in a bit of a scramble. it was too late to call costco to order one and although i could have just driven over there and picked up a couple generic sheet cakes, this was elijah's first birthday party! i just couldn't bring myself to do that. so, saturday morning dawned, bright and chilly. as soon as we'd finished up with the breakfast dishes, i scooted my bum over to the store and picked up a couple boxed cake mixes (i was not about to take the time to do homemade), sprinkles and a candle. i then proceeded to make a slew of cupcakes and a two layer cake, frost them and somehow, cover my entire kitchen with sprinkles (note: it helps to add the sprinkles to the cupcakes BEFORE the frosting dries. good to know).

the cake and cupcakes turned out ok...not bad for my first time officially decorating baked goods. thankfully, i somehow finished all the last minute details that needed to be done in addition to the cake before the party was scheduled to start at 4pm. we headed over to john's parents house (the site of the festivities) and actually got to eat before most of the guests arrived.

we hired a caterer that specializes in ridiculously amazing tacos. they grill up three kinds of meat right in front of you (chicken, pork and beef) along with the tortillas and then you can pile them high with whatever toppings you like. for example: they had two kinds of chili (or salsa), radishes, limes, onions and cilantro. trust me, tacos don't get much better than this.

once everyone arrived, we turned on the heat lamps, lights and music and everyone dug into the grub. it was cold...probably too cold to really be having a party outside...but we couldn't do anything about that since the food was out there. plus, john's parents have an amazing back yard; they worked hard to make it a beautiful, inviting place.

tons of food was consumed, hot chocolate was passed around and there was a festive glow surrounding the party. it was so great to see everyone, especially so close to christmas. elijah was an unstoppable force as usual. he just cruised around, pushed people out of his way (literally) and generally made a nuisance of himself (i'm only kind of joking). around six o'clock though, he was done. cranky and tired, it was bedtime for the birthday boy. however, we hadn't had cake yet...and since that is the funnest part of a first birthday party, we decided he could last a little bit longer, long enough to have his own little cake that i'd made him.

he was exhausted so he wasn't as animated as usual (as you can see in the picture above). plus, i think he was a little intimidated by all the people around him.

but once he dug in, i think he enjoyed himself, until john smashed the cake in his face, that is.

not the wisest decision of john's life. poor elijah was not thrilled about that in the least...but according to john, it's tradition. we'll see how much he likes it when i really smash his cake into his face on his birthday.

after that fiasco, elijah finally got to go to bed. i stayed over at our house with him since he didn't want to sleep in his pack 'n' play that stays at grandma's house. which, honestly, i didn't mind since i was pretty tuckered out myself.

the next morning, we trooped back to john's parents house for breakfast (more tacos! yum!) and presents. e opened most of his presents by himself and he was certainly spoiled.

wrapping paper strewn everywhere...it was grand. the rest of the day was pretty low-key since we'd had such a crazy day the day before. elijah played with his toys for a while, then had a long nap, still recovering from the festivities.

(like my "wrapping" job? ha!)

(i so wish you could hear the noises that go along with this face!)

elijah opened one more present from his alaskan grandparents: a tractor and trailer set that he loves. the whole experience was a bit surreal, as the entire time i had to keep reminding myself that it was my child's first birthday; i was the mother of a one-year old. the craziness of it all was and still is a bit too much to completely comprehend. after all the wrapping paper was cleaned up and we had rested a bit, john and i looked at each other and said, "that was a fun day". and it was...it really was.