Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I'm here y'all.....with updates!

I'm still here.  I've actually been incredibly busy lately, and blogging has, obviously, been put on the back burner.  I'll try to give a quick update on everything.  

Our most recent trial has been the last three days, with Gavin.  I noticed last Thursday when I was changing him that he wouldn't let me bend his left leg.  I didn't think much of it, but it continued through the weekend.  On Monday morning I called the doctor and made an appointment for him.  Going in, I wasn't overly concerned.  Once we got there, they wanted to do a throat culture,  (because, of course, Jackson got strep throat that day too) blood work, and X-Rays.  Apparently hip problems in kids can be really serious.  The X-rays came back fine, but some of the blood work didn't.  She called me the next morning and told me to take him to the pediatric ER to get more tests and an ultrasound done.  I spent all day with him at that hospital.  They were taking blood and pinning him down and didn't let him eat or drink for hours on end.  It was heartbreaking.  The doctor left us saying that she was baffled as to why he wouldn't bend his leg.  And the blood work came back totally fine.  Even though his numbers were very elevated the day before.  She told us to go to an ortho doctor today.  So we did.  It turns out, he thinks he has some scar tissue on his thigh muscle from his shots 5 weeks ago, and that's making his leg stiff.  We are hoping that this is actually what's going on, and we are going to go back in two weeks to follow up. I'm still unsure why he had inconsistent blood work, but I'll ask his primary care physician in the morning.  I feel so bad for making him go through all of that for nothing.  But apparently it needed to be done to rule out any thoughts of septic arthritis and other really bad things.

The other thing keeping me busy is good news!  I've gotten back into making my silver jewelry pieces and have been busy fulfilling orders.  I had a craft show this past weekend in Decatur and it was very successful!  My newest creations are taking handwriting, signatures, or hand drawn pictures and turning them into jewelry pieces.  
This is my grandmother's signature from her bible.

This is Jackson's signature
This is a picture Jackson drew of me, that I made into a bracelet.  (striking resemblance, right?)
And finally, if you are local, I can make fingerprint charms.

I'm loving making this jewelry, and I especially love that it's so sentimental for so many people.  Some people even cried at my booth this weekend, at the thought of having something so sentimental of their own.  I have an etsy site and I started a facebook page too, if you are interested in seeing my other jewelry, placing an order, or just following what I'm doing. 

We are still adjusting to Alabama life and finding our way around.  The weather is still cold and rainy, but I'm making some great new friends.  (I mean, really great.  Not sure how I got so lucky to find them so quickly)  The kids are good, when they aren't sick.  It took Gavin 18 months, but he is finally a walker.  And Jackson has really matured lately.  He's a completely different boy than he was 6 months ago.  (Well, maybe not completely different.  He still tells the best stories ever.  He's just much more mature.)

So I'm here.  And I'm still reading your blogs.  And I'll try to get better about writing in my own!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Not Dead

I'm not dead you guys.  I had no intention of waiting three months to post again, but life has been completely insane around here, and I haven't been able to form coherent sentences, let alone write them down for the world to see.  So, if there's anybody left out there reading this, (hi Mom!) I'm still here.  And I'll give you an update.  

On September 30, we packed a Uhaul filled with our most prized possessions.  Then we looked around our house and realized that the other half of our prized possessions were still not packed.  So we got ANOTHER Uhaul and packed that one. 
It was stressful and sad and it sucked and it's not something I ever want to do again.  We loaded our cars on the trailers and towed them with the Uhauls. With two Uhauls towing two cars, two kids, two dogs and three adults (my mom made the drive with us) we made the 1300 mile trek to Alabama.  I'm not sure I've ever been as tired as I was those several days of packing, driving, then unpacking. 

We've been here for over two months now, and in that two months we've gone on a weekend trip to Ohio for homecoming, and we made a 12 day trip back to Colorado.  We had a ski trip planned before we knew we were going to move and really wanted to still go.  Plus we had some unfinished business in Colorado that we needed to attend to.  
So we are here, but have been doing so much that we aren't  really here, if that makes sense.  

 We are almost completely moved into our new home.  It still needs a lot of decorating.  It's big and has a huge yard.  Eric hates the amount of leaves he has to get rid of, and has already completely changed his mind about "living in the woods".  Jackson is in a new school, and he is liking it.  We decided to put him in the older threes class (even though he's four) and wait to send him to kindergarten, but that's a whole other blog post.  Gavin is still happy Gavin.  And I'm surviving.  I'm honestly trying to not give it too much though on "if I like it here".  Moving again isn't an option at this point, so I'm just trying to live my life and make new friends and I'll decide later if I like it or not.  I'm busy with the boys and turning our new house into a home and that consumes most of my time. 

There are a few surprises that I've found here: 

*It's not as warm here as I thought it would be.  There are more warm days than in Colorado, for sure, but it can also get into the 20's at night. (I know, I know....just wait til summer comes around)

*I need to get over waiting in long lines at a store for the cashier to finish their conversation with the customer in front of me.  It's just what they do here. 

*I thought I'd stick out like a sore thumb with my non-Southern-Yankee-accent, but that's not the case.  Not everyone talks with a Southern accent here.  In fact, I'd say only about half the people I talk to have an accent.  I guess this is a pretty transient area, and lots of people that live here aren't from here.

*It's definitely not what I pictured when I pictured Alabama.  It's just a regular town.  It reminds me of almost every town in Ohio, really.  (I've also been told that it's that way here, but if you venture too far out of Huntsville, you'll definitely get a good helping of stereotypical  "Alabama".)

*Roll Tide!  (It's the only way to survive around here.) 

I'm going to try to get back on the blogging ball.  Maybe even post some new tutorials soon! 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bitter-sweet Home Alabama

Well, I can't believe I'm saying this, but we are moving to Huntsville, Alabama.  Let me back up a little.  A few weeks ago, my husband got an email from an old college professor about a job in Huntsville, essentially, working for NASA.  (It's a subcontractor for NASA, but he would work inside NASA)   He jokingly asked me if I wanted to move to Alabama.  I said no, but I would consider it if it were the right opportunity.  We decided he should apply, and just see what happens.  Well, it happens that they loved him.  He got a phone interview almost immediately, followed by a job offer.  He told them that there was no way he could accept the job without us visiting first, so last weekend they flew us out to Alabama.  His mom just happened to be visiting us from Ohio, so we were actually able to go and leave the kids in Colorado.  We went there and did lots of looking around, thinking and talking.  We decided it might work.  

We are still back and forth over if it was the right decision, but the decision has been made.  On Monday, he accepted the new job and resigned from his current job.  We found a rental house when we were out there, and are planning on renting out our current home.  

We are so sad, happy, nervous, excited and every other emotion out there.  We are excited about living in a less costly city and being only about 8 hours drive from family and friends in Ohio.  Eric is excited about the new job.  We are excited about actually having a yard for the kids to play in, and about the possibility of meeting new people.  We are so sad about leaving our friends here and leaving Jackson's school.  (Sorry Alabama, but you don't exactly have a good reputation for awesome schools)  I absolutely LOVE the gym I work at and go to, and feel like it's going to be really hard to replace.  

I've gotta say, I was rather surprised at how normal Huntsville is.  It's just a regular city with regular people and places.  I was picturing something a little more "country", but that's not the case.  I've found that Huntsville is like a hub for everything aerospace.  NASA is there, as well as just about every other aerospace company in existence.  Have you ever been to Hershey, Pennsylvania?  It's kind of like that, but with rockets.  The streets are named after space stuff, the malls have a space theme as well as the airport, and it's where they have space camp!  (it was a dream of mine as a kid to go to space camp!)  We are really excited to take the boys to the space museum. 

This isn't going to be easy for us.  We have one more month here in Colorado before we make the move October 1.  We love it here and hope we are making the right choice. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Gavin is one!

I can't believe my baby is one already.  This year has absolutely flown by.  I feel so lucky to have such an amazing baby.  He's so laid back and easy.  He finally learned to crawl a week before his birthday and now he is all over the place.   He is sleeping great, usually on his belly with his little butt in the air.  It's so cute! And he eats everything in sight, even though he still only has three teeth.  This last week he FINALLY learned to drink from a sippy cup, and we weaned him off formula to milk.  (Hallelujah!  No more formula!)  He is absolutely in love with his older brother.  He wants to do whatever he does and be wherever he is.  Jackson can make him laugh  harder than anyone.  (He's my go to photography assistant when I need a smiling picture from Gavin)  Gavin is definitely a "people" person.  He can just sit and watch and interact with people all day.  He doesn't really care about toys or tv.  He will stare at a random stranger until they talk to him, then he laughs and claps!    

He turned one when the Olympics started, so it seemed only fitting to have an Olympics party for him!  To get ready for it, we had a photo shoot with Gavin doing various Olympic sports.  


Then I made this video invitation with the pictures

For the party, I had had some of the pictures blown up and put the posters up around the house.  (It's only $4 at Staples!  The quality isn't awesome, but good enough)

I  made some paper chains out of construction paper I already had around the house to represent the Olympic rings. 
For party favors, I made mason jar sippy cups.  My husband drilled holes in the tops and we put in rubber grommets.  I added crazy straws and used these American flag sweatbands to finish it off.

For the cake, I baked 5 8 inch rounds, then cut the middles out and pieced it together to make the rings.  I used the middles to make Gavin's little smash cake.  To ice it, I just used a star tip. 
We had a photo booth.  My husband made the podium and I painted it.  I found this finish  line backdrop at Ikea.  (It's actually a twin sized duvet cover.)  I had different props for the kids to pose with.   

Blowing out his candle.

He  had never had anything so sweet before and wasn't sure about it at first. 

But he ended up getting into it. 

I love cake now!
It was so great to have so many of our friends come and celebrate the big day with us.  Happy birthday sweet boy!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Jackson's 4th birthday!

Wow!  It's been a while.  I went on vacation for almost 2 months.  It was great.  I saw lots of family and friends, celebrated my brother-in-law's wedding, and ended the trip in Mexico with my husband.  Three days after we got back home was Jackson's 4th birthday.  I wanted to keep it pretty simple and not at home, since I knew the house was going to be a disaster from A) not being there for two months and B) unpacking from a two month trip.  So we went camping with friends.  It was at a state park about 20 minutes from  our house.  We didn't want to go too far away, in case a kiddo couldn't make it all night long, it would be easy to just go home.  I'm happy to say, though, that we all made it all night.  There were 6 toddlers, 3 babies, and 10 adults that actually camped over night, as well as a few families that just came for the party, then went home.  It was a great weekend.  The weather held out and the kids were great!

Campfire Cupcakes

Complete with actual fire!
Bug catcher mason jars
Make your own trail mix station
"Camp Jackson" t shirts for all of the happy campers

Blowing out his candle

Catching bugs with our bug catchers

He loves his bug SO MUCH!
His buddies and their "Camp Jackson" tshirts
Fishing the next morning

We had such a fun time!  And in a little over a week this guy turns one.  
I can't believe it!  I'm in full on party planning mode for his big day.  Here's a little sneak peek at his party.....

Monday, April 30, 2012

Stop being a perfectionist and just do it already!

I should be packing.

But I wanted to share a realization I had recently.  

I feel like I keep my act together pretty good in most areas of my life.  I think I do a good job as a mom.  When I work, I'm pretty good at that.  I manage to make and keep friends easily.  But here's where I fall short.  

I suck at keeping my house up.  

I don't suck at every aspect of house keeping.  I can organize like nobody's business.  (Remember my shoe closet, spices and linen closet?)  

I'm such a perfectionist, that it actually makes my house dirtier.  That might not make sense, but I'll try to explain.  

If I can't do it perfectly, I won't do it at all.  And with my life the way it is, I have very little time to do anything perfectly.  

My realization came when I was putting a clean load of clothes in the dryer for probably the sixth time.  I was ready to tackle the dirty laundry mountain in the loft, but couldn't because there were clean, but wrinkled clothes in the dryer.  What normally happens is, I'll be ready to do laundry, but I'll have a load that needs folded in the dryer.  So I'll turn the dryer on to unwrinkle them, with every intention of coming back 20 minutes later to fold them.  Then life happens, and before I know it it's hours later and I have to refluff the clothes again before I can fold them and put them away.  Turn the dryer on, life happens, it's tomorrow.  And I never get to the mountain of laundry.  

I got so mad at myself and thought "Oh my God.  Just put them away already!!"  So, I folded and hung wrinkled clothes, and put them away in the closet.   Without the distraction of finding something else to do while the dryer fluffed my clean clothes, I was able to tackle several loads of laundry that day.   And I honestly don't even know which clothes were in that load anymore. Obviously they weren't that wrinkled! 

I've actually been keeping up with the laundry better with this new "stop-being-a-perfectionist-and-just-do-it-already" theory.  It's funny how being okay with being a little messy has led to it actually being much cleaner!  This is definitely something I'm going to try to transfer to all aspects of house cleaning.  I don't have to make the kitchen sparkle, JUST LOAD THE DISHWASHER!

And now I'm leaving for weeks on end, with no housework to do while I'm gone (except for some laundry and just picking up the few things we will bring with us).  But hopefully I can instill this in some other aspects on the trip.  Like, maybe, exercising.  I find myself thinking "I won't have access to my gym while I'm gone.  I guess I just won't work out for six weeks".  Where as the non-perfectionist Michele would think "I don't have to run a marathon, just go for a quick jog."  I really really hate running though....
I got this picture on Pinterest, btw
P.S. I'll be chronicling our adventure on instragram.  If you want to follow me my user name is milehighmom.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Traveling Toiletries

I've been busy.  And tired.  Mostly tired.  Most days I wonder if there will ever come a time when I won't be tired.  I'm tired from the time I'm woken up every morning, until about 9:00 p.m.  From around 9:00 - midnight, I have tons of energy and am wide awake.  (Truthfully, my energy could easily go until about 2:00 a.m., but I force myself to go to bed by midnight most nights) That's how I've always been.  I'm a night owl.  And I pay for it every day.  The good thing about having energy at night is that everyone is sleeping and I can get stuff done.  Stuff that I absolutely cannot get done during the day.  Like crafting.

I'm leaving for a very long trip next week.  Like, six weeks long.  To summarize, my brother-in-law is getting married and we are all in the wedding.  In Ohio.  So, instead of going back and forth for the various festivities, with the boys in tow, we decided it would be better to just go and stay the whole time.   We will also be visiting family in Connecticut while we are there.  (I realize Connecticut and Ohio are no where near each other, but they are closer than Connecticut and Colorado, so....)  And, as if I weren't gone long enough, Eric and I will be going to Mexico for a week after the wedding.  We don't often get the opportunity to go anywhere without the kids, so we are taking advantage of us being in the same state as grandparents.

If you hadn't heard, I'm kind of a control freak.  So the thought of being away from my own space for that long, with a three year old and nine month old, makes me neurotic a little uneasy.  So, I'm coping the best way I know how.  By organizing and preparing.  And of course crafting things to help keep me organized and prepared!  Thank goodness we are driving.  There is NO WAY I could take everything we need for 6 weeks (6 weeks in various places, with varying weather) if I were limited to one checked bag and one carry on per person.  I'm going to do my best to limit what we bring though.  And keep things organized.  Including my toiletries.  It all started with this bag:
I got it on clearance for $6 at Michael's.  It's a craft bag, but when I saw it, I saw a toiletry bag.  Which was, of course, followed by going on Pinterest and finding tutorials for cosmetic bags to put in it.  (Bags inside bags.  I know....I can't help it.)

I won't give you a tutorial for every one of these, just the links I used and any little tips I have.  
This was the first one I did.  It's cute, but be warned, it's very small.  I'll probably put my random medicine and stuff in here.  I made three different sizes of these, and I used two different tutorials to help me.  Here and here.  It's not that complicated, but I thought neither of the tutorials seemed to explain it in a way that was abundantly clear to me.  I was able to figure it out by reading both of them.  
This is the medium sized version
And the large version.  

I didn't use vinyl on the insides.  It looked like a pain to sew in, and I figure if it gets dirty, I'll just wash it.  Also, in that first tutorial, she says to just pinch the corners, pin and sew them to get the box shape.  That's fine with the small one, but if you don't measure like she explains in the second tutorial, on the bigger bags, you'll end up with a wonky bag.  I almost threw this one away it was so bad, then I cut all of the corners and started again.  It's very tall, but at least I didn't have to throw it away. 

I made this gathered clutch using this tutorial.  I thought the tutorial was very clear and easy to follow.  It's a little smaller than the directions say, because that was the only size zipper I had on hand.  I wish it were a little bigger, actually.  But it does fit all of my make up in it. 
This makeup brush holder is my favorite thing I made!  It was probably one of the easier ones too!  I got the tutorial here, and I actually used the same fabric as her, but I swear I didn't realize it was the same until I started to sew it!
All rolled up!
I love this little detail at the bottom.  I've never used those decorative stitches on my machine before this project, and now I want to use it on everything!

The last thing I made was this jewelry roll up.  I didn't really use a tutorial on this one.  I just used what I already learned from making the other cases. 
Three zippers, with the tie on top.  I was thinking I could also use that tie on top to tie it to a doorknob or towel rack to hang up.
It's kind of hard to see, but I sewed the fabric to divide it into smaller sections to put smaller jewelry in, so it wouldn't tangle. 

Full disclosure, I was trying to make this all green fabric but I didn't have enough, so I used what I had.  It's not all bad, but I wish I would have been able to do only green. 

Also, I don't have a zipper foot, like all of the tutorials suggest you use.  I thought it was easy enough to just use the zipper as a guide, so don't think you have to go out and buy one (if you have an ancient machine like I do).  It's totally doable with a regular foot.

This was a fun project that only took about two night owl sessions for everything and will hopefully keep me from constantly digging around to find what I need on my long trip!

I may or may not have time to write while I'm away, but I'll be sure to let you all know how everything goes!

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