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Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009: An Overview

The end of the year is upon us. It really has me thinking about this past year.

This year has been so incredibly different than any other year of my life.  I feel like I have changed, like I have become someone new. I've become a mother.  I've become confident.  I'm at peace with myself for the first time since I can remember.

Last year, Willie and I rang in the new year calming a colicky baby and watching fireworks out the window.  We couldn't see many of them due to our crummy location, but we craned our neck, opened the blinds, and looked at just the right angle to see one or two fireworks every few minutes while tag-teaming to try and get Addie to sleep.  That was a tough time.  I was pretty depressed last new year, thinking What a way to ring in the new year...holding a crying baby, sleep deprived, and irritable.  I remembered thinking They say that the way you ring in the new year is how you'll spend the rest of your year.  I guess that means I'll spend an entire year trying to calm down an inconsolable infant, arguing with my husband, and watching the party from the sidelines.  It really goes to show that a change in perspective can make the world of difference.

Instead of thinking I would be spending my entire year with a crying baby, arguing with my husband, and watching the party from the sidelines, I should have been thinking I'm going to spend the year with my family-all of us together-enjoying the view.  See what a difference that makes? And you know what? It's true.  I spent the year with my family-all of us together-enjoying life, enjoying each other, and enjoying the view.

The first half of the year is a blur.  It is marked in my memory as stumbling through the fog.  Despite the fact that Addie appears to be an "easy baby", the first half of her first year was probably the hardest time in my life.  Ever.  I think even Willie doesn't realize how hard that time was for me.  I hadn't started my blog at that point, although I know it would have been a tremendous help, but life was complicated.  Addie cried a lot.  I cried a lot.  It started before the breastfeeding issues though.  It started the day she emerged from the womb, so much in a hurry to get out that she ended up injured and crying for her first week.  Things settled down for a few weeks and it seemed to be smooth sailing until the colic started.  I feel like all I can really remember of those first few months is crying, and trying to cover it up with a sunny disposition.

In May, I started this blog.  It has been a tremendous help, an outlet for my anger, frustration, joy, and sadness.  It helped me open up about things no one knew.  In fact, it still does.  We discovered some underlying issues regarding Addie's crying, and found ways to fix them.  Life began to improve, the fog began to lift, and we were able to relax a little bit.

This summer was spent hiking, taking tons of photos, camping, blogging, and exploring Washington further than just Seattle.

This past fall was probably my favorite time of the year.  Addie had her first birthday, her last first holiday, and I developed my confidence in myself.

The holidays passed all too quickly this year.  Thanksgiving was spent with our friends-a relaxed affair with good food.  Christmas was a busy time for us, traveling, illness, and new traditions all rolled into one.

And now, here we are, back where we started.  The holidays have passed. The year is coming to a close.  It's New Year's Eve again, one year later.  It's been a wild ride, but I'm ready to welcome in a new year, a new season.  I'll be alone when the ball drops tonight.  Willie is working nights, and Addie should be asleep by then. So, I will watch New Years happen from the sidelines again, working on new projects for my shop.  Instead of thinking about how boring this next year will be, I am going to think of how productive it will be.  Willie and I will both ring in the new year working, earning money.  This next year will be fruitful.  It will be fulfilling. It will be peaceful.

Earlier today, I decided on my New Year's Resolution.  It's a personal resolution, something I'm not willing to share publicly, on my blog.  It shows a different side of me than the public face I prefer to show.  I will, however, stick with it this year, and you can know that it is not a frivolous resolution such as losing weight, eating better, or exercising more.  Those are all things I try to do year round.  This resolution will change my quality of life.  It will make me a better person.

Here's to 2010!!  I hope it lives up to everyone's hopes and wishes for the upcoming year.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Christmas Story: 2009 Edition

Well, here we are, home from our holiday "vacation," otherwise known as "The Trip Where Everything That Could Go Wrong, Did."  I tell ya...this trip was something else!

It all started a few days before we left for California to visit the grandparents for Christmas.We were peacefully chugging along, not a kink in sight until three days before we were scheduled to leave.  Addie woke up that Saturday morning and I could just tell something was wrong.  She was quiet, lethargic, and wouldn't drink her milk or eat breakfast.  All she wanted was to be held.  I picked her up and she was burning up. I got her one of the first appointments of the day with the on-call pediatrician, who also couldn't find anything medically wrong with her other than her 101.2 fever and her obviously sick demeanor. So, we brought her home to watch her and wait it out.  She slept almost the entire day-Willie's birthday-and woke up the next morning acting so much better, but still running a pretty high temperature-103.6 to be exact.

In a panicked frenzy I called the on-call pediatrician before he had a chance to get to the office and call to check on us..  He said as long as she was acting normally, to wait it out and if it didn't go down by the next day to bring her in again.  So, that's what we did.  By that evening, her fever had all but broke-down to 99.8-and she was eating and sleeping almost normally again.

We started packing Monday in order to have a smooth morning on Tuesday and everyone seemed to be doing great.  Addie was still sick, but I could tell she was recovering. For the most part her fever was completely gone. We had a great day, and started looking forward to our trip again.  We relaxed Monday night, knowing it was going to be a hectic week coming up since trips like this are always as stressful as enjoyable.

The alarm went off Tuesday after only a few hours of sleep and Willie and I pried our eyes open, struggled out of bed and loaded up the car.  All of a sudden Willie came in complaining that he had an upset stomach and bad cramping.  He got sick right before we left, but then he appeared to be feeling better so I thought nothing of it.  We got to the airport, checked our bags, and got through security just in the nick of time.  We were the last ones to board our plane before take off, but we weren't late.  We even got to California half an hour earlier than we expected!!  It was such an easy flight, Addie slept for half of it, and the other half she was a total doll for the flight attendants.  It seemed everything was going to go smoothly from here on out.

Unfortunately, Willie's stomach started acting up again as soon as we got to his grandmother's house.  He was sick the rest of the evening with a stomach bug, cramping, and fever.  I felt so bad for him since he was so excited about the trip and here he was laid up downstairs separated from everyone while we visited. Right before putting Addie to bed I checked on him and he said he was feeling better, and was even thinking of coming upstairs to spend the rest of the evening with his family after getting up and dressed.

That's right about the time that his dad fell down the stairs!!* I mean, are you kidding? His 60-something-year-old dad fell down two steps and busted his knee up.  He couldn't walk the rest of the trip.  It was awful.  I mean seriously. Can we not catch a break here? Sick kid, sick husband, injured father-in-law, and we're on vacation supposed to be enjoying our time?!

I vowed to make the best of our trip at that point.  I mean, Willie could do nothing but continue getting better, Addie was in a better mood every day since Saturday and other than a chest cold and being more tired than normal she was being very easy.  It couldn't get any worse, right? haha.  That's right about when I got hit with the stomach bug.  All I can say is that at least Willie recovered before I came down with it.  That made it so much easier.  He was a great husband and a great Dad.  He took Addie for the day and let me sleep it off just like he got to.  They went shopping and met some of his mom's friends, and hung out with his grandmother while I stayed in bed waiting for the bug to pass.  Late in the afternoon I felt well enough to get up and move around a bit so I joined everyone again.  Unfortunately, I was still fatigued and cramping  the rest of that night and the next day, but the worst had passed.

And the worst truly had passed.  From Wednesday on, everyone started feeling better and looking forward to Christmas.  Presents were wrapped and put under the tree.  Food was enjoyed.  Company was had. Plans were made to (gasp) leave the house and do some of the things we had hoped to do on our trip.  We were fortunate enough to enjoy the rest of our trip and enjoy our holiday after such a rough start.  I will say, traveling during holiday season is a totally different ball game than traveling during the spring or summer when there are fewer bugs to catch!


* For anyone wondering what happened to Jim-my father-in-law, he is doing much better.  His knee was very banged up and bruised, and he spent our entire trip in a reclining chair.  Willie's mom informed us last night that after we left he was able to get up and walk around using a walker, so he is definitely improving, just slowly.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's That Time of Year Again

Well, it's that time of year again.  Lights.  Decorations.  Family.  Food.  Fun.  Oh, and there's also gifts, but I try not to focus on that part.

The holidays have always been my favorite time of year.  We just have so many family traditions that bring us all closer.  We didn't grow up with very much, but we sure felt rich.  I hope to instill the same ideals into my daughter.  The holidays should be about who you are with, not what they give you.  In these economic times, I feel that lesson is even more important than it was before.  It seems that most families have cut back this year.  The stores don't seem as crowded as before.  I really hope we are swinging the pendulum back away from this insane materialistic culture.

I really hope people are re-discovering the meaning of Christmas.  I really hope they are remembering the small things.  The things that really matter. 

I can still remember all of our traditions growing up.  Can I tell you what I got for Christmas every year? Not even close.  I can remember a few very memorable years-like the one where we woke up with a note from "Santa" telling us to look outside where we found our trampoline.  I can also remember a Christmas where we got the original Nintendo gaming system and two games.  Mario, and The Little Mermaid.  We never received any other games for that system, but we didn't know any better.

What I remember from Christmas are the little things.  Our traditions that we kept up each year as we got older.

I remember getting a new personalized ornament for the tree every year.  Putting out Christmas decorations as a family with the Christmas music on.

I remember wrapping coffee cans with Christmas wrapping paper.  I remember spending hours baking home-made Chex-Mix for all of our friends and family.  I remember delivering those Christmas-wrapped coffee cans to everyone special to us, and seeing their face light up with excitement.  What beats home-made Chex-Mix?!

I remember opening one present on Christmas eve every year-Christmas PJ's that we wore to bed, so our holiday videos would be festive.  I remember waking up before the sun to start Christmas day, and then somehow still running out of time and rushing to my Granny's to eat and spend time as a family.  I remember there being years where 30 people came over to Granny's to celebrate with us, and years that there were just 10 of us.  I remember everyone in the kitchen helping cook.

I remember that no matter what, my uncle would make fun of whatever my mom brought.  He always made fun of her rolls saying she didn't make them right.  They were store bought!!  All you had to do was remove them from the package, put them on a baking sheet, and bake them until they were lightly browned!!  It became quite the little game that everyone (except my mom) looked forward to come dinner time.  I remember the year my mom decided No More Rolls! and asked Granny what else she could bring so "Reid would stop making fun of the **** rolls."  That year, Granny gave mom the recipe for pecan pie, and swore that if she followed that recipe exactly, she would come out with the perfect pecan pie to bring to dinner, that Reid would not be able to find anything wrong with.  Sure enough....the pie came out burnt.  In my mother's defense, though, Granny's recipe was less than perfect!  Silly old Granny wrote down the wrong temperature to bake the pie! So, despite her best efforts, my mother received the teasing of a lifetime at that Christmas dinner.  Pie slices were dropped onto the plates to see how loud of a clunk it would make each time.  My poor mom.  I don't think she brings anything to Christmas anymore.

I also remember the gift-giving at Granny's house.  I remember we would all fight over who got to be "Santa" and hand out the gifts to everyone.  It was usually whoever was learning to read at the time-at least until we got older.  The present opening was a huge ordeal as you can imagine with 30 people in and out of the house, but it was always so much fun. 

As I said, Christmas is my favorite time of year.  Reading through this post makes me realize how long it has been since I wrapped coffee cans and filled them with home-made Chex-Mix. Maybe next year...

Other than that, and going to Granny's, the rest of my holiday traditions are right on par with how I grew up, except they are scaled down for my tiny family up here in Washington.  Somehow, picking out Christmas PJ's, hanging personalized ornaments on the tree, and re-creating the Christmas dinners of my childhood make me feel close to my family again.  I think of them all, gathered around Granny's big table with their wine glasses raised, toasting Christmas, toasting each other, maybe even toasting us. I will then turn to my small little family and toast us, toast Christmas, and toast our extended family back in Texas doing the same thing we are, maybe even at the same time.

This year will be a completely new experience for me.  This year, we will be spending the holiday with Willie's family in California.  I will keep the little things as close to tradition as I can, all the while opening my heart and my mind to new traditions.  Traditions Willie may like to pass on to Addie.  Traditions that we can mix in with mine, and make them completely our own.

What are some traditions you have for the holidays? What are some of your favorite memories? 'Tis the season to share them all!


Monday, December 14, 2009

My First Sale

Well, I know I haven't mentioned my shop much on here since I opened it-other than just telling you all that it existed-so I thought I would write a post entirely dedicated to CUTEure Creations.  It is, after all, the reason you haven't heard from me in over a week.

I had my first live sale this past weekend, and have just been so busy focusing on that for awhile.  This sale was focusing mainly on hair bows, although I did have a bit of my crochet work up as well.  It was a very slow time, ending in only 1 trade and no sales.  That is Okay though, it was a great learning experience as to what people really want to see, and how much more of an impression I can make if I kick it up a notch (okay, a couple of notches).  The good news is, no one else really sold anything last weekend either, so it wasn't just me.

The other good news is that I did get to trade another vendor for this cute little guy on the right.  She does such cute work.  I'm hoping she will actually go into business soon! This was just a trial run for her, but I love her little hand made plush toys!  She helped me unload one of my 100 hair bows and I just need to get crackin' on the hat she ordered for her little boy!

All in all, it's been a busy-but fun-few weeks full of creating new items, learning new things, and planning what comes next.  I have so many fun ideas for this shop, I only hope I can keep this energy up and keep creating and putting new things out there.  As for now, I have a couple of orders, and one more Christmas gift to take care of these next few weeks, and then it's on to production time!  I plan on getting into more craft shows and fairs this spring, so I need to start getting things ready now.


Thursday, December 3, 2009


The mystery has been solved!

I guess I should start at the beginning, so you can be as excited about this mystery as I am! 

...It started a few weeks ago.  My once pleasant daughter began dreading meal times.  She would take two bites and sign "all done", then proceed to whine, fuss, and throw food on the floor throughout the rest of meal time.  We couldn't figure it out.  No one could! We eventually went to our fallback excuse, "It must be the teething,"  but what could we do? I mean, she still needs to eat, and we were coming to dread bed time even more than meal times because of the fit she would throw due to hunger.  It was a lose-lose battle if I do say so myself. 

Tonight...tonight I won the battle!  After much deliberation, concentration, and patience, I figured out what she really wants. Turns out, she has not been signing "all done" this whole time at all.  She has been signing "drink."  They look really, really, really similar, though.  The only difference so far is "all done" is signed with two hands doing this twisty-twirly move, and "drink" is done with one.

So, again I say..."AHA!!!" because I have solved the mystery! The mystery of the thirsty child!!


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Ah, To Be a Chocolatier!!

Today, Addie and I had a new experience.  Unlike our grocery store experience, this one was actually a good time.  Addie and I got to experience the world of candy making today!

Okay, so to be honest, I did most of the work.  I know-shocker!  Addie did have fun, though.  She roamed around, watched me fill the chocolate molds, ate carrots, and played with boys.

Meanwhile, I filled molds, crushed lifesavers, melted chocolate, and created a masterpiece!  Well, maybe they weren't beautiful masterpieces, but they sure were delicious! My favorites have to be the mint chocolates shown in this picture! They are soooo good, yet so rich!  I could seriously eat them all.  I mean, we were supposed to make these to give away as gifts, but, ahem, don't you need a trial batch first??  Right?!  I also made a few peanut-butter cups, which-let's face it-I messed up.  They are still oh-so-yummy, but definitely not something I would be proud to give away as a gift.  I'll just have to practice those some more.

So, now I know a new craft.  I just love learning new crafty things!  Especially crafty things that are delicious and just melt in your mouth!