Tuesday, April 30, 2013

There are things worse than being creatively blocked.

Like cancer. Children starving in Africa. Inspirational kitty posters.

But having a desire to make scrapbook pages, but not liking them, that just sucks. I mean what kind of cruelness brings that? It’s one thing to lose you mojo – your want or inspiration. To just stare blindly at Photoshop (or actual paper if you swing that way) and think “Dang, I got nothing.” But, to have an idea, a page setup that you can see in your mind from start to finish, then to get half way into it and just stop, look at it, and go “eh… no,” who allows that?! Everything lately I feel like I just have to finish because I started the page. Generally, in the past, if I don’t like a direction a page is going in I just plow on and keep removing and adding things, and in the end I look at the page and think “Way to go, you showed that page who the boss is.

Now, nope. My pages are looking me in the face and going “B****, please.” They’re lacking that spark, that little bit of me that takes a messy page from just mess to art. It’s been like this for about a week now.

I thought I had the problem in hand. When I first brought up the issue (after refusing to own up to it for several days) I later went on to create two pages that I really liked. Loved even. Speed scraps and time limits (like say getting a page done in time to still have time to get the speed scrap page done on time) always work well for me.


But here I sit once again, the victim in this senseless crime. The freaking week before International Scrapbooking Day and I got NOTHING. I’m told to step away, take a break, take pictures, use templates, and such; but how can I do that when I am so full of all of these ideas? *sigh* The unfairness of this all is killing me.

Now I guess I’ll just have to get back to working on my gift for the blog on iNSD.

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

gDiapers… Take Two

gdiapers take two 1 - life as their mom

I started my cloth diaper journey with gDiapers, and then moved on to other styles. I was having some issues with getting a good fit on Mason, plus I had started getting an influx of pockets and fitteds from friends, all this led to me writing off the gDiapers. Now don’t get me wrong. I was pretty sure the issues I was having were pretty much my fault. At the time I had two gDiaper covers and that was it. Those suckers took a beating – washing everyday and probably not in the most conducive manner to keeping them going as I was just starting out. The velcro was getting unsticky, and rolling, and digging in to Mason’s back, especially when in his car seat. While I decided not to use what we had anymore, I hadn’t fully given up on gDiapers and had been following them on Facebook and debating trying them again (along with several brands I haven’t yet tried) when our tax refund comes in.

Thanks to a reason I’ll be mentioning in a later post, I was gifted with a $50 gift certificate to gDiapers.com. I decided since Mason’s been growing and all his diaper fits have needed adjusting since he started walking (and since the boy has mastered undoing snaps and velcro…) that now would be the perfect time to try them again. I went in with the mindset that I really hoped they would work for us, because I really am digging the whole velcro being where Mason can’t reach it idea. Also, I’ve been moving away from pocket diapers during the day, and I knew from past experience that Mason’s fitteds, other inserts, and prefolds all work well with the gDiaper covers (known as the gPants).

gdiapers take two 2 - life as their mom

I took my $50 gift certificate and bought two covers (genius blue and taupe) and some of their cloth liners. (more on liners at the end of the post). I got the email Thursday that it was all shipping and the package arrived yesterday morning. I quickly ran the covers through a wash and slapped one on Mason’s bottom just in time for his nap.

The blue cover did awesome all of yesterday during the day and evening. No leaks through naptime. No leaks or irritation through the long car seat ride to pick John up from work, or going to the bank, or going grocery shopping (meaning he was in that cover/fitted combo for roughly 4.5/5 hours – some of our pockets can’t cut it for the Friday craziness). It did not however make it dry all night – BUT – that one might not be the covers fault.

Over the time that we have been using cloth diapers I have found that Mason requires a very specific insert setup and type at night. It wasn’t until I was getting Mason set up for bed last night that I realized all of Mason’s bedtime inserts were in the dirty diapers that I forgot to wash that day. In all likelihood, a wet diaper failure was pretty much guaranteed. I plan to try the gDiapers again tonight with his nighttime inserts.

This morning I put Mason in the second cover, this time with just a prefold inside (as opposed to yesterday at nap and while out I used a fitted and insert) and it lasted great all morning, and he’s still in it – not with a prefold – right now while he is napping.

All together – I think I’m definitely liking the covers again, and so long as Mason doesn’t figure out how to take these off, I’ll be getting more (I love their colors!). Nighttime success or failure won’t really change my mind seeing as how I have the Sunbabies for nighttime use, and as it took forever to find out what actually would work on him overnight, I’m not really looking to change that.

Cloth liners – I can’t really give a good review on those since he hasn’t actually gone poo yet.

I was in no way asked or given anything for this review. I just figured since they were doing so well that I’d come on here and tell that my opinion on them has improved.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

April Scrap-A-Long: My Page

Here is the page I made to go along with the April Scrap-A-Long.


Credits: Life is Beautiful by Traci Reed and Zoe Pearn, Lost in Reverie by Traci Reed and Studio Basic, Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Julie Billingsley and Jady Day Studio, Messy Machine Stitches Alpha by Emily Merritt, and The Hannah by Heather Joyce

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Monday, April 22, 2013

A Bella Style Party

bella birthday - life as their mom

Today my precious little chick-a-let turns four. I can’t believe that she’s no longer that sweet quiet cuddly little baby that she was this time four years ago. It just doesn’t seem possible.

We had her party yesterday. It wasn’t big; just my family, my aunt, my cousin and his family. The funny part is that Bella was the only girl-child at her party, but it didn’t bother her. Heck, I don’t think she even really realized it since she’s so used to always being the only girl.

bella birthday 2- life as their mom

I hit up Pinterest for the cupcake and snack ideas. The pictures aren’t that great, but they all seemed to be a big hit. And if you are wondering – yes, those are pig cupcakes.

cupcake pins (no specific one) - http://pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=pig%20cupcakes
trix crispies - http://pinterest.com/pin/177540410282719565/
candy popcorn - http://pinterest.com/pin/177540410282719557/
(For the popcorn I did make some changes – I used microwave Kettle Corn popcorn, and instead of adding vanilla I added cotton candy and bubble gum icing flavor packets by Duncan Hines.)

And lastly, her birthday invitations that I made (click for larger):

bella birthday 4- life as their mom

Thursday, April 18, 2013

April Scrap-A-Long

I figured that I’d have a little fun and we could all do a little scrap-a-long. It’s basically just a recipe type challenge, or well, a speed scrap – only you have until the end of the month instead of 2 hours. Everyone who links up there page that they create will get a brush set that is inspired by the brush work that I created for this page and this page. Products, store, designer are non-specific. The only rules are follow along to the directions and link you page here before May 1st.

Your page may contain only, and must have:

  • something done in rainbow colors (needs to be prominent)
  • a mostly white background
  • one black and white photo that takes up half your page, or three square colorful photos measuring 3x3 inches
  • two scalloped bits or edges
  • a large number
  • two pieces of lace
  • four papers
  • two different colors of alpha
  • a word cutout
  • 1 speech bubble, 2 arrows, 3 heart elements, 4 buttons, 4 pieces of leaves, 5 flowers/stars
  • some brushwork

I hope to see some people play along! I can’t wait to see your pages.

(list font is DJB Bailey by Darcy Baldwin)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Thank You Lord, we made it to Monday.

It started out a good weekend, long, but good.

We’ve had plans for months now to combine all four kids into one room, but a combination of being busy and lazy kept us from ever getting around to it. Well, my parents are getting their house ready for my grandmother moving in with them, this meant that we needed to get our act together and go and pickup Bella’s big girl bed and the boys’ bunk bed. Friday the kids cleaned, Saturday we made them actually clean (because I’m pretty sure Ryan and Bella just put everything under their beds and in their closet) and we got to rearranging the room and setting up the beds.

(Seriously – we own more beds than we could ever need. Two bunk bed, 2 twin beds, 1 crib, 1 toddler bed, 1 queen size bed, and 1 full size bed, this is why the new beds were at my parents’ house.)

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(all that crud in front of the crib came from under Ryan and Bella’s beds)

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(Bella’s big girl bed, until now she’d been using the crib – it converts to a toddler bed, not to be confused with the actual toddler bed we also have in storage.)

Sunday we all woke up in great moods. The kids slept on the old mattresses in what was Zach’s room, but is now the play room. We kept the tv in there, but we moved the Wii from the living room to there so that they can watch Netflix in there and play their video games. And of course, Mason is still in the bedroom with me, because even though we have set up the crib in what is now the sleep-room, he is nowhere near ready to move since he still wakes up several times a night to nurse.

John decided that the bunk bed was just a touch too wobbly, so Sunday afternoon he got it into his head to add braces to the posts to make them sturdier. I told him, no, wait, but he said, no, he could do it. Well, he broke the beds. Completely split and cracked on of the posts. This led to a fight on how we were going to have to rearrange the room around three twin beds and a crib. MY idea was to just block off the closet (which we don’t even use) and put one bed on each wall. John, bless his heart, said no, he didn’t want to block it and kept Bella’s bed and the bottom bunk where they were, then moved the crib so that it runs next to the bottom bunk with only a foot between them and the top bunk is half in the closet. It’s stupid. I’d take a picture but just going in that room makes me mad all over again. This led to a huge fight between John and myself.

This means that Ryan picked a really crappy time to do something so stupid.

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(That is not a stock image of a crying Ryan, that’s from last night after he saw what exactly what it was that he did to himself.)

A little after the bedroom fight I am in the laundry room folding clothes with Mason when I hear John yelling “What the **** did you put in your mouth??” This has me worried, I mean why on earth is he yelling at one of the kids, and as I have Mason it’s not like this is another occurrence of Mason finding a marker and then chewing on it. So, I pick up Mason and rush from the front of the house to the back of it and I find John and Ryan standing in the bathroom. Ryan is just bawling and John looks ready to commit murder because apparently Ryan is not fessing up to whatever it was he was chewing on. I’m a little confused on how John knew Ryan was chewing on something, yet, he does not know what. Then Ryan turns to face me and I notice that his tongue is sticking out. I go and look and notice one whole side of his tongue is bright, bright red and that it has no taste buds. Zach and Bella start to come out of the play room and we push them back in, put Mason in his baby seat, and rush Ryan to the kitchen. John is yelling at him over and over “What we’re you chewing on Ryan!? You have to tell us! We can’t figure out what to do until you tell us!” and Ryan is just crying and screaming that his throat and tongue feel like they are burning. John, in a moment of great non-stupidity, makes him stand at the sink with a cup and the cold water running and rinse his mouth over and over. He then went to the back of the house to see if he can find what it was that Ryan had gotten in his mouth. He comes back a minute later even angrier, and looking just shocked, and yells at Ryan “PLEASE TELL ME THAT YOU WERE NOT STUPID ENOUGH TO HAVE BEEN CHEWING ON THIS ****ING BATTERY!”

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Yep. A battery. He’d been chewing on a battery and managed to puncture it, and had ended up getting battery acid in his mouth. John goes to the Poison Control site to find out what we need to do, and I stayed in the kitchen with Ryan as he kept rinsing his mouth over and over all the while he’s gotten down to uncontrollable crying and whimpers of how bad it hurts. It was so bad he started gagging and hearing him John yells, “Whatever you do, do NOT let him throw up!” I am freaking out and trying very, very hard not to let Ryan see how freaked out I am. After a minute John gathers Ryan up and drives him 20ish minutes away to the closest hospital that our insurance covers, and I am left at home freaking out – and now crying hysterically – waiting for my mom to come get the other three kids and for my step-dad to drive me to the hospital.

I get there and the receptionist is like “I bet I know which kid you’re here for.”

They examined his mouth, tongue, and throat. Then they x-rayed his throat and chest (to be sure he didn’t swallow another battery and just didn’t want to own up to it. After about two hours Ryan's tongue has started to swell some where it was burned (pictured above) and the doctor comes in and says that his throat and mouth are fine to go home, that the burning was just slight. His tongue however, will take a while to heal but that there really isn’t anything that they can do for it. To give him Tylenol for pain as needed – absolutely NO Aleve in case any of the acid did get to his stomach – and directions to only eat soft, non-salty foods until it has healed some more.

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(a nurse gave him a new car to play with so that he wouldn’t be so bored since the tylenol kicked in and he said that it didn’t hurt as much anymore.)

Now, if you are wondering WHY he was chewing on a battery…
Ryan is a chewer and always has been. I’m pretty sure that most of the time he doesn’t even realize that he is doing it. He just chews on whatever he is holding if he is sitting and not doing anything (like yesterday sitting and watching Netflix). Today he thankfully already had a doctor’s appointment for a medicine check up since we thought his ADHD medicine wasn’t being as effective and I brought it up to his doctor. Because last night as we were thinking on it we realized that the chewing just started back up about the same time we noticed that his medicine wasn’t helping as much. We always figured that it tied in with his ADHD as a type of fidgeting. Well, when we into the doctor he followed up on the burns and when I asked him about the chewing (as Ryan is sitting there chewing on a corner of his shirt) and Ryan announces that he does NOT chew on things and we point out that he was JUST doing it, his doctor said that on rare occasions some children with ADHD do develop chewing as an obsessive behavior, and that the medicine dosage should help, but that we should also stock up on some sunflower seeds and give them to him as we notice him doing it.

And this is why it’s lucky that all my children made it to Monday.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

(a super quick and mini) Edit Like This

This one really only has like three steps, so I can talk you through it.

edit like this 5 - life as their mom

edit like this 5 original - life as their mom

This edit is primarily for outdoor type scenes, or any type where you have two pretty defined areas. Or not. It just depends on you.

Open your photo and do some basic editing. Then go to Layers>New Fill Layer>Gradient. Make sure it is set to Linear and then adjust your angle so that it goes with the flow of your picture.

step1 - gradient fill

Set your colors, really any colors you like will work.

step2 - set gradient colors

Change the gradient layer blend mode to OVERLAY, and then click on the white box in the layer where your gradient is. (and hey look! you can see the actions I use to resize and sharpen my pictures for the blog and Facebook. they’re by MCP Photoshop Actions & Lightroom Presets)

step3 - select layer mask

Select a small brush and change your primary color to black and then color over your subject and any other important spots so that their coloring and lighting doesn’t go whacky.

step4 - black out subject

That’s it! The edit is all done, and seriously once you get the hang of it it takes like maybe five minutes to do. I spend more time on changing/picking my gradient colors than the rest.

edit like this 5 final - life as their mom

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Giving orders like a (Mommy) boss.

… and they were followed which was freaking EPIC.

Yeah, yeah, yeah… my orders should always be followed, in reality they’re only followed 75% of the time and only 10% if John is home. In defense of my children, I don’t just order them about a whole ton. Generally I ask and then bribe because I don’t like arguing or explaining over and over. So nine times out of ten I say something like “Hey dude, if you will clean up the living I will give you some ice cream after dinner. Deal?” My kids are super easy and susceptible to bribes. Or I ask, they say no or ignore me, I pick up child, stick in a bedroom, and then announce they can’t come out. That works well for me, too.


Saturday night I proclaimed (screw announcing) that after breakfast the kidlets had to clean their rooms. This was met with much whining and arguing, but I ignored it and laid down the mommy-law – do it or I will beat you. So… I would never actually beat them, but I was angry, I just stepped on like two toys in Ryan and Bella’s room, and then I stepped on a ----------- lego in Zach’s, I was angry enough that I think they thought I would. Then John came in all nice-guy and told them blah-blah-wouldn’t they like to find their stuff-blah-blah-we can finally move rooms around if they’re clean-blah-blah-if you don’t do it you’ll be grounded and stuff-blah-blah. I still want to claim credit for this.

Kids woke this morning, ate, and then proceeded to lounge on the couch. I then proceeded to march in front of the couch, turn off the tv, pointed to the back of the house, and said “Yo! Rooms! I told you we were getting this done TODAY.” AND THEY DID IT.

*mind blown*

About dinner time, after John and Zach got back from taking Bella to my mom’s, I called John, Zach, Ryan, (and Mason) into the living room and announced that I was going to take a bath and that one or more of them could clean up the kitchen, and that when they were done I would get out of the bath and make them dinner. AND THEY DID IT.

I am the boss. I should totally order my husband and kids about more often. Stuff gets done.

In a completely unrelated note… I did this tonight, instead of doing anything even remotely productive, to celebrate Mason and I reaching the one year breastfeeding milestone.

together by pharden - life as their mom

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The super fun thing about cloth diapers.

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Is not that they make super comfy dryer seats when clean and dry.

Though, admittedly, Bella and Mason do LOVE climbing in the dryer and sitting on the clean diapers… me, no, I don’t think I could ever love cloth diapers enough to sort of just chill on them. No. Ick. Even clean. I don’t just go and chill in the dryer on my undies.

No, the super-duper fun part of using cloth diapers is this…

When the wee one does a huge, massive gag worthy poop – talking about a poop that takes 8ish wipes to clean and two people to change him so that one person can hold his hands so he’s not trying to grab his boy parts that are covered in poo – that you really wish you could just throw everything and all of it away, but you can’t. And why can’t you? Oh yeah, because you use cloth diapers… and you don’t throw those away. Good for the environment my ***. The environment of my home suffered. Seriously. We’ve had four kids, and John has always helped with changing bottoms and even he was grossed out. His reaction “Oh God, can’t we just bag it all up and throw it OUT!?”

We now know that the combination of breast milk, lasagna, garlic bread, cheerios, and yogurt does NOT make for a delicate aroma when they come back out.

But the super fun part?

Before I remembered what all we had been eating I spent the whole time I was wiping Mason’s bottom, and then cleaning off the diaper wondering what the heck my boy had eaten that was so full of tomatoes. Then I remembered. And then I gagged a little.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Project Life–The first 5 Weeks.

No, I’m not that far behind. I’m only 3 weeks behind. However, I feel if I spread it out some no one will ever have to know that.

*insert evil genius laugh*

week 1 project life - life as their mom
week 2 project life - life as their mom
week 3 project life - life as their mom
week 4 project life - life as their mom
week 5 project life - life as their mom

Pretty positive everything used is from Traci Reed and Julie Billingsley.

Currently obsessing over…

Well, I have been currently obsessing over the fact that I haven’t posted in, ohhhh, close to 3 weeks. I didn’t even post about Mason’s birthday (*sob*), Ryan’s field trip, our family trip to the zoo, or Easter. I hate when I go more than a week between posts because I feel like I have to catch up on everything that has happened, but I hate doing that. (*obviously, lol*)

Anyway, consider this you catch up obsession style.
(you have to say that quickly with a elegant lady voice like uhb-sess-shun)

I’m obsessed with….

the fact that Mason is ONE.
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and walking.
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the way Ryan woke up one morning and decided that he needed a mohawk… but he’s on a picture strike at the moment… not sure why.
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the way that Zach, however, is not only wanting his picture taken, he POSES for them.
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and Lord have mercy, he’s getting so freaking BIG! (*sob*)
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the way I’m always obsessed with Bella, life is good when you’re the only daughter.
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and the way you can definitely tell she has three brothers.
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this failed attempt at a family picture.
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and this picture of the three bigs with John.
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(Oh, and did you know… the 28th marked 10 years that we’ve been together!?)

and with this last picture of Ryan.
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I’m also obsessing over this book. I was so sad for the end of the series, but this book is awesome. Was definitely worth obsessing over waiting for it to come out.

And I’m obsessing over these songs. Seriously, listen to them, you will love them.

And that’s all I have for you!

(Well, for now. I’ll actually be back later today for a little scrapbooking related junk)