Sunday, October 23, 2011


Hey everyone... its been busy, as usual eh? I spent the past few weeks with cake orders, finishing sewing costumes and working on a Christmas tourism booklet (which I am taking a break from for a moment). Keeping busy keeps your head out of the moments of sadness that sometimes creep in when you stop and reflect.

Sometimes its hard to believe I am a grown up, married with 2 kids. When did it happen? It seemed like you were a kid forever and then life speeds up. I took Ariel yesterday to a Charlotte Diamond concert our local cable company was hosting as customer appreciation day. Ken stayed home with Xander since I had cake pick ups, and he wasn't feeling that great. They had a huge tent set up, which was good because the rain was on and off all morning. They had lots of free goodies, cotton candy, popcorn, cookie decorating, treat bag decorating, face painting, balloons and a bouncy castle. Ariel was in heaven and it was nice spending some time together. I miss my school girl!

Ariel LOVED the concert, she danced and sang along and I found myself transported back to the time when I was not much older than her, sitting on Nana and Papa's back porch chowing down on hot dog buns filled with peanut butter and a hand full of fig newtons. Playing on the old tape deck was my Charlotte Diamond album while I colored in the sun. I was always at peace in their house, and it was my place to run to when I needed space. I walked once with my suitcase filled ready to run from home. (Back in the day when a kid could walk 20 minutes away on their own without any concern). For a moment I smiled and swayed like I was that little girl again. That house is gone now, it was finally torn down early this fall. Its weird driving by and not seeing it, but then the memories are so clear that it doesn't matter.

I have taken on the task of doing some decor for Papa's memorial, I find those things comforting and help me. I am painting up some cow print frames for pictures, gotta have cows for Papa.

Some things I have been forgetting to blog about, we hit the pumpkin patch as a family a few weeks ago, prior to the rain coming.

We had a wonderful time, and Xander was far more into it, trying to pick up every pumpkin he came across.

We found our family of pumpkins... now to decide on what to carve this year. Ariel had 2 more trips to the patch coming up for school and Sunday school... so we will have quite a few pumpkins... eep!

Ariel took part in a Halloween pageant last weekend, and did well. She won Interview High Point, which means she was the best in all the age groups for answering her interview question. Ken got her moment on video. Basically she came out as the only one in her age group to deliver a wonderful full answer (compared to the kids doing one word answers).
Daddy was very proud, as this was a great category for her to shine and she was so excited! She got a beautiful sash, trophy and spider crown.

Later this week I finished the Halloween costumes and took the kids to the trails for some photos. They were so so so cute! I am happy with how they turned out, and Ken can say that for a good long time I wasn't so happy with Ariel's, since it just looked like a skating outfit, but once her hair was up, wings and some puffs on her shoes it tied it all together. Yay. She is already thinking about next year, lol.

Love this one, maybe one to blow up for the hallway.

That day also marked the 'awkward' moment of my day, week, month and YEAR. Ugh. So one our neighbors who I have met before (single dad with a teen son) met me and the kids in the hall with a light up fish tank thing. He said he was cleaning up and wondered if the kids might like it. I didn't think much of it since it was a common thing in our building, just being friendly and such. Anyhoo, Ariel was thrilled and Xander started fussing since he couldn't see. The man left and came back with a light up coke can for Xander. We thanked him and he left. About 10 minutes later as I was about to leave with the kids for the photos, a knock was at the door. It sounded like my Dad, but I was confused since I knew he was out. I answered the door and it was the guy again.

He stood there kinda smiling and I was confused. He asked if the lights worked, and I said yes, thank you again. Then he said 'so what are the kids and you doing for dinner?' My face flushed, oh my gosh, the dude was asking me on a 'family' date. I turned away and said 'um leftovers with my HUSBAND'. I didn't want to make it more awkward than it already was, and he didn't miss a beat, saying ok, have a nice night. UGH!!! I tried to call Ken who was in a meeting and when I did I told him he needed to make himself more visual around our place, lol.

Well that is a brief catch up on life here. I will be back, lots coming up to share.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Why is there always something funny?

This was our favorite Papa quote. It was as random as they come and frankly at times that was Papa. He was my last living grandparent and tonight he went home to be reunited with both Nana and Mom. In all honesty, the day my Mom died, a good chunk of him did too, and it just grew when Nana went too. It was hard for me to see him in so much pain.... as a friend put it recently, my heart was too soft to see him in pain.

I feel good knowing he isn't hurting anymore, that was so hard for me. In some ways I guess when someone goes quickly its hard and shocking but you don't have to see them suffer. I found it very difficult after Nana died and he deteriorated slowly into a person I didn't recognize... and someone who didn't always recognize me.

This picture was from the night of my 30th birthday. I was so happy that night, my family was together, I was pregnant with Xander and yet in a few weeks life as I knew it was about to change again. Nana died, and Papa was moved to the island. For me, who was seeing them both almost daily, it was a huge change. I still drive by where they lived and have a moment of longing for them both to be there to visit.

The hardest moment tonight came when we had to tell Ariel. She cried, and hugged us tight. I hate seeing her cry like that... just too much. Ken told her that he was heaven with Nana and Grandma Vickie, and she got some comfort from that.

My head is spinning with funny stories and moments with Papa. The cows all over the house reminding us of his days a milk tester. The video of him dressed a a woman singing 9 to 5 for an air band performance at the high school where he worked as a janitor. Nana's sweater was never the same after those balloons stretched it out. Haha. I loved looking at the yearbook cover that had his picture on it and the little mementos around that he was given when he retired. He had this huge box of pencils in the cupboard, as he would never throw them out when cleaning the halls of the school. I was impressed when as an adult he learned to swim. How he took us fishing and taught us the fine art of gutting the fish afterwards. He always had a full shed of junk that I came to use for various art projects over the years and an attic that we both were notorious for saving stuff in, I think I got my pack rat gene from him.

In the coming weeks things will be decided and plans made. For now we take our memories and hold them close. I love this picture, as Papa wasn't always the best in photos, usually talking through them.... I miss you Papa, I have a feeling the gardens up there are going to be looking fabulous.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Woot for Turkey Weekend!

Yay, its the long weekend, woot! Turkey, woot! I am just so looking forward to some family time and hanging out. I have some busy weeks ahead, so its the calm before the storm. I just signed on to do another tourism book for the holidays and it needs to be busted out in 2 weeks. Needless to say it will be lots of work but worth it. I also have a few cake orders in there, I need to sew my kids Halloween costumes and oh did I mention I am organizing and writing the Christmas kids program for my church? Sooooooooo, it will be busy...very! So if I disappear briefly that is why.

Today Ariel came home with her student photo, it was ok, not super but still cute. The other shot was down right terrible, they told her to smile with no teeth, I don't get that? Either way, I actually wrote the company to ask. I'll let you know if they reply. Haha.

Anyhoo, we picked the simple blue background...

but the company offered numerous backgrounds since they do green screen, oh boy! Let me say when I logged on to the site I was laughing pretty hard. I honestly don't know who would pick these... and if you did and you like it... um, I am glad, but I thought they were pretty ridiculous. First up... the red light district? Um... maybe not good for school aged kids eh?

this feels like the background when they talk to people on survivor... Ariel needs her bathing suit on though.

lost at sea? Down right silly!

did you like both the water and the tree and wish they had a background with both... you are in luck!!!!!

Um... conehead? I don't know what else to say on this one... er

Ken and I were trying to figure out what this was. I say animated cats squished on sandpaper, perfect for the artist family!

So yeah, these were my favs, but they had 8 pages of ones that were just as er...interesting. Hehe.

Last night I got a call from the district manager at Gymboree to discuss my lame experience I had last week on the phone with my regular store. I had gone in for gymbucks to get the kids Christmas outfits, yes they have them out already! Upon getting home I realized I got the wrong size in one of Xander's shirts. To avoid missing out on being able to straight exchange it I called the store to get a new one on hold for me to get the following day.

Well when I called I was put on hold... for 10 minutes so I called back, again put on hold for another 10 minutes. I called back a 3rd time and when they were going to put me on hold I said 'I rather you didn't, I have called twice now and been left hanging. Could you please help me.' The girl on the phone snapped, 'well we are super busy here and the line is long. ' I told her I understand but I kept calling and no one would come back so I have wasted 20 minutes on hold of my time too. Well she wasn't too sympathetic, and snapped, 'you have my attention now what do you want.' Wow, I was shocked but rather than fight I told her, she got the time on hold in a short minute and when I said thank you since I know its busy she replied 'Fine!' and hung up.

I felt like crap... I never complain but seriously she got to me. I snapped and called customer service and cried. The lady I talked to was very nice and she calmed me down but told me a manager would talk to me. Sure enough they did, and were very sorry and told me the girl would be sought out and 'retrained' for better service. I know the manager of the store I shop at, she is wonderful and I mentioned it to the lady who was happy to hear it. I made her understand too that I never experience that sort of thing and that is why it was so shocking and hurtful. She is now sending me a gift certificate to the store. Yay. She even gave me her personal number in case anything happens again. What a nice lady. Woot.

Well Ken and I are going to watch some movies tonight, so have a happy 'Canadian' Thanksgiving and enjoy my little 'Turkey' hee.

Monday, October 03, 2011

I Need to Blog

My Dad told me so, hehe. What can I say, its been a busy week, I had 4 orders through out the week so it didn't leave a lot of time to blog. This week I have actually nothing booked, which is kinda nice because I have lots of upcoming orders I need to sketch and prepare for, including a wedding next week, so its all good. So Dad and Rita returned from their trip and came home with goodies for the kids and us. Here are the kidlets in their New York t-shirts.

Between the cake orders it was a pretty average week of activity. Ariel is thrilled with jazz, ballet and Sparks. Each one is greeted with enthusiasm, and through out the week she is asking how many sleeps till such and such. School is still going great too. New friends have been made, and it seems she is meeting other girls daily and coming home with another 'best friend'. Already she was invited to a birthday party last weekend when the parent came looking for 'Ariel's Mom' on the playground since she HAD to be invited. Lol, my social butterfly.

Ariel has been enjoying the lessons in her class and looks forward to music and library day weekly. They also just started phonics Fridays, where the kids bring in an item that begins with the letter of the day to share with the class. Last week was 'A' and she brought in her apron, which came after much discussion since she deemed it 'too common' at first, 'everyone has seen an apron before Mom'. Um, so we are trying to think of something original for 'B', any ideas?

One thing I notice more with Ariel being gone all day is that when she gets home how sweet she and Xander are to each other. They have always gotten along, but I see more sights of this, her making up a story to read him or a song. Very sweet!

Sunday night I managed to get my fall decorations up. Upon waking up this morning, Ariel was excited to see the little pumpkins and turkeys adorning the room. She is eager for me to start sewing the Halloween costumes soon, which I am excited to say I got the fabric for last week on a trip to the store with Stella. I did well and managed to pick up the material for our annual Christmas pjs too. Woot! For those wondering what the kids are going to be this year, the hint.... all you need is faith, trust and a little bit of pixie dust.

Today in the mail came a very special parcel for Ariel... her SPARK uniform arrived! When I picked her up from school and shared the news, she was eager to come home and try it on. Now uniforms have come a long way since I was in the program. I will do a separate post of the whole thing later, but I did want to share these few pictures to tide you over... first our little Spark!

I also got her a jacket that she can grow into over time and her camp hat, that Xander took a liking too. Haha. He loves hats!

Oh and this super cute Spark is selling fall Girl Guide cookies, the mint ones, so please let me know if you want to buy a box from her. Thanks!

Looking forward to the long weekend coming up. Hoping to do the pumpkin patch with the kids, eat lots of turkey and relax... ahhh.

If you can't find your iphone in our home, generally it means this guy has it.

I was out at our school PAC meeting tonight and I was bummed to hear that there is a chance at this point we might not have a Christmas concert because of the teacher job action stuff. I am going to hold out hope, but honestly I am so ready for the whole mess to be done. Its hard for the teachers, parents and students... sigh. Just sucks all around really.

Well morning comes fast around here, so I am going to bed now.
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