Thursday, January 31, 2013

Project 365 - Day 31

Day 31
Daddy, Baby, Mommy

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Project 365 - Day 30

Day 30
I got this, Mom.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Project 365 - Day 29

Day 29
First Taste of Carrots

Friday, January 25, 2013

Doggie Update

I haven't posted about the dogs in awhile, so I thought I would give an update.  Kaylee and Simon are doing well.  They are growing accustomed to our new life pretty well, although Kaylee still hides when Nathan cries for more than a few minutes.  Simon is super-protective of Nathan and anytime we move the baby or carry him somewhere, Simon is right there, making sure everything is okay.  They are still crazy, as usual.  Jon has been walking them when he gets home every night, giving them some exercise and him too!  I'm so proud of him for doing that.  I usually don't get home until after that, otherwise I would join them.

Project 365 - Day 25

Day 25

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Project 365 - Day 24

Day 24
Play Time!

Free Mind?

So the questions I answered yesterday?  I gave myself some time to think about them.  I've decided I don't like them.  Not at all.  I know what they are meant to do.  On the surface, they are supposed to "inspire" and "awe" you, to motivate you to live a fuller and more vibrant life.  But no.  That's not really what they are trying to do.  Free your mind?  You've got to be kidding.  The funny thing is, this attitude sounds like me several years ago.  I've grown up now.  lol

Questions like those are meant to make you feel badly about your life.  To make you feel as if you have settled.  And to make you question your decisions and wonder if you should make a change.  While this is not always bad, it is unfair and untrue to lead people to the belief that they should live their passions ALL THE TIME, and if they don't, then they are not TRULY LIVING.  There are things we must do.  Things we have committed to do and things we are responsible for doing that may not be the DREAM, but are important.  As lovely as it sounds, we can't all run away and live on a tropical island, making money only when we need it by selling seashell art from a tiki hut on the beach.  (that actually sounds kind of boring to me, but whatever.)  AND we can't love everything about our lives ALL THE TIME.  Sometimes even the greatest life sucks.  Sometimes even the greatest job is stressful.  Sometimes even the greatest spouse makes a mistake or hurts your feelings.

So how do you live with passion and vitality and enthusiasm if you are not living your DREAM?  I'll tell you.  You find things to be passionate and enthusiastic about in the life that you have.  You take the choices you have made and you MAKE them your dream.  If a change truly needs to be made, MAKE it!  DO IT.

Do you know what will "free your mind?"  Understanding that it was never a captive in the first place.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind"

I thought these were very interesting.  I'm not expecting any special "mind-freeing" or anything as a result of answering them, but it should be interesting to see what my answers are.  You can find them here.

  1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
    That really depends on the day and the time of day.  But I do think I feel younger than I actually am.  And most of the time, I think I act younger.  Not sure if that's a good or a bad thing.
  2. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
    Never trying, absolutely.
  3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
    Society dictates that we do certain things.  Responsibility is important, and we obviously can't do "fun" things all the time.  I prefer to find something to enjoy about every task I have, that way I AM actually doing something I like.
  4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
    I think that's true of everyone.  We all say more than we actually do.  That's just the way humans are.
  5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
    I would eliminate hatred.
  6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
    My dream is to one day open a children's theatre in an area where unprivileged children can have easy access.  I would love to create an educational program using theatre to teach kids all sorts of character-building lessons as well as marketable skills like public speaking, carpentry, sewing, painting, and other skills you use in theatre that can be used in the real world.
  7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
    I believe in doing a good job, in giving 110% no matter what.  So yes, I'm doing what I believe in.  
  8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
    I don't think I would live differently.  I may have started my family sooner, but otherwise, I'm pretty happy with the way I live my life.
  9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
    For the most part, I've been able to make the decisions that control my life.  Some have been good and some have been bad, but they have all been mine.
  10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
    Doing the right things, absolutely.  I always try to do what's right.
  11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire.  They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend.  The criticism is distasteful and unjustified.  What do you do?
    Defend her.  They may not know her very well and need to be informed about the quality of her character.
  12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
    Live with passion and compassion.  If you truly do this, you will have a wonderful life.
  13. Would you break the law to save a loved one?
    Yes.  Without hesitation.
  14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?
    Usually I try not to jump to "insanity."  So many creative people are initially misunderstood, so I try not to do that.
  15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
    I like to think I think differently than most people.  But that may not be true.
  16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?
    Because people are individuals and different things make us happy.  It's what makes us interesting and unique.
  17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?  What’s holding you back?
    Self-publishing my novel.  Time is holding me back right now.  I need to edit it before sending it off.
  18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
    I may have some resentment left from my previous marriage.  I may be upset about the years lost because of it.  I am also holding on to some resentment toward a boss who laid me off a few years ago, because it started a very difficult time in my life. 
  19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?
    I would love to move to Ireland.  It's so beautiful there.
  20. Do you push the elevator button more than once?  Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?
    I push once.  If I don't think I actually pushed hard enough, I push again.
  21. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
    Joyful simpleton.  
  22. Why are you, you?
    DNA, experiences, nature and nurture.  Everything I am and everything I have been through makes me who I am.
  23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
    Most of the time, I like to think I am the kind of friend I want to have.  I try to always think of the other person and help people as much as I can.  
  24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
    Since I have been through this before and I know exactly how awful it feels, losing touch with a good friend who lives nearby is absolutely worse.  
  25. What are you most grateful for?
    My family - son, husband, parents, sister, niece and nephews.
  26. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
    The only way to never be able to make new memories is to be dead, right?  I don't like that option!
  27. Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
    Sometimes you just know.  Other times you have to challenge.
  28. Has your greatest fear ever come true?
    In a way, yes.  And it really wasn't that bad.
  29. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset?  Does it really matter now?
    Not really, but at the time it was very important, so that doesn't minimize it at all.
  30. What is your happiest childhood memory?  What makes it so special?
    Christmas.  Every year, Christmas was special because my parents always made it special.
  31. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
    Our honeymoon.  ;)
  32. If not now, then when?
    Some other time.  ;)
  33. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?
    Absolutely nothing.  Just a little time.
  34. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?
  35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?
    Because religion is a man-made institution.
  36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?
    Yes, it's possible.  It's difficult, but possible.
  37. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?
    Yes.  I would travel with my husband and my son.  And probably my parents too!
  38. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?
    More work I actually enjoy.  I don't like doing a job I don't enjoy.
  39. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?
    No.  Every day is different and special.
  40. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?
    Um.  Never?
  41. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?
    I would try to visit everyone I care about.  Family and friends.
  42. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?
    Absolutely not.  Being attractive or famous is not worth 10 years with my loved ones.
  43. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
  44. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?
    When you decide it's the right thing to do.
  45. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
    Because we judge ourselves harshly when we make mistakes, and because society expects us to be completely perfect, so when we do make a mistake, it's tragic.
  46. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
    Nothing.  I don't worry about how people judge me.
  47. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
    Almost all the time.
  48. What do you love?  Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?
    My family, writing, knitting, my job.  Absolutely, they have.
  49. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday?  What about the day before that?  Or the day before that?
    Maybe not the specifics, but I will remember that I had a good day and ended it with my husband and son.
  50. Decisions are being made right now.  The question is:  Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?
    I always make my own decisions.  Now that I'm married, I always make sure I get Jon's input, first.

Project 365 - Day 23

Day 23
4 Month Doctor's Appointment

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Handprint and Footprint Ornaments

We wanted to do something special for the grandparents for Nathan's first Christmas.  So where did I go?  Pinterest, of course!  I found this and was instantly inspired.  This is my account of our salt dough ornament adventure.

The Recipe

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup flour + 1/2 cup extra
  • 1 cup water
The Instructions
  • Heat oven to 200 degrees Farenheit.
  • Add 1 cup flour to the salt.
  • Add water to the mixture and stir to combine thoroughly. Use the extra flour as needed to result in a fairly dry dough ball. When giving the dough the fingerprint test (press your finger into the dough), your finger should pull away cleanly.
  • Sprinkle flour on counter and place your dough ball onto the surface. 
  • Roll it out with a rolling pin until it is about an inch thick.
  • Use a cookie cutter of the correct size or the rim of a drinking glass (or some other round object of the correct size) to cut out the round ornaments.  
  • Continue to roll remainder of dough into a ball, roll out flat, and cut into circles until all dough is used.
  • Press hand or foot into the flat dough circle, making sure to get a good impression.
  • Place ornaments onto wax paper and wax paper onto cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 200 degrees for 2-3 hours or until ornaments are no longer doughy. 
  • Remove from oven, cool, and paint if desired.
Sounds simple, right?  But nothing is ever simple when we are involved!  We decided to double the recipe, because the pin I found said the recipe would make 3 handprints, and our plan was to do three hands and three feet, that way we would have a set for my parents and for Jon's mom, and then one set for us.  We found a cookie cutter we liked from a box of 101 cookie cutters we bought several years ago and have never used, and got started trying to make the dough.  Something you should know about where we live - it's humid.  All the time.  Even in mid-December, it's as humid as a sauna.  So the dough never turned into a "fairly dry dough ball."  Keep in mind if you live in a humid place, you will need A LOT more flour than the recipe calls for, which makes more dough.  We had so much of this stuff when we were finished that we had to come up with other uses for it.  And that's why we ended up with all these:

Yes, you do see dog paws, dog bones, and little gingerbread people.  We had way too much dough!  I do love the dog paws, though, and the bones will be painted and each dog's name will be printed on one with a metallic Sharpie or painted on with some cool paint.  We haven't finished those yet, they are sitting on my craft desk right now.  

Anyway, we baked them for something like 5 hours, and then we discovered they were still doughy on the back, so we turned them over and baked them for another couple of hours.  In the end, this gift took longer than any other gift we gave, but they turned out SO CUTE that I don't even care.  See...

Sorry for the blurry photo, it's from my phone.  I love the paint we ended up using - it was just a nice acrylic craft paint that we got at Hobby Lobby.  We also glazed them with a glittery ceramic glaze, which gave them some nice sparkle.  Christmas ornaments should always sparkle, in my opinion!  

Here's the blue paint we used: Metallic Blue Pearl
And the white: Titanium White
And the glaze: Sparkle Glaze

A few tips.  
- If you are trying to do this with a small baby, tap his or her palm a few times with your fingers to get them to open up their hand all the way.  I don't know why this works, but it does.  Remember, if you don't get a good impression, it's okay.  You can roll it back into a ball and flatten it to start over.  Nothing is set in stone until it is baked.  
- If you are doing dog paws, just put the dough on the cookie sheet and then put the cookie sheet onto the floor.  Hold a treat in one hand and pick up the dog's paw in the other.  If they will sit and stay, your job will be easier.  If not, you will be wrestling a dog for an hour or two.  If you can pick up the paw and direct it to the dough, you can get the impression fairly easily.  
- If you want to make a hole for a ribbon to hang it on a Christmas tree, use a straw and just poke through before you bake.  This make the perfect hole for a small ribbon.  
- Choose a ribbon that complements your colors.  Ours have snowmen on them in the same blue as the ornament.  
- Get some sort of Sharpie or metallic marker with a fine enough point that you can write something, but not so fine that you can't see it, and write the child's name and the year on the ornament, either in front or on back.  Grandparents love to have dates on their crafts.  

So that's pretty much it!  This is a really fun craft to do together, and the grandparents loved it.  You should totally consider doing one of these for your next gift opportunity if you haven't already.  And now I'm going back to Pinterest to see what our next craft will be...

Project 365 - Day 22

Day 22

Monday, January 21, 2013

Dear Nathan (4 months old)

Dear Nathan,

You are four months old!  It's hard to believe you've only been with us for four months.  Our life has changed so much since you arrived.  All for the better, I assure you!  The first month, we were mostly focused on just keeping you alive.  I was sure I was going to break you or something!  But you got bigger and stronger, and you started gaining weight and staying awake longer.  You started showing us a personality.  And what a personality it is!  You're bright, funny, and sweet.  You love to cuddle and you love to laugh.  But not when there's a camera around.  Then, you like to hide your face or just stare blankly at the camera.  There are some rare occasions when we are able to snap a picture of you smiling, like the one above.  We love it when we are able to do that!

Here's a special milestone for you.  Yesterday, we started feeding you baby food. Your first food was sweet potatoes, and you loved them!  We took a video, which I'm sure we will show you one day and it will completely humiliate you, but know that we think you are so special and cute.  And we love you very much. You have brightened our lives so much already.  We honestly can't wait to watch you become the person you are going to be.

Mom (and Dad)

Project 365 - Day 21

Day 21
A lazy dog


Just a few more adjustments and the new layout will be exactly the way I want it... for now!  I wish changing templates was so easy I could do it every week or month.  You know me, I love variety.  But this one is good for now and I love some of the new features it offers, especially all those nifty social icons up at the top so you can find me anywhere!

Some things I plan to do in the future.
- Monthly "Dear Baby" posts
- A monthly tutorial of some kind
- A weekly journal post

And some other things I haven't figured out yet.  I'm hoping to get to the point where my daily posts are not just my photos from Project 365.  I want them to have some real content.  Time to write an editorial calendar, I guess!  More on that later.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pardon Our Progress...

Revamping the blog.  Please pardon the bizarre things that are happening right now!  I'll get this template working perfectly by the end of the weekend.  I hope!

Project 365 - Day 17

 Day 17
Snow Clouds?

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Project 365 - Day 1

Day One
Bayfront Park

101 in 1001

Although I had some time left on my original 101 in 1001 list, and over 3/4 of the list complete, I decided to start over and make a new list.  Mainly because so many of the items on my list were written before Jon and I got married and before we had Nathan, so my priorities have changed somewhat.  So now I have a new list.  I made a new page for it and everything.  One of the items on the list is to blog every day, so you will be seeing lots of content for as long as I can manage to keep it up.