Archive for ‘toddler’

December 31, 2015

~*happy new year’s eve 2015*~

Joel in headlock with Cam on his shoulders.jpgJoel and Arden looking cozy on couch.jpgI don’t know about you, but for me, this was the fastest moving December in all of time. Like blink of an eye, it was gone! Thanksgiving ended, there was caroling with Arden’s Girl Scout troop (the cold rolled in just in time for that!), making holiday cookies & dough ornaments with Arden, festive Christmas cards, and the whirlwind of shopping. Suddenly, it was already Christmas Eve. Normally, I am super awful at getting the tree up. Most years, it has debuted ON Christmas Eve at like 3:00 a.m. (after we get back from Cleveland and wrapping presents) Seriously. This year, adamant that it show up a bit earlier (and to make amends for getting in trouble at school that day) with much muttering under her breath, Arden herself pulled out the boxes and drug up from the basement. All 3 pieces of our Christmas tree. It was heartwarming, sweet and I was super thankful since my tailbone still killed from falling on it (HARD) roller skating. Erin in front of old door in dining room.jpg

At the start of each new year, I swear I’m going to enjoy every.single.moment. Take it in as I experience it, instead of rushing from one thing to the next.  I’ve gotten better at making time for the important things, like fun and not just working. I suppose having a demanding toddler makes you do that. Sort of. (it also makes you feel crazy!) Winter rolls on for seemingly ever. Spring takes it sweet time arriving, but once it does, it’s glorious!  The school break in Summer goes way too fast, then boom, Fall is here and petal to the metal, one holiday after another and POOF! it’s over. That’s how my life feels.

This year, I tried to be more accepting, less critical. Embracing flaws and easing up on expectations of perfection, for myself and my family. I dare say, they like me a bit better because of it. I’m not quite as stressed and it teaches Arden that some things don’t need to be just so because migraines aren’t worth it. For now, I will strive to do better. To work hard, accomplish dreams and bring more happiness into our home. Wishing everyone the same for your 2016! Our house with Christmas lights.jpg

 

 

 

May 26, 2015

‘A’ is for Allergies & Assassins

Seasonal allergies hit us pretty hard this past weekend. Between the heat and the breeze, the seemingly innocent, white cottonwood fluff whirled around everywhere. We laughed at the black Chimney Swift that lives in our eves as it attacked a puff floating by. With it’s nest near, it turns out, it clearly had the right idea. Later than evening, while trying to escape a slight fever, sinus pressure so bad it made my jaw ache and a nose running like a faucet, I finally fell into a fitful sleep.

The next thing I knew, I am part of a small team of highly trained, covert, black-clad individuals planning a sneak attack. It turned out that one of our people had defected from our operation. There was a high probability that the perpetrator was going to deflect to the enemy lines. We had many adversaries, each being more deadly than the last, so we were sent on this mission to take out the rogue. Good intel led us to an abandoned mining entrance on the side of a mountain, where our former colleague was in hiding. We moved quickly, checking for possible traps and mines along the way. The defector didn’t anticipate our arrival, at least not so soon. Working together, my team was able to take her out adeptly.

In a stunning twist of the plot, it seemed not everyone in the group was apprised of whom exactly it was that we were hunting. Upon seeing the fallen female, a male member lost composure, suddenly turning and firing on the rest of us. We later learned that the two had recently begun seeing each other on the sly. Fraternization was strictly prohibited for this very reason. It was sad, but with heavy fire coming my way, there was no time for sympathies. I had to act fast, because at this point in the game, it was each person for themselves.

etsy Mystery intruige print copy

I stumbled out of the rocky caverns back into the blinding daylight just in time to see the new foe make his escape. Quickly starting my hidden ATV, I sped after him. He was surprisingly fast, using the rugged mountainside to his advantage. Seizing an opportunity when a lone flatbed truck passed by, I sped up and jumped my 4 wheeler directly on the back. The landing was a bit turbulent, but this option offered me a chance to focus. We engaged in a Western type shoot-out, me using my vehicle as a type of shield, while barely balancing on the edge of a moving truck. My gun was an odd combination of a taser and a mini-harpoon. It was around a turn when I finally nailed him. I watched as he fell down the mountainside and landed on the rough pavement. I’d have to send a fresh team to ensure he was dead. I didn’t need any surprise visits seeking vengeance in the future.

At this juncture, I awoke when Arden popped her head in our room, before heading to play with Cam in his crib. I excitedly relayed my adventures to a groggy Joel, then stumbled downstairs listening to Arden happily chat about the newest addition to her Camping/Planetarium diorama. Bathrooms with no toilets. Because she doesn’t know how to make a toilet out of paper and the villagers can just wipe it up as they go. (Ugh!) While Joel brings Cam down and runs to the store, I begin making fried potatoes for breakfast. In a few minutes, I check on Cam only to find that his diaper is so overly full that the inner gel balls are leaving a sticky trail behind him as as he quickly Army crawls along the floor. Scooping him up, I peel off his pajamas to wash him in the kitchen sink and resign myself to thinking that (for now) only in my dreams, am I a badass.

June 16, 2014

*~Ode to a Stepdad~*

day of regal roofing and restoration

It was just this past year that Arden started comprehending that Joel was her step-dad. Around the time when it was her turn to bring in photos to school for ‘All About Me Day’. Explaining to the class about herself, her family, her hobbies and favorite things. It was due to having to answer her classmates questions of who was in each photo with her. There was one of her and I. One of her and her dad. One of her and Joel and several of the 3 of us from our wedding. It was easy to say “Oh this is my Daddy or Mama’, but as it turned out, not everyone has a Joel.

joel and arden christmas day 2010

So I tried my best to explain this title of ‘Step-dad’ and in the end nothing much changed. She knows she has 2 main men in her life that love her. Except now she knows how to refer to Joel in case of introductions. Up until this point though, when she was 4, almost 5, she would tell me stories of how Joel held her in the hospital when she was born. I thought it was so sweet that I didn’t want to burst her bubble until I really had to. In reality, he came into our lives several months before she turned 2. So as far back as she can remember he’s always been with us.

happy

Joel and I got married right after Arden turned 3. While most of her youngest memories have been wiped clean, she still recalls that day all.the.time. “I remember holding Joel’s hand and waiting for you to come out to the backyard with us”, she’ll state proudly. (Referring to the music playing as I walked down the aisle.) It’s truly her memory talking, as we don’t have any photos of that actual part of the ceremony displayed in the house. Just this morning she asked me if she had been my flowergirl. When I said “Yes”, she demanded to know why she hadn’t any flower petals to throw, as that was what flower girls did. Honestly, at the time she was so busy entertaining the guests by running in circles and making funny faces that there really seemed to be no point.

wedding371 holding hands with Arden cropped

The first time Arden met Joel, she was so small, but took to him immediately. She called him by his name as soon as I told her what it was. Which was impressive, because she was just starting to really talk in 2 word sentences. In return, not having kids of his own or really being around any, he talked to her like she was an adult. He asked her how her day was or how she felt about something. Which thrilled her beyond belief. He made her feel special and never, ever excluded her. Whenever we’d hug, she come over and wiggle around to be picked up so she could get in on the hugging action. She still does. As she got older, she started calling him ‘The Joel’. When is ‘The Joel’ going to be home from work, or I have ‘The Joel’s’ nose, Mama. (Again, not looking to have to explain that in more detail, til I really have to.)

This past Father’s Day, while we are expecting our son soon, but also wanting to tie in our lives up until this point, I had this keychain made for Joel. The etsy seller, Bonnie of DieCutMetalCreations was fantastic and worked fast to get it to me. I am SOOOO thankful for her hard work. The look on his face was priceless when he opened it.

joels father day gift1 copy

To all you step-dads out there, that are entered into people’s lives and changed them in amazing ways. The world is a better place because of you. THANK YOU!

(Wedding photo taken by Lisa Penzone of Pellegrini Penzone Photography)

September 26, 2013

How I became a trash-picker + Apartment Therapy’s Room for Color Contest

When I moved to Columbus from Pasadena, CA. I didn’t have much. Before leaving I purchased a compact Saturn with a roof rack and brought along what I could pack into (and onto) the car. Arriving here, I took a decent paying job training as a vending machine driver. This required me to get up at the crack of dawn, to be at the shop to take inventory and to load my truck, repetitively lifting 50lb. at a time. Oh and I also was expected to drive a 20ft. box truck on the freeway, in a large city, which I had obviously never done before. But I had a crazy positive attitude AND I needed money.

The first couple weeks were hell. I had to navigate around an unfamiliar, busy city in a hulking vehicle, sometimes parking downtown in very tight spaces, all in the name of restocking goodies. The job was very physical. I went from just riding my bike as my only form of transportation and exercise to, what felt like boot camp, a full-on complete body work out 5 days a week. I didn’t have any furniture, so I slept on the floor and my muscles ached, to say the least. It wasn’t all bad though. I could eat more than my share of cookies, candy and snack cakes without gaining an ounce. And it was all for free. One of the perks of the job. It was marvelous.

Out on my route one day, I spotted a disheveled looking dresser by the edge of the road. You would definitely say it was ugly, with green paint that could be described as the color of pond scum. Which was overlaying a darker green that peeked through in areas and could be accurately named “Mold’. I couldn’t imagine why anyone held onto this hideous thing to begin with, but I desperately needed a dresser. I pulled my truck over and upon closer examination, found that it was a very nicely constructed, solid piece. With my newly acquired strength, I hustled that 5 1/2 ft long x 3ft tall x 2ft wide bad-boy (by myself) up onto my truck (with no ramp) and was on my way.

I only lived in an apartment, so out on the balcony this beast went. I taught myself how to strip, sand, prime, paint and seal it. Being that it was my first, it didn’t turn out exactly like I would have wanted it. But I still have it 14 years later as my bedroom dresser. Since then, I’ve hauled home quite a few pieces of furniture, a lot of them for free. My daughter’s dresser and bookcase in her room. The mirrored dresser in kitchen that we used as our drink station for our wedding as well as quite a few of the lovelies in our living room. Check out our room here: Erin’s Happy to be Home Room Read about which pieces were reworked and remade to what you see now and HEY! while you are there, be sure to vote for us! We’d love to win some paint to use on Hallie-the-Duplex!

August 29, 2013

I never thought I would be a stay-at-home parent.

Once upon a time, I scoffed at the idea of staying home with a child. I couldn’t wrap my brain around the thought of caring for a little person ALL.THE.TIME. It ended up happening by circumstance. I no longer worked in an office. I became self-employed and I worked out of my home studio. My entire upstairs became devoted to my work space. I have giant shelves of card stock. Boxes upon boxes of envelopes in a rainbow of colors. The extremely sturdy, wooden built-in bookcases meant for displaying actual books and knickknacks, I immediately claimed for my own. The largest room in the house isn’t my bedroom. It’s my studio/jail were I spend most of my day designing, cutting, assembling, printing, making things. (I say jail because often times it’s quit difficult to get away from work when it’s always right here.)

Then I had a kid.

It started out innocently enough. I’d have her up in the office with me in her little blue tent. It was purchased at a yard sale for an awesome steal of five bucks. She’d lounge around and I got orders done and it was all good.

But that didn’t last long.
Because she grew.

The little tent was great for newborn-not-doing-much-of-anything-Arden, but not 7 month-old-Arden. No worries. I had a new plan! I’d keep her in a play pen AKA a pack-n-play. (These were apparently renamed from the 70’s because the new and improved devices for keeping your kid corralled in one spot, no longer collapsed on them or pinched the crap out of their arms and legs.) This would be great! I could work and she could play and everything would be jolly.

But it wasn’t.
Because she didn’t want to be exiled in a padded mesh and metal box.
She wanted to be getting into all my supplies and exploring. So she would howl at me and hold up her arms until I took her out.

She learned to pull herself up on the wooden knobs of a squat dresser that houses my ribbon stash. It sits without legs beneath the table where all my printers are lined up. Eventually becoming strong enough to stand and pull the drawers open herself, only so she could get at my supplies with her chubby little hands and dump them everywhere. There is nothing more fun than watching things fly up in the air and scatter. Nothing except maybe the reaction of my Japanime eyes getting ginormous like they might pop out of my head at any moment. She’d laugh at me as I would try not to lose my shit.

This is what I’m reminded of today as I clean up my work sArden in her baby newborn tent copyArden eating in a mess on teh floor copypace. It is currently in complete disarray and in reality has been for quite a while. She’s not so good at organization and quite frankly, neither am I. Creativity at it’s finest, right? There are scraps of card stock all over my work table. Invitation samples, print layouts and hole-punch dots from making banners. Along with pictures she’s colored, her play kitchen, a mass of dolls, puzzles, books, horses and My Little Ponies. Odds and ends of trinkets she likes to collect.

And I’m sobbing.
Because I miss her.

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