Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bookstore Bargain Bins

I love scrounging around in bookstore bargain bins for design inspiration! This find is one of my favorites -- 1950s advertising!

Home is Where the Heart Is!

Home is also where you drink Baileys at 11am out of a "Freedom Is Not Free" mug and by Noon say: "I get my best drinking ideas when writing Baileys."

-Where your mom grills you for taking your Kindle to the bathroom:

Mom: Why do you need your Kindle to take a shower?!

Me (with Napoleon-Dynamite-like exasperation): Because, I don't know, maybe I'll take a bath! Because, I don't know, maybe I'll use bubbles! Maybe I'll light candles!! Maybe I'll use a loofah!!

Mom (nonchalantly): Well, don't use my loofah.

-Where you listen to the scanner and watch Cops at the same time.

-Where mom and dad help with the baby so you can drink wine... and blog.


Friday, December 28, 2012

To NY!

On our way home to NY for New Year's on this quiet, moonlit night! Let the fun begin!

Stopped for dinner... I covered my fries with ketchup and bragged to Mark, "Hey, check it out! Tunbridge Fair style!" He took a sharp turn, and they landed ketchup-side down in my lap. "Hey!! Wait!!! Ahh! Pull over!" Another sharp turn, and my fish burger fell in my purse. After salvaging both, E asked for some of my food. I gave her a veggie pouch instead and said, "Join the food fight!" She took this suggestion literally, squeezed the pouch with all her baby strength, and sprayed it all over the back seat. FML.

Change of clothes, and we're back on the road! Hope to be home by midnight!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fun, Little Redesign!

I was inspired by E's blanket to do a little redesign/refocus of the blog.

Strangely, or maybe not so strangely, I like the Dream Diary version better... so much so that I almost made this site the dream diary version, but the day and night themes together make me happy.

Anyhoo, it was a design itch that I finally scratched. I'm sure it'll turn into a design rash that I can only cure by starting all over again in a few months.

And I'm okay with that.

I See You!

Ever since having E, I feel like I see the world differently. I see life, light, and love. The rest is just a sliver of darkness.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Day a Guinea Pig Saved My Life

Is it possible that E could have hit the "Terrible 2s" stage a tad early today?

I took her out to eat at Moe's and after the waiters and waitresses greeted us with their signature holler, "Welcome to Moe's!!!" everything went downhill.

I wish that I could write this all out and twist it into a long-winded, comical scene, but it just wasn't that funny. So here's the rundown:

1. Waited in line for 20 minutes.
2. There were no high chairs.
3. Got a glass of water with no help.
4. Spilled water... everywhere.
5. Had to ask for help cleaning up.
6. The waitress replied, "Why?"
7. E tried the table-cloth-pull trick with the paper they put under your food in your meal basket.
8. Queso got all over my shirt.
9. It didn't look like queso...
10. E took her socks and shoes off.
11. E had a temper tantrum and threw herself on the floor.
12. E rolled under the table.
13. I got my meal to-go and ate 3 bites in the car before E threw her second tantrum.
14. E cried for bouncy balls and dogs.

I spotted a Petco. Before I knew it, we were speeding through the aisles. Everything is a dog to E, so I couldn't lose. The only thing different was a "shish" (fish). All other species = dog. Her favorite dog was a guinea pig. That little guy was active too, thank God. She watched him for a full half hour -- ducking in and out of his little igloo, playing peek-a-boo with her and drinking out of his water bottle. He even ate some of his wood chips -- toddler comedy gold!

We also saw birds and a dog getting a haircut. I circled the store about 25 times then went outside, and we saw a plane. "Whoa..." she said.

It was pretty much the baby version of Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Mama FTW!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Mama Do!

I have a very independent child. When she was only a few months old, I taught her "Mama do!" and said it in response to every task she attempted to do on her own before her time, like making toast.

Now "Mama do" has taken on new meaning. It is a war cry, a soothing "I'll help," and a shout of success when I accomplish something I feel only Mark could have handled.

This morning, I woke up at E's usual wakey time - 4am and couldn't get back to sleep. The joke was on me as it was the first time in about a week that she kept sleeping. I whispered to Mark that I was heading downstairs for a bowl of cereal. (We're staying at his parents' house for Christmas.)

I got myself settled at the kitchen table with a full bowl of Lucky Charms. As I crunched away, I noticed the box in the den containing E's big Christmas present -- a kitchen set. Due to our schedule this year, I had to ask Santa to bring her gifts early. The trade-off was that he wouldn't have time to assemble the kitchen.

I figured Mark would do it, so I wholeheartedly agreed with Santa's suggestion. But here was my chance to get a head start on a little Christmas magic! "Mama do!!" I thought.

I opened the box to find (what looked like) a pre-assembled set. "Easy!" I thought... Then the instructions: Place both feet at base of kitchen and lift. And in small print: Then call your chiropractor.

After the kitchen was snapped in at its highest level and my back practically snapped in half, the next instruction was to attach all the extra shelves and extended counter with screws, but I had no screwdriver. My father-in-law's desk is in the den, so I started my search there. I sat down in his office chair and said, "Dear Lord, please help me find a screwdriver." I started with the top right drawer where you would expect to find pens. What I found instead was a tray filled with about 35 screwdrivers. I looked up at the ceiling like, "Really, big guy?" and added a "Thank you, Jesus!" I picked a pretty blue screwdriver and got to work. Mama do!

First step, strip all the screws. That's how Mama rolls... but I got the shelves secured and proceeded to place the plates, pots, and pans in their proper places. The rest of the dishes went in the sink -- just like at home!

I sat back and admired my handiwork. It was almost time for E to wake up, and I thought I might end up like Henry Fonda's character in Yours, Mine, and Ours when Lucille Ball comes downstairs Christmas morning and finds him in a closet putting together the last of the presents. And I remembered my dad, who built my sister and I a wooden kitchen set one year and spent countless Christmas nights assembling dollhouses, bikes, setting up video game consoles and stereos. I sent him an early morning "I love you so much" text message.

He also was the one who got downright pissed off when something didn't work correctly, was missing batteries, or easily snapped in half.

I always consoled him, my entire life, told him how we could fix it, that it didn't matter, that we could return it. But let me tell you, after 3 months of waiting for this kitchen set, packing it for a road trip to our in-law's, and an hour of assembly, when that gosh darn, freaking door wouldn't close on E's play oven, I wanted to hurt someone. And I had 35 screwdrivers within reach to do so.

But my can-do, Mama-do attitude came to the rescue. I used a piece of duct tape on the latch to create a little more resistance and keep the door closed.

And in the end, it really didn't matter. E was much more content playing with her bouncy balls than the kitchen set, and I was okay with that.

I love being her mommy, and I loved creating some special Christmas moments for her. On to the next!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

All the Single Ladies

Any single ladies out there? I'm convinced that Dick's Sporting Goods is the place to pick up men, especially at this time of year.

In fact, I'm not so sure they don't sell them there -- too easy? Today while Christmas shopping, I navigated my cart through aisle after aisle of Burlington's finest.

So, I would like a lady to try the following and get back to me about it, preferably before Christmas:

1. Go to Dick's
2. Choose a sporting section -- probably best to choose something you wouldn't mind your future husband doing every weekend for the rest of your lives.
3. Fishing, you say?
4. Go to that aisle.
5. Scope out a fine catch from afar.
6. Approach him nonchalantly while pretending to shop.
7. Don't be skanky -- check for a ring.
8. Say something alluring like, "Nice rod." (This will probably catch his attention even if you're not in the fishing aisle.)
9. Make eye contact, smile...
10. Report back to me.

ABC, Easy As 123!

New digital printable in my shop! I made this one from a photo of E's play mat.

Now I'm off to wrap presents and get ready for this crazy little thing called Christmas!

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

If you haven't seen the movie, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Steve Carell's character, after finding out that the world is going to end due to an inevitable impact with an asteroid, gets drunk on Windex, I think, and passes out in the park. When he wakes up, he finds that a dog has been tied to him, and a note left on his shirt reads, "Sorry."

He keeps the dog, calls him "Sorry," and nonchalantly takes care of him for the rest of the movie. Both he and the dog simply accept that their fates are intertwined. While Steve Carell and Keira Knightly fumble their way through awkward moments, separations, and misunderstandings, Sorry is the constant. By Steve's side, his needs are few -- his routine, simple.

I have no qualms about comparing my love for Ellie to Sorry's love and loyalty. From the moment I knew she existed, I felt that she was mine, I was hers. I could physically feel her in my arms, her warmth, her joy, long before I held her little body close to mine. Though I often compare her to a dog (as she chases after balls, scrounges for food on the floor, and rolls around playfully on her back), I'm the one who sits at attention when she cries, leaps with joy when she comes in the room, and would gladly give my life for hers.

So, though I laughed at how the movie portrayed the characters' reactions to the inevitable end (particularly the guy mowing his lawn, the woman watering her flowers), today, even when presented with the slim chance that the world may end tomorrow, even when I thought I might do something daring like... make a really good dinner, skip doing dishes, and stay up way too late eating dessert, I didn't.

E and I ate leftovers. I cleaned up, gave her a bath, and put her to bed.

I was, with my master by my side, quite satisfied and content with my simple routine, warm snuggles, and a good bowl of scraps. Had the weather been a little warmer, I may have even mowed the lawn.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Digital Vintage Printable - Church in Bethel, Vermont

I was inspired to create a vintage digital printable of the Christ Church in Bethel, VT after my unexpected road trip with E this weekend.

Available for download in my Etsy shop!

This is An Extraordinary Life

This week, when my life was feeling particularly disorganized and chaotic, I remembered a quote from Little Women (the 1994 movie -- I can't remember if this is in the book): "Jo, you have so many extraordinary gifts; how can you expect to lead an ordinary life?"  

I don't mean to sound like I'm bragging. I feel that we all have extraordinary gifts that we try to polish and perfect. Consequently, it creates a little chaos, and if I can just learn to accept that as part of the journey, I think I'll be alright.

Anyway, I'm having a very Little Women Christmas season. Presents are hard to come by, so I've been
baking and crocheting happily.

Over the weekend, we went to my in-law's house. I'd been bopping around town without a coat, as mine from last year is too bulky to allow me to fit through doorways while carrying a baby around.My mother- and sister-in-law (Betsy and Kim) always come to the rescue in these situations. First, Kim suggested we visit Becca's and Nathan's pottery studio while Mark watched E -- a rejuvenating baby-free outing! Then Betsy quickly bundled me up in Kim's winter coat.

"Hey, wait a minute," Kim baulked, "That's my coat!" Betsy's generosity knows no bounds. She would gladly give you the coat off of anyone's back if you needed it, including her own. This got us laughing so hard, as Kim was left coat-less. I, on the other hand, the one who generally wears safe colors like blacks, grays, whites, and pastels, was stuffed into Kim's neon green jacket. My sister-in-law bravely dresses in, matches, and coordinates bold colors -- with a talent for fashion I wish I had.

As Kim grabbed another coat from the closet, she insisted I could wear hers for the day but would need it back. The funniest thing is that, I could tell Kim genuinely felt bad about this, even though it was her favorite coat! She quickly dashed off to the kitchen coat closet and, with equal generosity, pulled out her winter coat from last year. It was like new, and she insisted I keep this one. It was neon pink.

It was also lightweight, not too bulky, and warm. I happily accepted!

At the pottery studio, I treated myself to a beautiful hand-made mug. The artist, Becca, has hands about my size, so in shaping the clay, she creates mugs that fit my hands perfectly. I thought this was a selfish purchase, but Kim made me feel blessed to find a mug so perfectly suited for me. Becca had homemade hot cocoa brewing, and I wandered around the studio with my little cup of holiday cheer, bundled in my bright coat.

After, we stopped at the flower shop which was all decorated for Christmas with old-fashioned nutcrackers and sparkly antique ornaments. I found a thick, knitted, purple hat that I tried on, complete with a softball-size pom-pom. Betsy and Kim decided that this would complete the ensemble.

So, here I am, on a Wednesday morning -- drinking my hot cup of tea, cradling my homemade mug in my hands, bouncing around town in my neon pink jacket and my purple pom-pom hat (I won't leave home without either). I carry with me Betsy's warm mom-hugs, and radiate Kim's colorful Christmas cheer. I feel truly loved and taken care of and can't think of anything else I want for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fly Away - Digital Vintage Printable

I've uploaded another digital vintage printable to my Etsy shop! I'm having so much fun making these and can't wait to create the next one! I'm thinking about doing a landscape next...

It's been a creative week so far! I've crocheted 6 balls for E's stocking and gotten lots of freelance work done. Unfortunately, the housework is getting away from me, but it's too late to worry about it now. I'll see how tomorrow goes.

Well, look at me, all anxiety free, in a messy house!

Monday, December 17, 2012

My Life, Take It

Last week a woman in the supermarket approached me and gushed over how beautiful you looked -- with your big brown eyes and little ringlets starting to take shape and frame your precious face. She asked me what motherhood was like and expressed so much excitement about being a mom herself someday.

I told her what I tell most future expecting moms -- something like, "It's amazing, but be prepared for your life to be over. You can't do anything you used to do." I even told one of my coworkers, "Imagine you get home tonight, and instead of going out to dinner with your wife or out to a movie, you have to begin a very detailed routine that involves making dinner, making your baby's dinner, feeding him or her, giving a bath, making and cleaning bottles, and rocking for 3+ hours until the baby and you pass out from exhaustion, usually much later than your usual bedtime and with a possible 2am feeding looming. Then start the process all over again the next night." He stared at me blankly, with terror, I think, and I quickly rushed into, "Oh, but it's still wonderful!!!" in an attempt to grasp and preserve all of his sweet, sparkly dreams of fatherhood as they fell to the floor with a loud, awkward crash.

[The truth is that it is wonderful, and most of the time, a day filled with baby giggles and first words makes a difficult night much more bearable.]

Unfortunately, last night was more of a "my life is over" night than a "this is just a tough evening" night. After 3 straight hours of rocking you at Nana's and Grandpa's, I burst into tears and took my aggression out with a swift punch to the mattress. I finally handed you off to your dad who eventually got you to sleep, and we all passed out at about 3am.

I woke up twice after to check on you. Just as I was settling into a deep sleep, at about 6am, you began to cry. Your dad leaned over to me and said, "Hey, she's up." According to our alternating schedule, it was my turn to be up with you in the morning.

I scooped you up in my arms, got you some breakfast, and proceeded to get angry about how the night and morning had unfolded, while you happily ate a banana and some Cheerios.

My life as I knew it was over. I used to go to Nana's and Grandpa's and watch movies, play games and, at the end of a long day, crawl into Nana's cozily-made-up guest bed, and sleep for 10+ hours.

That last thought was most appealing. I suddenly became very determined to get some more sleep and thought a car ride may help you doze off. So I bundled you up at 7am and hit the road. I drove to the neighboring town for a drive-thru cup of coffee. Halfway there, you started crying. I quickly turned on the radio. The Christmas station was playing an old-fashioned version of I'll Be Home for Christmas. The melody was gentle and calming.

You stopped to watch the world go by. I did the same, then noticed you had drifted off.

When I got back to the house and saw you still sleeping in the back seat, I passed the house and drove the entire route again while you slept.

I relaxed. I breathed and let go of my anger. I also allowed myself to let go of how I was defining what my life is, what it should be.

In doing so, it could, instead (in a moment), be cold air on my face, a warm car, a crying baby.

My life wasn't over. It just wasn't sleeping in on a Saturday morning or seeing the Eiffel Tower.

I found my life to be, rather unexpectedly, rather blissfully, a warm cup of coffee, a dirt road, Christmas music, and you.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Custom 5x7 Christmas Printable

I've added a new digital, customizable 5x7 Christmas printable (That's a mouthful!) to my Etsy shop! Print it on cardstock, frame, and voila!

I'm having fun experimenting with the digital paper cut-out style. There's one illustration of mine in particular I really want to recreate with this style. But it's almost 1am, and E is stirring, so I better sleep while I can!

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Hello, friends! A few new things...
  1. Some of you have asked if you can subscribe to the blog via email. I've added that feature (see right column below). Let me know if you have any questions.

    Please note that this applies only to YMIS, not my YMIS Dream Diary, but I've also added the same feature to that blog. So, mosey on over there, and submit your email address if you want to know when a new vision overwhelms me! Ha!

    I'm considering separating these two blogs more to keep my personal life stories at YMIS a little more private. There will probably always be a link from YMIS to the YMIS Dream Diary  but maybe not from the dream diary back to here. Capisce?
  2. Oh, and I've actually blogged tonight... always a good thing! [new posts below and in the dream diary]
  3. I'm still trying to find a creative focus for my blog/entire life. Last weekend, I met this super sweet woman from California who designs jewelry for Tendai Designs, and she made me feel like I could do more with... everything -- blog, design, art. It was really inspiring! I've decided that the best way to get to that point is to get creative with multiple media just for the fun/heck of it, to rediscover myself a bit as a mom and as an (almost) 30-year-old. It's kind of like the scene in Runaway Bride when Julia Roberts has to decide how she likes her eggs... minus the running away and minus the... eggs. More to come on that...!
  4. E is amazing (nothing new)... just an FYI I'm throwing out there... I love her. :-)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

All Better

I just want to remember this week. We're all sick, fighting some little cold. E has been suffering the worst with congestion and a dry cough. We're all pretty miserable, but she still has more energy than Mark and I combined, and she manages to bring this light into the house that's so precious -- even though she's sicker than the rest of us.

Today, I came home and plopped down in the recliner to rest. I rarely do that when I first get in, as she's desperate for her bottle and some rest time. I hustle around getting a fresh diaper for her, washing bottles, and collecting all of her pre-nap items.

Today, I just sat. I could tell my eyes looked tired, and I must have seemed not quite myself. She got out of my arms and crawled across the living room, through the door into her bedroom. She sat down just inside the door, so I could see only her legs and feet sticking out. I get nervous any time she's not completely in my line of sight, so I decided I better go after her. Just as I was about to get up, her little head poked around the corner. She had a huge, playful grin on her face. This is the hide-and-seek/peek-a-boo game.

She does this a lot in the afternoon but rarely right after we get home. I almost felt like she knew I wasn't feeling well and was trying to cheer me up. At the very least, she was trying to get a reaction out of me even if only for a very selfish reason -- so that I would play with her. It worked. I started laughing, and before I could get up to chase after her, she came crawling back to the recliner as fast as she could.

She stood up holding onto my leg for support. Then she started scratching my knee. I didn't know what she was doing until she looked up at me with a mischievous grin on her face and said, "Ticka, ticka, ticka!"

Any time that she's sad, I sing, dance, or tickle her. To see her try to do the same to make me smile melted my heart. I like to think that this means, even at 11-months-old, she understands the concept of taking care of someone. And I felt incredibly loved and blessed to be that someone today.

I Hate Popcorn Farts

I only get out to the movies about once a month now (instead of 1-2 times a week before E was born). I really cherish that time to myself, in a quiet theater, with no interruptions. I can enjoy a movie, beginning to end, in peace. So, I'm generally pretty happy and not too quick to complain if the movie wasn't great, if there were kids chatting during a key plot point, if the guy sitting directly in front of me was sporting a mohawk. The one and only thing I can't stand are popcorn farts... I'm certain they're from the balding guy behind me, with the faint smirk on his face. His nasty gas quickly melds with the smell of freshly popped popcorn to form a gagging blend of corny rancidness.

I think it's a valid reason to ask for a ticket refund, and I would not hesitate to explain to the cashier my reason for leaving mid-movie.

I don't know why I'm writing about this... but to justify it: The name of the blog isn't "Your Mom is Amazing."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Little Human

For months now, E's main goal has been destruction. No folded t-shirt is safe, no tidy bin of toys, no upright box of Minute Rice.

The lazy susan is always spinning, socks being taken off. Every time I show her how to put together a puzzle, after I look at her with pride and satisfaction with my accomplishment, she claps then quickly pulls it apart.

Three stories into a block tower, and our baby Godzilla saves us the trouble of finishing it by kicking it over.

Though I'm a firm believer in the creativity of destruction, I have to admit I've been expectantly waiting for a sign of creation, a glimpse of her inner architect, graphic designer, or sculptor.

Then, yesterday, it happened! She took a break from opening our mail to play with her blocks. What caught my attention was how quiet she was...

I turned around in time to see her very carefully (with both hands) set a bouncy ball on top of a cylindrical, hollow block to make a little tower.

My heart stopped. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life. It was vertically symmetrical yet the height of the cylinder elongated the design, a lovely gift of horizontal asymmetry. And the color choice! A glowing ball of vintage yellow atop a dark purple cylinder. It was modern yet traditional... A perfect balance of old and new -- a tiny tower of order in a chaotic wasteland.

"Ellie!!!" I gasped. "Look what you made!!" I rushed to her side and praised her stacking skills with an almost violent level of enthusiasm.

She smiled proudly then crawled into the dining room to eat a pea off of the floor.

My little starving artist! My little human.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

80s Digital Scrapbooking Cards

Hi, all! I've finally gotten my Etsy shop up and running to sell some of my digital scrapbooking card sets! This is my first and only download for now. More to come!

Here is a sample of what you can do with these cards. To download them, visit my shop!