Monday, April 30, 2012

guest post: pens & a camera lens

Lovely Laura of Pens & a Camera Lens is here today.
One thing that's great about Laura's blog is how real it is. You can really sense who she is quickly. No hiding, no pretending. 
I like that a lot. 

Laura was kind enough to share a little behind-the-scenes peek of what it's like to be an author.
I’m in love with my own book character.

Let me explain, you see, I’m Laura, and my biggest passion in life is writing books. I’m no bestselling author, don’t get me wrong, but that doesn’t make me any less of an author.

You see, if you read books, you know how a well crafted character can really pull at your emotional strings, make you want them, make you cry for them, make you hate everyone in their lives for them. Readers thinks it’s frustrating when characters don’t do things the way the readers think they ought to.

Let me just say, readers have it easy. In order to be an author, you live with these characters in your head. Literally, I can’t get them out.

And, like any good author, of course my book is going to feature a very good looking guy that my main character is going to fall for – it wouldn’t be a great adventure if she didn’t.

That’s all nice and everything that she likes him, but no one ever told me what I was supposed to do when I fell for him.
See, my main character, Cassie, has it easy. I get to decide whether or not she get’s the guy.

Me? Well, I have no chance considering he’s a fictional character. As an author, I can’t blame Stephenie Meyers for having a crush on her own character, I just can’t.

After a while, readers will forget a character, find new ones to crush on, but as a writer, my characters will probably be stuck in my head until the day I die.

And there isn’t a thing I can do about it.

It’s really frustrating to be “in love” with my character and know that there probably isn’t a guy like him out there. And, I’ll probably end up marrying someone completely different from him.

It really sucks. It really does.

But honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Friday, April 27, 2012

the best things in life

Chas and his little sis, Babetta, at the screening of her film last weekend. 
Love this pic.


This week has been lovely. 
I've been sleeping in, reading birthing books, grading papers, and watching cupcake wars. 

Tuesday evening was spent going on a walk around the neighborhood (which is almost miraculous that I was physically able to do so). 
So we celebrated that feat with some frozen yogurt. 

Wednesday night, Chas and I made coconut cupcakes. From scratch. At midnight. 

Thursday was my last day of working at the hospital. 

Last night we also made homemade 7up biscuits from this amazingly perfect and easy recipe I found on Pinterest. 
Then we dropped off some cupcake love to our friends which turned into Chas playing video games with the husbands and me hanging out, talking about babies, with the wives who happen to also be preggs and kindred spirits. 

On today's agenda is my first pedicure in probably 6 years and then Thai food and games with friends. 

Gotta cram in as much sleeping, relaxing, pampering, and eating out before little cryings gets here!
And cupcakes. 
And frozen yogurt. 
Biscuits, too.

Good thing we're pros at all those activities. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

just so you know

My family's dog, Archie, apparently wears t-shirts now. 


I finally decided to do the whole Instagram photo sharing thing. 

Follow me at: 


How come no one ever told me how fun Instagram is?


Sponsorship spots are ready and available for May!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

DIY garden

True story! 

We're still talking about how much we loved spending a beautiful Saturday evening together working on our latest "project." 

And now, not only are we growing a little human, but we're also growing lettuce, green and orange bell peppers, basil, tomatoes, and raspberries! 

Grow babies, grow.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

a really great weekend

The wonder and perfectness that was this past weekend actually started on Thursday. 

Chas and I had a special celebratory dinner at Sea Salt to honor my last day of class. Last day of class and having taught for the whole school year, being pregnant basically the entire time. 
Sea Salt's margherita pizza and tiramisu is money. in. the bank. 

On Friday night, we went to see my sister-in-law's capstone film be screened at Sundance.
No big. 
And then there was pizza for a late-night dinner. 

Chas and I were amazingly productive on Saturday. 
We did the laundry, changed the bed sheets (kinda a big deal), did the dishes, scrubbed the bathroom, went to Costco for the first time together and bought the humble beginnings of our food storage, and planted a vegetable garden. 

We were feeling pretty dang self-sufficient and pretty dang accomplished by the end of the day.
We've also started to refer to ourselves as "gardeners."  

I don't think either of us remember a Saturday where we felt that happy and just all-around good about life in general. 
Funny how good old fashioned work and productivity will do that to ya. 

Sunday evening was spent at my parent's house with my family. 
Breakfast for dinner and some rousing games of badmitten in the backyard. 
With a family of five girlie girls, any kind of sports activity involves mainly screaming laughter and absolutely no regard for rules or score-keeping. 
Just the way we like it. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

34 weeks

It's funny because all the books say that you will usually feel your baby move less towards the end of pregnancy because there is less room for them to move as they grow bigger and bigger. 
But I'm feeling her rock out more than ever and her movements are becoming stronger. 

We've got a wild one on our hands. 

Lately, I've been: 

Hopping from the chocolate milk to the OJ crave train. (Meanwhile, the pizza love affair is still going strong.)
Needing a hot bath absolutely every night. 
Getting a lot of comments about how big I am, how much I "just keep on popping," and whether or not I'm carrying twins. 
Waiting for the blissful day when I can have my body back along with a more varied, cute wardrobe. 
Organizing her little closet and folding onesies and jammies.
Coming to a whole new appreciation for the ability to bend at the waist. 
Gearing up for baby showers soon. 
Getting hit hard with the overwhelming love and emotions I feel for this little girl.

Friday, April 20, 2012

baby Sam

Last night, Chas and I were looking through some of my old baby books together. 

And that's when we found this. 

Killin' it, circa 1985. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

musings on the last day of class

Another semester has come to an end.
After today's final exam review, all that will be left to do is grade papers and calculate final grades. 

And now I've been teaching college for three full years. 
That's crazy to me. 

I feel proud of myself.

I've come a long way in my abilities as a professor. 
I sometimes think back to the very first class I taught. It feels so long ago. I had no idea what I was doing then and am grateful I had a patient group of students to work with. Those poor students. 

It's different now. 
I feel confident and comfortable when I'm teaching. 

I'm good at it. 
It's empowering to know that you've worked hard to become good at something.

At the same time, I'm still learning. Which I also love. 
There will always be interactions with students that cause me to stretch and, at times, learn from my mistakes. Such experiences can be tricky but, ultimately, beneficial in helping me progress as both a professional and as a human. 

I was thinking last night about how interesting it is that the people who are closest to me, such as my family, have never seen me teach. They've never seen me in that important element of my life. They've never seen the skills I've acquired to be an effective professor. Only my students- strangers, in comparison- know this side of me. And sometimes that makes me feel like my family doesn't really know who I am- at least all of who I am. 

Strange how the people who you think know you the best of all, actually don't in some very important ways. 

Not a good thing, or a bad thing. 
Just surprising, I suppose.

It's like this little secret about Sam that I keep and share with strangers. 

Well, time for class.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

the last of the hot chocolate

It's been cold and rainy for the last few days. Last Saturday evening, we bundled up and stopped by the coffee garden for some treats: hot chocolate for him, almond steamed milk for me, and a slice of key lime pie to share.

I sorta love rainy spring weather. 
It makes everything so green and cozy. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

guest post: Wanderluck

I'm excited for you guys to meet Lindsey of Wanderluck
First of all, I want her legs. Let's just get that out there in the open so we can move on. 
Secondly, these guys are amazing. Really. 

Take a minute to read about all the places they've lived, travelled, and how he's a professional sailor (what?!). 
Howdy y'all. I'm Lindsey. I write a little blog called Wanderluck. I've always loved traveling. Well, that, and never taking life too seriously. I lived in Milan, studied in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Panama, and Costa Rica all before graduating college, but I'm from Texas. Where do I live now? Depends on the day. I am part of the "Artemis Racing Support Team" which is a fancy way of saying my perfect, kiwi man is a professional sailor and competing in the America's Cup.
Currently, we live in Valencia Spain. Next up, San Francisco. After that, who knows? But that's the fun of it. My blog is my diary about all of our adventures. New cities, new foods, new friends. And my cute little nugget of joy (with his own passport), my dog Tom. We don't dress nearly as cute as Sam and Chas, and I am really really bad at art, but we do love to laugh and embarrass ourselves on the reg, so you should probably come be friends.
Love it?
Visit Wanderluck!

Monday, April 16, 2012

a few things being pregnant has taught me

I have a new appreciation for being able to walk freely without waddling and without pain. 
After almost 7 months, I honestly can't remember what walking normally and easily feels like. I know I used to be able to do it but that's about it. Once little cryings is here, and I can walk again, you better believe we're gonna make goooood use of that stroller this summer. 

Women's bodies are incredible. 
Our insides just know how to create a person. I don't have to do anything, it just does it's thing every day, all on it's own. And now, there are tiny hands, feet, arms, legs, a little bum, and ears all inside of me, moving around. My body just made that happen. So amazing. 

Speaking of which, for those women who struggle with infertility, I can't imagine how difficult and heart breaking that must be.
Every day, I feel blessed that I've been able to get pregnant and stay pregnant. 

Family is really the only thing that matters. I'm finding myself caring less and less about much else.

Having a loving, supportive husband is the greatest blessing. Every time Chas puts on my shoes and socks or helps me up from a chair, I'm humbled by and grateful for his service and the way he takes care of me and little cryings. 

My wardrobe can consist of less than 10 wearable items of clothing and I can rotate through them again, and again. Not that I like it all, but that it is possible. 

Hot baths, pizza, and fruit smoothies have magical powers to keep me sane. 

Being prepared to be a good mom takes some skillz. I'm excited to learn how to cook and sew better. 

Time can go by insanely slow and fast all at once. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

clara tales

What do you get when you're one of nine siblings who all are involved in the world of filmmaking? 
This cuteness: 

My sister-in-law has headed up this wonderful project together with the rest of Chas' family. 

It's called Clara Tales and is a web series of original fairy tales acted and narrated by children. 
They've got the first one done and are wanting to make more. 
Check out this kickstarter video to learn more about the project:

I'm lucky enough to be involved in designing art-based activities to accompany each fairy tale video. This gives parents and children a chance to take the moral lesson learned from the fairy tale as a spring board to connect and play together through the art activities that follow. 

Pretty cool family I married into, huh? 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

diaper bag & jam sets

It was a rainy Saturday and Chas was working. 
So I did a little online shopping for me and little cryings. 

Got this diaper bag for me. 
And these jammies (or, as we like to call them, "jam sets") for little cryings. 

6 weeks to go! 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

nursery tour: details

Little crying's room is pretty much all finished!
I just love how it turned out.
Simple. Clean. Not too girly. Fun details.

And since I couldn't control myself and take less than a million photos, I've decided to give you all the grand tour over the course of two posts. 

First up: 
 Thrifted this end table for $12, got one of the cheapest lamps at Ikea, and my little sister made this perfect elephant sculpture for us in her school art class. 
 Over Christmas break, my mom, sisters, and I all worked on making this quilt/wall hanging. 
And let it be known that I made the amazing sail boat piece.
Pride and joy right there.
 I think it goes without saying that this is the highlight of the room. 
My sister, Hailey, painted Chas' portrait for Christmas and then we commissioned her to do one of me to match. 
The mommy and the daddy.
 I made this mobile years ago in grad school. 
I was always secretly hoping I could use it one day in a baby's room. 
And, of course, our special print for our strong little girl. 

Next up, tomorrow: 
how it looks when it all comes together!

Monday, April 9, 2012

bunny cakes

So we made these little guys for Easter dinner and then we
...photographed them in their natural habitat. 


I found the idea for these cakes on Pinterest (see! I'm already getting my project/crafty-momma on!). 
They were super easy to make which was good news for me because I've never done anything like this before. 
Basically, if you can mix together a box cake mix, you can do this.

We used carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and coconut for the fur. 
Jelly bean eyes and noses and paper ears. 
For the brown bunny, we just dyed the frosting and coconut light brown with food coloring. 

You can find the instructions here

We were also planning on putting a tiny easter basket, carrot, or peeps on the cake stand, next to the white bunny. 
But that clearly never happened. 

Good intentions, though. 
And project/crafty baby steps. 

Baby bunny steps. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

happy easter

(Locally grown, farm fresh eggs from one of our fave friends, Holly.) 

Hope you are enjoying the day with friends, family, and pretty pastels. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

me, little cryings, and pinterest

So Pinterest is pretty fun, guys. 

I'm trying to avoid making a "My Style" board so it doesn't all morph into simply a "I want, I want, I want, I want, I want" kind of deal for me. I know myself and I know that I can easily focus on what I wish I had in my closet or how I wish I looked different. Not a very productive or happy thing. So it's a fine line, but I think if kept under control, Pinterest could serve to be a great resource...

for creativity- especially the kind of creativity that can help me be a better, more engaged mom for little cryings. 
(I see some great and messy art play time in our future.)

But until little cryings is a toddler, Pinterest is also giving me some great ideas of ways I can still be a creative mommy right now. 

I'm hoping to bust out my miiiiinimal sewing skills soon and make a soft-bodied doll like this one.

These little turbans look like the perfect alternative to those huge flower headbands. 

And maybe, just maybe, something similar to this could be possible. 

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

guess what

I started pinning. 

Follow Me on Pinterest

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

a good choice

I don't have much to say today other than documenting a little something I'm proud of. 

Last night, while Chas was doing his fantasy baseball draft (for three hours- what!?), I was trying to find ways to entertain myself for the evening. 

In my boredom, I remembered that we own a TV and decided to turn it on to see if there was anything worth watching. 
This almost never happens. 

I watched the last half of The Voice.
Entertaining enough. 

And then a show came on that I've been watching on Hulu. 

In my opinion, Smash was good at first. But then, over the last few episodes, the show has gotten progressively more...trashy. So much drama, so much unhappiness. Each week, as I go to watch it, I tell myself that this time will be better. But it's not. And all I'm left with is a gross, dark feeling. 

Last week, I turned it off early and made a promise to myself and Heavenly Father that I was done. I was no longer going to allow that junk into my home, into my mind. 

So back to last night and my boredom and need for a time-filler. 

It was embarrassingly difficult, but I turned off the TV. 
I chose the right. 

It felt good and I rewarded my good choice with some ice cream and a hot bath. 

But not before I marched triumphantly around the living room singing "Choose the Right!"

It's a small, silly thing but I think lots of small, good decisions can add up to a whole lot of integrity.

Monday, April 2, 2012