Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Speaking of Ten.

1. Snow. Snow. Snow. That is our life these days. We have between 3-4 feet of snow at our house, and there is more in the forecast. It is totally crazy. I don't think I have ever seen anything quite like it. The snow is piled up so high, we just have a narrow passage way in our driveway. We barely have room to get out of our car and walk around it. The snow banks are so high in our backyard that Boden keeps sneaking out and into our neighbor's yard. He can just jump right over there fence. It is seriously unbelievable!

2. Speaking of unbelievable....Jonathan and I bought each other the same Christmas present this year. It was a set of wireless speakers that we can use with our Ipod, our projector to watch movies, our TV, etc. etc. etc. I opened mine first and just chuckled, and then I let him open his so he could chuckle! It was pretty funny.

3. Speaking of chuckling and being funny....Holland was so incredibly funny this year about the presents she bought for everyone. She gets to go to a little store called "santa express", and shop with an elf for anyone on her list (No parents allowed). We get to tell the elves how much money she can spend, and they make sure she stays within budget. Everything is priced from .50 cents to $7.50. Anyway, she begged us all to open her gifts on Christmas Eve for our "open-one-gift-on-Christmas Eve-family-tradition", and she could hardly contain herself. She was dancing around the living room saying, "you're gonna love it",{insert happy dance} "hurry up and open it (fill in the name of whosever turn it was)",{insert running around, jumping up and down}, "just open it", "you won't believe it", {dance, dance, dance}. It was absolutely priceless, and definitely one of the highlights of this year's celebrations!

4. Speaking of celebrations..... We celebrated Christmas, Hannakuh, my niece's 19th birthday, and Shabbat, all in one week this year! My niece, Gabrielle, is a wannabe Jew and has been for quite some time. She has always been intrigued with Jewish traditions, and has celebrated Hannakuh for many years so this year she was at our house for the whole week, and asked us to celebrate with her. It was nice to be introduced to a different tradition and to take the opportunity to explain to Holland how there are many different faiths and belief systems. She goes to school with a couple of friends who are Jewish so I really wanted her to learn how important it is to respect others and their differences. She got a kick out of playing Dreidel!

5. Speaking of getting a kick.... I am getting a kick out of Dylan each and every day. She is just a crack up, (most of the time). She wasn't a crack up tonight when she refused to go to sleep though. Anyway, she loves to tease these days and she will take off running when I try to give her a kiss and shout "no", "no", "no" and giggle the whole time. She also loves to bounce and jump, although she hasn't quite figured out how to pick her feet up off the ground, so her body does the action of sqatting, and then she quickly raises her arms waaaaay up high, and then she squats back down again, and repeats these actions over and over again, all while looking so incredibly proud of herself. Occassionally, she will get slightly airborne,and she just lands right on her bottom with feet straight out in front of her! You probably need to see it to get the full picture, but I have a pretty vivid visual as I am typing this, and I'm the one that wants to preserve the memory so that's all that really matters, I guess!

6. Speaking of preserving memories..... I haven't preserved any memories in the form of scrapbooking in over a year. Poor Dylan doesn't even have a scrapbook to speak of (second child syndrome). I even have a couple of pre-made ones that I made while on bedrest, but I haven't put a single thing in them. Pathetic, I know. I am hoping to get back on track a little bit as this New Year is rolling around. I don't know if I will do the same sort of scrapbooking that I did for Holland, but I do love telling stories, adding pictures, and preserving the wonderful memories. I just need to figure out a system that works for me.

7. Speaking of a system that works for me.... I am hoping that the quickbooks system I just ordered will work for me. I am so NOT a business person, and I really need to get a system into play with all this photography business that I've been doing! I've heard it is super easy to use, and it has quite a few features that will simplify my current, convoluted (no rhyme or reason) system that I have not even totally set up, yet!

8. Speaking of having a few features, I got a new grill, griddle, and panini press combo (that I asked for) for Christmas. It has interchangeable plates that are pretty cool. I have always LOVED paninis, and I have been kinda on a little panini kick since our trip to Italy. Yum-o.

9. Speaking of our trip to Italy..... we had gnocchi for dinner tonight. It was delish.

10. Lastly, speaking of dinner tonight.... Holland asked me (over dinner) when she could get her ears pierced, which was not too long after she had asked me if she could color her hair(while riding in the car earlier today), which was on the heals of going nuts over a poster of Troy, from high school musical, that she saw at the dentist office today! Nice, huh? I tried to redirect her to the snow each and every time! : )

Happy (almost) New Year, Everyone!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Stirrings from the Studio

As the new year is approaching, I am wanting to have some more consistency in my blog, and one of the ideas that I've tossed around is to have at least a couple of ongoing threads. One of these threads will be posts regarding Holland's new art studio. You can expect this thread to have posts of funny stories, Holland's art work, photos of Holland creating masterpieces, favorite art supplies, art reviews, etc.

Today's post will be a piece of artwork that Holland made for her Grandma for Christmas. It is entitled, "Angels". (with an upside down G, no less!)

Medium: scultping clay and art play foam

It's A Wonderful Laugh

I absolutely adore the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life", and I look forward to watching it every year. And every year, I cry and cry like I've never seen it before. This year I was hoping to watch it with Holland and take it down to her level. I wanted to tell her how we never know how many people's lives that we may be touching, and how important it is to live life wonderfully by being kind to others, and having good morals, etc., etc., etc. It was going to be such a special memory for me watching it with her for the first time! (that's kinda how my fairytale mentality gets me in trouble!).

So, it's Christmas evening, and we project the movie onto the wall above our fireplace. Holland immediately runs right over because she is a movie junkie and will watch anything and everything she has an opportunity to watch.

She notices right away that it isn't in color.

She says, "Mommy, is this whole movie grey?" "How do you even know if it is daytime or nighttime?"

She watches for another minute or so, and then she runs off. "I don't think I want to watch this movie, Mommy."

And just like that she's gone. She doesn't even try to sneak a peek the rest of the movie. (That has NEVER happened!).

I guess it will probably be a few more years before my special-family-fairytale-christmas-movie-night happens. And until that day comes, I will just enjoy the wonderful laugh!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Big Christmas Surprise

Jonathan and I decided to do something totally different for Holland for Christmas this year, and it was a HUGE hit. We were dreading the influx of more, more, more when we are seriously trying to have less, less, less. We are still recovering from the big multi 5th birthday party celebrations in which Holland acquired more stuff than any child needs in their life time! Anyway, after discussing our options of what to do for her, we decided we wanted to put together something that would create an experience or a whole host of experiences. We decided to put together her own private art studio! We spent countless hours cleaning out this little room we have in our basement. We took 3 trips with a crammed full van to the local value village to donate who knows what. We re-arranged some furniture, we painted the room, we put in a floor, we hung up some of Holland's art, we filled up a desk full of art supplies, we put a book rack in there full of books about art written for kids, we put some blank canvases on the wall for free exploration, we bought lots of other art supplies for her to unwrap, put down a splat mat, and then let her go to town. She was tickled. She told us "this is the best Christmas present, ever". She immediately sat down and started exploring. She also told us, "I don't like it, I just LOVE it!".

Here are some pictures of it.....

Sense of Wonder

My Darling Dylan!

Snow Storm 08!

It has been snowing nonstop since last Thursday here in Spokalou, and we are buried! Apparently, we broke a record for the most snowfall we've ever had in a 24 hour period, and that was about 19 inches or so. And it has been snowing ever since! I'm not sure what the total accumulation is at our house right now, but I know that when I step into it, it comes up to my thighs. Seeing how I am from Tennessee and all, this is quite an experience for me! Every year, I learn knew things (or I am reminded of things that I forgot) about living in a snowy winter wonderland. Here are a few of the things that I have learned this year:

1.I learned the term "high center". I had never heard that before, even after living here for 8 winters. Last year, I learned what a snow berm was.

2. Kids need water proof gloves in order to play in the snow! I forget this every year when I am buying gear for the season, and then inevitably Holland freezes her hands off when she goes out for the first time!

3. Pushing a grocery buggy (that means cart for you non-southerners) is NOT easy in a parking lot full of snowy, icey chunks and ruts.

4. All Wheel Drive is the only way to get around town. Thank goodness for ours!

5. Cute boots don't always mean warm boots!

Friday, December 12, 2008

And the Winner is.......

The winner is a long, long, long time blog reader - (like back to bedrest boutique days), and guess what? this is the first time she has ever left a comment! Congratulations, Chasity! I can't wait to do a "real" photo shoot with you and your beautiful family! See..... commenting isn't all that bad, now is it?!

Thank you to everyone who participated in my first ever giveaway! I think I sold 14 or 15 calendars these last couple of days, and a total of 20 or more this week from my two blog posts. Keep the orders coming in! If you know of anyone who would like to purchase a calendar, please send them here! I will be getting in touch with all of you who committed to buying one and setting up plans for delivery! Thanks again so much!


5 more to go

I need to sell 5 more calendars for the contest to be valid! If you have read my comments, Michelle M's purchase doesn't count because it was the day before the contest! I'm trying to drum up MORE sales here, folks! Hurry and buy a calendar or get your friends to so I can proceed with the contest! Chasity? Jen F? EWU long time lurkers? Mary? Go now and leave a comment that you want one! : ) XXXOOO

Thursday, December 11, 2008

First Ever "AshMash Giveaway"

If I can sell at least 10 Faces of Hope Calendars through this blog by Friday evening at 8:00 pm (pacific time), then I am going to give away an Ashley Potter Photography package. I will give away a free photo session, an 8 x 10, 5 x 7, and 8 wallets. This is worth approximately $100- $125.00. The recipient must be local, and by local I mean Washington state. I do a lot of traveling throughout the state throughout the year so I'm sure I could work it out to be in your area at some point over the next year! If you want a calendar, please leave your contact information and the number of calendars you want in my comment section, and I will personally deliver them to all you local Spokies! The calendars are only $10.00, and chances are whoever you are, you will have an excellent shot at winning! If you are not local and you just want to contribute to this wonderful cause and be a part of my first ever giveaway, then you can buy a calendar here or here.

Whoever leaves a comment will be put in the random drawing for the photo package - you don't necessarily have to buy a calendar to be put into the drawing, although it would add a nice touch!: )

Thanks to everyone who has already purchased a calendar!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Faces of Hope Calendar

The 2009 Faces of Hope calendar is now available for purchase, and I am going to try and solicit some sales here on my blog! This calendar was a labor of love for me, and I feel so incredibly blessed to have been such a big part of the project. For those of you who aren't familiar with what I am referring to, let me get you up to speed.

Most of you know that I am a pediatric speech therapist that works primarily with children with autism. Most of you also know that I dabble in photography and recently opened my own photography business. Well, this last spring, I decided to join two of my passions and volunteer to put together a fundraiser photography calendar of photos of children with autism from our community. The end result is the 2009 Faces of Hope calendar.

The fundraising portion of the calendar is for a local non-profit organization called the ISAAC foundation who provides therapy grants for local families of children with autism. So many of our families spend thousands and thousands of dollars each year on therapy so this is a way that they can get some relief from a portion of the financial strain. The Isaac foundation was started after Isaac Lytle, a three year old with autism, passed away in his sleep due to an undetected heart disorder. The family took the memorial funds and started this organization, and they already have given out over $25,000 this last year.

If we sell all of the calendars then we will have close to $10,000 more dollars to put back into the therapy grant funds. So, this is where you come into play! For just 10.00, you can be the proud owner of a calendar full of photographs of children with autism and also be the a very proud supporter of an incredible charity that is doing amazing things for families with autism.

Who do you know that would enjoy this calendar? a teacher? a special ed teacher? a therapist? someone who loves children? a family member with a child with autism? a friend with a child with autism?

You can purchase the calendar here, or you can leave me a comment with your contact information, or you can email me at: ashley@milestonespllc.com

Thank you so much for supporting this cause!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Guess Who's 18 Months Old?

(that's kinda the way I feel about it, too!)

Tonight's Ten; or in other words "randomocity"

1. I got out the Christmas decor this morning, and slowly put things up here and there around the house. Although, it's feeling a little forced this year. I think partly because we still don't have snow on the ground, and it just doesn't feel very wintery or Christmasy. It's just a little over three weeks away though. YIKES!

2. I am not looking forward to all the stuff H & D will acquire over Christmas, especially on the heels of two family birthday parties and a huge (27 total) friend birthday party for Holland. I seriously don't want her to have that much stuff, and I think this year she was totally overwhelmed. I have found a couple of partially opened packages that have just been abandoned in random places. This says something. I am really struggling with how to handle it. We have bagged up bags and bags of stuff to donate, and other bags and bags of stuff to toss. It just keeps coming though, and the worst part of it all is that I feel like she doesn't have a sense of appreciation for things. Everything is RIGHT NOW and JUST BECAUSE so when she does get a "special" gift she doesn't quite know that it's special. I've got to come up with a plan, but I'm not sure what it's going to be. I am totally open to suggestions!

3. I have five photo shoots scheduled this weekend! Yippee. I kinda feel like my friend, Mary, except that she schedules 5 in a day!

4. My "Faces of Hope" calendar is finished and ready for order and delivery! We have 1000 to sell so if you are interested in buying one or giving one as a gift, please let me know! I will personally deliver it to you, or put it in the mail! I am pretty proud of the whole thing, but I must admit it was the drive and passion of my friend, Holly, the founder of the ISAAC foundation, that motivated me. I had offered to do something similar for another group in the area and there just wasn't any enthusiasm about it so I let it fizzle. I'm so glad that I did because for one, I am a much better photographer now than I was then, and for two, I really, really believe in what the ISAAC foundation is doing and I am so glad to be a part of it.

5. Dylan is going to be 18 months old tomorrow. My Oh My! Where does the time go?

6. I received an email yesterday from someone who found my bedrest blog after doing a google search. She wrote to me about her situation and told me how encouraging my blog had been. She thanked me for telling my story so candidly and leaving it out there for others to read. It was so refreshing to hear that people are still benefiting from that whole ordeal of mine! I have received quite a few emails and messages over the last year 1/2 from people who have stumbled upon Bedrest Boutique, and I continue to be shocked at their responses. It's nice to be reminded that we may be touching lives even without realizing it.

7. For the last four years, the bottom of my Christmas tree has just been a wreck! Holland has taken ornaments off and put them back on again since she was a toddler. Last year, she was a little more elaborate in her taking them on and off as she would work them into her "stories" that she continuously creates and narrates. I would find the ornaments in random places interspersed with princesses, stuffies, and playmobil figures. I was looking forward to this year being a little different, and hoping that I could talk Holland into leaving the tree be, but I forgot about Dylan. So I guess the cycle begins again.....

8. I'm so excited for Zag basketball! They are ranked number 5 this week after winning the Old Spice Tournament and beating Tennessee. I felt somewhat like a traitor when I cheered for them instead of the VOLS, but I'm realizing more and more each year that my southern roots are getting shorter and shorter.

9. Holland was playing "baby Jesus" tonight which meant she was Mary and she and Joseph were having a baby. She informed me that she had the baby all swaddled up, although she wasn't using a boy baby, she was using a girl baby instead. When I peeked inside the swaddling clothing (actually a swaddled furry, winter hat), she had a groovy girl playing the role. I didn't say a word!

10. Facebook is a crazy,wonderful, weird, and freaky world of long lost connections. I had a message this week from a boy that I went to a prom with twenty something years ago! I didn't know the boy, but he was from a local preppy all boys school and I thought it would be cool to say I had gone to the "McCallie Prom". I was a hostess in a restaurant and this boy and some buddies came in one night and were having dinner. They were kinda flirting and he wrote a check the box note on a cocktail napkin asking me to go the prom. I'm pretty sure I said no that night, but must have given him my phone number anyway. Needless to say, I ended up at the prom with him. We didn't dance a single dance. I think we walked around the grounds of the facility for a few hours and then left early. I am afraid I was a terrible date. (who am I kidding? I KNOW I was a terrible date). I have often felt bad about the whole deal. I was so totally shocked when he sent me a message this week. What a crazy cyber world we live in. So, I did reply to his message and I even embedded a sincere apology. I don't totally get the facebook etiquette thing though - so now what happens? It's too weird, really it is.