Sunday, December 23, 2012

2012 Christmas Card Challenge

We enjoy watching the food network and one day Amelia made a comment how it was funny that the groups always pose with their arms crossed and looking tough... light bulb over my head! What a fun idea for our family card this year... the 2012 Xmas Card Challenge... are you game?

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Visit with Santa

We went to see Santa the other night. This is the first time both of the girls agreed to sit NEXT to Santa and get a photo. But when we got up there Santa slapped his knee and told them to sit on his lap. They both shot me a look. Santa repeated, "Come on have a seat", patting his knee. Amelia slowly sat on the very edge of his knee and looked at me with this really Mom face.

Anna just shook her head no, so I said, "just sit next to him". As you can see in the photo who is happy and who is not. 

While waiting in line the girls were debating if this is the real Santa or just a Santa helper. At first they said helper but then they said the real Santa. I'm just glad they are debating it and still believe... I fear this might be the last year for Amelia (age 8).

Santa still makes me smile! 

Merry Everything

Here is the front of the card I designed to send out to all my awesome clients. I went with the chalkboard look which is super hot right now. I also have every holiday covered using "Merry Everything". Inside it says, "and a Happy New Year!

Client or not....
I wish you all a Merry Everything and a Happy New year!


Friday, December 14, 2012

Fruit Family

click to enlarge

Just another cute kids drawing done by Anna, age 7.

Makes me smile.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Crying Bet

Brian and Anna - Oct 2012 camping
The girls have been crying a lot lately... over nothing!

She took my toy.... crying

I don't like this shirt... crying
I don't like dinner... crying

I could go on and on... but you get the idea.

Brian and I are so over it and not sure why they cry because we do not give into them when they do.

Then... Brian bet the girls 20 bucks they could not go 5 days without crying. Amelia got her $20 bucks, Anna did not. I really can't believe Amelia did it! But now we know she can and I think she also learned she can go without crying over everything.

We are out 20 bucks but maybe that just bought us some peace of mind... we will see.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My Big Fat Irish Family

double click to see the full image.

My Big Fat Irish Family.... yep, 39 people at dinner! 

That is almost the whole gang, I believe we were just missing 4. We had a lot of family in town, I think there were six tables set up through out my Aunt Jeanne's house. It was such a pretty day that the kids got to run around outside and chase cousin Bob around the yard. It was such a fun day visiting with everyone... I am blessed to have so many people to call family!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Puppet Show

I made this puppet show theater for the girl awhile ago and thought I would post it. This would make a great Christmas gift and is SUPER easy to make. You need two tension rods that fit between your door frame, red fabric and gold trim if you want to add some pizazz! Make a pocket at the top of the fabric and slide in the tension rods...
like I said so easy!!! 

You could even use the iron-on hem tape to 
make the pocket if you don't sew.

I also love that it is easily rolled up and stored away, 
not taking up much space at all!

Go ahead and make one, you can do, I know you can!

My girls love putting on shows!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Elf on the shelf...we caught him... Elf's Joy Ride

I love making short little stop motion videos... 
here is this year's elf on the shelf video.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bad Words

Anna at Johnson's Shut-Ins
Scene: Driving home from school yesterday

Anna: I heard a bad word at school. 

Me: Oh, what was the word?

Anna: I can't tell you.

Me: You can always tell me anything, I'm your Mama.

Anna: Well... we were watching a show about the Mayflower and the guy said it several times!

Me: What word did he say?

Anna: Poop Deck (little giggle) He said it many times!

I then went into the discussion about how it was not a bad word just what they called that part of the ship. Later that night told Brian what she said and he thought it was odd that she would think "poop" is a bad word since she and her sister enjoy funny bathroom humor, including the words poop and pee. 

We don't call those words bad, but I have on several occasions after hearing too much potty talk have told the girls they need to be inside the bathroom to say those words. I just can't take pee and poop talk especially at the dinner table.

The girls know it's one way to get a laugh out of Pops (still a big kid). You can always get a laugh from Pops if you say the word "Poop". I'm a bit out numbered in this house! 2 little kids, 1 big kid, 1 adult and 1 dog.... oh poop!

Monday, November 12, 2012

What I'm reading... The Art of Racing in the Rain

I just finished reading "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein. A nice little story about a man's life struggles from his dog, Enzo's point of view. A heart felt story that reminds me just how loyal man's best friend can be. Made me look at my dog, Grocho, just a little bit differently.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

President Obama... a Dad

(All pictures courtesy of Getty Images)
Last night President Obama won the election for the second time and we were very happy with this win. I have seen and heard many people trash him as a president, but I have a deep sense that he is a good man who loves his family and his country and wants to do the very best he can for both. 

The photo above reminds me of Brian and Anna. President Obama is no different than Brian... he is a dad with two girls just like we have. I know he wants his family to live in a strong and healthy country just as we wish for our girls and I believe he will do everything in his power to give his girls, our girls and all the children in America the best for our great country.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Amelia loves her books

Surprisingly I do not have a photo of Amelia reading
but here is her newest endeavor... the violin.
Yes, it's a bit scratchy sounding right now,
but it really does not bother me... yet.

Amelia is devouring books right now, she just asked Brian if she could bring a book to volleyball practice. She reminds me of Disney's Belle... she always a book in hand or books laying all over the house. 

I LOVE that she loves books!

The top of the stairs is her first choice spot to read, second is on the floor in my office next to me as I work on the computer... I think she likes to be close to me and that is a nice feeling. I hope that will never change.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Memory Monday... Michael Jackson Thriller

This is just one of my favorite Michael Jackson songs. I remember playing this on the family record player in the front living room. Acting out the video and dance moves around the nice living room furniture. The song sometime skipping a bit from a shuffle slide stomp move that was too big and Hummel figurines rattling in the hutch.

Back then I loved Michael and if he had asked me to marry him I would have jumped in his arms.

To this day I love every song of the Thriller album... fond memories of my youth.

And yes, I can moonwalk, but it's been awhile... I need to brush up on my moves.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Monster by Anna

click to enlarge

Just another cute kid's drawing... 
this one is by Anna (age 6). 
I love her style!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Basket of Apples

Anna is in first grade and learning how to write
more and more everyday. 
I love what she wrote the other week.

"I would give my apples to the poor."

What a sweet heart!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Memory Monday : My Frozen Face

Back on November 1st of 2005 I gave birth to my baby girl Anna. It had been seven days since her birth and I was home with her and my 16 month old daughter Amelia. My life juggling two kids under 16 months had just begun.

That morning I  had put on some chapstick and noticed that when I went to press my lips together I had a hard time. I thought that was really odd and kept trying, wondering why I could not control my lips. The next morning checking my lips I noticed I couldn't wrinkle up my nose... here is when I got a bit freaked out. I started to wonder if the epidural I had a week earlier while giving birth to Anna was having some odd side effect to me. I called the doctor to set up an appointment and they told me she was booked up a week out.

The next morning I still could not press my lips together or wrinkle my nose and now I could not wrinkle my forehead... this was moving up my face and I was scared. That morning I also notice that my breakfast had no taste to it. What the heck was going on?

I called the doctor again to try to get in that day. I told the nurse on the phone everything that was going on, hoping they would fine a spot for me, but they still said I had to wait until next week. Talking to the nurse she told me that "maybe I was just having the baby blues"... are you kidding me! I told her no that was not it, my face was not moving and I could not taste anything and I needed to know why.

After talking to Brian and my parents, we decided I should go to the ER and get checked out. They got me right in and seemed very concerned. I was run in to get a CT scan, they thought I might be having a stroke. I remember them also asking me to close my eyes and stick out my tongue and told me they would put something on my tongue to taste. Brian later told me he watched as they pored a whole packet of salt onto my tongue and as I tasted it I had no reaction to it at all, nothing. As I opened my eyes I remembered Brian and the nurse's face looking at me in disbelief.

After running several test I was diagnosed with Bell's Palsy, a virus that attacks the muscles in your face. Normally it only effects one side of your face, but mind effected both sides (so rare it only effects 1%). This made me an oddity in the hospital and I had several teams of student doctors come through my ICU room that day, all fascinated with my face and lack of taste. That might have been my fifteen minutes of fame... but I sure hope not!

I was able to go home that night since I had a new baby to feed. I had to take steroids to stop the virus and go to physical therapy where the taped wires to my face and shocked it... ouch! I had to sleep with goo in my eyes and patches to cover them because my eyes would not close all the way. (Great for getting up four times a night to nurse a baby). I had to drink from a straw clenched in my teeth and lift  my lips out of the way to brush my teeth.

But the worst part was having no taste, everything was so gross, even my favorite foods were just a lump of texture in my mouth. I remember crying over the food, being a nursing mom you need to eat to nourish your baby and I had to make myself eat for Anna. I also worried for Amelia, how would it be for a 16 month old with a mother that never smiled or gave you any expressions... my face was frozen solid.

It took a full month for my face and taste to start to return to normal. Some people do not full recover and I think that I went back about 98%. There are small differences in my face that I think only I notice. I know I am lucky it could have been much worse.

Me and Anna (3 months old)... both smiling.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Amelia-isms... Whoopie Cushion

Here is some of Amelia's wise 8 year old advice....
"You should always check your chair for a whoopie cushion before you sit down". 

Then she asked me if we could buy one... sounds like 3rd grade humor to me!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Memory Monday - Seeing Brian

 1996 - The first time I saw Brian...

I was waiting in the lobby for a job interview at Wilson Trophy Company... standing there (too nervous to sit) in my red blazer and giant portfolio in hand. I noticed a tall guy come out and make copies at the copier machine. He was only there a few seconds, not even a minute, I can't even remember if he looked my way or not. But I remember there was something about him. Later that day I was telling my friend Edna about the job interview and how I saw this cute guy working there.

Yes, there was something about him...

I didn't know at the time that it was love... my true love.

First date, 1997 at a friends wedding.
Brian making his usually silly photo face.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Yesterday I turned 29... yeah I wish!...
But then again, maybe not, 
because at age 29 I did not have these 
two sweetie pies in my life and I could not image that! 

I guess I need to move my new "fake age" up a bit, maybe to 34? Or maybe I should suck it up and face the facts... no, I don't feel my age at all, so let's pretend just a tiny bit.

Don't you love the bags the girls decorated for me? Too bad the bag with money all over it was not full of money! Instead it had a cozy pair of pajama pants with a matching shirt.  I guess that is just as practical as money. All in all I had a lovely day and a nice dinner out with my family. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Memory Monday - Drive-In

I remember going to the drive in with my parents, looking over the back seat watching the movie with a big plastic bowl of popcorn nestled between me and my brother and the clunky sound box perched on the window. Then falling asleep during the second feature in the backseat snuggled in with a mountains of blankets and pillows. Good memories!

 We took the girls to the Drive-In for the first time this weekend and it was a lot of fun.  I made a big tub of popcorn just like my Mom had. The Drive-In is pretty much the same, but now a lot of people brings chairs and sit in front of the car. The concession stand must have been original, it was a low, white cinder block building that looked like it was from the 60's.... halfway through the movie a strong smell of onion rings came from it's direction.

It was a cool night and I ended up snuggling in the back of the car with Groucho and the girls. We watched Paranorman and Brave. We all had a nice time and I can see this becoming one of our yearly summer/fall events.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Ready for the Fall

It's been so humid the past two days that I have sweat through my shirt walking the kids home from school... 
it's just gross and I am over it... I'm ready for fall!

I made another batch of my leaf barrettes for my etsy shop... 
again ready for fall.

I bought some boots yesterday (an early birthday gift for myself)... 
fall I am so ready for you!

Friday, August 31, 2012


Growing up I went to Girl Scout camp many times, I even worked at camp one summer at age 16 as a lifeguard. I always loved the all camp fire at the end of every week. It was always a bit emotional as we said good-bye to our new friends and good times at camp.

There are several songs that I remember and feel a bit melancholy about.
Below are the words to one of my favorite songs...


There’s a boy and a girl in a little canoe,
with the moon shining all around

they paddled and paddled slow,
you couldn't hear a sound

So, they talked and they talked, 'til the moon grew dim

He said, "You better kiss me or get out and swim!"

So, whatcha gonna do in a little canoe,
with the moon shining all a-
girl paddlin’ all a-
boy swimming all around?

Smart girl!

Need more Girl Scout song ideas? Below is a link to a PDF I that created with Brownie songs. I'm happy to share these with you.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Climb that tree

There is one special tree in Blackburn Park that all the kids LOVE to climb.

So many limbs makes it easy and fun... 
it reminds me of the giving tree and I really think this tree smiles when the kids sit up high in it's branches.

What is better than a kid in a tree?  Two kids in a tree!

Thank you Mr. Tree!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Performance Camp

This summer the girls did a performance camp and they loved it!

Amelia played a robber and Anna was her sidekick a cameleon.

At the end of the week the parents all came to watch the play. Since it was written and produced totally by the kids you can imagine how rough the play was. Think backyard play you put on with your neighbor friends. 

But the most important thing happened... all the kids had a great time and it showed! From building and painting the props, making costume and just running around outside all day, it was a fun camp... and that's what summer is all about... using your imagination and having fun!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

That Voice

I am a BIG fan of the podcast "This American Life". I look forward to each new episode every week and I get annoyed when it's a repeat. Last week a long time contributor of TAL died and they had an episode all about him. I had listen to this man speak for a few years now and realized as I listened to his rhymed stories that I had never see a picture of him.

So you guessed it,  I googled David Rakoff... and I was a bit taken back. For some reason he is not what I pictured, and now that I have seen him I could not really describe what I thought he might have looked like... but this was not it. As I listen to the end of the podcast I am having some sort of disconnect with his voice and the pictures spread across google. He seems more real now, not this fictional character of a voice full of cold emotion and wit.

Have you ever had that feeling? Like someone doesn't match their name or their spouse, the odd feeling like something is just not right.

RIP David Rakoff... I'll miss your cleaver, sharp and sometime dark humor about life.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Meet Patrick

Meet Patrick... no I did not cut him out of the picture... see that cardboard tube right in the middle of the photo. That's Patrick! He is my daughter's newest friend and they treat him like he is alive.

How did Patrick come to us, you would guess that one of my girls drew his face. But no, last week the girls went to performance camp and on the last day one of the other kids (who made him) gave him to Anna. Ever since then he has joined us at Grammy's pool, the dinner table and he has a special bed to sleep in. Watching TV, reading books, playing in the backyard... Patrick is there!

All I hear is Patrick this and Patrick that... their imagination cracks me up! Who needs fancy dolls or toys when a cardboard tube makes the best sort of friend. 

Patrick joined us for dinner last night, Anna prepared him a dinner also.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back to School - 2012

Yesterday was the first day back to school. 
Here is how the day went down... 

Amelia was so excited,  she had her new backpack, new clothes and bright new shoes. She couldn't wait!!!

Anna was excited but also a bit timid. When we dropped Anna off at her classroom we were so quick. Fast hug, fast kiss and we were gone before the tears could even form in her eyes. Like a bandaid... sometimes it's better to get it over with quickly.

Street gang... it's nice to walk up to school with all the other neighbor kids on the street. I'm afraid it will be a crazy party street when they are all teens.

It was weird to eat lunch all by myself... just me and the dog... the house was a bit quite. I ran to target and I kept having a feeling like I was missing something. Having kids with me 24/7 all summer then all of the sudden they are gone all day is a bit odd.

After school: 
First thing Anna said was she had an awesome time!
(whew... so glad!!)

Amelia said she missed a few friends from her class last year and thinks that 2nd grade will be her all time favorite year. I told her that she makes the year what she wants it to be... if she wants third grade to be even better than 2nd grade then she needs to believe that it will be. 2nd grade was wonderful for her... 
I sure hope 3rd will be just as special.

Anna told me I could not put any notes in her lunch box. She said that my note made her think of me and made her sad. It makes me sad that I can't leave her notes... maybe I'll try another note later next week when she is in the routine of going to school all day.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

7 more days until school starts

STL City Garden - we love this place!

This is how Amelia and I both feel about it... yipee!! Amelia loves school and she can't wait to go back. Anna not so much, she wants to stay home with me.

Don't get me wrong... I love that I am able to spend the whole summer with my girls but 24/7 for over two months can be a bit hard. Add working from home on top of that and it really can be a challenge. I know I should be sad and I am a little bit sad, Anna starts full day school this year and that is a big change for both of us. But then I also think about the extra 14 hours a week that I will have all to myself for work or whatever and I get a bit giddy!

I have a long list of projects and I plan to be productive during those extra 14 hours... let's hope I do it! 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday Mom!

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.  
                                               ~Washington Irving

This quote only touches on how wonderful she is... 
my Mom is wonderful and I know how blessed 
I am to have her in my life.

I Love you Mom!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Vacation 2012

We were on vacation last week.... where did we go?

Gatlinburg Tennessee!!!

We all really enjoyed the Great Smoky Mountains with the pretty trees, spectacular views and bears (yes, we saw four bears!). We played in the cool mountain streams, rode horses and white water rafted on the Pigeon Forge river. We saw a neat evening show about the Cherokee Indians, hiked and splashed in two water falls. We spent the whole week with family (my parents, my brother and his crew), so nice to create memories with them all. 

It's always nice to get away from the usual day to day world and see something new in our great country... now the question is... where to go next summer?

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Vacation 2012 - photos 5 & 6

We were on vacation last week... 
so let's play a little game.... where did we go?

I will post two photos each day this week, 
leave a comment guessing 
where in the world Tracy and family were.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Vacation 2012 - photos 3 & 4

We were on vacation last week... 
so let's play a little game.... where did we go?

I will post two photos each day this week, 
leave a comment guessing 
where in the world Tracy and family were.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Where in the world is Tracy?

We were on vacation last week... 
so let's play a little game.... where did we go?

I will post two photos each day this week, 
leave a comment guessing 
where in the world Tracy and family were.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Anna's Note

Anna (age 6) wrote me this note yesterday:

"I love my Mom because she does all of the work because I love my Mom."

Then she told me she loved me because I clean the bathroom... almost makes cleaning the bathroom worth this sweet note. I do know what she really means is that she loves me because I clean the bathroom (and the whole house) and she does not have to do it.  At least she realizes all the things I do for them and appreciates it.

Kids are great, I cherish this age... most days... yesterday was a good day!

Monday, June 4, 2012

What I'm reading - Fifty Shades of Gray

So it seems like half of the Moms my kids go to school with were reading this book, they all kept talking about it at pick up. After school let out for the summer one of the Moms brought me her copy to the pool, I hadn't even said I wanted to borrow it, she just gave it to me. The first night as I started to read the "bad book" I joked around with Brian about the character's cheesy names and unrealistic life. But within the hour I was sucked in and stayed up until 12:30 reading.

Yep... Christan Gray and Anastasia Steele's sexual tension is (as the Mom who gave me the book said) like a car wreck that you can't look away from. Really it's a cheesy romance novel that reminds me of pretty woman with a lot more weird sex... you just can't look away.

I have a few chapters more to read of this and I know there are two more books after this one. I'm not sure if I'll read them or not.