no barriers.

Apparently there was some kind of huge storm last night that kept my parents awake but the Allen family slept right through it. I guess lack of sleep leads to really deep sleep… so maybe that’s the plus side of no sleep? hmmm… Anyway, when we woke up we had a branch on our porch and our white picket fence out front is laying over. Or almost over. It’s pretty shaky anyway, but it was cute (fits the house perfectly) and if nothing else, a visual barrier for the girls that they should not go out into the street. Now we almost have no fence (unless my not-so fix-it husband decides to try to fix it somehow, or beg his father-in-law to come look at it) which means no barriers.

I found THIS on Kal Barteski’s website a while back and thought of it when I saw the fence just leaning this morning. She says, “be without barriers.” I like that thought. I think I live a lot like that. I’m honest and open, I have a blog, for one! But sometimes I just think a little bit of a barrier is a good thing. Like when you live on a busy street and have two babies. With a simple gust of wind, a little piece of my security was taken away with the toppling of our fence. SO I guess we need to FIX IT!

Yeah, I’ll get on that today!

just had to share!

Parker is OBSESSED with “kissing” me. She won’t do it to Chris, which I think makes him a little jealous sometimes! It’s just a mommy – Parker thing and I love it… although I get a little wet in the process! :) Chris was able to snap some shots today of her really REALLY kissing me! I am in love with them and can’t wait to scrap this little moment in our lives together as mommy and baby. I do have to admit, that since she now has SEVEN teeth, the kisses are starting to get a little painful! Anyway, enjoy the photos!

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relaxing sunday.

My husband thinks a relaxing Sunday consists of not one, but two naps. I, on the other hand, had a great day cleaning, organizing and crafting.

My parents took Bailey to church with them and then let her nap over there, so we just had Miss Parker all day. She was a little fussier than usual, and I swear she missed Bailey! She kept looking around and I just know she was looking for her! I guess mom and dad aren’t as fun as her big sister!

My cleaning was a continuation of yesterday, when I got TONS done. It was so nice to get the entire downstairs dusted, really dusted, organized and slightly redecorated. The biggest change was the dining room where I’ve been scrapbooking the last few weeks.

BEFORE:

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AFTER:

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You can SEE the table now! Impressive isn’t it?

And my other two projects from today:

I use this breakfast tray in our entry way to catch all the clutter that gathers there:

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I’ve always hated that stupid carrot! So, with a little paper, photos, and embellsihments I came up with this:

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And lastly, we got these chairs from a yard sale and I’ve needed to repaint them for ages, but painting furniture is NOT my favorite activity!

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I HATE the flower, so for an easy and QUICK fix, I used a little paper and a little modge podge!

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Not a permanent fix, but for now it is WAY better in my opinion!

So how’s that for a relaxing Sunday? :)

latest layouts

Just thought I would share layouts I’ve completed lately. Lately is a relative term in my world right now when I’m bogged down daily with things to remember to do like, you know, brush my teeth. Also, I tend to spend most of my creative energy creating for others. I love that, but it makes me sad at how NOT far I am in scrapping our life. Every day I have hundreds of page layout ideas, and every day I don’t get to them. So in the last couple of months, these are what I’ve actually gotten accomplished! (if you click on the photo it will make them bigger and easier to see details)

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I was in love with this photo and knew immediately how I wanted to scrap it. The journaling tells the story and is hidden behind the photo, you can see the tag peeking out. Basically, Bailey went through a stage (she’s slowly warming back up) when she DID NOT want to smile for the camera. I’m all about the natural shot and capturing the moment, but sometimes you just want a freaking SMILE! So I got in the habit of asking her to point to things which would eventually make her smile… I just happened to catch her pointing to her nose. Just love that this photo will always remind me of these days.

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The black title that you can’t really see in the photo says WONDER which is what I do most days when I watch my girls. I wonder what they are thinking, feeling, are going to be, etc.

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I love this b/c I made it right after Bailey was in the hospital for the UTI and I used almost all found objects from the stay there. Her admitting form is in the background and I colored it with colored pencils, her hospital bracelets form the frame around her photo, etc. It was healing to rip and alter all of those items that were such downers for me and create something from them.

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Abbie’s Grad School Graduation

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This is the first layout I have tried in the 8 1/2 x 11 inch format. I don’t even have an album that size yet, but am in the need for something other than 12×12 right now. Notice the black and orange in honor of school almost starting for Chris… those are the high school’s colors where he teaches. I gave this to him for his birthday this week.

And soon to come, Bailey’s second birthday album, which if I can stay awake, will be finished tonight.

I also have lots of inspiring links I will get up here sometime this weekend. Really want to share an idea I’m all about trying… Abbie it’s all about RECYCLING right now! :)

Off to scrap and watch a movie with C, HAPPY FRIDAY!

distracted.

Sorry, I got distracted tonight and didn’t get my latest scrap layouts put up here. And although I’m sitting here listening to Parker “cry it out” I’m too tired to load all of the photos. Got a great start on Bailey’s 2nd birthday scrapbook tonight… basically have created layouts for each page and now just need to go back with some details. And had an unexpected phone call from Jess in Honduras! It’s always so wonderful to get to talk to her, which is rare b/c I’ve never figured out international calling or the internet phone. Talking to her reminds me why she’s my friend even though the times I see her are so few and far between! She’s an amazing woman and if you don’t know anything about her, go check out her blog b/c what she’s doing with her life is incredible. GO HERE to read more about her!

Ok, so I think Parker has figured out she IS NOT getting a bottle right now as she’s quieting down (I say as I knock on wood!). When Bailey was in the hospital a while back and was up all night so sick, we got in the {BAD} habit of feeding Parker to get her back to sleep. Of course those bad habits die hard, but lately she’s not only waking up once, it’s more like two or even three times. I’ve had it. So tonight is the night I’m forcing her to go cold turkey. If you think this is mean, it is, but with my sleep deprevation all I can see is the light (or warm covers and cozy bed) at the end of the tunnel.

If tonight goes as bad as I expect, I may have time to post the photos around 1am! :)

And just b/c she finally is quiet (this round only took me going upstairs once and tears for about 15 minutes! Not bad!) I will share her new “face” with you. It’s too cute and makes us laugh every time she does it…

PIG FACE

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The best is that she grunts while making this face too! Good night for now!

elsie contest.

I’ve never done this before, but Elsie posted a challenge on her blog yesterday and I decided to take it. The challenge was to make a list of things to do before your next birthday, so mine should have been 27 things to do before turning 28. With two little girls and not much spare time, I knew I would fail if I wrote things that I actually would love to accomplish, so I made a different sort of list. I made a list of 10 wishes for my girls. Then I created a layout with those 10 things listed. It was so much fun to sit last night, play and create while thinking of all the amazing things I want for their lives.

I’m hoping to get back on here tonight and post some other layouts I’ve finished recently… we’ll see how tired I am considering I’m working on about 2 hours of sleep right now!

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In case you can’t read the wishes…

1. that you’ll always be able to color outside the lines
2. a sense of adventure even greater than your daddy’s
3. that you find love deep enough you’re willing to hang on to it during the tough times
4. true friends, old friends, best friends, girl friends
5. that you find your passion and are brave enough to pursue it
6. the ability to laugh at yourself
7. a love of learning
8. the understanding that family is forever and the bond of sisterhood is stronger than all others
9. that you find joy in everyday and appreciate the details
10. that you love God first and foremost.

nighnigh.

Leaving the girls room at night I always say “night night girls, I love you” after prayers, hugs, etc. Tonight as I was closing the door I heard Bailey say, “nigh nigh parpur.”

I stopped and had to just stand there for a minute.

Bailey has the most amazing love for Parker. I stood there and just thanked God for my girls.

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My most recent (and new favorite) shot of Parker. No new ones of Bails… apparently turning two makes you want to hold the camera, not smile for one!

Tomorrow is Chris’s birthday (28 years old!) so send him some love via the comments if you have time! He reads this and I know it would make him smile.

nighnigh everyone!

oh my sore bottom

So 25 miles riding bikes for the first time in years leads to a very sore bottom! My bones down there are just bruised!

But even the pain doesn’t take an ounce away from this amazing day! Which ended, I might add, with dinner at an incredible steak restaurant (Citizen Kane’s) and now in bed early so we can get as much sleep as possible with the girls away!

Neither of us have ever been on the Katy Trail and now we’re in love. We want to ride the whole thing someday sleeping at the bed and breakfasts along the way. It’s beautiful, simply beautiful. Because I’m in such a happy glow I don’t even know what else to say about it! Basically, Chris and I just had 4 incredible hours to talk and reconnect. I even said to him at one point that today made me remember how much I love him and exactly why I married him. Minus the stress of life and kids and everything, at the root we are great friends and love spending time together. Enjoy the photos!Img_3562

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ps…thanks Tracy and Joel for the bikes! We’ll wash the dust off and return them soon!

even if you told me I won the lottery, this day couldn’t get any better!

OMGosh, where do I begin???

Dropped off two cranky sick kids to my parents at 8am, who (God bless them) are keeping them for two days and one night to give us a BREAK!

Got to the Katy Trail around 10am (will post photos and more details later). Biked about 25 miles, from Weldon Springs to Augusta. By 2pm when we got back home we were exhausted, dusty, hot (it’s 96 here today!) but in great moods b/c we had such an amazing time reconnecting on the trail.

I sat down here ready to edit the photos from the day while C showered, just happy and seriously in love with my life when I checked emails and saw the comment from Kal.

You would have thought that Oprah or Martha or some other very VERY famous person that I love LOVE had personally walked in my house and told me they liked me, read my blog and liked my photos by the way I screamed.

I literally couldn’t stop screaming! Thank goodness the girls weren’t home or they would have thought mommy was off her rocker! KAL BARTESKI READS MY BLOG! Not only that, she saved BAILEY’S little voice onto her computer! AND she said she LIKES my photos! OMGosh!

Let me stop here for a moment before you think I really have lost it and explain something.

Every day to veg out or release steam or just relax I sit down at my MAC and surf my favorite blogs. Reading about other women’s lives just makes me happy. I know that sounds strange, but I find more inspriation in the artist’s blogs I read then most other places in the world. And other mom blogs I read help me understand that I’m not alone in struggling to balance it all. When you are a stay at home mom most of the time, it can get a little lonely, and it’s nice to feel connected to other women in the same boat.

Anyway, Kal is one that I read simply for inspiration. She is truly amazing and everything that I am NOT! I’ve always wanted to be a fine artist and I just don’t have that talent. Seeing her paintings, chalk drawings, etc. make me happy and inspire me to get out of my box and experiment.

But the key here is that I READ HER BLOG TO GET INSPIRED, I never, not in a million years, would have thought or even dreamed that she stopped by here occasionally to see what I was writing about! It really was like Martha Stewart walked in my house and said she liked my decorations and loved how organized I am!

Isn’t it amazing how God works sometimes? Just when you really need a boost, He gives you one. By Kal leaving a comment on this little blog, read mainly by family and friends, she was able to make my already amazing day, simply perfect.

I’ve been struggling a lot lately in ways that I’ve been trying to figure out how to even articulate. What it basically comes down to, is that I have been waiting for 10 years to realize what I want to do with my life and now that I’ve found it, I don’t have time or money to actively pursue it. As most of you know, I never graduated college b/c I simply didn’t know what to do or which major to pick. I bounced around and got bad grades for long enough before I just quit. I then put all of my time and passion into lacrosse, which at the time I thought was my true passion. I coached, played, sold lax equipment, ran leagues and camps. Then Chris and I got married, I had kids, I started scrapbooking, I got better at photography and suddenly I found these deep pockets of creativity that had been waiting to be released. The kicker is that having babies somehow unlocked my true creativity, but having kids is keeping me from being able to pursue my dreams. It’s the ultimate catch-22. So recently I have forced myself to settle down, make goals for myself for the next 5 years and have come to understand that God wants me to be a mom first and artist second. So slowly I will pursue my dreams and career, but in the mean time I’m going to concentrate on raising amazing girls.

All of this is to say that someday I hope to make as much of a difference in someone’s life as artists like Kal Barteski have made in mine. One dream of mine is to someday know that complete strangers are reading this blog to be inspired by what I’m doing, and today a little piece of that dream came true! Not only is a stranger reading this, it’s someone that I respect and admire as a wife/soon-to-be-mommy/artist.

Thank you Kal, for stopping, commenting, and changing my life! Your kind words made a part of my heart smile today that no one has ever touched before.

Again, I love life! I LOVE LIFE! Today was so amazing that every time I think about it, I will smile and probably giggle, just a little, at how truly wonderful my life is!Img_3596