coffee understands

I feel like all I do is drink coffee.  I have my first cup at 8 am and my last cup around 3 pm.  Every now and then I add in a cup or 2 of decaf to make things interesting, but I drink 2x more coffee than water in a day.

Shutterfly Photo Books

With all of the losses that have happened this past week in my family, I find myself looking back at our photo books to remember the good times with the people and pets that have passed.  Once of my favorite sites to make photo projects on is Shutterfly.  They have many different templates, their print quality is great, the price is not too high, and they frequently have sales and free photo book offers that I take advantage of.  I make yearly books for each kid since their respective births, a family calendar each year for the past 5 years, and various other photo books and prints as the occasion warrants.

If you are new to Shutterfly, and use the link below, you will get a free photo book and I will get a $10 credit for referring you.  Win/win right?

Free Photo Book Referral Link!

Goodbye Mia

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On Monday we took our 2 cats to the vet for a checkup and blood work.  Mia had lost weight in the move and had never gained it back.  We found out that she had gone from 9lbs to 6lbs in the last 6 months.  The vet gave her an exam and warned us that with an elderly cat, it could be a thyroid condition, kidney disease, or cancer.

The next day we got the results back from the blood tests; Mia had severe kidney failure.  On a scale of 1-4 with 4 being the most severe, she was a 4+.  I left work immediately and we took her to the vet to start subcutaneous fluid treatments and to give her an anti-nausea injection to help her with they symptoms.  Tuesday afternoon, after the treatment, she was purring, responsive, and moving like she normally would.

Just 4 hours later, she could not stand without swaying like she was drunk, she could barely walk, and she would not eat or drink.  Her eyes were getting glassy and half lidded, but she still purred for me when I pet her.  We could tell that she was sick, tired, and only had a few hours left.  We said our goodbyes and J took her to the vet; our amazing vet, whom we have only seen once the day before, stayed open after hours to help us make sure Mia passed peacefully.  J was able to spend 5 minutes with her while the sedative took affect; he made sure that her last moments on this earth were doing her favorite thing, sitting on a lap and being petted.  I had spend time with her earlier in the day, sitting in the sunshine with her on my lap, as I had a gut feeling that she would not be around much longer.

She was our wonderful, loving kitty for 14 years exactly.  She would sleep under the covers with me and loved to lay in the sunshine.  She would sit in the lap of anyone that would come to visit us and purr so loudly that you could hear her across the room.  Anytime you entered a room that she was in, she would give a little “purrrrp!” in greeting.

Our house is much quieter and much sadder without her here.  L knows that she is gone, but he doesn’t understand death yet.  R just keeps wandering around asking for “kitty Mia”.

Making Mockups

This weekend I have been working hard on revamping the listings in my ETSY shop.  At first I was going to purchase some mockups that I could use to make listings, but the cost for commercial licenses for that was more than I make on my shop in a year.  So, I decided to learn how to make my own mockups with my camera, a couple of simple props, and Photoshop (of course).  In the process of doing this, I have learned about 20 new things in Photoshop.  After about 4 hours of learning and work, my listings are going from this:

to my new and improved listing style!

Hopefully a more modern look will encourage shoppers to spend more time on my site!

2016 Resolutions

A new year and a new set of goals/resolutions.  As with previous years, I am trying to set reasonable goals, but also trying to challenge myself to be a better person and do the things that make me happy.  See below for my list of things that may or may not get accomplished in 2016…

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Most years this one is unspoken in my mind, but I always want to write more.  This time I am adding it to the official list in the hopes that I will make it happen.  Writing more than last year should not be too hard to accomplish, considering my complete lack thereof.

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A little bit different from the standard “diet” resolution.  Much of my day is filled with semi-healthy food (which can be very tiring day after day), but in the evening I usually have a beer or a glass of wine.  With a trip to Hawaii planned for July, limiting the empty calories seems like a great way to start losing a few pounds to be ready for that swimsuit.  Not that I expect to be bikini ready by any means, but I hope to fit into the swimsuits that I bought for the Bahamas trip back in 2010.

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Since moving and going back to work, I have spent very VERY little time outside.  Now that we live somewhere that actually has winter, although you would never know it by how mild the winter has been so far, I feel like I should make more of an effort to get my vitamin D while I can.  The kids also love running around outside, which means that they nap better and sleep better at night.  Win, win in my mind.  I just need to remember the sunblock so that I don’t get a burn…

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I have a nice new camera, and a brand new lense that I got for Xmas, so I need to be using it.  I love taking pictures, but I am not fast enough for those candid moments most of the time.  I know that will only get better with practice, so this year I want to practice with my camera more.  But the challenge will really be to get a few pictures, and then put the camera away so that I can enjoy the moment with my kids.  I see many photographers taking pictures of their family when all their kids want them to do is stop and come play with them.

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This past year has very few pictures with me in them.  Primarily that is because I am the one taking the picture, but it is also because I don’t tell J to “take an effing picture already” to gently remind him that the kids might like to see pictures of both parents someday.  😉  Being in the picture will also help me train myself to be more photogenic, or at least not quite as horrible at looking decent in a picture.

2015 Resolution Recap

It is that time of year again.  Time for me to look at how well I did on my resolutions for 2015 and think about my resolutions for the upcoming year.  I think I did pretty good considering all of the major changes and challenges that came up unexpectedly during the year.  Working again has really changed my priorities for resolutions and I am expecting my list for next year to me very different.

IMG_20140817_134737Well, I guess I can say that this one was a partial success.  We de-cluttered a lot during our cross-country move, but not as much as I would like.  Getting a job has greatly reduced the number of “clutter activities” that I have time for; like doing dishes, making cookies, or watching TV.  I feel good about the progress that I have made towards this goal, but I could have done a lot more.

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This one is going into the FAIL box.  I started off the year good, working on cooking more and having more veggies, but then I went back to work.  Working again has messed up our whole family schedule and we haven’t recovered yet.

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Another resolution that was working out great until I went back to work.  I was making cookies on a regular basis and sending them to J’s office (much to the delight of his coworkers), but with a new schedule comes less time to bake.  Point in fact, I made cookies for Santa but only got 1/4 of them frosted due to being hit with a stomach bug the next day.  So I have 4 dozen unfrosted sugar cookies in the freezer right now and zero motivation to finish them at the moment.

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This is another resolution that I will count as half complete.  While I now have less time to play, I am more present and willing to stop cleaning when I have the chance.  Playing Legos is ALWAYS better than folding laundry!

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I can’t really say that this one has been successful, but I also cannot say that it has failed.  I spent the first half of the year staying home with the kids, making items for my shop, making cookies, and other fun projects.  The second half of the year I have been making holiday cards for my friends, making items not to sell, but for myself, and working full time and using my science skills that were underutilized previously.  There is just not enough hours in the day to do what I want and what I need to.  I think the biggest drain of joy in my life is the stage that the kids are in right now.  I find that I do not have the patience, nor the grace, to deal with potty training, the effing fours, and the terrible twos all at once.  Parenting is hard.  (If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend reading All Joy and No Fun.)  The kids are also the biggest source of joy in my life, so it is quite a conundrum in my daily life.

Decorating the Tree

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Just a quick snapshot of a peaceful moment in the middle of a holiday weekend filled with family, tantrums, sibling rivalry, and stomach viruses.

And I do have to comment about how much I hate yellow colored walls in pictures.  No matter what you do, the yellow tone is just overpowering.  Next house, no yellow walls allowed. Ever,

At some point

At some point I do expect life to calm down into some semblance of order.  At some point I do expect to be able to have a dedicated time to sit down and write.  At some point I do expect my house to be cleaned by magical woodland creatures while I sing.  What?  I never said my expectations were realistic.

I feel like 90% of the recent posts on here are me complaining about how I don’t have time to write anymore.  I will tell you now, there has been a lot going on in my house the past few months.  We have dealt with potty training issues, sibling rivalry, work travel, depression, lead paint, piles of leaves as tall as me, migraines, cat puke, and a weird scratching noise in the wall that I think is a mouse.  So stay tuned as I try to tackle each of these fun topics and what I may or may not have learned from the experience of dealing with them (or avoiding them).

All the hand drawn elements I would ever need

One of the design bloggers I follow is Chris Spooner at his site SpoonGraphics.  I have learned so much through his tutorials and I love his freebies.  Today he posted a pack of design elements through Design Cuts that I may or may not have run to the computer to purchase.

I am loving the handmade style that is prevalent in the graphic design arena right now, but I do not have the time to create these elements myself.  That is why I am super thankful that other artists do that part of the work for me, letting me devote more time to the design work that I adore.

Normally, I would like to make a few example items to show off what these sets can do, but I don’t want to wait to post this long enough to do that.  If you are looking for some resources and ideas for your design/web/scrapbooking, I highly recommend checking these out.

*I was not compensated in any way for this post.  I am just sharing something that I think is really awesome with the interwebs*