Saturday, December 31, 2011

The 2011 Roller Coaster

We are saying good bye to 2011 today. As I look back, I don't really remember the first half of the year. There were six uneventful months. And then the roller coaster began as John started applying to jobs in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area. It was just on a whim, but then he started getting interviews! The process began in July 2011 and will last into 2012.
We've had our ups and downs. We have examined so many aspects of our lives. We are willing to let go of many good things to open the door for new possibilities and growth. I wonder how I will reflect back on 2012 when the year winds down. I expect it to be a year of many new things, but I am not exactly sure what is coming.

Over the past few months, I have realized the my family of three is the most important thing to me. (Other things are important too: my extended family, friends, job, home, etc.) What I need most of all is John and Alex. When I saw this video posted last summer, it clicked with me.

I wish you a happy 2012! Soon my blog title will be outdated: I have another 1600 some miles to travel.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Alex woke up on Christmas morning and immediately tore into one of his presents from Grandma Mickey. There was a look of sheer delight and he jumped when he saw the presents under the Christmas tree. He managed to wait to open the rest of the gifts until my parents came over. We ate our almost-burnt cinnamon rolls while we waited. Santa Claus brought Alex his own digital camera so that we would stop trying to use mine. John recently got an iPhone, so both boys took lots of pictures on Christmas.

Alex wanted to play with each gift as he opened them. At the end, the area was a mess, but we all had a good time. Alex was in miss matched pajamas since he woke up with a wet diaper.

We skyped with my brother and then had lunch at Rudy's. My parents have been the last two years on Christmas, so now it is a tradition. You know that you are in Texas when you can get barbecue on Christmas.

Alex enjoyed playing with his toys and one of John's new co-workers sent Alex a gift. We watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (while Alex watched cartoons). John was able to skype with his family later in the day. We enjoyed this Christmas in San Antonio and we'll see where we are next Christmas!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Eve

Alex is starting to get Christmas this year. We put up a smaller and child friendly tree on the 17th. Alex rearranged and played with the ornaments and knocked over the tree once. After a couple of days, we were able to enjoy the tree without constantly wanting to touch it.

Somewhere Alex picked up the idea that Santa Claus likes cookies. On Christmas Eve, Alex, my mom and I made cookies for Santa. It was fun but messy. Alex is not too into sweets, so he only ate one cookie. We left two cookies out for Santa that night. We kept Christmas simple but enjoyable this year.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Lights

We made it downtown earlier this month to see the Christmas Lights on the Riverwalk and the San Antonio Christmas tree. I love the new LED lights, and Alex loves Christmas lights in general this year. We had dinner at Schilo's and I took a picture of another favorite restaurant, Casa Rio.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Checking in

Bit by bit, we are getting ready to move to California. I know that things will move even faster in January. I am sad to be leaving my current job the first week of January but excited about some job prospects in California. I am nervous about selling our house but excited about our new place even though I have not seen it yet.

I finished my Christmas shopping but have not even started wrapping...

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

November Craft Spending

It turned out to be a "no spend November." With the upcoming move, I resisted buying craft items. This was hard with all of the advertisements for Black Friday sales!

I am still pairing down my craft supplies in anticipation of a smaller craft space in our next place. Right now, my hope is to set up our large folding table and the big red shelves that John built for me in a corner.

I sold some craft items at our garage sale on Black Friday. It is hard to let go of stamp sets, but the wood mounted ones take up so much space. I felt better about parting with some supplies when a gentleman explained that he was buying items for his 12 year old granddaughter for Christmas. She loves to stamp. :)

December will remain low to no buy for me, but I may do a little craft shopping in the new year.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


It is so easy to accumulate stuff! We are cleaning out some things before the move and preparing to live in a smaller space. The movers estimate that we have 4,718 pounds of stuff to move to California. It is weird to think about the amount of stuff you own in pounds!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend

We have really enjoyed the Thanksgiving Weekend!

Our Thanksgiving decoration was a turkey that Alex made at school. He likes that it is hanging on the refrigerator.

With the craziness of preparing to move, we decided to keep our Thanksgiving simple:
Thanksgiving Menu
Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole
Cranberry Sauce (from a can)
Pumpkin & Apple Pies (Baked by HEB)

Everything tasted great and our meal was ready ahead of schedule. We have just enough leftovers to enjoy.

Alex watched a little of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, but it did not hold his interest. He spent lots of time playing.

We found out that one of our neighbors was planning to have a garage sale on Friday. It was perfect timing, and we also had a successful garage sale. It is easy to ignore Black Friday sales when you are preoccupied with clearing out extra items for a move.

On Saturday, we had some time to rest and a fun play date with friends. We continue to organize and weed out extra things. I feel better about selling or giving away items when I know that someone can use them. I feel less sentimental than expected about letting go of baby items since I have so many photos of Alex from that time. I don't feel that I need the physical items since I have the photos and memories.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thankful Thought #2

I am thankful for where I am from, where I am now, and where I am going.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Alex's Photos

Alex got ahold of the camera last weekend and took some pictures:
Uncle Shrek
Bearded John
I took a picture of our little photographer in Grandma's sunglasses.
Photos taken 11/20/11.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Next Chapter

We are preparing the for next chapter in our lives. Over seven years ago we moved to San Antonio when I was offered a job at the University of Texas at San Antonio. I told John that the next move would be his, and now it is time for new opportunities. John has been offered a job with Apple in Cupertino, California.

I am excited and nervous, and we are still working on the exact timeline for the move. We accumulated some things in the last seven years to move, including a toddler and two dogs. We also have a house to sell.

UTSA and San Antonio have been good to us. It will he hard to leave behind our family and friends here! I expect to use technology (iPad... hint, hint) to keep in touch and will come back to visit. This has been a good chapter of our lives.

Congratulations on your new job, John! I am so proud of you!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Little Bit of Fall

We got a little taste of fall on Friday. We went to Boerne for lunch at The Dodging Duck and a walk at the Cibolo Nature Center. We are enjoying a weekend of family time and football while my brother is in town.

My Craft Space

My craft desk was actually clean for a few days, so I took some pictures. We bought the desk at a local office furniture store, and I like that I can lock the drawers to keep little fingers out of them.

I really like the clear plastic drawers for organization. I've picked up a few sets over the years at Walmart. The striped box holds finished cards. I keep my basic supplies in the blue case, so they are easy to grab or take to a class.

The two accordion files hold 12x12 card stock and patterned paper, and they are more portable than other options for holding paper. The purple binder hold items for me to scrap, but if it is out of site I do have the tendency to forget about it. The clear bins hold a mix of items to be scrapped and some supplies. The black case holds stickers, and my magazines are next to it.

I divided up my punches into a couple of storage options. The smaller punches are in drawers and the larger ones are in the brown bin. I also have some acrylic blocks. I recently condensed some stamp sets. I don't want to part with wood mount sets, but the clear mount stamps take up a lot less space, which I love.

On the top shelf, which my husband made, I keep my Big Shot, dies, and some small embellishments. The large box holds paints, and the striped box holds photos.

I keep my inks locked in a drawer, and other items that I don't want Alex to get into.

I organize my 8 1/2 x 11 card stock and scraps by color in the bottom drawer.

I enjoy crafting in our family room and expect to keep my craft stuff in a shared space. I can relate to the Paperclipping Roundtable episode about shared crafting spaces.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Stamping Buddy

Alex is learning to stamp, which is messy and fun!
In the video Alex is stamping a cupcake and saying "birthday cake."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

November: 10 Things on the 10th

I still can't believe that it is November already! In the U.S. we will be celebrating Thanksgiving later this month. I think that it is important for this holiday not to get lost in all the hype of Halloween and Christmas. Not only do I enjoy cooking and being with family for Thanksgiving, it is a time to focus on gratitude. This month, I will share 10 Things that I am Thankful For:

My Husband
My Son
My Family
My Friends
My Health
My Job
My Education
A Little Quiet Time Alone
Our Home

For more "10 on the 10th of the Month" entries, visit Shimelle's Blog.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Alex's Outfit

Yes, Alex chose his outfit today: dinosaur t-shirt, basketball shorts, Alamo socks, and bug shoes. He usually has a little "bed head" in the mornings.

Monday, November 7, 2011

November Happiness Blog Hop: Pay Attention

This month's Happiness Blog Hop organized by Scrapworthy Lives is themed Pay Attention. Gretchen Rubin dedicates a chapter of The Happiness Project to this topic, but I think that scrapbookers have a head start on this part of happiness. As scrapbooking has shifted from mainly scrapping the big events (weddings, vacations, bithdays, etc) to also including our everyday lives, scrapbookers are paying attention to the little things. Ali Edwards has been promoting everyday scrapbooking for years, Becky Higgins brings us Project Life, and Stacy Julian teaches us to make connections through her Library of Memories system.

I find that blog and scrapbook projects help me pay more attention to my everyday life. I started with A Day in Photos last April while taking Shimelle's Beyond Blogging for Scrapbookers class. I also tried Ali Edward's Week in the Life for the first time in July. I blogged about my week and want to make a photo book with the pictures and stories. Next, I would like to complete Ali Edward's December Daily. I am thinking about ways to approach this project. I could mainly use my blog, but making a mini book would be fun too. Elise Blaha sells cute holiday mini books on her Etsy site, which would save me some prep time. These projects help me take more everyday photos and tell more stories about our everyday lives. Alex is growing so fast and life changes quickly, so I know that I will treasure having these details now and in the future.

I would love to hear how other scrapbookers pay attention in their lives and if you have any tips for completing December Daily.

Your next stop on the blog hop is Scrapping Mojo. Thank you for visiting today!

Here is the list of participating blogs:
Fun Mama
Kiss & Tell Scrapbooking
Melissa’s Blog
Nihao, Cupcake!
Our Life with Spiky Potatoes
Pie for Breakfast
Scraps & Sass
Scrapworthy Lives
Scrap Your Life
Slice of Life
Take a Picture and Remember This
This Kalil Life
1200 Some Miles (You are here.)
Scrapping Mojo
Your Memory Connection

Saturday, November 5, 2011

October Craft Spending

For most of the month, I was on track with my $40 craft budget, but I went over budget at the end of the month. I was definitely tempted by some "good deals" last month! I had extra money in my overall monthly allowance, so my craft spending was not a problem. I do like staying aware of how much I am spending in this area.

Here is what I bough in October:
1. I spent $10 on a Living Social deal for $20 worth of scrapbooking products at The Scrapbook Store. I am looking forward to checking out this store! Unfortunately, one scrapbook store near me completely closed and the other one is temporarily closed.

2. I was lured to Michael's on my lunch hour one day with a buy one, get one 50% off sale. My two crafty friends came with me but managed not to buy anything. I spend $29.71 on the Ranger Craft Mat, two Copic markers (V06 & R29), and about 10 sheets of Bazzil card stock in white and kraft. The Copics were on sale, which is rare. I arrive at 12:30 PM the day of the sale to find the Copic selection already picked over. I like the craft mat, but I am glad that I got it with a 40% off coupon.

I planned to stop my shopping at that point, but I found 2 other great deals:

3. I spend about $10 for a Memory Keeper from Paper Coterie. I wanted to take advantage of a great deal posted on The Mom Creative, and it will be a good place to store Alex's memorabilia.

4. A while back I won a gift certificate to Ella Publishing. I spent and extra $2.47 to have my gift certificate cover 3 e-books on scrapbooking, photography, and card making. 31 Thank You Cards is on sale through 11/7/11 for $6.49, and I am enjoying this book.

My total was about $53 on crafting this month, but I am happy with my purchases.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Do you like Giveaways?

It is hard to resist an opportunity to win something. The first raffle prize that I remember winning was a small TV when the Payless Shoe Store opened nearby. Maybe I was 10 or 12 years old? I will have to ask my mom if she remembers when it was, but I think that I got to keep the TV in my bedroom.

I still love the chance to win something and there are lots of giveaways in blogland. I have won some Ella e-books from a couple of blogs and am enjoying them. Next I would love to win the Studio Calico & Ali Edwards December Daily Kit that will be given away on Elizabeth Kartchner's Blog. This kit looks great for both scrapbooking and card making! With or without a kit, I am starting to consider participating in December Daily this year (maybe a scrapbook, photo book or just blog posts).

Monday, October 31, 2011

Memory Keeping

I have been thinking about the evolution from just "scrapbooking" to "memory keeping." I keep seeing the term memory keeping used more and more and I love it. Yesterday, I went to Jessica Turner's blog, The Mom Creative, to read some of her "31 Days of Memory Keeping" series. Ali Edwards now uses the tag line "Memory Keeping for the Modern World" for her website. Finally, I could not wait to download the new e-book from Ella Publishing, which provides "Memorable Reads for Memory Keepers."

I think that this is both a philosophical shift and practical shift for many scrapbookers. We do a greater variety of memory keeping now including photo books and Project Life. (I love Shutterfly and Paper Coterie for photo books.) For me, the big shift is using my blog for memory keeping. I enjoy being able to quickly share my photos and stories. Some of this evolution may be due to time constraints in our lives, but I think that people are enjoying the many forms of memory keeping available. I dabble in a little digital scrapbooking with My Digital Studio. My scrapbooks provide a home for some photos, ephemera, layouts (paper and digital) and Alex's artwork. I only occasionally create a traditional scrapbook layout, but I still call myself a scrapbooker because memory keeping has become a part of my life. I hope that others will find the forms of memory keeping that fit them best.

Busy Weekend

Drinks with friends Friday night
UTSA Football Game on Saturday (with a win in OT!)
Pumpkin Carving Party Saturday night
Lunch with friends today
Sunday dinner with my parents

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Summer Artwork

It was so hot outside this summer that Alex's daycare had to cut their afternoon time outside. This resulted in A LOT of artwork. Alex enjoys painting, and he managed to get paint everywhere. One day he had pink and purple spiky hair after putting some of the paint in his hair. Of course we needed to stop at the grocery store on the way home that day! Another day, he had blue hands after painting and looked like a Smurf.

Here is some of Alex's artwork from the summer:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Love Card

I forgot to post the card I made for John for our anniversary (at the end of July).
Supplies Used:
Paper: Life of the Party from Basic Grey
Card Stock: Crumb Cake (kraft) from Stampin' Up!
Stamp: Hero Arts Graph Background
Inks: Fired Brick Distress Ink & Chestnut Roan chalk ink from Color Box
Stickers: EK Success
Corner Rounder: Crop-a-dile Corner Chomper from We R Memory Keepers

These seemed to be my "go-to" supplies last summer, and now I am obsessed with butterflies!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Color Combo Blog Hop

I can't believe that it is already the middle of October! It is time for another Color Combo Blog Hop. I will have the entire list of participants at the end of the hop so that you don't miss a stop.

For October, we chose between three fall color combinations from Design Seeds. Here is the one that I chose:

After reading this article earlier in the week on Scrapbook Update, I was attracted to the combination with grays and yellows. Last night, I scrapped one of my favorite photos of Alex from the summer.

This is a digital page designed in My Digital Studio, and most supplies are from Stampin' Up. I also used a stamp designed by Ali Edwards available at Designer Digitals.

The journaling reads:
Our neighbor was nice enough to let you help water his lawn on some hot summer evenings. You had fun watering the plants and playing with the hose. One day, you exclaimed, "My belly's wet!" We could not help but laugh! Not only was your belly wet, but you were soaked from head to toe.

Our neighbor also blogs, and you can read his great food blog at .

Your next stop on the blog hop is

You can see more ways to use this color combination and two others by following the entire hop: (You are here.)

Thank you for stopping by!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ten Conference Highlights

For my October Ten Things on the Tenth of the Month post, I want to share highlights from the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Conference that I attended in Denver, Colorado from October 1-5, 2011. This was a wonderful conference!

1. One of my favorite sessions from the conference was on "Women Thriving in Higher Education." An extraordinary panel of women honestly shared their career experiences and advice. One woman pointed out that in your career sometimes you do things out of desire and sometimes you have to do it out of need. They discussed changing positions to stay in line with your core values and the topics of taking a pay cut or a part-time position. They shared their various experiences with completing a doctorate degree. Their willingness to honestly share their experiences made this session so valuable.

2. I was happily surprised to see my graduate school advisor at the conference. I did not pre-select my conference sessions, so I did not know that she was presenting. She has served as a reference for me and we email occasionally, but I had not seen her in seven years. Of course, I attended her presentation.

3. Since I did not pre-select my sessions, I took advantage of going with the flow and attended great sessions on a variety of topics: Sophomores/Second Year Students, Assessment, Technology in Advising, First Year Students, and Graduate Interns.

4. I hung out with two conference buddies in Denver. I enjoyed spending time with these ladies.

5. I also had the opportunity to connect with other UTSA advisors who I do not regularly get to see at work. We enjoyed getting together for dinner two nights in a row.

6. The weather was beautiful and I enjoyed walking around Downtown Denver.

7. A friend introduced me to Pinkberry frozen yogurt. If you have one in your area, go get some peanut butter yogurt with your favorite topping for me. There are not any locations in San Antonio. (Someone with more money than an Academic Advisor should start a franchise here!)

8. I got to meet other academic advisors from all over the U.S. and the world. I chatted with advisors from Ohio, California, Hawaii, North Carolina, Florida, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Texas, Oklahoma, and Hong Kong.

9. I learned so much, including more about Sophomores/Second Year students and Assessment. I have taken a lot of ideas home with me and hope to use and implement them.

10. I am finally on Twitter and looking forward to the Academic Advising Chat each Tuesday.

For more Ten Things on the Tenth of the Month posts, visit

Thanks to one of my conference buddies for taking my photo at our hotel.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

While I Was Away...

I uploaded some photos from our camera and found this one that was taken while I was away at a conference.
I'll be saving this one for when Alex is in high school. :)
Photo taken 10/2/11.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

September Expenses

I give myself a monthly budget of $40 to spend on craft supplies (including classes, idea books/magazines, photo printing etc.), and I was under budget for September. I have done some fall cleaning and condensed my supplies.

Early in the month I spent about $3.05 on adhesive. I used some Michael's store credit on this purchase, so it would have been about $10 normally. Later in the month, I spent $3 on a butterfly stamp, which I have already used.

My local stamp store, Stamp Antonio Arts, did a great job organizing their first ever "garage sale." I shared a table with a friend and made $20 by selling some craft supplies that I was longer using. I also swapped some card stock with a friend at no cost.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Alex Stories

By the end of the day, I had three stories to share about Alex. There is a lot of personality in that two and a half year old!

This morning, Alex's teacher mentioned that Alex started opening the door from the playground to inside the classroom when he is done playing outside even though it is not time to go in yet... The teachers catch him, but now we need to watch all of the doors!

I picked up Alex a little early today and he was playing with a doll. His teacher walked over to tell me a story. Alex and a little girl both wanted to play with the doll. They went back-and-forth staying "My baby" and "No, my baby." Then, Alex said, "It's our baby." Well, at least he is learning to share!

We are seeing Alex's sense of humor develop. Alex usually tells me that his banana peel goes in the compost. Tonight I asked him where the banana peel goes, and he proceeded to give me a variety of answers each time I asked: ear, head, knee, sky, etc. We both thought that it was funny.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thankful Thought #1

One of the first blogs I read was Ali Edward's, and I am still reading it regularly since she shares valuable information and insight on scrapbooking, family, motherhood, and life in general. She started sharing Thankful Thoughts and I related to her post today. She wrote about keeping in touch with her family across the country on Facetime. I have not tried that program yet, but we Skype with my brother on some Sundays. Alex brings out his stuffed Skrek while he talks to Uncle Shrek, and they make silly faces on the video chat. Yesterday, Alex wanted to stay by the computer instead of taking a bath. Alex wanted to count and sing his ABC's but not talk sports. I am thankful for all of the technology that helps us keep in touch with our family and friends.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


We mainly call the little man "Alex," but sometimes we call him by his full name, Alexander. Actually, it makes a fun song if you sing Alexander over and over. He calls himself "Alex", but recently he has caught onto the idea of his full name. He decided that John and I need full names too. I am "Mommy-zander" and John is "Daddy-zander."

Alex is pictured on 9/18/11 standing on a stool and playing with the printer.