Tuesday, December 15, 2009


One can be excused from a multitude of sins, such as not responding to facebook messages, emails, calls and/or updating ones blog when one is in the process of selling and purchasing a home, right?

That is my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

It seems like mixed in with all of our blessings, and believe me, I know how blessed we are, there have been a comedy of errors that have complicated our lives this last month. If you recall a few posts back I was debating whether to stay in Long Beach, or consider moving to Rossmoor for the school district.

Well a quick update on that front; after purchasing what would have eventually been a really cool home after a lot of TLC and dough in La Marina Estates (over by CSULB), we backed out for a number of reasons. We then focused our search in Rossmoor for a number of reasons.

In the meantime, the buyer of our house was pressuring us to remove contingencies on the sale of our home. We stuck to our guns and decided that moving our family 2-3 times just so we "wouldn't lose a buyer" was not worth it. We decided we were not going to move and remove contingencies until we found a home. Well, wouldn't you know that after we finally did find a home to buy, the buyer of our home backed out! We had to quickly put our house back on the market and get it in escrow in 5 days, or the house we had bought would go back on the market.

Are you keeping up with me? Don't worry, I wouldn't blame you if you were dazed and confused. I am. I have decided I am just along for the ride.

Our house is now in escrow again and things for the most part are moving along smoothly. There was a slight hiccup due to a difference of opinion over the repair of some corroded pipes, but we got that all settled and things are back on track.

Did I mention that the new buyer of our home proposed to his long-time girlfriend on the steps of our porch last Wednesday during the home inspection? This house has seen A LOT of action in the last couple of months I tell ya!

In other news, we took the kids to see the Nutcracker last Sunday and on the way home we took a detour from our normal route to stop and get gas at Costco. A dazed and confused out-of-stater from Las Vegas went straight from a left turn lane, right into the bumper of my newly fixed car. Yes, that's right, just 2 short months after spending $1100 getting my car back to its beautiful state, a lady hits it in the same spot! If only I had waited 2 months I could have got it fixed for free. Oh well. I spent some time on the phone yesterday with AAA and at the body shop. Good times.

The pit stop at Costco to get petrol was put on hold due to our frazzled nerves and a very long line. You see where this is going? That night we got an unexpected invite to go and walk the Canals in Naples with our good friends (and my awesome realtor!), the Irelands. As we get in the car Art asks "Do we have enough gas to get us there?"

"Oh sure!" I reply. Well, we did have enough gas to get us there. Just not quite enough to get us back! As we pulled into the parking space at the Prince of Peace Pageant, my car ran out of gas. I think this is the 5th time it's happened to me. I really hate to get gas. Luckily our trusty neighbor Aaron took his family home and then came back and picked us up and took Art out to get gas.

Besides some silly drama and excitement, we are doing well and trying our best to enjoy this wonderful and special time of year. Christmas carols and potpourri are brewing every night at our house and I have been a crafting nut. I have been sewing like mad, baking, stamping, stenciling, etc. I promise to post some pictures of some of the great projects I've been working on this week.

Until then my loan officer is hounding me for more information so I better run!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Craft Fair this Thursday and Friday!

Who doesn't love a good Craft Fair? Come to one this Thursday and Friday from 11-4 at the Belmont Heights Church Preschool, do some Christmas Shopping and at the same time help a graet cause. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Long Beach W omen's Shelter. I will have Baby Taylored items on hand as well as darling tutus for the little ballerina in your life!

I hope you can make it!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Markings on a Wall

It has been a wonderful Thanksgiving all and all. We ended up forgoing trekking across Southern California from Rossmoor to Pasadena, and opted to just stay at my in-laws. My tired and still sick body is thanking me, but my heart is sad that I didn't get to see my family today. A first in my entire life. I am crying just thinking about it.

It doesn't help that I am here in the house all alone. Since I was moving so slow today due to still being sick, I wasn't ready to go to the in-laws, so Art and the kids went ahead with out me while I got ready. Since we had 2 cars and I was still feeling tired and sick, I left early to come home and get in my pajamas.

I'm sitting here at my computer, going through my blog roll and I start to read the Flea Market Style blog, I come across this passage in a posting:

You just can't manufacture character in a few days. This is the layering of a home that takes years and often decades to produce. It's the peeling paint on the side of a barn, the worn footsteps on a front porch and the pencil markings on a door post marking the height measurements of little children. You can't buy character, it's acquired.

And that is when it dawns on me. The markings on the kitchen wall where we have measured the kid's growth for the last 4 years. How will we take that with us? Why oh why did I not just do a growth chart that I could pick up and take?!?! And it finally hits me that sooner or later, we are leaving this house.

This house that we moved to 5.5 years ago to start a family. This house that we tried for months and months to get pregnant in. The bathroom where I found out that we were expecting our first child. The backyard that I ran out to to tell my husband that it had finally happened! We were having a baby. The house that we brought our newborn daughter home to, and later, our newborn son.

The house that we threw countless parties in, hosted dinners, brunches, play-dates, holidays, block parties in. The house where we went from being a married couple, to a family. We love this house, and while I am ready to move on, I know that there will always be an invisible foot firmly planted in this house on Julian Avenue. And that is how I know that we did our job here. For 5.5 years, this house was a home.

I am Thankful For...

My Husband, who goes along with my Lucille Ball antics and doesn't skip a beat. His strength, humor, support, but most importantly his faith, has carried me through so many of life's challenges. I am thankful for his laughter and his beautiful blue eyes.

My Children, who lately have been driving me crazy, but whom I love so much. They are funny, sweet, wild and crazy, irresistibly cute and even smart! Hey imagine that! I can't imagine my world without them and never knew I would feel a love so intense.

My parents, who have always supported me even when I was wrong, snappy, sassy or whatever. It is an amazing feeling to know you have 2 people that would literally do anything for you and your children. I love you mom and dad.

My in-laws, who have taught me so much.

My wonderful friends. Short and sweet.

God's love.

My health, and my family's health.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Should I Really Make a Decision Based on Some Trees?

We never intended this house to be our last house. We always said that we would move one more time and then settle in and be done. I have always wanted a home with a pool. Art never cared too much about a pool, but we both agreed that we wanted more yard.

When we bought this home we were young(er) and looking to start a family. We wanted 4 bedrooms so that we could have an office and a guest room. To us the house was what was important. The yard here was tiny, but it never bothered me. At the time I spent 50+ hours at work, so the only space I needed was a patio to have a meal on and a bit of grass to spread out my chaise lounge so I could work on my tan in the summer! That's all I needed.

Then we had 1, then 2 children. For the first couple of years the lack of space didn't really bother me. But something switched in me in the last 3 months and suddenly it became VERY paramount that I get a yard . And not just any yard, but a yard with some TREES!

Oh how I long for some trees. BIG trees. The kind that drop leaves. The kind that you can sit under and be sheltered from the sun. The kind that you can have a picnic under.

I'm not really sure what brought on the sudden sense of urgency and the sudden fascination with trees and yard. Actually, I think a lot of it has to do with seeing how much my children love playing in their grandparent's yards. Both my parents and in-laws have giant yards and the kids just adore it. Every time we go to Nana and Papa's house it's like they've been taken to an enchanted garden. Mind you Nana's yard is an enchanted garden, but still.

It's funny how your appreciation for things change and grow. When my in-laws redid their yard a couple of years ago, my MIL kept the majority of the existing vegetation and landscaped around it. At the time I thought that was just silly. Why in the world wouldn't she just dig everything up and start from scratch? Now, I know why. It takes YEARS to grow beautiful trees and enchanting hiding spots for little children. I want that to be my kids normal. Not something they get to experience just when they go to Nana's.

So now, reader, we are at a crossroads. We are about to possibly venture into selling our house and buying a new one, all for the sake of a yard and some trees. We're looking at months of renovations, higher costs, stress, headache, fatigue, etc. We got an offer on our house tonight which is making this all so real. The time has come to make a decision. This house will be our final resting place until, God willing, we retire and hopefully move out of state.

To Vermont, because I want a white Christmas, I want to see fall foliage and I want to tap maple syrup from trees.

But I digress.

Now where to buy? Do we fight for the house with more land in Long Beach, or move to Rossmoor, with less land, so that our kids can have these world famous Rossmoor schools that everyone always talks about? I personally sort of came from the hood and I turned out fine, so not too sure about the whole school thing, but many people are willing to pay plenty of money to live there for these darn schools. Sure K-8 is great in Long Beach, but everyone keeps telling me that I don't want my kids to go to Millikan. They need to go to Los Alamitos High. So if we do send them to Long Beach schools K-8 and then move them to Los Al (because my in-laws live there), will they be all alone because all their friends are going to Long Beach High Schools? Shoot, we might as well move out of state right? that's a joke :)

But seriously, it's a lot to think about. These darn kids are always messing things up for us! I personally want to stay in Long Beach because I just love it here and have never seen myself fitting in with Rossmoor. But I have to admit there is a part of me that wonders if I'm making the right decision. I know I have to do what I think is right and not listen to everyone else, but I can't help wondering. We all wonder if we're making the right decisions for our kids.

This has mainly been a talking out loud session, so if anyone has actually gotten this far, bravo and thank you. I still don't have my mind made up. But at least I can sleep on it.

So my final question is this, am I absolutely insane to want to move out of a beautiful house in an awesome neighborhood with wonderful neighbors for some yard and some trees? Am I making much ado about nothing?

That my friends is the question.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

How 10 cents Occupied the Kids for 10 minutes

Actually it was more like an hour with all the putting together of the mobile and such. But a good ten minutes was spent just dancing around it. Then it started to fall apart and the fun was done. I just thought the book was cute and for 10 cents at the Rossmoor Library, how could you go wrong? It was in perfect condition and printed in 1972.

You punch out the mobile pieces and put it together with string. On one side were scenes of baby animals.

And on the other side was the grown up animals. I thought the illustrations and colors were fun.

It ended up being quite long so I hung it from the kitchen light fixture and the kids danced around it and through it.

Then pesky baby brother Sydney started pulling on it too hard and it started to come apart. And that was the end of our fun with the 10 cent Animobile book. It served us well though for 10 minutes at least.

A mother will take what she can get.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Dog Named T-Bone In a Dress That Says Julia

Last Friday we found out that Taylor was going to bring home T-Bone for the weekend, the class dog from her school. She was very excited, as were her horses, because horses can never have enough stuffed animals to play with you know. Little did T-Bone know that he would be in for quite an adventure. A Howe family-style adventure where there is no rest for the weary and there is activity around every corner.

We had to power up for the big weekend, so he/she (still don't know if T-Bone was a boy or a girl) ate lots of Cheerios, the breakfast of champions, wait, that's Wheaties.

To make sure T-Bone was up for the challenge and all the adventures that lay ahead of him/her, he/she was given a full vet exam which included shots, green pills and lots of hugs. It was discovered that T-Bone was suffering from a bad case of wag-a-citis. What is wag-a-citis you ask? The intense and uncontrollable urge to constantly wag ones tail of course.

We all got very dressed up and buckled up for safety to head over to Angie's 2nd Birthday Party!

Cupcakes were enjoyed by all

Later that night we all settled in for some hot cocoa. Cause nothing screams settling down like giving dog-puppets and little children hot cocoa with whipped cream right before bed time. Not too smart Andrea, not too smart. Definitely a lesson learned. Everyone did enjoy their hot cocoa, especially T-Bone. He/she said that the cat usually gets all the warm milk.


And sleeping. So Sweet.

Bye-bye T-Bone. Aside from all the Cheerios and drool you left all over, you were a wonderful house guest and you will be missed.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

We were all catatonic today. A jam-packed weekend was to blame. On Sunday we were home for a total of 1 hour. I don't like days like that. By Sunday night we were all pleading for mercy and raising a white flag. The weekend hungover lasted through Monday, so during our quiet time when Syd was napping, Taylor and I sat and peeled wrappers off of old crayons to make new ones. We peeled a lot of crayons.

We talked a lot about our favorite colors and why Taylor doesn't think white is an actual color. See that lone white crayon up above? She didn't want to include it in the mix. I then started naming off some of my favorite white things:
Clean, crisp, white shirts
Eventually she came around

We made silly faces at each other

Those fingers were working so hard getting all the wrappers off

We sorted colors. My perfectionist little daughter only wanted to keep like colors together. I understand. I used to be the same way.

But in my old age I am getting wild and crazy you see. The bottom left muffin tin is my creation. She said it wasn't very pretty. Well!

We melted the crayons in a 275 degree oven for 8 minutes

When they came out we swirled some around to mix up the different shades

Taylor told me how they had just made crayons like this in preschool. She loves her new school and that makes me so happy. We started naming off reasons why we love her new school:

"The teachers are very nice" Taylor
"The parents are also very nice" Mom
"We get to do lots of fun things" Taylor
"The parents get to do fun things too like read books and get together to talk about them" Mom
"That doesn't sound very fun mommy" Taylor
"Well it is" Mom
"I have 3 friends in school now" Taylor
"I am happy you are happy" Mom

Once we swirled our colors we popped them in the freezer for 15 minutes to speed up the setting process (we used mini muffin tins too so they would harden quicker)

So pretty. There on the top right is my wild and crazy creation

Then we colored of course

It was one of the best days we've had in a while. I love that little girl so much and can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon.

Monday, November 2, 2009


A fellow owl-obsessed friend of mine will be receiving these note-cards I crafted last night for a belated birthday gift. I can't decide if I like the card with or without the grosgrain ribbon. What do you think? I'm thinking the simplicity of the card lends itself to no bow.
These cute cards got me inspired to make more note-cards with an uber simple design aesthetic. My friend Janine got me interested in stamping with her design inspiring Stampin' Up parties. While I love all that she creates with their products, I am just either too lame, too stamp- deficient, or just uncreative, I have no luck replicating her snazzy and stylish cards. The girl's got a closet full of stamp products, no joke, so I'm sure that helps her cause.

So back to the uber simple designs. I was searching for "unique" stamps on the world wide web (I recently read that using that term dates me) last night. You know, a design that could stand on its own and really make a card fantastic without needing much at all. I found this cute retro forest stamp from Sideshow Stamps. Isn't it just screaming to be on a card intended for a nature-loving friend?

Oh and I just died over this Yellow Owl Workshop birdcage stamp. I hijacked hubby's Paypal account last night and snatched one up.

Anyone else have good stamp recommendations? The owl stamp was found all alone at Michaels (so unlike their usual assortment), but have had no luck finding something as bitchin again (again, dating myself). Stamp well and prosper my friends!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Craft Fair to Benefit Annabelle Grace Summers

Hi Friends. I will be participating in a Craft Fair this Friday, November 6th from 5:30-8:30 PM at Eat, Play, Grow. 20% of the proceeds will benefit baby Annabelle, born with Spina Bifida.

I will be selling Baby Taylored items as well as custom tutus.

I hope you can make it! Please visit the Craft Fair blog to get more information, including details on the 15 other local Long Beach moms and their products that will be participating.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Poem for Allhallow's Eve

A Ghostly Conversation
Smell me,
I rise from rotten ground. . .NO

Taste me,
I am all cold, black air. . .NO

Touch me,
I have no bones, no hair. . .NO

Loot at me,
My sunken eyes, my transparent shroud. . .NO

Listen to me,
Wailing, crying, calling to you. . .NO

Be with me, then,
Allhallow's Eve,
Be with me, pity me,
I have no friend but you. . .

Be with me. . .NO


Halloween Paper Art

These cute little Halloween packages were delivered to the kids from Aunt Lori, Uncle Al and the new baby boys Asher and Toby! The best part was that the goodies are held in these super cool paper boxes. I have no idea how she folded them together so don't ask, but my sister-in-law does amazing things with paper!

When she is no longer covered in baby spit-up or elbow deep in poopy diapers, I will have her give me a tutorial. Until then, enjoy!

p.s. Taylor got to her package before I could take a picture of it, hence the almost-empty box.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Thank you for finally cooling down. I was really starting to despise you Southern California. I think deep down I was born to live somewhere else. Or am I just changing? Welcome fall fires.

May you all be cozy tonight.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Over the Hill and Through the Woods to Grandmother's House We Go!

3 weeks ago the two kids received two very special invitations in the mail:

It was time for Nana and Papa's annual Halloween Party! Each child that was invited received a hand-painted invite. These were so darling, inspired from old vintage children's drawings. Each character had a mask attached with a brad that moved. The kids, being 2 and 4, I'm sure do not have the same appreciation as I do for these works of art, so after letting them give the masks a few swings, I swiftly grabbed them from their grimy hands and hid them.

The skeleton pictured here was the invitation from last year's party. His arms and legs moved

Halloween at my mother-in-laws house is magical. She has Department 54 stuff everywhere. The kids love it and I have grown to love it. The pictures that follow are some of my favorite pieces.

My mother-in-law is really into hand-cutting things. She did cut every single one of these witches from felt and attached the foamy letters for each child's place setting. The women is in her mid 60-s. I'm certain that with all of my knuckle-cracking that by the time I'm in my mid 60's I won't even be able to move my fingers, let alone cut with scissors.

Ah! And here the fun begins. To Infinity and Beyond!

What a good sport dad is, dressing up as Woody. I personally made that vest people, and I am very proud of myself, thank you very much!

A brunette Alice of course

"Off With Her Head!"
A sneak peek at the Queen costume...the whole costume will be revealed after Halloween.
Taylor later said to me after I was quoting the Queen, "mommy why would you say that to a child? People are going to think you're a bad mommy." Yeah, you've got a point there Tay. Don't want CPS on my trail!

Group Shot

Good old fashioned pumpkin carving. I think my niece Tavi, who's 5, did this one.

And the grand finale! My sister-in-law made these adorable little cheese puff sandwiches for the kids. Of course they loved them. What kind of crazy kid wouldn't? Bravo Carrie!

Happy Halloween Everyone! Now if only it would cool the freak down!!!


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