Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Vacation Rocks!

Yesterday was one of the best days we have had here at home in a long while. Although being on vacation keeps us up late at night (enjoying late night movies, video games, internet surfing, sewing - a lot of sewing) it is nothing coffee can't cure for a while. When the coffee kicked in, Dave and I got Ethan ready to go to Portland. We went to the Lego Store so he could build his own Lego-guys. It was great to see him so happy.

 Sometimes a little time out of the house does you good. ;)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

First Video: When I'm With You

When I'm With You from Jennifer Evans on Vimeo.

December Daily

This is the first year that December has flown by with many of my goals for the month out the window. I have always enjoyed December Daily but this year, I have to admit, it has been a challenge for me. Many people who are life artists (those who document life with journaling, paper art, or photography) say to write or capture the everyday even if it is bad, because well, that's life. Life isn't perfect or always goes as planned.  For me, though, I want to remember the good. Remembering the bad just makes you think negatively. Sure, I know life isn't perfect or all sunshine and roses. But, don't you want to remember the sunshine and roses more than when you got locked in the bathroom again and in the stress of it shaved your eyebrows off? You may be laughing right now, just imagining it, but it is a hard life to live. Maybe potty training wasn't the smartest thing to do in the month of December, but when is it the best time than the present? 

In the mist of it all, we also found out that my boss found someone perfect for my position, earlier than expected. He wasn't going to be looking for someone until February but God doesn't work in our time line, but His own.  At the same time, the camp is looking for a new food service manager, which means we might be finding a new place to live in a couple weeks. It all depends on who they hire, how big the family is, or if they want to even live on camp. So much uncertainty. 

I am reading One in a Million - Journey to Your Promise Land, by Priscilla Shirer. Becca and Sarah are teaching this book in their bible study coming up next year. I originally got it so I could know what they were talking about when in conversation. I had no idea it was exactly what I needed right now. Life feels like a dry trip in the wilderness right now. Just taking one step in front of the other to get through the day. Priscilla gave great advice in the book; she said to write down every miracle or glimpse of God down. Then when you are going through a new wilderness or hard time that you can pull out that list or journal of all that God has done to remember that He will always be there. 

So, in the last few weeks, I have had a few glimpses of joy that have kept me in the spirit of Christmas. I will list them below...

Sweet fellowship with women at Bible Study.
Blessing our pastor's wife on her birthday with a handmade gift. 
Going to the Singing Christmas Tree at church. (I love choirs!)
Ethan sitting on my lap while I read him Christmas stories.
A trip to coffee and Blackberries (a new gift shop we found in Salem) with Becca, Josh, and Ethan.
Going to see Christmas lights with Mom, Dad, Ethan, and Dave.
Making a foam gingerbread house with Ethan. 
Sewing projects just for fun.
Josh, Becca, and Sarah taking me out to coffee, a crepe, and another trip to Blackberries. 

Then, last weekend, I created a beautiful video of Ethan. I realized that I should make more of these just so I can watch them while in a dry-spell on the way to the Promised Land. It really gives encouragement. I can't wait to figure out how to export the movie so that I can share it. Becca watched it and cried. So, it must be good. ;)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

December Daily - Day 8

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I asked God to reveal himself to me in this dry and thirsty land. (Believe me, it's been quite dry this week). The crying and screaming started with Ethan's first sentence this morning. Our activity of Ethan creating his own Christmas cards was like pulling teeth, but they turned out good. I wish we had made more but six was enough for anyone to have to sit and make. ;)

Then, this afternoon, I put pants on Ethan, and took him down the street to the market to get a snack. We ate our snack watching Veggie Tales' Saint Nicholas. No matter that the movie tried to stay to the true story but then went off on a crazy ending. Like I said, no matter. Why? It was the first time I had laughed in several days. Ethan too. We belly laughed at the silly song. Those are the memories we need to hold on to. The ones that make the day, not break it.

Ethan stayed in those pants the rest of the day. I came home to dinner on the table, my husband's smile, and JJ Heller singing in the background. It was enough to encourage anyone. Dave went to the store while I praised God for his love and goodness in song. Sigh... a little light in this week is just what we needed. Isn't that what God does?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December Daily - Days 5-7

Our home has become a war zone. I am not kidding. ;)

We swore to stay home and make this potty training happen. Of course the rain stopped, the sun came out, and it mocked us in our now cave of a home.

Sunday I was in and out of the house hosting a group that was staying this weekend at the camp. It was a blessing to help other people. In between, Dave cooked pancakes and eggs (the eggs were for Dave and I), tuna melts, and slow cooked ribs. It was just one of those slow, is-this-day-ever-going-to-end kind of days. It was relaxing, as relaxing as it gets with a half naked little man running around the house stir crazy. ;) Then, Dave went into our shed on the porch and got stung by a bee. He is deathly allergic to bees. So, I run and get the bee sting kit and Dave isn't reacting. From my training, I knew I shouldn't give the medication to him without symptoms, so we called the doctor. We gave him Benadryl and watched his symptoms according to the doctor's advice. Dave is shocked. He says he is super human now that he has contacts. (sigh... that makes me laugh).

Yesterday, I worked again and Ethan and Daddy played hard. They wrestled, played swords (foam ones not the sharp bladed kind), and played video games together. All the while Ethan still half clothed.

Today, the rain started again and I think it may be a full moon. The stamping project Ethan was doing to make homemade wrapping paper turned into creating the ink on his body. To then licking it.

I was locked in the bathroom when Ethan didn't like my answer to if he could watch TV. "You just stay in there!" he said as he locked the door from the outside. (Yes, we switched the handle after he kept on locking the door shut so we couldn't get inside... not sure which is worse.) It only was for about ten minutes. Guess he didn't like being alone. ;)

Then, while we were making snowflakes, Ethan took his scissors and cut my sweater. Wow, those preschool scissors are pretty sharp.

An ornament lost its life today.

The Tale of Samuel Whiskers lost pages 79-82 and now is at the book doctor.

A war zone? Yes, I think so. Do I feel the Christmas spirit. Not much. But I did find the quietest Christmas CD of Tim Janis that my mom gave me years ago. It was relaxing among the chaos.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

December Daily - Day 4

Today there were more tears, more whining, and more bare bottom than I have ever wanted to experience in all my life.  But, Ethan didn't have one accident. Today seemed quiet and lonely with the curtains drawn (for privacy). Dave finally came home and it was nice to see a friendly face. I am working the first weekend here at camp and it is different not having weekends to yourself. I was on call this afternoon. I enjoy helping others, meeting people, and serving guests.

It doesn't seem much like Christmas around here, besides creating gifts like crazy, just for fun. Dave came home to a counter filled with resin rings that I created, just because. I am thinking of giving them away during a special activity coming up soon. Or, just having them in my purse for that person I come across in passing.

It was funny, Becca and I were at Craft Warehouse the day after Thanksgiving and we saw a gal working there and out comes fudge from Becca's purse. I was back in there Wednesday, and she said that she passed it out to some of the employees there and it was the best fudge they had ever tasted. I can't make Auntie Kay's fudge (for one thing the recipe is locked away in some vault) but I can make... rings. (Not quite the same but it's the thought that counts).

Friday, December 3, 2010

December Daily - Days 2 & 3

I realized that I sometimes have my expectations too high. Wednesday was a great day decorating and enjoying our day together, but yesterday was a little rough around the edges. During our time homeschooling I was the only one singing, reading The Christmas Story, and talking about the true meaning of Christmas. There was just fits and crying... I might have been crying a few times myself too. It wasn't what I expected and maybe I need to not expect it to be perfect. I mean, our lives are far from it.

Maybe I should have taken a picture of Ethan in the middle of his fit, recorded it for the album, and maybe Ethan would have been so surprised that I did he would have stopped crying. ;) Dave was home sick from the side effects of his antibiotics for an infection. What's worse, the infection or the side effects?

We went to bed early, purely exhausted.

Now, today was even better! We knew it was time to get Ethan potty trained. We have tried almost everything. But, Ethan has been so stubborn! So, Dave and I knew we had to stay home this weekend because of my hosting a group here while my boss in on vacation. So, since we weren't going anywhere, might as well try for the next three days. Today, the advent calendar said we were going to have a "potty party!" I had talked to Ethan about it earlier in the week so that he was prepared. But, when he pulled out that slip of paper, I could tell that he read the first two words in his head. Then he got mad. He threw the paper at me. I asked him to read it and he said, "No. You read it." He was so upset.

Pretty much the day was filled with sayings like "Not again!", when he was asked to go to the bathroom again. (We went every five minutes and yes, I set the timer and we really went every five minutes.) "No!" and "Get my pants on!" But, he did amazingly well after almost two hours of fighting me. No accidents until I let him wear underwear at 1:30pm. He had an accident five minutes later. So, Ethan went without and did brilliant.

The marathon continues tomorrow and Sunday. Thankfully we have other activities planned to keep us sane while we are at home.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December Daily - Day 1

Yes, I stayed up until 12:30am getting the tree up and ready for today. That includes wrapping all the gifts that were finished and ready to be packaged in the best red and white wrapping found for $4 a roll at Target. ;) Am I tired? Of course! But, I have to say it was worth it. The bottom half of the tree was without my favorite "breakables" ready and waiting for Ethan to decorate it. I wasn't going to replay last year again.

 A few days ago I cut up strips of paper with each day's activities on them. So, Ethan woke up remembering that he got to open door number 1 on the new advent calendar. He read the paper by himself, just needing help with the word "decorations." He didn't even see the tree standing there with its lights on (because when he woke up, I ran into the living room to turn them on as a surprise). He was so excited about starting the advent that he didn't notice it until afterward. He ran to it saying, "Ohhh!"

So, as an addition to being able to put his "unbreakables" on the tree, we went to Target for him to pick out his own ornament for the tree. I know how risky this can be. Telling your child that they can pick out any ornament they want and having to see them choose the most ugly ornament in the store and you having to keep your word. Or even worse, them picking a Star Wars ornament and Darth Vader haunting every Christmas to come. But, how can we keep them from experiencing Christmas without giving them the freedom to do so? So, Ethan picked the alien guy from Toy Story (almost as bad as Star Wars) and said, "Ohhhhh" just like they do. Not sure why, but he picked the same ornament character when Josh let him pick out an ornament weeks ago. I thought Josh's plan went well, so I would try it. Let him pick any other ornament as a trade. But, nope, Ethan wanted that one. A minute later (and a crack on the side of the cart) and we were now picking any ornament that was NOT glass.

Poor Mr. Snowman looked like an heirloom ornament before we even paid for it. His nose was hanging off and his scarf was frayed and then went missing. Experiencing Christmas hurts.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

December Daily is Here!

Here we are again, in December. I looked back at last year's December Daily and I was touched and blessed reading about our family's adventures together. This year is going to be even better! I just know it! We have a new advent calendar filled with life changing activities that will move us to be better people. Our family want to do more with these twenty-five days. Most of the family's gifts are made and ready to be wrapped. So, what are we going to do to fill our time this month? You will just have to wait and see! I am looking forward to celebrating Christ's birth with you!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Let's Be Honest

Let's be honest... my job at keeping an online journal this year fell to the way side when summer hit. I had no idea what I was in for this summer. My boss laughed at me. I guess you can't explain what summer camping is all about without experiencing it yourself. In one word, it's "busy." In fact, the camp has been so busy since that it is possible that my position will need a full time employee, which means we may move again soon. The position needs someone able to work 50+ hours a week, which at this time in our lives, I am unable to give. We are unsure as to when the move will happen and are thankful that we have been here as long as we have.

For the last two months Ethan has been fighting asthma. He might go a day without treatments and then he starts them right up again the next day. I am thankful for his breathing machine that we have at home but we have had him in the doctor's office often. I loved one of the visits when we were in the office because of his asthma. The doctor came in and says, as he always does, "So, Ethan, why are you here to see me?" Ethan then said, "My foot hurts, Dr. Baskins." The doctor's eyebrows raised, since he already knew why Ethan was there and gave me a look. You know the kind...

"Oh, really? Do I need to look at it?"
"Yes, Dr. Baskins." I picked Ethan up and placed him on the table and Dr. Baskin took Ethan's foot and rotated it around carefully.
"How is this? Does it feel better?" I couldn't help smiling.
As the doctor was beginning to stop, Ethan said, "No. It still hurts."
You could tell that Ethan really liked the little massage Dr. Baskin was giving him. Dr. Baskin looked at me smiling and with that look again said, "Oh, sorry. There we go..." and he continued to rotate it around while talking to me about his real symptoms.

It is days like these that I have to make sure to write down and remember. Even those little things that he does to make me smile. These last few months haven't been easy. He is getting older and tester. It also hasn't made parenting any easier. Dave and I have pulled our hair out at times. Then, we have had such good days that we never want to end.

A couple of weeks ago, the rain stopped, the sun came out, and Dave said on a whim, "Let's go to the Baskett Slough!" We threw our bags and camera in the car and drove out there. Dave and I have lovely memories of seeing the wildlife there before Ethan was born.We hadn't been since Ethan was born. Now that we live closer I think we will be going there more often. I wanted to make sure that I got some pictures of Ethan and me. Even if they weren't perfect. Since our schedules only give us one day off, it's hard to get the camera out to take family pictures. The fall leaves were amazing and the trails were full of color.

Of course we just walked up one hill and Ethan was done walking and Dave had to carry him the rest of the way. Isn't that picture of Ethan hugging Dave precious? That was one of those moments that I was talking about...

What else have we been up to? Becca and I just celebrated our birthdays last week which was such a blessing. Josh and Sarah surprised me with a dinner at a new Italian restaurant in town. It was the best food I have tasted in a long time outside of my own home. ;) I also got clothes from Dave and the best present ever, my wedding ring in the shop to get fixed since I haven't been able to wear it for almost two years!

Becca also got me a beautiful Scarlet Lime watch bracelet kit and we built it together the next day. She also got me some of Basic Grey's new fabric. I really think it is dangerous for scrapbooking companies to start making fabric because paper crafters do not need new hobbies! But, really, Becca knew what I have been up to in the last couple of months. I have been creating fabric projects like crazy. I just see something online and decide I want to learn how to make it. I have made several fabric bracelets or wrist bands with modern fabric and vintage trims. I have also repurposed some items like one of my grandmother's soiled tablecloths. I have never used it because it was so stained. But the embroidery was amazing. So, I created a over the shoulder tote bag with a flap. Anyway, I have been having fun creating. You can see my new creations on Create Often.

I am also teaching Ethan at home in between his doctor visits and our photo sessions for Evans Photography. (We have done five in the last month and a half!) Ethan created his own paperback book last month. Becca brought to my attention the the iPhone that we let him use as an iTouch had tons of photos on it that Ethan took himself. I was shocked when I downloaded them at how many were really good. Not to mention the fact that we didn't even know he was taking pictures at all! He wrote the book as well and even typed one page! We bought two copies. One for his library and the other for Becca's birthday. They read their books together. It was so sweet. You can read it below.

I am getting excited for December. I am going to do December Daily again this year. I promise not to keep you all hanging on the 25th like last year. For those who don't know what December Daily is, it is recording, in anyway you like, every day leading up to Christmas. There will be less gift making this year since I am actually almost done with everyone's Christmas gifts! Ahhh! I can't believe it! We are going to enjoy the month with some random acts of kindness and capturing our everyday life. I am also going to create a Shutterfly album this year. I already have the digital pages prepped and ready to go! All I have to do is add my photos and text. Yippee! I will share the pages with you as I go!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Slow to Write

I am sorry that it has been a while posting here. I think of it often too, since my goal this year was to write more. ;) Although, in my defense, I have been doing a lot over here.

Work has kept me busy this summer with preparing for the camp's Free Methodist events in August. I am going to be teaching preschool during the family camp's weekend. I have been preparing for that. I have also been doing all of the registrations for families and youth camp.

When I am not at work, I have been enjoying the summer with Ethan. We have tried to go to Story Time at the local library, the park, spending time with Auntie, Uncle, and Sarah. Ethan also loves to visit the water parks in town to cool down. It has been terribly hot lately and our house is cooled down by a few air conditioners which make life much more pleasant.

We were blessed with the opportunity to go to the beach last week and it was lovely. Even if we had to get back into town for me to work that afternoon, it was worth it. It was relaxing, cool, and Ethan would dig in the sand all day if he could. He was as happy as could be.

Sunday is our family's reunion. It will be exciting to see what everyone thinks of the heritage album. I am also looking forward to Dave meeting all of his family and getting closer to them. He plans on barbecuing since that is his gift. Susie, Jack's cousin, is going to be doing a presentation about the family too. I really am looking forward to hearing it!

I am sorry, blog, that I have been slow to write you. But, I promise to come back sooner than last time. Hugs! 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Blessed Weekends

The last few weekends we have been busy doing several photo shoots. It has been such a blessing to be involved in peoples lives. After Bill and Barbara Grinder were visiting for Josh's birthday we did a family shoot for a friend of mine. The shoot was at their father's house which was by a creek. When you crossed the creek, you followed a trail to a large open field. Ethan joined us. He wanted his picture in the field too! Ha!

Last weekend we did our first wedding of the season. It was such a blessing to photograph our friends. It is always amazing to be a part of a Christian wedding. It just touched my heart!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

Eric gave me Memorial Day off which I was thankful for! Dave and I decided at the last minute that we would go to the coast Sunday and stayed overnight. It would be Ethan's first hotel experience. Do you know, we took the camera and never took one picture?! Ha! We did get great video footage of Ethan on the beach playing.

While we were on the beach people were flying kites, the weather was perfect for it. It was actually the first time I have been at the Oregon coast comfortable (and not cold!). After going to the beach we went to the hotel pool. Ethan has never been swimming in a pool before and I have never seen him so happy! So tired too! But, it was one of the best times we have had as a family.

Marion Lake

Dave was able to take two day trips into Marion Lake this last month. I was so thankful when it happened. He couldn't stop talking about fishing! Everything was fishing. He even re-strung his real twice. The first trip he took with Josh and it snowed hard the whole time! Dave brought back two fish and some hilarious video footage. I wish we had photos but glad the camera was home since it snowed so hard. We got to eat the fish the night after. That was one of the most gourmet meals Dave has ever cooked for me!

Dave and Eric also got to go fishing for a day at Marion Lake. It was beautiful weather then and they both came home with fish (two for Dave and three for Eric). Plus, Dave got a little sunburn.

It Looks Like Rain

When we got our first Craft Warehouse assignment, Becca came over for dinner with her vintage umbrella. I guess the line inspired her to get photos with the thing. Well, that and the excuse that I needed a photo shoot cause I got my hair cut that day. Whatever...

So, we were taking photos with her point and shoot when I finally gave up and went inside for our camera. I mean, there is a reason we have that thing, right? So, within ten or fifteen minutes (while at the same time Ethan yelling for us to come in at the window) we had these photos. Becca sat with me while I edited them and the boys played video games (the little man was fast asleep). She got to see how I edit and had some say in how "vintage" these look. I just love them! I can't wait until our next photo shoot! I am already planning another vintage shoot!

Oh, by the way, that 5 bucks for each umbrella was so worth it! Can you believe these were taken right outside my front door?

Christmas in May

In addition to being the Craft Warehouse Design Team Leader,  I was also accepted on the Momenta Design Team (a scrapbooking manufacture). For being on each team, you get product to create samples with to display in stores and online.

Can you imagine my excitement when I received both my boxes in one day? The hard part was that I was at work when UPS arrived at the office with the boxes. So, I sat working with the boxes sitting next to me the whole time. I couldn't wait to get them home. Eric made fun of me driving my car across camp to work, but I knew I wouldn't of been able to carry the boxes home.

$500 from Craft Warehouse laid out on the table.

$200 of Momenta product on the table. To see what I created with this stuff go to my crafty blog, Create Often.

National Scrapbook Day

For those that don't scrap, yes, there actually is a day set aside for just scrapbooking! During the retreat was National Scrapbook Day. Becca and I hopped on over to our dear Craft Warehouse while Sarah was sweet enough to watch Ethan. Becca took her camera inside and even made me pose at check out. So embarrassing.

We found out about the week before that Becca made the design team for Craft Warehouse this year. I was asked to be Team Leader (which is the only way you can serve two terms in a row). So, we are both on the team together! This is very rare. She and nine others were chosen out of over 70 artists. It's a big deal that twins are on the team together!

Women's Retreat

Our conference had a Women's Retreat here at the camp. Although I was working doing registration, I was able to (quickly change) and do an ice breaker game. Becca got this photo of me beginning.

It was great. During the icebreaker, Sarah was partnered up with Thelma Wells, our guest speaker! Sweet! It was amazing to hear about women being changed during that event. There was even physical healing for a woman during the weekend. We always need to be reminded about how God is a God that is alive and working today! Thelma really spoke to my heart about situational depression (not the same as clinical depression which is a disease). The things she helped me to remember is to not be negative (mentally or verbally) and to get involved (have purpose in your life).