Friday, August 29, 2008

Summer Storms!

I love thunderstorms....some may say that's crazy, but come on.....living in the midwest, we spend half the year under a thunderstorm or tornado warning. You kinda get used to it. And I've always been fascinated by them, never scared. When I was little, my brothers and I would take lawnchairs into the cornfield next to our house and watch storms roll in.......now that I think about it, sitting in metal chairs in the middle of a big open space.....probably not the smartest thing, huh? :P I still love storms though! Last night we had one roll through, and it was the perfect scenario for me......far enough away to admire and not get wet trying to take pictures of it!


This has become my new obsession: To take a cool picture of lightning. I've taken fireworks pictures that've turned out pretty good, and tons of scenery pictures in Alaska and Ireland that I'm proud of.......and I'm always looking for a way to add to my little photography collection. And last night was my shot. I took the tripod outside and set up on the front porch (safely dry in case it DID rain), and got these 3 shots out of about 40 I took....I was pretty proud of that percentage since every other time I've tried I'd take twice as many and get nothing in return! Taking pictures of lightning is totally hit or miss....cuz uhm....you don't know where it's going to be or when! :P But I had my handy remote for the camera and just tried my luck.


And when the next storm rolls in some night, you can bet I'll be out there trying to get even more pictures!



Thursday, August 28, 2008

I'm on Vicki's CT!

YAY! Today's the day I get to officially announce that I was picked to be on Vicki's Creative Team! I'm SOOOO excited about this! This is my first CT spot and I'm really looking forward to the experience of it all!!! She gives away all her kits for FREE....how cool is she? Visit her blog here: http://vicki20.blogspot.com/ Check out my snazzy new CT blinkie on the side of my blog -->


Here's the layout I made with her last kit, "Blue Jeans"......

And my new blog background is from her "Grape Crush" kit......she makes some great stuff! I suggest you go snag it all now! :P


And here's a larger view of some recent layouts I've done that I've liked.....the slideshow doesn't let you see much, kwim? (plus, I just kinda like to show off my kiddos!)

This is my blessing page for this week......SIL Nicole and I agreed that DH/kids were too obvious to pick right off the bat for the blessings scrapbook, so we're only supposed to do them the week of their birthdays. Fair enough, and since Zach's birthday is THIS week, he's my blessing this time! Easy! What a cutie (not a BIT biased though, right?)

That's it for now....we had a rough night here, which I'll have to write about later.....need some caffeine before starting the work day!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Zach's big birthday party!

Technically, Zach's birthday isn't until this coming Saturday, but since we'll be out of town for the holiday weekend, we had his party this past weekend. I can't believe my baby is TWO already! *sniff* How long can you claim "baby weight" again? :)>

Anyways, I made his cake.....the ducky cake. I made this cake for Matthew's first birthday, but I must admit, I did a much better job decorating it this time around.....yay me! it's flat on the other side....apparently you need more than the 1 cake mix i used..... so you're only getting the view from 'the good side'....


Zach was scared of the candle. He blew towards it, but from 3 feet away, he hardly got the thing blown out....


It was just my family, minus uncle Daniel (who got left in Fairfield thanks to some miscommunications....hahahahahahaha!) and Barry and Jeanne, who are our surrogate grandparents out here. Zach got lots of clothes, of which he was less than thrilled about...he literally just tossed them to the side hoping to find something "better" in the bags.


Then came the big present......a little 4-wheeler like big brother Matthew's. So we all had to take that outside and take it for a spin. Zach seemed to enjoy pushing the thing around more than actually riding it though! He's been a passenger for so long with Matthew and Alaina, I think he's a little scared to take the wheel himself! But he's warming up to it each time he plays. I have no doubt by next weekend he'll be zooming around the yard chasing the others on their respective vehicles. Our garage is totally looking like a power wheels used car lot now!


So it was a good party....everybody had a good time, there was lots of food, good cake, and plenty of gabbing and entertainment from the kids. Zach's the baby, so it's doubly hard to watch him get so big so fast............these two years went by so quickly!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Next blessing....

Here's my blessing this week for the blessing scrapbook. I chose my job. Yep, as much as I whine and complain and well...you know....*ahem* GRIPE about it, having a steady job right now (I'm withholding the political rant on the current state of the economy...you can thank me later) is indeed a blessing. I've been fortunate in the last 3 bosses I've had being very accomodating to me with regards to working from home, flexing my time and otherwise helping balance the whole work/life thing. I'm proud of the company I work for and the things we do there, so my job is a blessing... I am indeed very grateful for it (especially around paydays, bonus time, and the week they close for Christmas!). I'm sure there are millions of people in the world (or even this country) that would love to sit in my funky-smelling, dimly-lit, freezing cold cubicle just to have the steady income and opportunities working where I do allows. So as I did the following layout, I made a little vow to myself to not complain so much about my job.......and be grateful for the blessing it really is.

Those pictures were all stolen from flickr, because you have to have a camera permit to take any pictures in the factory up in Everett, WA where the 787s are actually built. So while I've been there and seen what's in those photos, I couldn't take my own pictures of it. The Phantom logo I scanned from a t-shirt.....I love that logo, and a t-shirt was the only thing I had that had the logo on it.....hooray for my scanner! unfortunately you can still see the wrinkles......oh well......shhhh, don't tell anybody! :P


Friday, August 22, 2008

Baby Gifts!

Since I don't live near enough to attend a baby shower for either little Kalani or little Greta, I did what I could do.....using my scrapping powers for good, I scrapped each of them a layout! :) So for little miss Greta Hartley, I made this:


And for Kalani Brown, I took the first family portrait that Sue posted on her blog and made this:
So congrats to Sarah and Scott on Greta, and Sue and Kevin on Kalani.....they're both gorgeous little babies and I can't wait to meet them in person!!! {HUGS}

Thursday, August 21, 2008

2nd Grade and Kindergarten!

My babies aren't babies anymore! *sniff**sniff*.....Yesterday was the first day of school for Alaina and Matthew. Alaina started 2nd grade and Matthew started Kindergarten.....where are the years going? honestly? Karl took a personal day, and I switched my work-at-home days so we could both watch them get on the bus. Since the bus doesn't come to our house, that meant a trip to the babysitter's house where they'll regularly get on/off the bus.
And of course there were the required before-school pictures:
Matthew, in his Speed Racer backpack:


And Alaina in her Camp Rock backpack:
Waiting on the bus together:
Posing on the bus (I'm sure the driver hates me for doing this every year!)


Then Karl and I basically followed the bus to the school so we could take more pictures....

Outside the school:


Matthew with Mrs. Siemer:

Alaina with Mrs. Witt


And then we left for them to enjoy their first day of their new classes.....the first day of school is always so much harder for the parents than the kids, kwim? :) I was tear-free this year....having become an ol' pro at realizing how fast the years are passing with the kids....before we know it, we'll be putting Zach on the bus too!!!
Oh, and the status reports from the first day...
Matthew: "It was a long day (preK was only 3 hours, Kindergarten is all-day), but we got cookies!"
Alaina: "2nd grade is BORING....all the teacher did was talk like ALL DAY. I liked lunch and recess though!"
Ah, nice to see my young academics have their priorities in the right place......as long as the food is good, the Herman kids will be there!

Monday, August 18, 2008

I (FINALLY!) WON!!! :P

YAY for me! I finally won a contest over at Scrap Matters! I'm so excited! I was getting so bummed (okay, and BITTER) about never winning anything, and today I got an email saying I'd won the "cooking" challenge.....where you're given a "recipe" and you come up with a layout......our directions were:

The ingredients are:

1. Only 2 Papers

2. Only 3 Photos

3. Flowers

4. Ribbon

5. Something Metal

6. The Color Green7

. Something Transparent (See-Through, Translucent)

8. Your Photos must be arranged in a row

9. At least one element must be placed at an angle

10. You MUST include journaling and the date


And from those instructions, I came up with this.....
I think the journaling on it is what won everybody over....the whole thing was just too darned cute....
"As we were getting on the plane in Shannon, I got separated from Karl and the kids. When Zach and I got to our seats, I didn’t see Matthew, so I asked where he was and Karl replied,”Oh, he’s in the cockpit with the pilots having fun!” I immediately raced up there, camera in hand, to see what was going on. He was sitting in the pilot’s seat andthe pilot and co-pilot were showing him all the buttons and gauges. I asked if I could take some pictures of him, and they said sure.Then the coolest thing of all happened. The pilot asked me if I thought he could do the greeting over the PA. So we practiced it with Matthew a few times while everybody wasstill boarding. He said it perfectly, and in that cute little boy voice:
"Good Morning, Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Continental Flight 25. Our flight time today is six hours and 56 minutes. My name is Matthew, and I’m your captain today, so don’t worry!”
I could hear the entire plane full of people laughing! As we went back to our seats, everybody clapped and several called out to “Captain” Matthew. Then the crew gave him a set of wings and the pilot thanked Matthew over the PA when we landed for such a smooth flight home! That was such a nice thing for them to do for us. It was the perfect ending to our vacation! I'll never forget the look on his face as he “flew” us back home!"
Cool, huh? I won a $5 coupon, which I've of course already spent! :P probably the best thing that's happened on a Monday in a long time! hahahahahahaha


Saturday, August 16, 2008

This Week's Blessing

Forgot all about the blessing for the week....DUH! :) I chose something that isn't the "obvious" blessing per se, but then again, if you had to sit down and think of 52 blessings, you'd start to come up with the not-so-obvious ones after awhile too!

So this is the blessing I chose this week.....my alma mater, SIU! The 4 years I spent there were some of the happiest of my life. I struggled with "where I was supposed to be" for a long time with respect to colleges, and I think I ended up where I was meant to be. I sometimes wonder how my life would have turned out if I'd gone to Graceland like I planned......who knows! But I think I was meant to go to SIU....I met Karl there, and just that is a huge blessing......


Another Week gone by...

I can't believe that Alaina and Matthew start school this next week!!! It's bad enough that Karl had to start back to work so early this year....now the kids? Sheesh......summer's officially over I guess...I just hate to accept that!

This week nothing really spectacular happened for us I suppose.....Sarah finally had her baby, so welcome baby Greta! I busied myself entering just about every scrap olympics challenge there was at Scrap Matters, and as usual......didn't win a single one!

We signed the kids up for swimming lessons, which start on the 30th, so that'll be here before we know it, and Matthew's soccer should be starting in a week or so.....and then Zach's birthday party is a week from today.....so we'll be busy getting ready for all that....plus beginning of school activities and such. It'll be fun!

Today our big excitement was cleaning out the garage. Oh JOY! BUT, now we can actually fit vehicles into it, so that's a good thing......the power wheels and little tykes vehicles have been moved back to their proper parking places (that won't last long you know) and we have reclaimed the garage once again. woohoo.

I'm looking forward to watching the olympics tonight.....exciting life i lead, I know! I really don't have anything exciting to share, so I'll quit the posting and try to get this slideshow thingy working so you can see all the layouts I did this week! :P

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Scrap Olympics have begun!

My name is Diana, and I'm a scrap-aholic. I'll admit it. It's VERY addicting to scrap now that I don't have to drag out 100 pounds of supplies to make a layout. Digital scrapping is perfect for me....I wish I'd discovered it ages ago before I spent so much money on the other stuff! (anybody want to attend a scrap yard sale so I can get rid of my paper stuff?) I've been doing this for about a year and a half I think, and this weekend has been pretty pathetic really. I could be downstairs with my family, watching Star Wars (a movie I'm not fond of, hence my absence)....but I'm up here at my laptop scrapping because at Scrap Matters they're having a Scrap Olympics. WOOHOO! Yep, I'm pathetic.

So anyways.....this week has been typical. Karl's back at school (teachers report a week early of course...his students start tomorrow, which I still think is insanely early for school to be starting!), so we were back into a semi-normal routine with dropping the kids off at daycare and carpooling again. blah. I can't believe summer's over for us already! I feel like I never got a chance to RELAX! :) Alaina and Matthew both started back at their gymnastics classes, and while they were in town on Tuesday night for that, we had a huge storm roll through that knocked out our power. BOO! usually our power doesn't go out....it'll flicker.....and if it actually DOES go out, it won't stay off long. This time, it was off for something painful like 16 hours. Which meant no AC (*sigh*), showers/baths in the dark for the kids (quickly to conserve hot water), nad getting dressed by flashlight and taking a semi-cold shower the next morning for Karl and me. YAY! But it's all fixed now.....that was probably the excitement of the week.

Friday night, Alaina went to a birthday party sleepover at her BFF Isabella's house. I thought it was a huge gathering, but apparently, I'm the only mom crazy enough to invite ALL the girls in the class for a sleepover (11 of which showed up!). This one was just her, Isabella, and Isabella's sisters. Her mom is smarter than me! :) I know she had fun, and insisted on getting Isabella a dress for the first day of school.....and then she had to have the exact same one obviously so they could match!

While Alaina was out of the house Friday night, Karl, me, and the boys went out to dinner at Applebee's. And perhaps it was just a coincidence, but Karl's been sick ever since. I told him it was kharma for us eating out after we said we were going to cut back on eating out! From dinner, we headed to the mall to get Karl a new pair of shoes for work....and since a 2nd pair was half off, I TRIED to find a pair for me, but alas, nothing in my size (grrrrr......stupid big feet)....so Alaina got a cute pair of mary janes instead. From the shoe place, we headed to a couple different stores to get me some new tops. Karl, in his fashion-conscious way, informed me the other day that I needed some new clothes. I still don't understand why Crocs and sweatpants aren't acceptable in the workplace....I LIVE in that!

I hate to shop for clothes. HATE IT. So I avoid it. At. All. Costs. I even dragged my feet going into and out of every store.......blah. I finally ended up with I think 3 shirts and a cardigan (since I"m always cold at work) that are "suitable" for the office. Since I'm only physically IN the office 3 days a week, I was content with that small purchase. If anybody wants to go shopping FOR me, let me know......I now understand why personal shoppers exist. If I could afford one, I'd totally do that since I abhor the whole shopping process. ESPECIALLY the 3-way mirrors. *shudder* I don't know anybody over the age of 21 that likes the 3-way mirrors under flourescent lighting.....seriously, that's a friggin' scary combination right there!

But once our trip to the mall was over, I was happier......I stayed up late doing the speed scrap online. I'm not THRILLED with what I did, but it was a speed scrap....you only have an hour, and they give you specific rules. So this is what I did:

Saturday, we just hung out at home....picked Alaina up from her sleepover, and she of course went straight to her room and crashed for the next 5 hours! Nice to know there was SLUMBERING going on, huh? :P We spent the rest of the day at home. Karl got sick and spent the majority of day in bed. I left him alone. It's much easier that way (ya'll know what I'm talking about with the sick husbands, right?). I spent basically the entire day online at the Scrap Matter's site finishing downloading all the stuff I bought at their big sale Friday night.....and I did a layout for a Random Act of Kindness (you scrap a LO for someone else with their pictures) ,and I'm very proud of it:
This gal is a very popular designer of scrapping products, so me doing a LO for HER was extremely intimidating, and after I volunteered, I thought, "WTH did I just do?". But she emailed me that she "LOVED LOVED LOVED IT", so I take it she was pleased. And then I kept checking the site to see the LO someone else did for me....this one was made by another gal I "know" whos scrapping I really admire......I added the journaling obviously......but cute huh?


And now I'm trying to get my entries done for the scrap olympics events they have going on......maybe SOMEDAY I'll actually win one of these bazillion contests I enter (prizes are always $5 credits, which I could SO easily spend!)........since Karl's still sickly, we've skipped church this morning and I'm determined to finish this layout and then we're gonna have to clean this house. Given the choice between my least favorite activities of shopping for clothes for me or cleaning my house. Gosh, that's a toughy. I hate them both! :P

Oh, and one more layout to share (aside from what's in the slideshow).....my SIL Nicole and I decided to start a weekly 'blessings' scrapbook......one layout a week for a year of all of our blessings. This was week one......I've scrapped (in paper) this picture before, but I like this version even better........since so many of my friends have just had babies, I was pondering what a blessing pregnancy is. So this is my blessing for this week:
And that's about it I think......impatiently waiting for the arrival of little miss Hartley, and sick to death of seeing Mr. Nuts on Kerri's blog (YOU HEAR THAT KERRI? UPDATE!!!)....so i'm signing off for now....

Thursday, August 7, 2008

This week's activities.....with pictures!

Okay, so I never got around to posting on Monday with pictures from the weekend like I said I would. I was busy! And not feeling all that well either......but anyways, I'm posting NOW and so that should make your Thursday a little brighter!

First up, Dean's party on Saturday night. He was definitely surprised. Karl had to keep him occupied for the afternoon until party time, which for Karl meant an excuse to drive to Evansville, IN (an hour away from Fairfield, uhm, hello? Has he not looked at the price of gas?) to Best Buy to get HIMSELF a Garmin. How the dumb Garmin fit into the whole surprise party thing I'm still not sure about. But Karl is now the proud owner of yet another boy-gadget.....which serves no purpose other than "being cool" sitting there talking to us on the dashboard of the van. I'm excellent with a map, so I still see no use for the thing.....but if he'll listen to Darcy (What he named the female voice.....in an effort to win me over. not happening....if it were Colin Firth's voice, then maybe......), then at least we won't get lost since when we disagree over directions he usually listens to himself and we end up in the backwoods somewhere. men. whatever.

So anyways, Karl kept Dean and all the other men of my family (Dad, Deron, Daniel) occupied with their boy-gadget-hunting trip. Us gals got food ready and decorated for the party. When they showed up with Dean, he stopped in the doorway, saw the decorations, and turned around and ran back outside! :) It was a fun party....my video was a bit hit....although "not as embarassing as he was expecting" according to Dean. It WOULD have been, but my mother's not the best in keeping on track of family photos, so most of the "good ones" of Dean have been lost to the chaos that is their house. If you haven't watched the video yet, scroll down to the previous post....I'm quite proud of it. And for whoever asked (I think it was Kerri?) I used Pinnacle Studio 11.1 to make it. Very easy program to work with. I like software that's dumbed-down enough that I don't have to use the manual for anything! Oh, and it works on Vista, woohoo! Plus, it was pretty cheap as far as software goes.......I used another brand when trying to make the video for my dad's 70th and it never did work....so we bought this and it works perfectly. Now I'm in the process of redoing dad's video. So much stuff to do!

We made him sit in a wheelchair for most of the party....and somebody made him a "40" hat to wear. Hehehehehe
All of his gifts were gag gifts.....Wish I'd thought to make up a big basket of Viagra or something, because he was SO embarassed just with the hemmrhoid stuff (okay, I'm a decent speller, but I have no clue on that one!).......

I was most impressed with myself for the fruit basket I carved....never done one of these before, but I was thrilled with how it turned out, so if any of you need my services, I don't come cheap!
They day before the big party (Friday), as soon as I was done with work for the day, we took the kids to Raging Rivers waterpark in Grafton. The kids are always wanting to go....we're never wanting to cough up the cost for it since I hate being out in the sun....and in a swimsuit no less! BLECH......but Karl managed to get free tickets (He was the Good Samaritan over a year ago to an old couple with a flat tire who happened to be either partial owners or good friends with the owners of the place, so in exchange for helping with the flat, they promised Karl free tickets for his kids.....and we just now got around to using them), so we had no excuses other than my aversion to the sun and the spandex of swimsuits.....so we went. yay.

Zach and I hung out in the kiddie pool area obviously. Karl, Matthew, and Alaina took off for the wave pool. It was Y98 day (local radio station), so Zach scored a mini beach ball and played with it the entire time.

This is about the only view of me in a swimsuit you're ever going to see.....half covered by a worn-out child, submerged in water. if it'd been dark out, I'd have liked the picture even better!

So we stayed about 3 hours.....that was enough sun/heat/swimsuit time for me.....went home and we all crashed with exhaustion for late-afternoon naps. The kids had a blast though....and yes, I've already scrapped the event:

So that's it for now I guess....time to get to work.....will update more over the weekend (don't want to bombard you with too much Herman-ness!)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Happy (belated) 40th, Deano!

A lot of you know my older brother, Dean. His 40th birthday was July 19th, but thanks to us being out of the country and him being overly suspicious around his actual bday, my SIL Stacy agreed to delay his big embarassing surprise party until this weekend. My job, besides making one of the cakes (the best one obviously!), was to make the ever-popular slideshow of old pictures for our viewing entertainment. I've had a blast with this.......Karl keeps reminding me that there'll ALWAYS be something I'll want to change, and it'll never be "perfect" or "done"......but I've run out of time, so it's finished. And it cracks me up every time I watch it (and I've seen it hundreds of times by this point!). Enjoy, but don't send Dean any bday wishes or mention the video since he won't see it 'till Saturday night! He doesn't know I even have a blog, so I think I'm safe in posting.....and I'll hopefully have some fun pictures to post afterwards!

video