Sunday, October 31, 2010

Artist At Work...

Linz has become quite the artist.  I can't remember exactly when she started (I'm sure she could tell you the exact day...the day of the week AND how the weather was that day!).  She does at least 1 or 2 drawings every day.  She started out drawing characters from the Dr. Seuss movie "Horton Hears A Who".  She has 2 HUGE notebooks full of drawings of all the "Who" daughters and their one brother, Jojo.  Then somehow she found the Smurfs and that's been her obsession for at least the last year.  She has probably over 200 drawings of Smurfs.  She draws freehand....she can just look at a picture of them and "poof" there you go.  At some point I'll post some of the assorted Smurfs she's created. 

While we were carving the pumpkin today I had put down freezer paper on the counter for easy clean up.  I asked Linz to draw me a Smurf while we waited for our hero, Sam, to get all the yucky "guts" cleaned out of it.  So....she just picked up a Sharpie and started drawing.  AMAZING! 

Just thought I'd share her "scribbles" with you.

Happy Halloween!



Friday, October 29, 2010

Meet Fred...

This is Fred...
Fred has been a member of our family for a very LONG time.
 Well....we've had Fred #1  and  Fred #2......
Let me start from the beginning.

I had a friend that I met when Linz and Zach were first diagnosed with Autism who sent all three of the kids "Beanie Buddies" (this was back during the Beanie Baby Bonanza...)  This tie dyed bear somehow became Zach's favorite and sort of took on a life of his own.  Zach was non verbal for so long and I always wondered what he'd name the bear if he could tell me.  One day....a long while later after he actually started calling me "Mommy" (I think he was almost 9 yrs. old) I asked him one night when I tucked he and his bear into bed , "What's the bear's name?" and he simply said, "Fred".  It was kind of a "Um, duh, Mom!" moment...like "Didn't you know that???"  And that's how Fred got his name.

Fred has been on MANY adventures.  He's been to visit relatives in Michigan, he's been to Virginia Beach, he's been to Disney World (and Land) many times.....he's quite the accomplished traveler.
Once when we were packing for a 10-day trip to Disney I was double checking all of the kids' backpacks for the flight to make sure they all had things to do on the plane, etc. and I saw Fred was already in Zach's backpack.  Well, I guess he needed Fred to sleep with him that night and the next morning he accidentally left Fred at home in Manassas when we left for the airport.  We didn't discover that Fred hadn't made the flight with us until we were unpacking at the resort.  :-(  Well....ever the faithful Nannie and Papa...they went to our house and got Fred, packed him safely in a box and FedExed (or "FredExed" as we called it...) him to us at the Beach Club Resort at Disney World.  Whew!!  I can't even begin to tell you how HUGE the smile was on Zach's face when he opened that box!

Fred has been well loved and well worn....washed and dried and a little TOO loved by Marley when he was a puppy.  I had to get online and buy a replacement Fred after Marley's "unstuffing" escapde.

So as the years have passed we've found that Fred has allowed Zach, our "gentle giant", as Linz calls him, to have a voice.  Zach has found ways to show his sweet sense of humor by teasing us all with Fred.  He'll say things like, "Fred's going in Mommy's car!" and I'll act shocked and appalled and say, "No! Fred can't ride in my car!" and he will crack up.  He'll say, "Fred's in Mom's bed!" (which is always "fun"  interesting when we're in public and people look at me like....WHO THE HECK IS FRED AND WHY IS HE IN YOUR BED???)  and I have to look shocked and say, "Fred better not be in MY bed!".

This morning, when I went out to get in my car to leave for work, I was treated to yet another smile and a laugh provided by Zach and Fred and was struck by what an impact one stuffed bear could make.  It's funny when I hear researchers talk about "finding the switch" with autistic kids.  No one can tell you what the switch is or where to find it.  I can tell you, however, that Fred seems to have been a "switch" for Zach.  He has allowed Zach to show his "funny" side and it's given him a way to make people smile and that brings him SO much joy.

Take time to find the smiles in the little things and spread a little love around.  Also, don't be alarmed the next time you hear that someone named "Fred" is sleeping in my bed.  :-)  Mike knows all about him and he's okay with it.

Here's the smile that started my day....
Fred and his pal, Maddie...another bear friend who's a recent addition to our family.  Zach named her too.


Wishing you Faith, Love and Pixiedust,
Michelle

Monday, October 25, 2010

Working Girl

Most of you know that since Linz graduated in June she has returned to OHS as a "Super Senior".  Kids with special needs can stay in school until they are 22 years old and work on their vocational skills.  We have been so blessed by their Internship Program at OHS that has allowed Linz to work at several libraries within the school system and community.  She absolutely LOVES it.  She is at the Metz Middle School Library and at Prince William County's Bull Run Library on alternating days.  We've gotten glowing reports on her performance at all of them and she is excited each day to "go to work".

The liaison at the Bull Run Library says that she comes right in, takes off her coat and grabs her cart of books to reshelve.   She's a girl on a mission!  She's especially great at finding books that have been put in the wrong place and she quickly gets them to their right spot.

There's a possibility that they will actually offer her a paying position (if the economy ever turns around).  We feel so blessed to see her so happy as she's out and about and making quite a name for herself  :-)

Here are a few pics of her hard at work.

Lindsay's book cart

Her official ID



"It's goes....right......here!"

Have a magical day!
Michelle

Friday, October 22, 2010

Who Knew???

When Zach was in the 3rd grade he taught himself how to play the piano.  He started with "Heart and Soul" (a classic!) and moved on to "The Star Spangled Banner" complete with the harmony.  After awhile we were no longer able to play the duet part with him on Heart and Soul because he could play it in ANY key.  Mike and I, who both took piano lessons, can only play it...like most people...in the key of C.  He would hear a song on a video game and he could go sit down at the piano and play it.  Pretty incredible, right?

Well....my mom recently brought her laptop over for Mike to look at because her hard drive had gone belly up.  So it's been down in his workshop (or the "Man Cave" as I prefer to call it) for about a month.  He took it apart and had the fan, memory and other assorted parts and pieces like screws etc. strung out all over laid out in an organized manner on his workbench.  Wednesday night Mike came upstairs and said, "Um, Babe....by any chance did you go downstairs and put your mom's laptop back together?".  I laughed out loud.  Like I would have any clue how to do THAT.  I could stamp it, make a scrapbook about it, paint flowers on it, take pictures of it....but put a laptop together...um....not so much.

So he called Zach to come see us and said, "Zach, did you put Nannie's laptop together?  Did you put all the pieces together and screw them all in?"  Zach looked at him and simply said, "Yes".

We know Mike didn't do it....I didn't do it....Linz didn't do it...and Marley didn't do it.....So I can now tell you that my autistic son can take a laptop and put it all together again.

Who knew?  :-)

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Monogram Mania Stamp Camp

What a busy weekend!  I had a fantastic time on Saturday at our Virginia SU! Team Meeting hosted by Christina Crawford.  So much creative inspiration!  I've been busy getting all the new ideas down on paper and creating a few too. I'm planning several new stamp camps and I am excited about the new projects.

One of the first new stamp camps on my calendar is my "Monogram Mania".  You can come and make 8 beautiful monogrammed cards with matching envelopes and you will get a very cool clear box to put them all in.  They make a perfect gift for lots of different occasions.  Ok, who am I kidding??  I want a set or two for ME!  :-)




The camp will be on Tuesday, November 16th from 7-9 p.m. here at my house.  They are quick and easy to make.  Come on over and stamp and have some fun!  The cost for the camp is $15.  ALL supplies are included.  Please RSVP no later than November 9th. 

**All Stampin' Up! orders placed at the stamp camp will receive FREE SHIPPING!!**

Hope you can come and play!

Michelle

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Our Caped Crusader....

This is Mr. Lobster...

I've lost count WHICH Mr. Lobster it is.....
Ever since Marley has been in our family his favorite toys of all time have been the lobsters from Target.  Let me just say that I am quite the Target guru when it comes to finding lobsters.  They are apparently in high demand here in our little town because I've seen the lobster bin filled to the brim and then as empty as Grandpa's underwear drawer on wash day.

Our fearless hero is on the case....here to protect our family from the mean and sneaky Mister Lobster.  He's on the job!  The big question, as Britt will tell you, is just HOW LONG will the squeaker last.  He's a champ at making short order of all that stuffing and getting right down to the nitty gritty of that pesky squeaker.  We are all still in danger from that dastardly Mister Lobster....even when there's nothing left except those braided rope legs of his laying around the house.  Never fear though.....Marley is here to save the day!


Poor Mr. Lobster....after Marley retrieved the squeaker  :-(

He really does act like it's Christmas when I bring a new one home.  
It is absolutely adorable!

Just a few smiles from here to brighten your day.  :-)

Faith, Trust and Pixiedust,
Michelle (and Marley the Super Dog)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Book-A-Thon Blitz Bonanza!


I'm so excited about Stampin' Up's Book-A-Thon Blitz that will be held tomorrow, October 12, 2010.
There are SO many new items and ideas and we as demonstrators have been tasked with finding as many stampers as we can to share them with....and do it tomorrow!  I am committed to not only growing my business but I want so much to share what I've learned and then created on my own.

I've had a lot of friends who have commented on the sample card designs I've posted both on the blog and on Facebook and they've been really excited about them.  Well....I've come up with even more designs to share and I'd love to share them with YOU and your friends too.

I'm offering a little "treat" to sweeten the deal.  If you book a Stampin' Up! workshop with me tomorrow, October 12th, you will get your choice of themes for your workshop.  I have two to choose from.  "Festive Fall" and "Holiday Hoopla".  I can't wait to share the designs I've come up with!   Also, you will receive a pack of Stampin' Up! cardstock in the color of your choice or a Stampin' Up! Classic Ink Pad in the color of your choice FREE!  Now that's fun!

So....what date works for you?  I have a few on my calendar that are still open and I'm ready to save the date for you.

Let's get together for some girl time and stamp!

Just send me a quick email or call me....but remember....the Book-A-Thon Blitz Bonanza is OCTOBER 12th only so don't miss out on this great opportunity!

Faith, Trust and Pixiedust,
Michelle

"Fall's Fab Five" Stamp Camp

I had a great time on Saturday with some of my stampin' friends at the Fall Stamp Camp I had at  my house.  I called it "Fall's Fab Five".  I created 4 different card designs using some colors, techniques, stamp sets and accessories that were new to some of the girls and they seemed to really enjoy each one.  You'll notice that one of the designs isn't actually fall....it's Christmas.  That's because they saw pics of the other card I posted using the dryer sheet technique and they wanted to learn how to make it themselves.  :-)  So we did!  It is such and easy technique that never fails to get a "Wow!" from anyone who sees it.
We also made the "Frankly My Dear" treat box that I showed in an earlier post.  So fun!

Here are pics of the projects.....






If you'd like to learn how to make these or see some of the new projects I'm offering in upcoming stamp camps, let me know.  You'll LOVE creating these to share with your family and friends...or keep them for yourself!  ;-)

Happy Fall!
Michelle

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

26 and Counting....

Today I marry my best friend
the one I laugh with, live for, dream with...and love.
 
 
I was 20 years old.....I can't believe that 26 years have passed since our wedding day.  I read those words and NOW I get it.  I know now what I could never have know then.  God really did have a plan and HE knew that that wonderful guy I met on my first day at work...a cutie who was co-oping from Virginia Tech....the one who made me smile....made me laugh and stole my heart....was "the one" and only one for me.

He's made me laugh til I couldn't see through the tears....held me when I've cried so hard it hurt....made me mad....made me glad....made me happy....made me sad.....
He's made me the wife, mother and crazy woman that I am today and he's loved me through it all....for better or worse.

I'm so incredibly blessed to be his wife and I love him more today than yesterday but not half as much as tomorrow.

Happy 26th Anniversary, baby.
Forever and Always,
Shelly
With my parents...My Dad actually performed our ceremony.  
It was amazing.

Our first dance - "Could I Have This Dance"

Three people that I miss each and every day.  My Nannie, Pop and Grandma

One of my bridal portraits - Kenmore Estate - Fredericksburg, VA

Oooh!  Pink Champagne....how classy  ;-)

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Cat in the Hat and Zach

I know there are a few of you have mentioned that you enjoy reading the "Linz Quote of the Day" that I post on my Facebook status sometimes.  Well, this one took a little more background and it was just too long for that pesky little status box.  Also, I wanted to write it down so that I can actually remember it!  If you dropped by just for the quote....scroll down to the bottom.  :-)

Linz and Zach have a very unique relationship to say the least.  My mom will tell you that they even seem to have their own unspoken language.  Just a look between them can mean so many things.  It's awesome to watch.

Every morning they get up for school all on their own without us going in to wake them up.  That may not seem like a big deal but Linz NEVER sets an alarm clock to wake up.  But every morning at 6 a.m. sharp her light comes on, we hear her feet hit the floor and 10 minutes later....POOF...she emerges from her room ready to head down for breakfast.  I'm not sure HOW she does it....she just does.

Zach usually gets up on his own too.  I think he actually hears Linz and figures he'd best get a move on.  I used to help him pick out his clothes just to make sure he "matched", etc. (that's important you know!)  Anyway, he owns lot of tshirts with animated characters on them.  Needless to say...a lot of them are Disney characters.  (SHOCKER...I know!)  He LOVES them but I was trying to help him "blend in" a bit in high school and wear things that were a little more grown up and stylish.  Believe me....I had to sneak into his room under cover of darkness to remove the green Tigger tshirt that had been well worn, well loved and had started looking like more of a "belly shirt" if you know what I mean.

Ok...fast forward to the present.   Within the last year or so Zach has started to show a real preference for the color red.  We've been out shopping at WalMart, Target or Aeropostale and I'll show him a few "mom approved" styles and nine times out of ten he picks whichever ones come in red.

So my parents bought Zach a few new shirts for his birthday recently.  I had mentioned to my mom that Zach had stopped to look at a rugby shirt in a store a few weeks back and I'd asked him if he liked it and he'd simply said, "Yes".  She and my dad, being the awesome Nannie and Papa that they are, were then on a mission to find him rugby shirts.  They found them and even found one with red and white stripes.  He loves the ones he got from them.

This morning Zach got up and got dressed and headed downstairs while I was in the shower.  He brushed his teeth and shaved.  (Don't panic....he has an electric shaver).  He put on his jacket....being careful to zip it ALL the way up to his chin (another battle I've given up on).  He put on his Osbourn baseball hat.  He put on his backpack and sat on the couch to wait for the bus.  I try very hard to make sure that I do a "spot check" on the outfit etc. before he leaves for school....just in case, ya know.

I called down the stairs to him and asked him to come up and see me so I could get a hug before he left.  Sneaky, right?  He came upstairs and I said, "Oh! You look so nice!  What shirt do you have on under that jacket?"  He looked and me....looked at himself and then back at me and said, "The Cat in the Hat".  So my mind starts racing trying to remember when I'd bought him a Cat in the Hat shirt and IF I did....what does it look like.....does it still fit.....THE BUS IS COMING SOON!!!  Ugh!  Nope.  Can't remember it.  So I ask him to let me see it.  He unzipped his jacket and there's that nice, new red and white rugby shirt!  WHEW!

I started to laugh and said, "Wow Zach!  Great job!  You're right.  It DOES look like the Cat in the Hat!"  Then I hear Linz from downstairs say to me, "It's okay, Mom.  He's just autistic you know."

Because he doesn't talk very often I'm sometimes taken aback by the sound of his voice.  Don't ask me why.  It's just something that most people take for granted I guess.....hearing your child's voice.  We can't have conversations.  He can't come home from school and tell me what he did that day.  He can't tell me all the high school drama.  He can't tell me when he doesn't feel well...I have to guess.  What he CAN do though is put his very long arms around my head (because he's so blasted tall and I only come up to under his chin) and give me the best hugs imaginable.  He can beat ANY video game out there.  He can light up the room with his smile and the most important thing he can do....he can and does make my heart sing when I tell him I love him and he says, "I love you too, Mom".  Ahhh....music to my ears.

So there are the "Linz and Zach Quotes of the Day".  


Blessings,
Michelle

Sunday, October 3, 2010

"Frankly My Dear"

I spent a little time today to create a few things so that I wouldn't forget things that I saw yesterday at Regionals.  First I created and "oldie but a goodie"....the window sheet technique.  Then I created my "Frankly My Dear" Treat Box using the Big Shot and the best selling die, Top Note.  What a cool tool to have!!  I LOVE mine.  My mind is just racing with all the new projects I want to create with it.

Here are pics of both projects.  I hope you like them!

That's it from here for now...Hope you had a wonderful weekend and that you have a terrific week!
Happy Fall Y'all!
Michelle

Falling for Fall....

Fall is definitely my favorite time of year.  Well, that's my answer right now.  If you ask me closer to the end of the school year I'd probably say, "I love summer! It's my favorite time of the year!"  I'd probably...and WILL probably say the same thing about Christmas.

But I do LOVE the crisp feeling in the air, the colors of the leaves, the azure blue skies, wearing hoodies, crackling fires and football.  I also, love creating new designs for fun fall cards, scrapbook pages and crafts.

I spent yesterday at the 2010 Stampin' Up! Regionals in Baltimore and I have so many new ideas whizzing around in my head.  I've got to get some of them sketched out to make sure that I don't forget them.

While I was spending the day getting inspired, Mike took the kids to Old Town for the annual Fall Festival.  They had such a great time.  I do love living in a town like ours because there are always fun things going on and we always run into people we know.  It's how I remember growing up in Fredericksburg before it became the booming metropolis that it is today.

I'm posting pics of the swaps that I made to trade at yesterday's regionals.  Next week I'll be teaching my "Fall's Fab Five" stamp camp with some fun new projects.  If you'd like to come create some great projects with me, just drop me an email or give me a call and I'll add a spot for you at the table.

Hoping your day is magical....
Michelle

My swaps....