Monday, January 28, 2008

{art journal page #3} you want to see it???

Are you sure???


Here is my art journal page #3!!!

The word is CONNECT.

I had so many ideas running through my head & finally one afternoon I just sat down and started drawing. Of course, the rough draft then stared at me for a couple of days until I finally sat down & did the final tonight! 'Thanks' to my artistic hubby who taught me some cool techniques (I've only ever played around with watercolor) & for letting me tear into his art stash, including his brushes, transfer paper & watercolor paper. I haven't decided if I am going to include the word CONNECT in my picture. I was planning on it...but now I don't want to "mess it up."
{rough draft}

I used a charcoal pencil on newsprint paper. Then got an idea of colors with watercolor pencils. You color first then brush on the water to give the watercolor effect. The more you brush, the more you wash off the color. {side note...In the beginning I was going to have a phone with the cord spelling the word connect, as you can see here. When Drew saw this he said, "HA! Mom, there's a phone in the tree!!!" Funny how things evolve in art.)

Then I used the transfer paper. (It is a large sheet of tissue like consistency but is black, one side containing graphite...This stuff is GREAT!!) You then place the transfer paper over the paper you want for your final copy. Then place your rough draft on top. Lightly pencil sketch over the lines on the rough draft that you want and you have a basic outline & great guide.


my inspiration & favorite mug
I originally had the steam "solid" but John said it would be more realistic to have it see-through. I am SO glad I did it this way! I had to paint everything behind the steam separately since it needed to be a much lighter shade.


(CHICAGO being close to my heart, but NYC is a close 2nd)

What better way to CONNECT than over a cup of coffee...if that's your cup of tea!

~Good thing I had a looooong nap this afternoon~ This is really not the norm! Although I tend to be a night owl, I no longer have the privilege of sleeping in. :) So tomorrow may be, well, interesting.

Monday, January 21, 2008

SNIP snip

Well, the time has come.

Actually, the time should have been awhile ago, but it happened this past weekend.

Jack got his first haircut!!!

Jack has infamously received the nick-name "hippy baby" from his father.
His hair has grown out adorably and I was secretly wishing he would have curly golden locks of hair. But, alas, it grew pretty straight. And it hung down over his ears soooo far, he really was starting to look kind of hippy. So I took the scissors to his last sign of babyhood. (well...the diapers will probably be the LAST sign of babyhood!) He really did not sit well and Drew was banned from the bathroom in the first minute. But John held on to him and entertained him and made such noises and voices that it was even making me laugh. So here are the pics. Oh, and I forgot to keep a "lock" for his baby book. Baby book...that too. I have a lot to do this year!


{I wish I would have combed it all down in his face. It was really long. It hung well over his eyebrows!}


{we have very sharp scissors and he was being soooo fidgety. not to mention drew wanted in on the action and jack kept looking at drew.}


{and his very cool BEARS t-shirt from his cousin mckenna!}


{it's freezing...can't let them go to bed with wet hair}

...and some Swartzcopff stylin' serum to finish him off!!!

{For some reason...he looks Dutch in this photo?????}


{Irish, German & Italian make up this little boy. Sorry, no Dutch!!!)

And you may be thinking he is cutely smiling in this above picture, but the truth of the matter is that he would not look up. He was so intently playing with that bottle, figuring out how to get the cap off. So I snatched it from him and somehow I got a smiley face...because he was not too happy about this game mommy was playing!

Well, now that we've passed that phase of life...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Spoonful Of Perspective

Because she said it so much better than I could have: Check out this post that reminded me yet again the importance of keeping our perspective with little ones in the home.

2 DOWN...50 TO GO!!!

Yikes...50 is sounding a little overwhelming right now!
Hopefully I'll get faster each week at this. It is helping me to keep pushing & finishing. I tend to linger too long on projects. This is good for me!

Here's journal entry #2.
The word being FEEL.

And I promise my blog will not be consumed with these journal pages. The boys have been pretty sick and its been soooo cold outside. Nothing too exciting going on in our part of blogger town right now!!! But I do feel a bit of cabin fever sneaking in.

{page #2}


{Martha Stewart sticker letters; cut out this shape from the cardboard of a vintage roll of ribbon; the "grid" behind is drywall tape painted orange}

{cut out hand from paper bag & crinckled it. then rubbed it with brown shoe polish to age it. 3 black leather flowers for bracelet.}

{the bottom border is cut from a vintage pillow case I bought an an estate sale; lots of different textured ribbon, yarn & twine.}

{wrote lots of things that make me FELL happy; inspired by this tissue paper from papyrus}

{my very bright & colorful page}

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Time To Create...

I want to share something I'm super excited about that I have COMMITted to this year:


While visiting ARTSYMAMA's blog, I learned of EMILY who is "hosting" a challenge for an ART JOURNAL for 2008. She is posting a word at the beginning of the week for inspiration. The rest is up to the artist!!! I loved the idea but honestly, this last year was a year of "creativity on hold" in the art department. Our stuff is just too un-accessible for it to be enjoyable! So I didn't think I would commit to it. But something happened yesterday! :) I had the thought planted in my mind and when the opportunity siezed itself upon creativity that has been welled up {and from all the creative blogs I've been observing}...I plunged in head first to begin the journey of AN ART JOURNAL.

I am SO excited & I don't think I will be able to turn back. Don't know if I'll be able to keep at it every week; but it was like therapy sitting and creating.

{page #1}

{this page has very humble beginnings!! I grabbed my sea sponge, pop-up sponge, used my son's box of crayola's, Elmer's glue, and added some of my fun glitter, circle punch, bird punch, scraps of paper & left over paint chips. Oh, and a wooden skewer for odds & ends painting & texturing.}


{circle-cut piece of corrugated cardboard & painted it green for the tree*LOVE my plethera of MS glitter I got on SUPER clearance at Michaels*the trunk is cut from a paint chip}

{Bird punch is from Martha Stewart's collection. I LOVE IT!! Got it at Michaels on Christmas clearance*Brown vintage ribbon was part grossgrain, part velour. So I cut it in half* The paper behind the bird is left over from the roll of ribbon}

{Painted dried fern leaves for the 2008}

{This surprised me. I started by rubbing the minty green paper with my son's white crayon. It gave a nice texture. Until I started lettering with a marker. I thought it was going to be disasterous...but the marker dried fine and it left a cool texture*The scroll is copied from my favorite homemade Christmas card I received this year}

{I used scraps from a real birds nest a neighborhood kid gave my son this summer}

{I am excited to use up so many of the little things I have on hand! I am going to try to create everything with stuff I already own! So...any of you out there up for the challenge??? It could be ANY kind of journal, scrapbook, etc. using the key word for the week!}


So, I know that everyone has a different "artistic" avenue.

I know my mom's is in the garden. Their yard is perfect and always plush and the landscaping & flowers look straight from a magazine! My dad's canvas started at the chalkboard. He is a master teacher and by the end of any given class his board could display Napolean's dynamic invasions with complete illustrations (the ever humble stick-man never looked better). And my husband, well, he is just a fabulous artist so everything he puts his hand to comes out phenomenal!


{my 'weaknesses' are magazines & artistic blogs---tons of visual inspiration}

goodbye 2007!

WELL, I have SO much to catch up on from the end of 2007 that I am deciding to cheat a little bit. I'm posting just a couple pics here and will put the rest of our Christmas & New Years pictures over at good ol' Facebook.

Plus, you can't beat the 60 pics at a time upload. [ the blogging board]. I'll come back and post the link when they are up & running.


Monday, January 07, 2008


Today Was Not Our Average Monday...

*We shipped the kiddos off to Gramma Jo's for the day.
*Spent WAY TOO MUCH at Home Depot.
*Painted & painted & painted the basement.
*Both John & I had dentist appointments.
*Went to Wesley's [a kid in our youth group] basketball game.
Called it a day...

**A year ago we came home to a basement filled with water. We are finally at the painting stage!!! YAY!!! Although there's still a lot to do till we can crash & enjoy, we are getting SO close (considering its been a whole year long without a basement!). And that means that ANYONE who wants to stop by at the Neiner B&B...just give us a holler!!!

Here's a sneak peak at some of the colors we have picked for our basement. The rest to be revealed in due time.

so many to choose from. don't worry...these are not all going in one room!

my ever-faithful painting pants were able to see the light of day.

Was this really a good idea??? [ha.ha. actually we LOVE the orange!!]

Fun Family Times For Sure:

Jack waiting in the clapping position

We are doing our silent scream. Of course...the silent part didn't last too long.

What you get when your 3+ year old asks you to take a picture of his hand.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

My Times Are In Thy Hand

Where do I even begin?

We just returned from a trip to PA to visit our friends Brion & Carrie Yarnell for New Years.

This post set aside, we had a blast.

But onto pressing matters.

There have been a few times in my life where I have heard such shocking news that my whole life comes to a hault. I literally have to swallow to keep my stomach down. Sunday was one of those days for me. One I am sure I will never forget.

We were at Bethel Baptist Church for Sunday morning worship with Brion and Carrie. I was looking forward to seeing some familiar faces from northland days. Drew took a bit more persuasion than I expected to get situated in a different Sunday School class so I walked in late to the 20's class. As I slipped in next to John, I realized I missed something as the teacher was sharing how people could help with this couple currently facing difficult times in their life. John then leaned over and whispered, "Jen [Blood] just found out that her little 3 year old girl has cancer."

I stopped breathing, I am sure.

I had to swallow to keep my stomach down.

My eyes immediately filled with tears and didn't stop overflowing through the whole class. I don't know how I made it through. But I knew if I left the class I would start to uncontrollably cry. And I didn't know my way around. I know that I didn't have a bit of mascara left on by the end of the class. I just wanted to sob...but kept swallowing my stomach down.

I don't know why this hit me so hard.

Maybe it is because I can relate so closely. Jen's my age, and her daughter is just about Drew's age. Maybe it goes back to knowing Jen in college and playing soccer with her. Knowing what kind of strength she has as a person and how this must have affected her.

Whatever the case, it hit me. Hard.

I was fortunate enough to be able to see her for a brief moment before the service. I had to "wait in line" as she sweetly talked with everyone bustling about her bestowing their love and support and prayers upon she and Gracie. Jen remained so composed and gracious to everyone. Smiling and thanking everyone as she stood there and held onto her little girl. Gracie just rested in Jen's arms with her head down on her mom's shoulder without a care of what was going on around her. She would peek up once in awhile if she heard a familiar voice or if someone was talking to her, but never a smile or word.

Now I have a very bustling 3 & a half year old. And knowing Jen, her daughter is also full of life. So actually getting to see Gracie first hand really cemented a picture in my minds eye of what this little girl must be going through. I wanted to go and snatch Drew from his class and hug him and never ever let go of him again. I promised myself I would never get frustrated with him or speak another harsh word again. These things have a way of stripping away the unnecessary from our lives and help us regain perspective.

And even though I have to admit that I initially wanted to ward off those good Christian spiritual thoughts like, "God allowed this to happen" and "He is in control" or "God makes no mistakes" is still all true. In His sovereignty, He allowed this little child, knowing what was ahead of her, to still be given life and to be born in their family for a specific purpose. And no matter what lies ahead for them, God is still and always will be good and gracious and loving. I must keep reminding myself of those truths.

Because as a mother now, I feel like it's kind of a whole new ballgame.

And as I sat in the pew during the service while the hymns were being sung around me, I could not blurt one word without being choked up and tears running down my face. Looking at the bulletin in my hand, I read and reread the words that were printed at the top,


That's right. Dot. Dot. Dot.

That doesn't mean that my life has been pretty hunky-dorey so far and I am glad that the Lord has kept me from any real harm or difficulty. That means when we are faced with these most difficult situations that are real life and hit home...even then still...our times are in His hand.

I was immediately burdened for them (as you can tell) and asked Jen for permission to post this not being sure how "public" they wanted this all to be. But she said to please go ahead and the more people praying the better. So, I urge you to pass this along and get busy about upholding this little girl before the Lord for special strength and healing. Some specifics is that every Wed. for 50 weeks Gracie will be getting her chemo treatment.

Jen has a special website at Care Pages you can visit with updates and information on Gracie's condition. You can visit it here. ( There is a basic Sign In/registration procedure in the top right hand corner. Once you've registered it will ask you what CarePage you would like to visit, type in "beatitbaby." There is also a slideshow you can see of beautiful Gracie.

I will post Jen's first update from the site that kind of fills you in about all the medical details. And I will try to keep up with some basic updates on my blog as a reminder to myself to keep praying!


December 10, 2007 at 12:13 AM EST

Thank you for visiting Gracie's webpage and for caring about her. Her diagnosis began with a visit to her pediatritian last week for a slight limp.....We were sent home with no worries and a possible sprain....Three days later, Grace's eyes and skin were yellowed..This was obviously very abnormal....We set up another appointment with her pediatritian(Kids First Indian Valley)...Her wise doctor sent her for blood work and an ultrasound. One of my first questions was.."You don't think it could be cancer...right?" I hate cancer! He said the chances were very small and listed other possibilities. I couldn't sleep that night...The doctor called the next day...told me to 'sit down' for the results...I was heartbroken...He said there was a mass in her liver. The feelings that followed cannot be explained...brokenness...thoughts that all I wanted to do for the rest of my life was to hold her and i would be completely content....But, our doctor told us to be at CHOP before 3:00 that day...He got us right in, which had me in even more of a panic. After an IV, medicine through the nose, a catscan, and a biopsy, Grace was diagnosed with 'Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma.' Tim and I were hoping it would come back as just some mass or minor gliche, but it was cancer. However.....Of all the types this could have been, Her doctor said this was the best. Rhabdomyo is curable!!!!! And as far as we know, she has a favorable case...The tricky part is the location. The tumor is inside of her bile duct...and extents into her liver. The plan is to treat her with Chemo for 46 weeks...yea, that's quite a few. She will be evaluated with a catscan about every 12 to see if the tumor is shrinking...Rhabdomyosarcoma (her type) has been known to respond well. We are hopeful---determined!!!!We are blessed to live so close to one of the top hospitals fighting childhood cancers...We are completely trusting God with our precious baby...She pulls at so many heartstrings and we know that God has an awesome plan for her life just as He does with each child. Our greatest desire is that through this trial is Gracie's life, that she will get to know her God in such a deep and genuine way. Our little child is a gift given to us, but she is God's...and she could be in the hands of no greater physician. We've been amazed at her...she's funny with her doctors and nurses....She asks whoever comes into her room, "What are you gonna do to me now?' She's already told her nurse that she loves her! She does officially hate purple gloves though. Our inspiration is her 'Aunt Renee' who passed away in sept. after battling cancer....Renee allowed God to shine through her suffering and I know she'd be hugging her buddy Gracie and telling her to 'be strong!'Renee and Grace had such a special relationship. Thanks everybody for your love, visits, and gifts....We could not ask for better support. Tim, Gracie, and I feel like the luckiest family on our floor. We are determined to beat this disease and to trust God to fulfill his always perfect plan!