Monday, March 31, 2014

Grunge Birthday Card

We made this card at my cardmaking group like a week and a half ago.  Cute, no?  It was supposed to have kind of a grungey look.  I kept dropping one-liners about Eddie Vedder and Kurt Cobain and flannel shirts, and they were met with blank stares by a lot of the ladies in my group.  (A few of them are totally retired - weren't really aware of the whole early-nineties grunge thing.)  The two younger gals would snicker at my jokes about the movie Singles (one of my all-time faves) and "Smells Like Teen Spirit," though, which pleased me.

So we would stamp stuff, and then we would use this stamp set that's called Grunge (from Stampin' Up) with silver ink, of all things, to grunge it up a little.  One of the stamps looks like splattered ink and one looks like some uneven lines.  It was fun.  I would have never thought of silver to create a grunge look, but it really did the trick.

I sent this card to my beautiful mother-in-law for her 70th birthday last week!  I cannot believe she's 70.  She seriously looks 50, tops.  I hope I age that well.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Glandular Problem

So this is one of Gage's new outfits of choice.  Fortunately, he's moved on from his obsession with his coat (Our three-year-old pictures of him - our professional pictures that he will always have from when he was three, have him in that dang red coat.  He would scream and cry and make all kinds of horrible faces if we tried to take it off.  Which is better - a smiling kid in a coat?  Or a screaming, crying, tantrum-throwing kid?? So he is happily coated in his three-year-old picture.  FOREVER) and on to greener pastures - snow-friendly overalls.  With nothing underneath except a diaper.  (Because I'm taking a sabbatical from potty-training right now.  We've been at it since August and the boy still pees in his Big Boy Undies every. single. time.  He's just not getting it.)

Oh, and he's obsessed with shapes, especially hearts.  He carries around the fabric hearts from his quiet book around.  And he also constantly wears Sadie's old jingle bell necklace, but it has to be on backwards.  Alllllways.  The bell cannot be in front.  Very particular, this kid.

His little ensemble reminds me of a really, really funny story from when I was teaching.  Wanna hear it?  I thought you might!

So we in the English department always liked to stand out in the hall next to our classroom doors between classes.  It kept order in the hallways a little better, and then we could kind of chitchat with each other a little bit - yell barbs at one another, the whole bit.  It was fun. 

So one day, we're all standing in the hall, saying hi to passing kids, telling some kids to stop swearing, telling some kids to stop running, etc.

And then this girl walks by.

Wearing jean overalls.

With just a tube top on underneath.

You could see, like, her waist from the side opening and all of that. And she really had huge boobs.  I don't have to paint a picture, right?

We were all kind of in shock for a second.  The other two ladies just froze, eyes like saucers.  Deer in the headlights.  And I just eeked out a small, "Duuuuude....."

The only male in our department had the presence of mind to ask the scantily-clad damsel to go with him to the office. 

Later on, he told us the whole story - how, on the way to the office, she was accusing him of looking at her breasts, how he was a big old pervert, the whole thing.  Fortunately, the office staff agreed with us that this was a definite violation of dress code and called her mom to bring a shirt to put under or over the offending suspenders. 

That sounds nice.  Offending suspenders.  The accented syllable is in the same place in both of those words.  A thing of beauty.

Anywho, as many of the parents in this particular school often did, she got all mad, saying that her daughter was dressed just fine, and that any other girl could wear that, but because she had a "glandular problem" - those were the exact words she used (meaning that she had big boobs) - she was being targeted, dang it.  Targeted!!  Another mom said the same kind of thing when another girl came to school wearing a t-shirt that literally said, "Mama's Little Slut."

True story.

We often laughed about that in the few years afterward that I worked before I quit to be a stay-at-home slave.  One of my lady coworkers, Janet, would always say, "Duuuude...." when something shocked us or we were talking about something crazy one of our students had done.  She thought it was so funny I had said that when confronted with the glandular-challenged girl.  All I can say is that "dude" can convey many, many emotions.  Shock, frustration, agony, glee...  I loved when Janet said "dude" because she was like 59 years old and really, really proper.  Hahaha!  Good times.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Haberdashery

We made bows for Activity Days last week.  Once upon a time, on a Super Saturday long, long ago, I learned how to make a few different types of hairbows, and when I brought it up as a possible activity, my Activity Days partner readily agreed to it. 

We made two types - one type that looks like a rosette and one type that is supposed to look like a poppy.  I thought the girls would find the poppy hard, since it involved a little bit of sewing, and that they would prefer the rosettes, but it was the other way around.  They soon got bored/frustrated with the rosettes and quickly took up the sewing of the poppies.  While my partner and  I were helping some girls finish the rosettes, this cute little girl, Brooklyn, decided she was going to learn how to sew these poppy bows all by herself.  With a few verbal instructions from me, she was off and running and soon teaching all of the other girls how to do it, including tying the knot on the bottom side when she was done.  It was really cute.  I was impressed.

Anywho, Sadie was sick and couldn't go to Activity Days that day, and she was sad she missed out on the fabric flower bow-making fun, so a couple of days ago, I got my stuff out (I had some extra materials) and we made a few rosettes and poppies together.  Like the other girls, she much preferred the swiftness of the poppy bows and basically talked me into finishing her rosettes for her.

Never one to be left behind, Micah insisted that he needed hair bows, too.  Sighhhhh.  If it makes anyone feel better, his purpose was to use the bows on his My Little Pony toys.  Maybe that's one step better than wearing them himself?  Actually, he did keep putting them in his short hair and posing for me, just like a little model.  Sometimes I'm not sure what will become of that little man.  That's a whole other post for a whole other day.  But mainly, he wanted the bows to put into the newly-trimmed hair of his ponies.  He's given them all haircuts.  Their long, curly locks have been smartly bobbed.

The bows are meant for humans, not for pony toys, so they dwarf the ponies and end up looking like cute little hats:
Really, I could design those bizarre hats that British people wear to weddings... 

It's been a couple of years, but I still just... cannot handle that hat.  It should be worn in a circus or something.  Am I being too demure here?

Eugenie and Beatrice should call me next time they need a hat.  They could wear giant poppies on their heads for Remembrance Day or something.  (Nov. 11th - a British Holiday.  Everyone wears paper poppies on their lapels to remember those fallen in World War I.  I was there one year during Remembrance Day.)
 Sorry Micah is W-sitting, Lex... I do try to make them "fix their legs" when I catch them at it. 


 It's spring break in our school district, which Sadie takes to mean "The week where Sadie wears jammies every single day, all day long, and refuses to brush her hair or teeth except when Mom threatens her with doing extra chores if she doesn't at least brush her nasty, plaque-covered teeth because her morning breath is the worst breath Mom has ever smelled."
I love this girl, but I do NOT love her morning breath. :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The old house is completely renovated and for sale!!

We're done with the reno, dudes!  We worked our little tooshies off.  And it is gorrrrrgeous.  We're going to try to do For Sale by Owner, and I set up a blog to which people can go to see tons of pictures and details.  You can see it here.

A sneak peek:














Monday, March 17, 2014

Recent, Extremely Lofty Goals

Goal #1:  I plan on forever signing any correspondence I write (um, which is becoming less and less.  Dude, I used to spend hours each day corresponding when I was a teenager!  And then hours writing e-mails to my friends until ten years ago, when Facebook put an end to that) with:

Musically,

Kar

I got a letter at Parent/Teacher conferences last week (or the 5th level of Dante's Inferno, as I like to call it - Dylan was actually arguing with his teacher and me during his conference, and Sadie burst into tears during hers.....sheesh) about the annual 5th grade city-wide patriotic singing recital.  I remember when my school did that.  Heck, I even remember some of the songs:  "Buyyyy nowww without fail, at the Washington's Birthday Sale!!"  That was a cute song.

Anyways, the letter detailed where you should park, what your kids should wear, when you should drop them off, where you should sit, that no little children are allowed (Mom, how do you feel about baby-sitting that night???), etc.

And then, at the bottom of the letter, the district music directors actually signed it:

Musically,

Joe Schmoe, Jan Schman, Jon Schmon, and Jean Schmen, district music specialists

I laughed for a good five minutes about that.  I took a picture of the silly sign-off and sent it to my BFF Pooh, whose mom was a district music specialist for years and years, and she texted me back, "Um, that is soooo special."  Hahaha!  Love that girl's dry sense of humor.

And I decided that it would be pretty awesome if I sign off on correspondence in that way.  "Musically..."

Goal #2:  I'm reinstating this goal.  I was really good about keeping it for awhile, and then it fell out of use.  I plan on answering the phone with, "Moshi, moshi!!!" like my adorable friend Jason does.  It's Japanese.  It means hello.  It's hilarious.  I'm going to work on this goal with more fervor.  Plan on hearing a hearty and flamboyant, "Moshi, moshi!!" the next time you call me.
From context clues I received while looking at images under "moshi moshi," "desu" means "speaking."  So Spiderman is saying, "Hello, Spiderman speaking."

Goal #3:  I'm going to use the word "nefarious" as much as I possibly can.  Our Relief Society teacher used that word yesterday when describing how she listened to the sacrament prayers as a teen.  She said she listened very carefully, but it was for nefarious purposes, because she wanted to be able to chuckle if the poor little priest she knew messed up the sacrament prayer.  My ears perked up.  Ooooh!  Nefarious!!!  I haven't heard that word in forever!  That is a good word!!!  It seriously made my day.  That, and of course, the nice feeling that the Holy Ghost gives you when you are in church.  That also makes my day.

Oh, and nefarious means "wicked."  Use it in a sentence today.

I'll be able to use that word quite often in describing my children's normal, everyday behavior and activities.  My children can be very nefarious sometimes.

P.S. Right now, my dog is trying to chew on a really large rock and it's really funny.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Are you there, eyebrows? It's me, Kar.

And no, I can't take credit for that title - it's completely plagiarized from my sis, Nat's, blog post from a couple of years ago.  But hers was entitled, "Are you there, eyelashes?  It's me, Nat."  She's so clever.  Let me 'splain.  No.  There is too much.  Let me sum up.  Nat got lasik surgery, and she wasn't allowed to wear mascara for maybe a few days before and after her surgery?  I can't remember the specifics.  She just had to go without mascara for awhile.

Nat ALWAYS wears mascara.  Always.  Always, always, always.  Since I was 18 and moved out of the house, I've only maybe seen her without mascara on once.  Ever.  She's a "stwawbewwy bwonde," as she used to call it when she was little, so her eyelashes and eyebrows are, naturally, blonde.  And she likes her eyelashes to show up. And I don't blame her.

I'm lucky to be brunette, because I can go without mascara and get away with it.  Well, maybe I'm the only one that thinks I can get away with it.  At any rate, my eyelashes are dark brown, as are my eyebrows. 

Until recently.

My eyebrows are turning blonde.
The reason why, I'm pretty sure, is I started this new face wash that is 10% benzoyl peroxide.  It's not like I scrub my eyebrows with it.  I totally avoid the eye area, as directed.  And even when I rinse the wash off, I try to avoid my hairline and eyebrows.  But it's happening.  Blonde eyebrows on a brunette. Not the prettiest look.

Ben's all, "You can dye your eyebrows, you know.  Just get one of those box dyes at the store."  Um, really???  I don't know how I feel about that.  It makes me nervous.  What if they turn bright orange or something?  I've had weird reactions on my hair with re-dyeing a bad dye job, and believe me, I don't want to go through that on my FACE.

For now, I've been kind of coloring them in with my eyebrow pencil (which I always did anyways, since my eyebrows are thinning as I get older).  I just don't want to look like those old ladies who have no eyebrows and draw them on and look really weird.  Or Joey on that one episode of Friends:
Hahaha!  Rachel, hugging Joey and crying about some darn thing - I don't remember what, and saying, between sobs, "Your eyebrows look really weird..."
On the upside, my skin is la-hoving this face wash.  It's gone through a rough time for the past several months.  Ever since I started taking testosterone (if you're just joining us, I had extremely low testosterone.  I thought this might be why I was really moody after my hysterectomy).  I've stopped taking the T.  Not just because it caused me to have boils all over my face constantly - painful and really disgusting-looking - but also because it gave me what my clever sister Nat calls "'Roid Rage."  I'm just really angry when I'm on it.  When I'm off it, my anti-depressant does its job and I'm generally a happy person.  

Except for right now.  Micah and Gage don't have school today and they are KILLING me. 

I asked my nurse-anesthetist sister, Beads, if going off the T would do something disastrous to me.  "Nope, not really," she said.  So I'm done with that.  It wasn't helping me with my problem with being really tired all the time, it gave me the skin of a 13-year-old, I was constantly at the boiling point, and I was paying money for this.  No thank you.

My skin is doing better and better with this face wash and a medication my dermy gave me.  It feels so good to be boil-free.  I'll just have to take a prayerful "watch and wait" stance about my eyebrows. :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Princessey Card

My friend, Megs, paid me to make a little girl birthday card, and I made this one for her.  I can't take any credit for the design - it's a complete replica of a card in a catalogue I have.  But it turned out really cute, I think.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bathtub Shout-Out

We were reading in the scriptures the other night - since our kids are so young, we read the ones that look kind of like cartoon strips.  Do you know the ones? 

Anyways, we've been reading in the Old Testament since the beginning of the year, and parenthetically, a lot of the stuff that goes on in the Old Testament has kind of weirded the kids out.  They really hate the stuff about sacrificing animals on an altar and things like that.  Heck, I've been reading the Old Testament on my own at night, and I'm equally weirded out by some of this stuff.  My sister, Nat, and I had the funniest text conversation about this the other day.

Me:  I've been reading the New Testament and going, "Whaaaaa?" half the time.  Like, when Sarah beats up Hagar and tosses her and Ishmael out, and Abraham lets her?  The Hagar thing was Sarah's idea in the first place!!

Nat:  I've been reading the Old Testament too - barely started.  I read that Lot's two daughters slept with him after getting him drunk so they could preserve the line.  Ew!!!

Me:  I totally just read that part, too!  And how the angels came to hang out in Lot's house, and all the guys in Sodom were outside the door, like, "He-ey, we want to get it on with your male guests!" 

Nat:  And then Lot was like, "Take my daughters and have your way with them instead!"  I was like, "What are your daughters, chopped liver?"

Me:  I know!!  I think there is a looot of the Old Testament that was tampered with.  If Lot was good enough to have angels visit, then he wouldn't treat his daughters that way...

Nat:  Seriously.  Or there was a part about someone being drunk and naked...was it Noah?  And one of the sons told the others and he got in trouble.  I'm like, "Why is an usherer of a dispensation drunk?"

Me:  Haha!  And lying there, naked???

Nat:  Yeah!  Like, his robe was open and they could see his nakedness...something like that.  I was like, jigga-what?

Me:  I mean, maybe it was really  hot or something?  I just don't know...

Anywho.  The other night, when it was time to read scriptures, and Dylan was dinking around in the tub.  All the other kids had been bathed and were ready for bed.  The kids really love scripture time and hate to miss out.  We kept saying, "Dyl, we're going to start without you...."hoping that he'd get the hint and hurry it up, but when his ADHD pills aren't in his system any longer (about 7 p.m.), there is just no getting him to do anything in a hurry.

So we gave him one last chance - "Dyl, this is your last chance!  We're going to start reading in two seconds!" 

Dylan yelled from the open bathroom, "I'll just listen while I'm in the tub!"

And we yelled, "Well, we're not going to yell-read.  If you can't hear it, tough noogies."

"Okay!"

So the Old Testament cartoon scripture thingeys are cool about incorporating some of the history of the Nephites, and we were reading the chapter about the Israelites being captured by the Babylonians, and it mentioned Lehi and his family.  At one point, it says, "Lehi told the people to repent.  He said Jerusalem would be destroyed if they did not repent.  But the wicked people did not believe him - "

Dylan interjected loudly from his bathtub at this point.  "They never do!!"

We laughed and laughed.  Maybe you had to be there.  I don't know.  But it was funny.  He could hear everything from that bathtub and wanted to be in on the action.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Free at Last! Free at Last!

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh.  It's been a hard few months.  My mom and I have had the, as it turns out, monumental task of painting the entire inside of a house.  I thought it would take maybe a week.

It took us two and a half months.

And we were hustlers, dude.  I'm a hustler, baby...I just want you to know.... It ain't where I been....But where I'm bound to go.....  I miss that song.  I sang it for my brother-in-law, Spence, a few weeks ago when he and Beads were here, and I'm pretty sure he greatly enjoyed my rendition. 

But back to the hustling.  And probably not the kind of hustling that guy in that song was talking about.  I worked about three hours a day, five days a week on it, and my mom probably did like five hours a day, six days a week.  I felt badly, because she has aches and pains - she's a grandma, dangit! - and painting doesn't do much to help.  I kept telling her to just let me do it, but the lady's got gumption.  She insisted that she wanted to finish the job she started.

Anywho, we needed some professionals to put drywall in the laundry room, and they have this dude who's going to paint said drywall, and he's just going to finish up the painting in the two bedrooms we had left.  Like, today.  He's going to finish the painting today!!!!  The dudes are also going to finish the laminate Ben had been laying.  He threw his back out putting socks on Friday - I kid you not - and he's hardly able to sit up, even.  He's in a lot of pain.  He's been flat on his back all weekend.  So he's been unable to finish what he started there.  This crew is just going to punch it out, in like, two days. 

This means that, except for some grout that I'm staining/sealing (actually the most favorite thing I've ever done in this house.  It's seriously so much fun) on the backsplash in my kitchen, I AM DONE.

I am doooooooooooooone!!!!

Do you know what this means???????????  I get to work out in the mornings again when my kids are all at school for that precious, precious 2 1/2 hours!!!  I could clean my house!!!  I could shower before 11:30 at night!  I could do my hair!  I could actually blog more than twice a month!!  The possibilities are endless, you guys!  ENDLESS!!!

I went on a celebratory jog this morning with Pepper.  Which, as jogging will do, made my endorphins shoot through the roof.  So I'm feeling pretty happy right now.  It's just been hard to keep things together at my own house, work on the old house, do my calling, cart the kids to their various things, and do my janitor job.  I was tearing my hair out.  But now....life seems to be going back to normal.  And that's pretty awesome.  I'll take some photos when I go to the house today to show you how far we've come. 

So, just the grout, and I'm OUT.  We're putting a for-sale sign in front of the old house this weekend, we think.  Wish us luck!!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Skeeter-Eater


My cute new friend, Tiffany, wanted to learn all of my mom's random songs.  Mom had a bunch typed up, so I copied them and gave them to her.  I didn't know a few of them, so I had my mom sit me down and sing some of them with me.  One I didn't know is called Skeeter-Eater.  Here are the lyrics:
 
SKEETER-EATER
I woke up Sunday morning, I looked up on the wall.
The skeeters and the bedbugs were playing a game of ball.
The score was six to nothing, the skeeters were ahead
A bedbug hit a homerun and knocked me out of bed.
Chorus
      Singin’ eenie meenie mynie and a mo, Chickaboomba
     Catch a skeeter-eater by the toe, Chickaboomba,
     And if he holler-oller-ollers, better let him go
     Singin’ eenie meenie mynie and a mo

I went downstairs to breakfast, I ordered ham and eggs.
I ate so many pickles, the juice ran down my legs.

I went back to my bedroom, to see what was the score.
A bedbug hit a homerun and knocked me out the door.
Chorus
My mother is a Russian, my father is a spy.
And if you don’t believe me, just ask the FBI.

I went into my closet, to find my favorite suit
A bedbug put my shoe on and gave my rear a boot.
Chorus
My brother is a baby, my sister is a boob.
The bedbugs are all heroes, I watch ‘em on the tube.

The Camp Leader is wonderful, he never tells a lie.
She said we’d better say that or she’ll hit us in the eye.
Chorus


And the video my mom and I made of the song didn't work out, so I re-sang it and recorded it for Tiffany's benefit:
video

I'm also doing this for my friend Shelly, who is camp director this year for her ward.  :) 

Tiffany and I are Achievement Day leaders, and we're thinking of having a faux campout in her backyard with her fire pit.  We can have foil dinners, roast marshmallows, sing weird campfire songs, and play campfire games.  Obviously, this won't happen for a few months.  We have our mandatory 3-month Windy Time around here, where winds are routinely 40 mph.  But when those die down, it's Weird Camp Song time.

Valentine's Day ROCKS. Hahahaa!! (You'll get it in a minute.)

Oh, mama.  I wrote this...February 15th?  Yeah.  I promise I'll be a better blogger after my old house is all renovated and on the market.  I go there a few hours every day to paint, fix grout, scrub burn marks from Ben sanding the bathroom ceiling two years ago (the burn marks are on the tile from the rubber on the side of those rotating sanding disks, and NO, they aren't scrubbing away...), etc.  My poor mom usually puts in more hours in at the house doing the same kind of stuff.  I'd stay longer every day, but I have ninos to attend to, etc.  I feel really badly for her.  She's been so great to do that for me.

I'll show some pictures when we're all done - it looks so nice!!!  I wish we could have done all this stuff to the house when we lived there...but I still love our new house, the neighborhood it's in, and the room we have to spread out.

Valentine's Day.  Kay.  So.  Gage's teacher sent a note home that he needed to help me make a box to put his valentines in on the 14th.  I totally forgot about it until the night before at like 9.  And Gage was long asleep by then.  So, um, I made it myself.  I'm a bad mom.  I'm sure the judgie ladies at his preschool were judging me.  They always give me these looks.
When I unloaded his valentines from his backpack, I saw that the ladies had made their own little envelope thingey for his valentines out of construction paper.  Good thing I made that box.  Good thing.  Maybe it didn't hold enough valentines?  But I didn't see very much candy in his stash.  So I don't see what was wrong with my cute little box.  Ah well.

We made and ate Valentine's cookies a couple of days before.  As usual, it was a horrible experience for me and a fun experience for the kids.  And, also as usual, I ate like half of them and probably gained ten pounds.  The recipe I like to use has lemon zest in the cookie dough, and dude, that is the secret to really yummy sugar cookies.

Micah kept accidentally flipping them over when he transferred his finished ones on the cookie sheet:
He also would mound the cookie really high with frosting.  Sadie used to be our Cookie-Decorating-Challenged one.  She held that title for a few years.  Now it's definitely Micah.
The polished rocks I gave to the kids in their stockings for Christmas to add to their collections had been such a hit that I decided to head down to the middle of nowhere to get some more.  Oh, I haven't told you about this, have I?  Kay, so there are NO rock shops in our city.  You can drive 1 1/2 hours to West Yellowstone or Jackson or Lava Hot Springs to buy some in those touristey shops, but who has that kind of gas money?  So I discovered this teeeeeeeeeny little town about half an hour south of us.  I was honestly surprised that it was a town and had a name, because to me, it just looks like a bunch of country houses, set far apart from one another.  There is a baseball diamond...and a huge power grid that controls much of our county's power, I believe.

So in December, I decided to head to this guy's rock shop.  I thought it would be, you know, in a shop.  Nope.  It's in the shed behind this guy's house.  You go into the front shed, and he's usually tooling around in there.  There is a huge pot-bellied stove to give the shed heat, and he has two little dogs that attend to the visitors.  He's just this old dude who always wears a baseball hat, flannel shirts, jeans with suspenders, and a big silver moustache.  And he loves rocks.  He goes to rock shows (didn't know there was such a thing) and trades/buys with other rock hounds.  He has his own tumbler thingey to polish the rocks, and he has a stone cutter.

So after you greet the dogs and avoid the pot-bellied stove (Micah was wearing my hoodie when we first went there, brushed up too close to it, and totally singed a huge hole in the elbow.  I mourned that hoodie.  I loved that hoodie.), the Old Dude opens up an adjoining shed.  This one is where his rocks are.  And there is NO heat in that part.  You can pick a pound of random, larger polished rocks for $10, or if you want the pretty, cut ones, they're $5 a piece.  I wanted the pretty, small, cut ones, because they would fit better in the kids' collection boxes. 

Old Dude is so funny.  I'm always like, "What is this rock called?"  And he's like, "Uhhhhhh....maybe some kind of agate?"  So I usually have to do my own investigation after I buy the stones.

So I got Sadie quartz and sodalite, I believe...
I got Dylan a jasper and howlite:
And since Micah was with me when I made the purchases, he chose a pound of big, weird, half-unpolished, unidentifiable stones.  Actually, he chose three pounds, and when I was helping him cut down to one pound, the cute Old Dude just let him keep all three pounds for the price of one.  And he threw in some fool's gold to boot.  Lucky kid.
I can't remember why he was making this face when I took this picture...

And dang it, I bought myself two stones!!  I'm sick of being jealous of my kids' rock collections!  So I am starting mine.  I got myself a banded carnelian and a brecciated jasper.  I think.
Sorry to gross you out with my thumb.  It's a double joint or a loose joint or something.  It folds all the way back at a 90-degree angle.  I try to keep it in check so people don't vomit, but when I'm not thinking about it, my weird thumbs pop out of pictures and shock people a little bit.

True to my word, I made Ben a little bit more of a manly card for Valentine's Day:
For Ben's gift, I framed two pieces of calligraphy he brought home from China.  I had to get the mats specially cut, but I got the frames on a super-sale.  The one on the left says "I love you," and the one on the right says, "Together Forever."

Ben got me this cool poster:
 And let me purchase this embossing machine that I've been coveting for a long time.
I'm excited to learn more about embossing and get more into it.  I just got it this week and I need to give it a shot.  When I have a moment.  Which I won't have.  Let's face it.

So phew!  That was our v-day.  I hope I get to talk to you sooner next time.  I'm so sorry... if you saw my February calendar, you would have been like, "Whoa."  It was totally blacked out with events.  Every day.  Busy, busy, busy.
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