Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Twice the Fun!

Who is a little trooper? Who has been excessively accident prone? Who is always up for a cuddle? Who doles out a multitude of faces, each of which is perfectly timed and suited to his current situation?




After a birthday dinner of….well, I don’t remember what I made in all honesty….Kaleb got to open one present. He only got to open one because his birthday PARTY is actually on the 4th of December rather than on the 21st of November. We decided to combine the boys’ parties again this year so there will be more pictures and fun to document that wondrous occasion.

Anyhow, Kaleb was thrilled to get the movies Bolt and Despicable Me. He did not even want to watch them or de-plastic-ifcate them. He just wanted to look at them and ‘read’ them and hold them. I am so glad that he was so happy!

In the last year of Kaleb’s life we have done so much, all the while seeming as if we have done so little. I think we got so accustomed to the faster paced life of Salt Lake that North Dakota seems incredibly dull. Nonetheless, we have had a great year and this little man has grown and blossomed into such a remarkable boy!



You have been my little snuggle bug from day one. I adore that about you, especially since it makes me feel like you might be willing to stay my baby for just a bit longer. I will take the snuggles for all of eternity. Please do not ever get stingy with them. Even when you are 40, I want hugs from my baby! This year was a big year for you! Being one is full of milestones and hurdles, some that are fun and exciting and some that are harder to manage. One of the biggest milestones you hit this year was giving up breastfeeding. I know when you read this at 14 you will be repulsed and embarrassed, but lets face it: you were a hard-core booby baby! I never thought you would give it up without a fight, but we slowly cut out feedings and by the time you were 15 months old you moved on without much fuss.

I was so proud of you!

And I was also much more emotional than I ever expected! I missed our snuggle time and thought it would go the way of the 8 track player. What? You don’t know what an 8 track is? Well, sweetheart, neither do I. We will google it when you get older. Anyway, my fears were unwarranted and unfounded because the snuggles kept coming, thank GOD! Lord knows there are days that I need a good Kaleb snuggle.

Another milestone you hit this year was learning how to run. You finally decided you just HAD to keep up with the older kids and POOF! Away you went, like a rocket. Every time you ran your entire face would light up, as if you had discovered some fantastic and well-kept secret the rest of us were just dying for you to discover. You were, all of a sudden, completely in on that secret. You were in the club. You were adorable!

As the second child, or perhaps simply as yourself, you were a boy of few words for quite some time. You rarely complained, hardly ever cried, and were just plain content with watching the world unfold before your eyes. Oh buddy, how things have changed! You found your voice, realized you have opinions, and threw caution into the wind and began expressing yourself. This newly discovered and daily improving skill has given me laughter worthy of a world class comedian and the exasperation of a Mama who has an increasingly sassy little boy.

(In case you did not catch it, that sassy little boy is you Kaleb. Come on kid, keep up!)

You are sweet, charming, cuddly, cute, impulsive, careful, observant, action-packed, smart, sassy, silly, precious, brilliant, fabulous, fantastic, and ALL OURS!

Everything you are and everything you do is cherished by a great many. You are very well loved our son, and will always be as loved as you can stand to be. My heart desperately hopes you are as open to all of the love that presently surrounds and engulfs you for your entire life!

My darling son, may being two be twice as nice as being one!

Just do not hurt yourself twice as much now as you did when you were one.  My nerves and your little noggin cannot handle it!

We love you darling, from now to eternity!

Love Mama, Daddy, and Kyle

Sunday, November 13, 2011

"The Big One" craft show in Minot, ND

This evening I just finished up 11 of my books and they are ready to send out to their (hopefully) adoring new owners. Today, while at my sister's house, I created a few hundred bookmarks that are now ready to laminate. I am gearing up for my next two shows and getting orders out from the last show. Then I remembered that my Mom told me she was disappointed that my last post did not go into more detail about The Big One last weekend. Ok Mom, here ya go.

In late September (I think) sometime I decided to give the people at The Big One a call to see if a) they still had any booths available and b) what it would take for me to get into this show because it is juried. For those of you who do not know, a juried show usually requires that you bring or send in examples of items that you create and sell. Those in charge of the show then scrutinize your items and decide among themselves if they wish for you to participate in their craft show. That made me so nervous, just thinking about people sitting together in a room picking apart my creations! Oi! In fact, I had considered applying for the show mid-summer, but decided against it because of the entry fee ($120) and the fact that it was juried. Well, I gave them a call anyway, last minute (in my opinion) and all. After speaking with the gentleman in charge I learned that they did, indeed, have a few spaces still available. He hesitantly asked what I make, fully expecting me to say "jewelry". If that would have been the case I would have been turned down because they had so many jewelers this year. When I explained to him that I make laminated magnetic bookmarks and laminated children's educational books he got very excited! I asked if I should bring in samples of my work and he said it was not necessary at all and mailed me an application that afternoon. When I filled out the application I did give them my etsy shop address, just in case they wanted to check it out.

Not a week after I sent in my application I got a letter back with my booth number, instructions, and information. My first thought was "woohoo!". My second thought was "what did I get myself into?!?!" I had been to two VERY small craft shows up until that point, and while I did fairly well I knew instantly that I did not have enough product to make it through this large craft show. I got to work immediately, making bookmarks like a crazy person. Life happened and about 2 weeks before the show I got terribly sick. Awful. Horrendous. I was so sick! I lost a week's worth of prep time and the kids got sick too. Blah!

After I came into the recovery phase of my sickness I got the idea that instead of my books being strictly made-to-order I would make a few ready to sell books with me. A few turned into 20, and 'just a few more bookmarks' turned into hundreds more bookmarks. I had bookmarks and books overtaking our itty bitty trailer! Well, they are pretty small, so maybe not overtaking. Still, it was a lot more product than I have ever had on hand.

When the first day of the show came I met my sister in Berthold (20 minutes from Minot) because she had graciously offered to take the boys overnight and deliver them back to me in Minot the next evening. How awesome is that?! After dropping the kiddos off I made it into town, ran a few last-minute errands, and got to the fairgrounds. When I saw how HUGE the building was I nearly ran away! There were so many booths and vendors it was insane! After a lot of huffing and puffing I got my stuff to my booth. After looking at the other vendors' booths I realized that I had very few things to haul around, and for that I was very thankful. 15 minutes later I was all set up and ready to do business. Things were slow at first; a lot of lookers, a few that asked me about the bookmarks, but no purchases. I was not too worried because a lot of people walk around and check everything out before they pull out their wallets. I did start to get worried when the lady next to me had gotten 5 or 6 sales and I was still at 0.

Things started picking up about 45 minutes after they started and they did not slow down the rest of the day! My friend and co-worker, Sasha, came by to allow me a potty break and to hang out for a bit. I loved spending that time with her and greatly appreciated the help. My friend Laura also came by to help for a bit. You will hear more about this wonderful woman in a future post. I feel so blessed to have friends who are willing to take the time to help me; you all mean the world to me!

Friday was hectic and crazy, but according to the other vendors Saturday was the big sales day. As things began winding down Friday evening I started looking over my inventory. I had sold 15 of the 20 books and probably 65-70% of the bookmarks I had taken with me. I had some more bookmarks ready to put the magnets on, so I sat down at every possible moment and put those together. The adhesive needs to cure overnight, so I knew they would be ready by morning. I finished up 80 bookmarks Friday evening and hoped it would be enough!

Ahh! I might have screamed a bit. But only just a little. Maybe.

I went home, slept, got up 20 minutes late, made it there, got set up on time, and prepared myself for another day. I cleaned up the bookmarks I had completed the prior evening and put them out on display. I tried to make may my now-sparse book table look more appealing, which never really worked. I processed some sale, took a few orders for books, and thanked God that my sister in law Ancela was kind enough to come in and spend nearly the entire day helping me! She is such a natural, honest saleswoman that I probably owe more than one sale to her! Thanks Ancela!

Saturday actually ended up being much slower than Friday. The news had predicted a snow storm on Saturday that was to bring between 3" and 6" of snow, so that may have been why. Or it might have been the beautiful weather and perfect blue skies. Darn those weathermen! One neat thing about Saturday was the fact that I had several repeat customers from the day before. Some wanted one more bookmark, some wanted a few more, and a great many brought their friends to check out the booth. Many of those friends made purchases as well. I love networking! And I love that the customers seemed happy with their purchases enough to encourage friends to purchase items from me as well.

I did make it through Saturday with inventory to spare, though I was worried until about noon. I made just over $500 too, which was nice. I am still in shock at how well I did. It fills me with great pride to know that I DID THAT! I MADE THOSE! I CREATED THAT PROCESS! I love my job!

After the show Ancela and I met up with Bobbie, Tom, and the boys at the Hibachi Grill for Chinese food, my treat. It was awesome! I went home Saturday night a very content woman with a head full of ideas on how to expand my business. I cannot wait to act on some of those ideas!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Underpaid Overtime

This Mama has been working a lot of overtime the past few weeks. A part to 3/4 time to full time job, a small business, and two small children should be enough to keep anyone busy. Most of the time I can handle it without any problem. Sometimes I struggle, but who doesn't!? Throw in horrid sickness and a few craft shows and things get very interesting!

In the past month or so I have been preparing for The Big One craft show in Minot, ND. I had no idea what to expect except that it was supposed to be pretty busy and, obviously, the largest craft show I had ever done. OK, no problem. Piece of cake. Then it happened. I. Got. Sick. Gah!

Moms are not supposed to get sick. It is in the handbook. Underlined. And written in RED. It is contractual and from what I under...Wait! This just in! Moms are allowed to get sick after all. We just have to keep on doing what we do while we are sick. Oh. I guess I should read the fine print!

Anyhow, whatever unnamed illness (or illnesses) I ended up with it certainly took hold of my body with a vengeance. I, of course, helped it along by providing an exhausted body from lack of sleep. Apparently one should NOT see 3:00 a.m. quite so often as I do. I ended up all but laid out for 5 days with a 103 fever that would only ever go down to 101.5 with medicine. Once I started feeling better the boys started feeling like poo. Poor Kyle got sick, lost his voice like I did, and ended up with a rash that covered his whole body! He was out of school for a whole week and did not like that one bit. Kaleb never got it too bad but I think he is dealing with teething at the same time.

I tell you, it was rough when I was sick. It is downright devastating when our kids were sick. Every cough followed by a cry, indicating a terribly sore throat, broke my heart. Every time Kyle asked why he had spots all over him I just wanted to take them onto my own body so he would not have to be concerned anymore. Getting up every two hours with a crying, miserable child is not a hardship at all, even when I did not get to bed until 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. Who cares if Mama only gets two or three hours of sleep? Not I. Who cares if Mama can get in to work to get paperwork done? Not I. Who cares if the craft show is looming? Not I. I just wanted to make them better. All I could offer was medicine to soothe the pain and lots of hugs and cuddles to ease their minds. They come first. Period.

Now that we are all well and the craft show is over I can see that it was really no big deal. The craft show was amazingly successful and I cannot wait to do another. I have a more well-rounded idea of what to expect at larger shows and I am currently in the process of formulating new products. I figure I am on a roll and I have gained a bit of momentum; now is NOT the time to slack off! I have to strike while the iron is hot! Bring on the late nights and the underpaid overtime! After the kids are taken care of and everything is as it should be I shall craft until my fingers fall off! I just hope that this time I do not let myself get sick. Perhaps I should start taking vitamins again..... :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Busy Busy Life

This is pretty much a boring post. I have been super busy with work and Purely Chic Designs and traveling and the kids. That is life and I love it!

I have been creating left and right for my business and I am really enjoying it. I have two shows coming up and I am very nervous! I want to have enough product on hand and I want to have things that appeal to everyone. I hope that the books go over well, especially since they are definitely more profitable than the bookmarks in overall dollar value.

Other than that I am just trying to stay on this crazy ride we call life :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

How to make him understand

My lovely and wonderful friend Tiffany just gave birth to her second child, their sweet baby boy Kaden Douglas James Fuller. He is a child that was longed for, fought for, prayed for, and probably bargained with God for. At no time in his life will he ever be able to think for one second that he is not wanted or loved. I cannot wait to meet him and, though I was not able to be at the birth, was thrilled to be on speakerphone at the time of his birth and able to hear his first cries! Ah, what a glorious sound! I am so thrilled that they were able to add to their family, no doubt about it!


Start Rant:

Sitting here this evening I am, of course, haunted by baby fever. I have had baby fever for months and months. I desperately want another child and I feel our family is not complete. I am so thankful for our boys, they are my world. I am actually happy that they are both out of the baby stage because there is added freedom to having two children who can walk and talk. Kaleb, I feel, is in the beginning stages of wanting to potty train and I am thrilled. At the same time, I have always pictured my life with more children. Never did I ever, at any time, think that I would ‘only’ have two kids. I do not want to seem ungrateful at all, and I know I probably sound whiny and immature, but I do not care. We have talked about becoming involved in foster care when we move back to Idaho and I would still love to do that, but would we ever adopt any of those children? Would I be able to deal with the potential problems that could come from adopting a 2 year old who’s birth mother was a drug addict while pregnant with the child? Would I still feel and empty spot in my heart, the way I do now?


Larabee and I came to an agreement several months ago that if I could make $500 a month from home we could have another baby. I am into my third month of making well over $500 a month from home. When I brought it up with him I was shut down. He now says that the $500 a month has to be able to be sustained when we move back to Idaho. What?! That was never part of the deal! Sustainable, sure, but not “Unless you can count on it for 25 years it does not meet the requirements of our deal”. I feel like he threw down a challenge, I met (exceeded) the challenge, and then the deal was revoked. I feel as if he defaulted on our deal. He declared bankruptcy on our family’s future.


The economy is still in the crapper, there are very few jobs at home. Those that are available are seasonal to VERY seasonal. We both have good jobs here, we have the opportunity to stay here a few more years and build our savings significantly, and it just seems like the logical and practical thing to do. I know that we have been away from home for a long time and we both miss our house and North Idaho and our old lifestyle. I also know that he brought me to North Dakota and now I have a life here, Kyle is starting school here, my sister is having a baby, and I have very good friends. It was his decision to come here and I feel as if I did not have a say in that decision. Now, when decisions about the future need to be made, I feel as if I still have no say. I do not necessarily want to stay here but I certainly do not want to go home to poverty. I do not want to be ‘kid poor’, but I want one more child. Our children have nice clothes (almost exclusively purchased used, and Kaleb wears all of Kyle’s old clothes for the most part), they are well fed (home cooked meals, not take-out), and they are happy, healthy, and smart. I feel as if I am a pretty good mom and that Larabee is a pretty good Dad. I know he is not against more kids, just against the financial burden they can bring. Have I not proven that I am personally unwilling to spend more on the care of our children than is practical? Have I not struck out and gotten a job even though I have 2 children full time and a small business to run? Have I not shown that I am willing to go the extra mile to take care of what needs taken care of? How can such a big life decision be at his whim alone?


Why do I have to be such a whiner? Because it is something I want, something I am not going to un-want. I really doubt he or I would ever regret having another child once the child was here, but I know I would always regret NOT having another child. I really fear that I would eventually hold it against him in a very big way, even though I would try very hard not to. This is not a diamond ring I am talking about, this is not a fancy home, this is not a lavish vacation. I am taking about a living, breathing, loving reason for even being alive. It is not a passing desire, a fleeting wish that will blow in and out like the wind. Nope, it is here to stay. I certainly do not want to cause problems for us or our relationship, but in all honesty, his deal-breaking and backing out on something he agreed to without trepidation are causing problems of their own. The deal he made with me was agreed to under free will and I rose to the challenge, so sue me.

End Rant………………

I am having a very hard time with this…..

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Day at the Zoo

Grandma and Grandpa came to North Da-cold-a Dakota for Auntie Ancela’s graduation, so on Monday the 16th of May we decided to take the kiddos to the zoo. Ancela’s friend needed a hand with her 3 kids, so we figured the more the merrier. Damian, Anna, and Mason joined us for the fun!


Here is a picture of Kyle and Damian in the penguin cut-out. Are they not adorable? Maybe I should have the boys dress as penguins for Halloween, complete with pants they cannot walk in. That would be funny. And short-lived. Hmmm. Maybe I will come up with something else.

Kaleb got a bit tired since he donated his stroller to Mason for the day. What a kind-hearted little boy! (As if he had anything to do with the decision….but just go with it!) Grandpa was kind enough to give him a lift. This photo would have been extra funny if Grandpa’s undies were showing too, but he tucks his shirt in. SOOOO sorry I could not give you more of a laugh. Maybe that is a good thing though.

Next was the mini-merry go round! This was a hit for the boys. Anna rode too but she lost interest after a round or two. Kyle, Kaleb, and Damian were thrilled with a capital thrilled!

All 4 kids! Yay!

We visited the leopards. If you look closely through the various layers of chain link fence you can see them snoozing in the background. Lazy kitties. For this picture I pulled out the big guns to try to get the kids to ALL smile at the same time. I YELLED “FART!” Yeah….Damian looks impressed, Kyle looks silly, Anna looks shocked and dismayed. Good job Lisa, sheesh!

So then we tried for making kitty sounds. Kyle won because he not only made the sound but he also acted it out. There was NO preferential treatment in deciding the winner in this case. In fact, there is no prize so it does not matter a snit. Oh yeah, and I took the picture, so I am the Judge and Jury on this one. Sorry kids!

Such a precious little lion. Entirely too precious. I must go kiss that face NOW! Except he is sleeping like an angel right now, completely the opposite of the little….um….not-so-angel he was acting like earlier today. I think I will mentally kiss him and call it good. Better to just let that cranky kitty sleep!


This one I WILL go kiss right now. He will not wake up. Well, he might. He will just tell me to leave him alone because he is trying to sleep, but when I tell him I love him he will reply with a sleepy, adorable, loveable, kissable “I love you too Mom”. These are the kinds of things that make life worth living. Like, totally!

And….because I am nice and because he is just funny and silly and precious even when he is being a not-so-angelic little boy, here is the silly precious lion. What a face!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Since December…..

Slacker. Lazy bum. Stingy.


No, none of the above.


Lacking time is more like it!


My last post was in December….and it is almost June. This post will get you all caught up in a jiffy!


Since December…….

….we have survived the worst North Dakota winter since 1970. In our RV. With small children. I am sensing a round of “I will survive” coming on! In fact, maybe I should try out for Survivor! They would never pick me because I am too capable.

….February 10th Kaleb burned his little arm on the inside of the oven. It has healed marvelously but it was very hard to see him in pain.

….February 15th Kaleb tipped over in a kid’s chair at the library and bit *almost* all of the way through his tongue. The poor kid was just falling apart!

….we went home at the end of February to attend our mediation with Allstate. Things got settled, we were able to move forward with our lives, and we celebrated with Lobsterfest at Red Lobster!

….I did schoolwork. A lot of schoolwork. And many exams. And had lots of late nights paired with early mornings. “I will survive”?

….we made some good friends!

….Kyle learned how to swim all by himself!

….Kaleb learned how to run, and boy is he good at it!

….Kyle never stopped talking. Since December. Ever. Even in his sleep.

….Kaleb has not only learned how to talk but has become much more understandable.

….Larabee has worked and worked and worked. He even put in some 23 and 24 hour days, which is just plain crazy!

….I graduated from LCSC with my Bachelors in Business Administration with a Psychology minor!!! I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a 3.89 GPA. My Mom also graduated with the same degree, except she graduated Suma Cum Laude….the stinker! I am so proud of her!

….We went home for graduation and got to spend a fantastic week with Tara, Zack, Macie, and Ava! Tara and I needed that!

….On both trips home Grandma Agnes came up to see us! It is so nice to have such a great mother in law!

….Sasha had her baby! Braxton is such a little cutie!

….Tiffany found out she was pregnant! Well, maybe she found out in late December….I do not remember! But that does not matter because Kaden will be here in about 3 months!

….We had some drama. Said drama did not originate from us, but it engulfed our lives nonetheless. “I will survive”???

….Spring finally came…sort of. Maybe. I will just leave this one out for now.

….I began looking at Masters programs offered at U of I. And then I told myself I was crazy and finished my homework.

….I started making laminated magnetic bookmarks and selling them on etsy.com! So far it has gone pretty well, though I now have some more ideas in the works!


****Shameless plug: Here is the etsy address! http://www.etsy.com/shop/PurelyChicDesigns    Check it out!


All in all we have been doing just fine. I promise to keep up on the blog posts from now on and not let 6 months go by without one!

And I will do some with pictures…but right now, I have 2 little boys to play with!