Saturday, June 4, 2011

This guy...

...graduated from Preschool yesterday with the prestigious "Most Energetic" award. I'm so proud of my big boy. Look out world! 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

First Wedding Anniversary in San Antonio, Texas

Hanging out on the Riverwalk after free Bloody Marys at the Drury Inn

After seeing some of the beautiful art in San Antonio, I decided to start teaching myself how to create mosaic art and bead embroidery.

Some sort of Heron perching on a rock mesmerized Steffin

The town before everyone wakes

On a morning walk

He made me wake up at 5:15 a.m. every morning of our trip. He's worse than the kids.

Trying to look street on the bus

Chillin' at The Friendly Spot

Bloody Marias at el mercado 

Steffin forced me to run around town via bus in my bathing suit and flip flops after swimming.  No time to primp when we could be sitting at the local watering hole. He also has some weird need to take most photos diagonally. 

The Friendly Spot: Eats, drinks, playground, vintage metal lawn chairs, and friendly faces

5:20 a.m.
One year down

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Toss, Restore, Organize Yourself

I recently started reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. In her book she devised a methodical plan to enhance the quality of her already very fortunate life after realizing that she isn't as happy and grateful as she could be.

Since I lost my mom 6 months ago, it's been difficult to be grateful. It's been hard to not envy those accomplishing great things around me. It's been hard to find energy and a reason to do anything that doesn't provide instant gratification. And we all know the plight of instant gratification... it never pays off in the long run and it usually hurts you or someone around you. Many recent attempts at getting my mind, routine, and household back in order have failed.

Something shifted in me when I was surrounded by my friends and family in my own backyard on Mother's Day this year. My new miserable self was washed out by the hand of those who love me. They brought gifts, their kids, wine, plants, food, and lots of love. This is what they chose to do on Mother's day. Still, I was plagued by negative feelings throughout the day. At first I felt unworthy of their generosity. Then I felt guilty that I hadn't done anything for the mothers in my life. Then I began to compare myself to them and allow myself to feel like a horrible person. Finally it occurred to me that all of the love and energy that they put forth would be wasted if I couldn't accept it. How self-centered and ungrateful of me! When I woke up the next day I was absolutely disgusted at myself and I refused to continue to lick the boots of self pity and self loathing.

Ready to move forward, I decided to create a happiness project of my own because it uses a chart to track progress. Under normal circumstances I might consider this all some formulaic scheme used to capitalize on depressed people trying to find an easy fix. But the way I see it right now is as one more tool to help pull me out of the weeds because after all, my mom died and passivity is making the situation worse. Ok, so maybe the whole charting thing seems a little paint-by-numberish, but that's exactly why I thought it might be good for me. Stress causes my thoughts to dissolve into a hazy abyss of nothingness, never to be retrieved. Any good ideas or motivation quickly disperses like a recent dream that can't be recounted. I'm pretty overwhelmed and confused a lot of the time. My friends and family often catch me staring off into Nowhereland instead of listening. I've always been this way, but especially recently. I could use some serious structure in my life right now. For someone as dizzy and scattered as myself, the only thing harder than following a regimen is creating one. So I'm basically using a pre-made one. A t.v. dinner life plan if you will. One thing that has always created some clarity in my brain is writing my thoughts down, making lists, and sketching out ideas. I've kept a journal since I could write. Wowee, the thoughts of a 6 year old are way more intelligent and pure than the twisted thoughts of a 15 year old, at least in my case. It's always hard to read them without cringing but I find bits of good advice for my future self in them too. Journaling almost felt like an addiction at times but I am glad I wrote it all down. Something I realized this year is that lessons learned in the past aren't necessarily lessons we'll remember. I am often impressed by my old self. But journalling stopped when I had kids. Every entry I've attempted since they were born is incomplete. I'd run off to deal with something and never make it back. And that is why I quit trying to keep up with my blog.

Back to the project! Every month you focus on an area of your life that needs improvement. I followed Gretchen Rubin's lead and went for ENERGY first! This consists of creating more physical and mental energy, and being more productive. Every day I will...
  • toss, restore, and organize
  • exercise better
  • tackle a nagging task
  • act with more energy (even when it seems to be gone)
  • and go to bed early
This is the perfect time to resurrect my blog, something that I've been wanting to do for a while. This way I can keep track of my journey and have a little more accountability, but also document all of the things in my life that I have to be so grateful for and get my journaling fix. I'm hoping that my blog will encourage me to be more creative and reconnected with communities that I relate to. I am really excited about blogging right now and have a lot of ideas. (I better write them down.) The most important thing I am trying to remember is what Mom would tell me to do right now. What would she want for me? the boys? my marriage? This journey is for you too Mom.
I love you and miss you so much and I know that you want peace, love, and happiness for me. I'm using you as a model because you already showed me how to become everything I have ever wanted to be. -Cam Cam

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Study Break!

My brain is nearly fried from reading redundant, over-explanatory text book units. On that account, I've opted to give my mind the treat of some indulgent blogging by showing off  some pictures of a few old and new handmade things in my office/craft room. (You didn't think I was actually going to get up?)

For all of those bloggers who've  welcomed my loitering and fed my imagination, it's high time I see dead people, I mean, pay it forward. 

the pincushion

One such example of my parasitic blog habit is this mason jar pin cushion. 

They're all over the internet and why not? It's easy, cute, fast, and totally practical. To be specific, Liz inspired this project. She is quite a busy little bee, and sweet as pie. Love her. 
That pretty and very professional backdrop is actually some vintage fabric I bought last weekend at an estate sale for a buck and a half! I'm so in love and can't cut into it. It shall remain my designated professional backdrop forever. 

the pencil bag

For keeping all my school tools together, I made this pencil bag.

Previously they'd been aimlessly floating about, falling out of my bag each time I unzipped it and making me a madwoman.
It just makes me happy. After all, it was my first zipper project and it is plaid. Check out my rubber pencil! Sike. It's magic.

the screen print

I've also been dabbling in screen printing. This image was designed for matching aprons, a gift for my best friend and her daughter.

Unfortunately, I let paint dry on the screen before I got to the project it was meant for.

Anyway, it was totally satisfying and I'm completely obsessed. 

the sewing machine cover

This is my beautiful sewing machine cover made by Valerie.

She makes the most thoughtful gifts. I adore her and her artistic talent.

the night mask

Up next, my home remedy for shut eye issues.  Apparently in my old age, my eyelids are thinning or light is becoming more intrusive. 
I'm not exactly happy with the way this turned out but I admit I rushed through it while the boys were napping. It's pretty tight and as you might see, I was too lazy to change my green bobbin thread to black when I quilted the top.  

I dropped in some lavender buds doused in lavender and eucalyptus oil before I sewed it up. The first morning I woke up with it I was already so sick of the smell. The manly man however, loves it and wears the cute little heart mask at nap time. He tickles me pink.  

the red birdy

And the best for last...

My Papa made this wooden bird clip decades ago to hold his bills. Both he and my Granny were creative and crafty. Remnants of their past sit in my house, reminding me of them and where I come from. Any time I pick up my crocheting needles I imagine that I am looking down at Granny's hands. It feels so good to have a part of them always with me.
Before I tear up, I should get back to the books. Have a beautiful week.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth."

 I finally confronted myself about the blog neglect.  I have less time than ever, and that is why I've decided to stay at it. I haven't seen my people in ages and as some of you well know, I'm not the best about picking up the phone. Maybe you'll stop over and read my blog before you 
assume I've fallen off the face of the Earth... and hopefully you'll see that I've just been super busy and productive and that I miss you terribly. 

School and mommyhood consume most of my time lately. I'm feeling good about both. In true Cammi style, I've quickly become teacher's pet in all of my classes. I've been spending much more quality time with the boys even though I have less. It's funny how that works. Today I volunteered to participate in two assemblies honoring Black History Month, scheduled two dentist appointments for the boys, did a load of laundry, swept, was selected to participate with some peers in a museum tour and discussion in the cultural district, did some puzzles, piggy back rides, and reconstruction of one Mr. Potatohead. Now I'm off to clean this mess of a house and read about one million pages on the American society in the industrial age. That is why you get no pretty blog picture. I'll try and work that into my schedule next time. Until next time -Cambodia (chodie if you're nasty) Dale Ratheath

Thursday, November 13, 2008

'How I Came to Have Dog Pee In My Hair' or 'How to Remove Turmeric Stains'

I considered not posting this for fear that the menz would cease lining up at the metaphorical door. That's a figure of speech my mom overuses to refer to people's insatiable attraction to me. Born with it. I could teach you but I'd have to charge.  Anyway, I figured I can do without the line of men now. I've been trying one on for size and after seven short years, I'm getting the feeling I've handpicked the best boy for the job.

 This is a little story about a typical morning at my house and how this one might take the cake. 
It isn't uncommon for me to bathe the boys three times in one day, find malt-o-meal in my ear, or discover that the source of the awful smell that has been lingering in the house is a little spot on my shirt that was deposited while carrying a stinky boy to the changing table.

Pure evil!

I tell myself that all stay at home mommies and daddies go through this and laugh it off. Today, I'm wondering if other mommies get dog pee in their hair. And if they do, I have a feeling they take a shower BEFORE they sit down to blog about it. I, on the other hand, grabbed a headband and proceeded with my daily tasks until it dried. Once the initial disgust and anger wore off and my hair dried a bit, it wasn't nearly as urgent as getting the bed made. (Bye bye last bit of sex appeal!)

Today the boys awake at 5 a.m. so I drag them into bed with me. At around 7, they are both head-butting me in the nose for whatever reason. When I come to, I immediately recognize the warm dampness on the sheets (that I changed yesterday) and my night shirt (o.k., maybe it was time to throw that one in the wash anyway). This is a sign that it's going to be one of those days. In my pee pee shirt, I drag myself out of my pee bed and am making way to the wipes and diapers when my ears are filled with a harmonious refrain, "BANANAAAAA! BANANAAAAA!..." I grab bananas, wipes, diapers, and some juice hoping that if I stock up, I can lay in bed for another 30 minutes . In the kitchen Beni sicked up whatever he ate while wandering the neighborhood yesterday onto my floor and I stepped in it. In the time it takes me to get the goods, the boys both number two in their already full diapers. It's o.k., I was going to have change the sheets anyway. I realize I'm never getting back to my cozy bed so I make hot cereal and give the boys a proper breakfast in the kitchen. As they chow, I peel the sheets off of the bed while Beni whimpers at the door. When I get to the kitchen, there is Cream of Wheat all over their heads, torsos, and the walls. I let Beni into the back yard leaving the door open while I make my coffee and holler,"Don't run off Beni! I'm watching you!" in my most threatening tone. Of course, by the time I make it back to the door, he's gone. This is all pretty typical. I clean up the boys and cross my fingers that Beni doesn't get hit by a car or bite some child. Hopefully he'll be unharmed and harmless until Steffin gets home and we can go find him. 

Now that things are finally getting cleaned up, Elliot insists on painting. This part of the story tells itself.

While taking a bath in grey painty water, they start singing again,"AGUA? AGUA!? JOOSH? DWINK?..." So I run to the kitchen to grab some beverages and in a matter of about 30 seconds (no they haven't drowned, sickos) they have pulled all of the toilet paper into the bathtub. It is dissolving into mush that will plague my drain for weeks I assume. I have to take the colander and sift toilet paper out of the tub water before I drain it while the boys are yelling,"OUT? OUT? OUT?" in my ears. I'm slipping on a wet bathroom floor and thinking of the paint mess in the kitchen. This portion of clean-up takes over an hour of my day. 

Finally I can get to the dishes. I'm hunting for stray sippy cups under the couch, I sit up and feel wetness on my face. I have put my damned head in a dang puddle of damn dog pee. WHY did Beni pee in the house? I thought I was so prompt in reacting to his morning whimpering. UGH! He is such a liar! I look under the piano and don't find sippy cups but a black plastic head band that will keep the pee bangs out of my eyes and I remember how rewarding this job is.

It is not even eleven o' clock yet and I am covered with nearly every different type of body fluid. Impressive. 
Time for lunch!

(Vegan cheese is yummy but so stainy! To remove turmeric stains: Rub a lemon wedge on the stain and let it dry in the sun, then wash as usual. Or try the same process with hydrogen peroxide.)