slip n slide

Summer ... Summer... Summertime. Us Arizonians have been spending a lot of time in the water this week. It is essential to stay cool during these 100+ degree days. The boys got there first taste of the 80's childhood classic water toy; Slip n' Slide! It was a bit hit. I forgot how fun they are. Ethan wasn't sure on the technique so, I showed him how it was done and dove in fully clothed! Ahh, to be a kid again.


Pyrotechnics Art

Rosemarie Fiore is amazing, insane, brilliant and definitely wild! She is a fellow new yorker with a passion for working with nontraditional mediums to create art. Above she is wearing a gas mask and painting with fireworks! She uses color smoke bombs, jumping jacks, monster balls, fountains, magic whips, spinning carnations, ground blooms, rings of fire, and lasers on paper to create bursts of color. Her recent work is entitled Pyrotechnics Firework Drawings 2009. I read about her today on CRAFT magazine's blog.


bird watching

What a delightful way to spend our time - watching feathered creatures flit about in our front yard. I received a bird feeder for Mother's Day and it has proved to be a nice addition to our home. We have a flock of birds visiting daily along with some bunnies and a large lizard. We see finches mostly but, we have had a few colorful sightings like this beautiful red Cardinal. Bert is enjoying the company as the birds have taken to him since he has been replenishing the feeder (pretty regularly). The birds have even come to the front door and peeked in the windows when the feeder is empty! Too cute.


ship's ahoy! father's day card

Ethan and Hudson made this sea worthy card for Bert for father's day. I stumbled onto the ships ahoy! father's day tutorial over at Nini Makes blog and thought it was a perfect card to make with the boys. Hudson painted the ship and flag while Ethan painted the 2 sails and helped glue it all together. I used a scrap piece of cardboard as the card and heavy paper for the ship parts. I'm trying to think up a clever note for the inside in pirate talk ... how's this? Shiver me timbers! We mateys think you be the best captain there ever be!

Happy Father's Day!


gratitude journal - week 4

Keeping this up has become progressively harder. I actually had 2 days this week when I didn't write anything in my journal to be grateful for. I felt guilty after each day I missed but, looking back at it now I realize it was silly to feel that way. Missing a day here or there just ... is what it is. No reason to dwell on a misstep when the whole point of this journey is to see the positive in life.

Here is what I felt grateful for in week 4 ...
  • this journal ~ free from SMoCA, I'm happy I found a good use for it.
  • kiddie hugs and kisses ~ many of these from my boys
  • miss Laura ~ having a safe place our kids enjoying go every day for care and preschool means so much
  • books ~ I love stealing a little quiet time to read
  • cloudy days ~ these are blissful days in the almost always sunny the desert
  • coffee breaks ~ wonderful time to sit, relax and chat with friends
  • homemade sauce ~ Bert makes delicious tomato sauce from his grandmother's recipe.
  • imagination ~ with marker colored arms Hudson declares "I want to be superman!"
  • nature walks ~ strolling the neighborhood with the boys and observing nature
  • good friends ~ thank you Carla for lending your ear and encouraging me to grow
  • yard full of birds ~ they are enjoying the bird feed and we enjoy watching them


childhood nature

Way back in August '08 ... I thought about how I wanted to do a 3 part painting series ... my first 3 part series. I bought the canvas, brainstormed about the theme, childhood nature, and then I waited. I needed the right time to begin. Amidst all the drama of this week apparently it was the right time. I still have some ways to go but, here is the beginning. This series depicts 3 fond memories of the nature of my childhood: fireflies, a weeping willow and a dandelion.


emotional rollercoaster

Ethan enjoying the ride on a roller coaster dragon last year

Whoa ... Hold on! This week has been an emotional roller coaster. From dealing with family health news, work technical issues, having the stomach flu and then topping the week off with an emotional case of the menses. I'm wiped. Thank goodness, I am finally breaking free of this week's emotional funk.

gratitude journal - week 3

Gratitude journal week 3 occurred while I was on vacation. Although I brought along my journal and intended to write in it that went out the window pretty fast. It seems I have an unspoken "No thinking on vacation" rule that needed to be adhered to. So, instead of writing daily on vacation I summed up the moments I am thankful for overall. Here they are ...
  • tying the knot ~ I am so happy to have been there to see my sister get married
  • family time ~ having so much of our family in Jamaica to celebrate with my sister was amazing and lots of fun
  • cousins ~ second to seeing my sister get married, hanging out with my cousins was the best! I moved across country when all of them where really young. Being together with them for couple of days and getting to know them was really awesome.
  • my best friend, Bert ~ I can honestly say this man is my soul mate. I could not imagine embarking on this long strange trip to another country with any other. We traveled 18 hours together going and coming with many stops along the way and through it all we had the best time. Once in Jamaica we truly enjoyed each others company. We spent quality time together and apart moving freely about our days and every bit of it in complete happiness. This is so, so much to be grateful for.
  • relaxation ~ quiet time by the Caribbean Sea under the palapas
  • Jamaica ~ seeing this entire beautiful island


digital sketch: sun

Here is a sun graphic I drew today for an upcoming promotion at work. I'll post some free beading inspired wallpaper with this artwork once it's ready for your downloading pleasure.


jamaican bus ride

Our Jamaican bus ride has got a lot of inquiries from friends and family so, here goes ...

Why did you book a plane trip to Kingston instead of Montego Bay? Our flight to Mexico was booked on Delta for Kelly & Joe's wedding. Swine flu hit and the wedding plans changed to Jamaica. Delta flights to Montego Bay from Phoenix where sold out except for first class making the flight double our original investment. Not something we could afford. Kingston however was the same price as Mexico. So, Kingston it was.

How wasthe Kingston airport? It was ok, not as tourist orientated as Montego Bay. It was our first point of entry into the country so we had to go through immigration and customs there. No AC and took about 2 hours.

Why a bus? Traveling from Kingston to Montego Bay we had a choice of flying Air Jamaica for $350 each way or taking the Knutsford Express bus for $35 each way. You do the math ;)

Was it safe? The Knutsford Express is a commuter bus that runs 2-3 times a day to and from Kingston and Montego Bay. We learned about it on TripAdvisor, checked out the company website as well as read many positive reviews online. There was a security guard at the bus stop. When we arrived at the Kingston there were cabs waiting there to pick you up and bring you to your next destination. We traveled safely and would recommend it.

Okay, so how was the bus ride? It was great! I mean it was still a bus after all but, that aside the seats were comfortable and we felt safe during the ride. We were on the bus for about 3.5 hours with one rest stop at Ochos Rios. I enjoyed seeing so much of Jamaica. We rode along the coast from Montego Bay to Ochos Rios and then headed south through the mountainous island down to Kingston.

Here are some highlights ...

When passing through Ochos Rios, we saw all the school children in their uniforms walking to school. It was a rare glimpse into everyday life.

10 minute Rest Stop at Ochos Rios Jerk Center.

Driving through the rolling hills of St. Ann Jamaica, you will come up on this lush green paradise of fern, known as Fern Gully. As its name suggests it meanders down (or up) a hill side covered in fern. It is a beautiful oasis.

We drove through gorgeous mountain villages. This picture is of Walkerswood, Jamaica.

We saw a bustling Kingston during morning rush hour.

Signs from Jamaica's safe driving campaign ... aren't they funny?!

an open heart

An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life by Dalai Lama XIV

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book was right up my alley. It is a great book to turn to for advice about compassion in your daily life. After reading Yoga Body, Buddha Mind I was interested in learning more about Buddhism. This is my first read by Dalai Lama. He's good at explaining overall Buddhist principles. The Dalai Lama's explanation about compassion, meditation, the mind/body connection, as well as what karma is and how it affects this life and the next are all worth learning. Compassion in everyday life is not common practice in our western society however, it is something we all should be reminded of and will lead to an enriched life.

View all my reviews.


gratitude journal - week 2

Continuing on my journaling journey for happiness, here are some things I have been grateful for in week 2 ...
  • yoga ~ my mood, balance and well being are better for it
  • chirping ~ sitting quietly and listening to birds converse
  • sundays ~ there is something peaceful about sundays that makes me happy
  • golf ~ i enjoy when Bert does something fun just for himself
  • surprises kisses ~ from Ethan and Hudson on separate occasions!
  • freedom ~ thank you to the many men and women that risk their lives for us
  • dropping a size ~ moving on down to a large instead of x-large!
  • healthy children ~ having them be alive and well is a blessing
  • mama support ~ the support system we moms have in one another is priceless