Thursday, March 31, 2011

Doodles for the Week

My doodles for the week are up on my Attack of the Muse blog for those who are interested.

http://museattack.blogspot.com/

Scarlett Cheese

Scarlett has always been a clown -- especially in front of other people.  But lately she has turned her clowning around into a full-time job.

The girl is freaking hilarious.  She is doing a "cheese" face where she scrunches up her nose and shows you her teeth.  And she will do it almost on command if you tell her "Where's your cheese?" or "Show me your teeth!"  But she also does it out of nowhere, so you'll be doing something else and look over at her and she'll be doing her cheese face at you for no reason other than to make you laugh.

Everyone who has seen her in the last two weeks just goes gaga over her silly faces and babbling.  She's got a new vocabulary (including dadadada and rawraraw) and she does monologues.  One of the mothers in our Mommy & Me Yoga class this week asked me, "How in the world do you get any work done when she's so CUTE?"  I told her my husband watches Scarlett most of the time or I would definitely have a harder time concentrating!

Scarlett also sits up completely on her own, and is getting to be a pro at getting onto her belly from there.  She's inches away from getting her knees under her, and when she does that I know she'll start crawling fast.

To get around right now, though, she is a speed-roller.  When she sees something she wants, she VERY QUICKLY log-rolls over to it.  I had to put a gate up in my office to keep her away from the bookshelves and trash can.

She reaches for people regularly now, and will grab our hands very firmly to let us know she either wants to stand or be held.

We have been doing sign language with her since she was 2 months old, and she's starting to do the signs on her own now -- though she's still not always doing them at the right time.  The hardest part is that a lot of the signs we've taught her have to do with eating or diaper changing, and the kid is too easy-going about those things.  She eats when we feed her, rarely getting aggravated when she's hungry, and she only whines about her diaper when she poops in the middle of taking a nap.  So she's not super motivated with the signs yet.  After typing that I realize we need to do more signs for things like walking, jumping and sitting, because those things motivate the girl.


Northglenn House News

Yesterday was a big day.  We had the inspection done on the house we are trying to buy in Northglenn.  I've purchased homes before, and I know how *good* inspectors will find every little thing wrong with a house.  And I know that's nerve-wracking when you're about to sign your life away for a mortgage.  So I was expecting at least some bad news.

I am extremely happy to report there were only one or two things the inspector found that we didn't already know about or expect.  And none of it was major.  Though the house needs some cosmetic work (fresh paint, new banisters, that kind of thing), there was nothing that would prevent us from moving in as soon as we are handed the keys.

Given that this house is a foreclosure, and I'm sure most of you can imagine what a pissed-off tenant can do to a property, this is AMAZING news.

We are still waiting on the appraisal and the radon test, both of which we will get either tomorrow or Monday.  But I don't foresee any problems with those.  So it is looking like we are for-sure moving into our new house this summer.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Scrunch Face

This is a smile that has been very hard to capture on camera because she does it so fast. But here it is. Introducing the Scrunch Face!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Aliens in Lafayette!

Did you hear?  We were visited by aliens last week.

http://news.yahoo.com/video/us-15749625/ufo-sighting-spooks-colorado-town-24686978

Aji and Pearl Street

My parents, Drew and Lisa came up to Boulder on Saturday for lunch and shopping. 

We ate at the always-awesome Aji on the corner of Pearl and 16th, then hit the bricks for some shopping.  No matter how many times I go into the various galleries on Pearl, I always find something new and inspiring.  Of course we had to hit Peppercorn so my mom could load up on kitchen necessities, and so Jeremy could ogle the hot sauces.  And no trip to Pearl Street is complete without visiting Ku Cha teahouse and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

On Spruce Street, just one block north of Pearl, there is an outdoor shop that caters to babies.  We brought Scarlett in there to try on some cute things, and walked out with this adorable safari hat and a pair of baby sunglasses (thanks Mom and Dad!). 








After we were done at Pearl Street, we all went over to the Borders that's closing down to see what kind of deals we could get.  Honestly the prices weren't low enough to make me go crazy -- but Jeremy got a bunch of graphic novels he's been wanting for his collection.  Not that we have the money right now, but he never gets to buy things like that, so we splurged a little. 

Drew and Lisa came over for a bit after we got done shopping.  Drew bought us dinner from Buffalo Wild Wings (I got fried pickles!!!) and we watched some episodes of Castle.

Sunday was filled with housework and writing for me, and recovering for Jeremy.  He got some kind of stomach bug, poor guy.

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but Cairo has been so amazing with Scarlett lately.  He comes over and lays next to her, and lets her pet him and grab him.  When he's done, he simply gets up and walks away -- but he's never lost patience with her.  It's pretty amazing for a male cat, if you ask me.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Two New Blogs

I came to a decision today.  I'm going to break up my blog content into three total blogs.  So I'm creating two new blogs -- one for my writing work and one for my art.

I figure some of you know me personally and will want to keep reading Chasing Myself for updates on my day-to-day doings.

Others know me from my life as a writer.  So I have created Penning the Way at http://jmehring.blogspot.comfor content regarding my writing projects, interesting articles and links other writers might enjoy, and all around writing chit chat.

Finally, some of you are here to read about my art.  Attack of the Muse at http://museattack.blogspot.com should keep you entertained.  There I will post my latest pieces as well as bits of info other artists or art appreciators would want to read.

I will be adding email signups to both of my new blogs -- so if you wish to be notified when I have new blog posts available,  you can plug your email in and have the new posts delivered right to you.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Work, House and Busy Weekend Ahead

Not a lot to report from the last two days. I've been working my day job, then working my freelance job.

I completed my first assignment for GlobalWrites, which at this point is only a pitch. Should the client like my pitch, more work will ensue. I won't lie -- being creative on demand is hard work, and doing so after a long day of work and taking care of a family makes it even harder. But this is work I really enjoy. And I'm damn good at it. So I'm doing it with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. And drinking lots of coffee and Dr. Pepper 10.

The contract for the house in Northglenn is off to the title company. The de-winterization and inspection are set up, and the appraisal is being ordered. We are really starting to get excited. We talk every night about our ideas for where we want to put things, what color to paint the walls, what repairs we want to do now versus later. I'm looking forward to having my office and my studio in separate rooms again. Jeremy daydreams about how he's going to set up his new comic room/man cave. It would take the inspector finding one hell of a big problem on Wednesday for us to back out now.

This weekend is going to be a busy one. But very fun. My parents invited us to lunch and shopping on Pearl Street tomorrow. And tomorrow night Jen, Selena and Vanessa will be spending the night after Vanessa's late basketball game in Thornton. Sunday will probably be breakfast together, and then I'm hoping to get to church. Then if the baby cooperates, maybe I can do some painting. And in between all of that I am putting together a style guide for GlobalWrites. Yes, I know to most of you that last part doesn't sound so fun -- but for me it will be a blast. I love putting together instructional documents. And I've gotten many compliments on my instruction/training docs over the years from bosses and coworkers, so it's safe to say I am pretty good at them.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Raining Pouring

When it rains, it pours.

I am a little overwhelmed at all the things happening right now, but so far it's manageable with help from Jeremy.

We have our house inspection set up for next Weds. Everyone cross your fingers for us that they don't find anything too crazy. Also, because we've pushed for a late closing, we can't lock in our loan interest rate until early April -- so again keep your fingers crossed for us that the rates don't shoot up.

I got my first assignment from Global Writes. I can't disclose the details just yet, but it's work I'm excited about.

My energy level is scary low right now, so I went in for some bloodwork this morning. I was anemic while I was pregnant, even with an iron supplement, so that may be happening again. The other thing that docs always check when you have low energy is thyroid -- but I'm not expecting anything abnormal there because I swear they check mine twice a year. Anemia and thyroid issues are always the first things docs check with me. Apparently a skinny white girl has to have one or the other.

I had the docs give Scarlett her flu booster shot today while I was at the Kaiser facility. She handled it like a champ. She cried when they stuck the needle in her, but stopped and quickly smiled when I picked her up. Now she is just demanding extra cuddles and taking long naps.

My day job is a little nuts right now, too. We're coming up on the end of the month, so I'm trying to get all my ducks in a row for April. Also I had to put together Q1 reports and all that jazz. I'm hoping I can finish up in time to enjoy the last of the sunlight and take the baby on a walk today.

I was inspired to write and illustrate a children's book recently, and I have come up with a pretty cool concept. I started the initial sketches on Monday night. Working title is "Amy's ABC".

Annnnnd finally, a friend of mine is having an art show in a month. With everything on my plate I am not going to even TRY to get my act together to enter it, but I'm hoping my brother Drew (awesome mixed media surrealist and abstract artist) will be part of it. Again, crossing fingers, prayers, good thoughts, etc. my way please.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

House News

I still can't even believe it. The bank countered again with a relatively reasonable offer, and we accepted. We're moving forward with the purchase of a gorgeous house in Northglenn. If all goes as planned, we will close on June 10 and be moved in by July 1.

We still have to do the inspection, so the deal isn't done yet. But it's looking good so far.

The neighborhood reminds me of Lafayette a little. It's a little island in the middle of open space and parks. But it's a lot closer to major shopping and restaurants than Lafayette is. It is located midway between Denver and Boulder, so it will cut 10 minutes off our drive to visit family, and add 10 minutes to our drive to Boulder, basically.

We are excited and totally nervous.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Big Weekend

This weekend was a whirlwind.


Right after work on Friday we packed the baby, all our overnight gear, the dogs and their kennel into the Jeep and hit the road. We went to Jeremy's parents' house in Colorado Springs for a family celebration of Janet's birthday. It was a vegetarian feast followed by lots of playtime with the kiddos.


The twins are still just adorable with Scarlett. I hope Janet sends me some of the pics she took this weekend. The boys were kissing her on the head and bringing her toys. I handed baby David a banana puff and told him "give it to your cousin Scarlett", and he promptly put it in her mouth and put his hand out for another.


Scarlett was up way past her bedtime Friday night. It really started her weekend schedule off badly. She refused to sleep in the playpen in the guest room where Jeremy and I were staying. She had absolute hysterics when I tried to put her in there. So I took her to bed with me. She's big enough now I can sleep with her without worrying I'm going to crush her. Usually snuggling with me is a surefire way to get her to sleep, but she still wouldn't sleep! She was up messing around for hours, keeping me awake. She finally nodded off for about 40 min, only to wake up and start all over again. Finally she awoke at 5:30 and started crying. I tried everything to calm her, and ended up sitting up and bouncing with her. All the racket woke Jeremy, and at 6am he told me to get some sleep and took her out of the room to get her some breakfast. God bless that man. He brought her back in to me at 8am and she slept in my arms until 11.


The rest of Saturday was filled with family visits and more food. We left in the late afternoon and got home in time to give Scarlett a bath and put her to bed.


That was the start of Rough Night Number 2. Even in her own bed, the baby refused to sleep. We fought with her until 9, and finally I brought her to bed with me and let her play next to me while I read a book. The video and pic from my previous posts is testament. I finally got her to sleep at 11pm.


I let Jeremy sleep in on Sunday and I got the baby ready for another busy day. We went to my parents' house that afternoon for a St. Patrick's Day-themed potluck. I made Alfredo potatoes (Italian sauce, yes, but POTATOES!) and my brothers made corned beef and fried cod. My mom made Irish coffee and Lisa made Earl Grey cookies for dessert. Everything was amazing.


I was so worried the baby would be a wreck on Sunday, but she was amazing . She napped well, even in the strange surroundings, and she was a total clown all day. I don't think she cried once. My mom got a high chair for Scarlett to use while she's visiting, and the baby just thought that was the coolest thing. We have a booster seat that fits into one of our dining room chairs at home, so she's not usually up that high. We gave her some finger foods and she ate right along with us. She put on quite a show for everyone. It was hard to believe she was ever colicky.


I'm saving the best news from the weekend for last.


Scarlett said "dada" for the first time on Sunday. She looked right at Jeremy and clearly said it. I don't think he could have been happier.

Here are some pics my mom took on Sunday:












New Doodle, entitled "Jillian's Posies"

Night Dancer

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Up Past Bedtime

We stayed Friday night at Jeremy's parents' house in Colorado Springs to celebrate Janet's birthday. I will blog more about that later, but I wanted to share with you a video of Scarlett from Saturday night. She was so wired from our trip, she was up almost 4 hours past her bedtime (she usually crashes easily at 7pm). This was her at 10:15 last night.



YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hy3FXgdelXM

Sorry about the poor quality. I had to resize the video to get my phone to upload it.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bad Night

10pm. Three hours past her bedtime. And yes that is my bed she's playing in. We visited family last night and today, and she gets so off-kilter when we travel these days.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Gunk, Counter Offer and Art Group

Scarlett and I both have The Gunk. You know, that icky sinus thing that could be a sinus infection OR allergies OR a cold. The Gunk.

I don't know who got it first. She's had it for about a week and a half now. And around that time I started suffering from what I thought were worse-than-normal allergies. Funny thing is, when it finally hit me full-force, it knocked me on my butt. I feel like I got hit by a truck. But Scarlett -- well, she's acting like it's a party. I kid you not, she has been in the best mood and been so silly since she got The Gunk.

Weird kid. But if this is her "sick" behavior, I'll take it.

In other news, the bank countered on the house we made an offer on. The counter was too high, so we're attempting to counter back. But let's be realistic -- this is a bank looking at a file on a computer. They don't really know what the house is worth. I'm not holding my breath.

I feel like I should be more upset about losing this awesome house. But I'm not. So it's either that this was meant to be... or these antidepressants work REALLY well.

In the end, our housing situation will work out how it's supposed to work out. I trust the universe to take care of us. It hasn't failed us yet.

As you can see from my previous posts, I'm practicing my doodling skills. Or as the pros like to call it, illustration. LOL. Honestly I'm having so much fun with it, I have the notion of maybe trying to write and illustrate a children's book at some point. Maybe after my skills are a little sharper.

I started practicing drawing in Corel Painter X with a digital tablet this week. It's a little more daunting than Sketchbook Pro on the iPad, but it has a lot more capability.

Drew, Kirby and I are talking about starting an artists' group this summer. Just a casual group that gets together for moral support, sharing, and creative sessions. I have visions of plein air gatherings and still life sketching sessions. We'll see how it pans out, though.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Oh Boys

I am in so much trouble.

Usually there are about 5 girls and 1 or 2 boys in our Mommy & Me Yoga class on Tuesdays. Today, for the first time, Scarlett was the only girl. There were three boys in class, all between the ages of 3 and 4 months. My daughter went apeshit (pardon my French).

She usually flirts with 3-month-old Owen -- but today she had a full audience of little boys. So she put on The Scarlett Show, complete with babbles, screeches, giggles, and nose scrunches. And if that weren't enough, she tried to log-roll her way to each boy. Keeping her stationary was a task.

She is also putting up a fight when I try to put her in a seated position today. She turns into a plank of wood and I have to wiggle her around to get her to bend at the waist and sit down. She wants to stand SO bad. And as adorable as that is, I can't hold her up for very long while I'm working, or while we're in class.

Scarlett's personality is coming out more and more the older she gets. If today was any indication, I've got a boy-crazy, physically energetic little flirt on my hands.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dry Winter, House Offer and Baby Sleep

I had to water the front yard yesterday. In March. In Colorado. Holy crap this has been a dry winter.

Jeremy and I made our first offer on a house in Northglenn this weekend. It's a fixer-upper, but it's huge, in an upscale neighborhood and all the repairs are cosmetic (so far as we can tell at this point in the process). It's a bank-owned property, so basically we'll see what they counter with, and if it's not acceptable we will not get the house. We've got time, though, and there are lots of properties on the market, so I'm not stressing.

Yesterday was the first day of daylight savings. The baby has been waking up an hour earlier than normal for a week, now, so it basically equaled out to her waking at her normal time yesterday (by the clock, but not by our bodies). But bedtime was rough. She was tired at the usual time, but she refused to go to sleep. She cried and cried and got absolutely hysterical, so we brought her out and snuggled her until she gave in to her fatigue. That is very unusual for her. A typical night is: 6pm bath and PJs, 6:30pm last bottle, playing until 7pm, then lullaby and straight to sleep. It's once in a blue moon that she doesn't go to sleep right away.

I was talking to some other mothers in Mommy & Me Yoga last week about our babies' sleep habits. One baby girl is 10 months old and just now transitioning to her own crib. We transitioned Scarlett at 6 weeks. Another baby boy refuses to sleep if anyone else is awake in the house. We made sure Scarlett was exposed to enough noise, from birth, so she could sleep through almost anything (and believe me, that kid can sleep through almost ANYTHING now).

These mothers don't seem stressed about it, but those two situations would kill us. Both Jeremy and I believe in fostering a certain amount of independence in our children, so we work hard at encouraging it. But I don't know that these other parents are necessarily encouraging dependence. Did we just get lucky with Scarlett's personality? Or did we just work harder than most at building sleep habits that coincided with our lifestyle? Hard to say without walking in other parents' shoes. I'm just happy that Scarlett melds so easily to the life Jeremy and I have chosen to live.

Friday, March 11, 2011

GlobalWrites

Now that life has settled down a bit and we are looking at buying a house, I decided it was time to get serious about freelancing again.

I reached out to my always-inspirational friend JoAnn for some info on a site she had talked to me about years ago. She responded quickly with the info I requested, and as the conversation progressed she explained to me that she was starting a copy agency. She asked if I'd like to join the team.

Yeah, I didn't even have to think about my answer.

So now I am part of the GlobalWrites agency. Here's my bio page: http://www.globalwrites.com/writing-team/jessica-mehring/

I have mentioned JoAnn before. She worked at Idea Integration with me, but left to pursue her writing about two weeks after I arrived in Houston. We got along so well, we stayed friends over the years (we joke about having the same brain). Her business has taken off in the last few years, and I have really enjoyed following her progress. I am so excited to team up with her.

She is going to be on Houston's Fox 26 news as a popular food blogger once every 6 weeks or so. Her first news piece was on tonight. I seriously could not be more proud of her.

Houston Bloggers: Gourmet Food Trucks in Houston: MyFoxHOUSTON.com

Sun Hat

The weather was absolutely perfect today, so Jeremy took the baby out for a walk. Sadly I couldn't join them because I was working, but I did snap a few pics of Scarlett in her sun hat.















Wednesday, March 09, 2011

ANTM Hair and Tears

One of the few reality shows I actually enjoy watching is America's Next Top Model.

My favorite episode every season is the makeover episode. There are tears EVERY TIME. Most of the time it's from the one or two girls who get their hair cut really short, but sometimes it's from a drastic color change or a complicated weave.

Why is it that so many girls are so attached to their hair? It's like it's not part of their identity, it is their identity. I understand that drastic change can be a little traumatic, but let's be honest here... IT'LL GROW BACK.

When my loved one lost all her hair to chemo, there were a lot of tears. Those tears I understood. Those tears were earned.

And yes, it was a big decision for me to donate my hair. That decision was months in the making. But when I sat in my stylist's chair and he had my ponytail in his hand and he asked me, "Are you ready?", I didn't hesitate for even a second.

Why? Because I am blessed to be healthy. I am blessed to know that my hair will grow back. I do not take that for granted.

Cutting and donating my hair was an act of love and support. It was a gesture to my loved one that said your hair will grow back too, because you are going to be healthy again.

I never understood the meltdowns those girls had every season on ANTM. They were blessed with an opportunity few girls have. But I wouldn't have cut my hair on my own either -- I needed a push.

That push came from a loving mother, doting grandmother, and all-around rockin' chick that I am blessed to know.

When that ponytail was sliced off my head, all I felt was love.

Miscellany

I didn't get the Groupon freelance job. Oh well. It would have been a lot of added stress for me... but the money would have been nice.

We're still house-hunting. I think we're close to making an offer on a house in Northglenn.

Scarlett behaved well for Mommy & Me yesterday. In fact, she was so cheerful and silly, she put on quite a show for everyone. There's a 3-month-old little boy named Owen in the class who is just fascinated by her. And Scarlett continually distracts Michelle, the teacher. "Fold forward into standing forward bend HI SCARLETT! YES I SEE YOU!"

Jeremy and I watched Charlie Bartlett last night. It was actually pretty good. The main character was different than your usual high school outcast. He had gumption.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Bar Hopping Boys and Owie Tooth

Friday night I started our taxes. I gotta say it's really nice that for once we don't OWE money (thanks to our cute little dependent!). I never could figure out how we earned enough to owe taxes. We got paid decent salaries over the years, but not that decent!

My family came up to visit on Saturday. We hung out and watched Predators, and Scarlett got lots of attention. As always, we had a blast together.

Saturday night Drew and Jeremy went out to the bars. Jeremy hasn't done that since before I was pregnant with Scarlett, and Drew really needed to let off some steam. Lisa and I drove them into Boulder and dropped them off on Pearl Street. I won't go into detail here, but they had a very wild night. I picked up two very drunk boys a few hours later while Lisa stayed at the house with sleeping Scarlett.

Sunday Jeremy and I drove down to Colorado Springs. I had a hair appointment, and as you can see from my last post, I now have short pink hair. I just love it! I am amazed at how flattering it is to my face, and it's so nice not to have to decide what to do with it in the morning or while I'm working out.

We stayed at Jeremy's parents' house Saturday afternoon. Kelsey and her boyfriend Adam were there, along with the twins. I can't get over how amazing the twins are with Scarlett. They are so sweet and gentle, bringing her toys and holding her hand. At one point I was helping Scarlett stand up and each boy grabbed one of Scarlett's hands and started walking like they expected her to walk with them! I tried to explain that they have to teach her how to walk first. So cute!

Poor Scarlett has a tooth that's reeeeally slowly pushing its way through. She's in so much pain with this one. I feel so bad for her! She's been waking up extra early for the last week, which is just killing me.

Jeremy got the baby all kinds of new foods to try today. He's especially excited to have her try the peach cobbler baby food. LOL

House Hunting

Friday evening Jeremy and I went to look at a few houses with our realtor. They were all in the Thornton/Northglenn area. A few of them were in mixed neighborhoods, one was in a pretty bad area, but two were in the perfect location.

There's an area of Northglenn called Fox Run (those of you in Colorado Springs will get a kick out of that, I'm sure), and it's kind of like a little island in the middle of a ton of open space and parks. The neighborhood is really nice, with big houses all only about a decade old. Jeremy and I both fell in love with a house in that neighborhood -- but sadly they were different houses. One was about 3,000 square feet with the perfect layout for our lifestyle, and it backed up to open space and had views of a lake -- but it needed some cosmetic TLC like new paint and carpet -- that was the one I loved. The other was about 2,500 square feet and had a huge back yard with a gazebo, and the interior had been completely remodeled -- but the layout would be difficult for us to live with, and the lot was in the corner of a culdesac with almost no street parking (so no place for us to put our third vehicle) -- that was the one Jeremy loved. After talking it over this weekend, though, Jeremy decided he loved the same one I did. So we're going to see it again this week, along with a few other new ones.

I don't know anything about Northglenn other than it's exactly halfway between Denver and Boulder. So I'm hoping when we drive around it this week we can get a better sense of it. We really wish we could stay in Lafayette, but it's just too expensive for us to buy a home here. Maybe someday...

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Short Hair

It's been a crazy last few days, and I promise I will post more about that. But I'm freaking exhausted, so my post tonight will be mostly pictures.

As you remember, my aunt Peg died last year of pancreatic cancer. And recently another loved one was diagnosed with breast cancer and is currently undergoing chemo. She had to completely shave her head a few weeks ago, which was incredibly traumatic for her, and it was the last push I needed to go through with something I have been toying with for a while...












I donated my hair to Locks of Love and had the (temporary) pink color added in honor of my loved one. Jeremy and I went to visit her after I got the cut done, and I told her I donated my hair so we could grow our hair back out together. She was SO happy. I was honestly expecting more of a "You didn't have to do that!" response, but she was just HAPPY. It was a great moment. I am so so so glad I did it. I honestly love the cut. The color is super fun. And the response I got from my loved one was worth every inch of hair.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Doodles

Here are some of the doodles I've done on Sketchbook Pro lately.






Thursday, March 03, 2011

Cheesecake!

MOST AMAZING CHEESECAKE EVER, courtesy of Della.

Scarlett's First Temperature

Scarlett had her first temperature on Tuesday. She awoke at 4am and refused to go back to sleep. I laid on the couch with her and tried to snuggle her back to sleep, but it wasn't happening. She sang, pulled my hair and ears, played with her pacifier, and did everything but rest. She felt warm to me, but since she wasn't acting sick, I didn't take her temperature.

Later on that day she started getting really fussy. She needed a lot of comforting and sucked on her pacifier a lot (usually she only needs it when she's tired). She wouldn't take naps, didn't eat much and was just all around miserable. Jeremy took her temperature and it was 101 degrees. She wasn't showing any other signs of being sick -- just a temperature and a lot of crying. We figured it was related to teething, and planned to give her Tylenol and bring her to the doc on Wednesday if she wasn't better.

The Tylenol brought her fever down quickly, so we continued to give it to her Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday night she woke up every hour but went right back to sleep. So she didn't sleep solidly, but she slept. Wednesday during the day she slept like a log, had no temperature, but was still more fussy than usual.

Finally Wednesday night we stopped the Tylenol and she slept through the night. Today she seems back to normal. We still have no idea what caused it. A fever usually means a body is fighting an infection, so that's all I can assume -- her body was fighting something.

She got lots of extra attention while she wasn't feeling good, so I snapped a few pics of her and her daddy playing on the floor of my office.





Bartering Skills

People blessed with a skill are the luckiest people in the world. I know illustrators, writers, auto techs, painters, bakers and chefs, knitters and handicrafters, and people that can read stocks like the Wall Street Journal was a children's book.

But the coolest thing about having a skill is the leverage it gives you. It opens doors to jobs. It makes you the go-to guy. And it naturally lends itself to bartering.

I've recently started getting into illustration-style art. I have used many mediums, but my recent love is Sketchbook Pro on my iPad. I did a few doodles and posted them to Facebook, and immediately got a response from a friend who owns an Etsy store that sells hand-knitted goods. She is starting a new store for her beautiful dishcloths and thought my style was perfect for images for her web pages.

At first I was hesitant. I'm not professional illustrator. And I'm good friends with someone who IS. But with some encouragement from Jeremy, I gave it a go. I did two drawings and sent them to the Etsy store owner. She loved them! She asked me how much she should pay me, and I told her to just send me a set of red dishcloths. She's working on knitting those for me as I type this. How exciting!

Another "skill" I have is that computers make a lot of sense to me. Mostly the software and Internet side of computers, but I'm also getting more comfortable with the hardware. Anyway, a friend of mine who is a professional chef was talking about how hard it was only having one computer between her and her spouse when they were both job-hunting. I knew we had an old laptop here that we were going to recycle because we bought a newer model, and I thought maybe I could fix it up for her a bit. So I cleaned it up and brought it over to her. She was thrilled! And she offered me cheesecake in return. :) Jeremy and I looooove a good cheesecake, and this friend makes the best desserts ON EARTH. So I am expecting a cheesecake delivery sometime today. Wahoo!

My skills have even come in handy with my day job. I've been pulled into various teams so they can use my writing expertise, and I am well-known for coming up with solutions without having to tap IT resources. This versatility and ability to help other teams has kept me off of the layoff radar, I think.

I think everyone has a skill of some sort. Maybe they just haven't developed it yet, but it's there. I am dying to find out what Scarlett's skills will be. We think she'll be an athlete of some kind, but who knows? Maybe she'll be a writer like me, or understand numbers like her daddy.

Lemon

I swear I've got a real post almost ready to go. I have just only had time to write it in bits and pieces the last few days. So to tide you over, here's my newest digital painting, entitled "Lemon".



Artist's Magazine had an article about using large brushstrokes, and I adapted their practice instructions for Sketchbook Pro on the iPad.