Friday, November 05, 2010

Come (Shutter)fly with me

So today I’m spreading the word that Shutterfly has some seriously awesome holiday card designs this year. Before I get into that though, I’ll tell you my experience with them – in a little essay called “Why I love Shutterfly.”

When Chris and I got married (actually, it was our wedding reception in the summer of ’09 vs. our actual wedding day, which was fall of ’08. Anyway) I took our many fabulous pictures and made a photo book. I love to scrapbook, but I know myself and I knew that I would never get around to choosing the pictures I loved, printing them out in various sizes, designing the pages, etc. etc. etc. So instead, I used Shutterfly to make a really beautiful book. I got a few extra copies and gave them to my parents and Chris’ parents as a Christmas gift, and everyone loved them. This is only a sample, but maybe you get the gist.

Which brings me to the holiday cards. I am picky about my holiday cards. I want them to be classy and attractive and not always just red and green. I’m a fan of blue and snowflakes and ornaments and other pretty holiday elements. Especially this year, as I plan to dress the girls in purples and blues for the picture. So below are a couple of my favorites:

And if none of those strike your fancy, there are roughly 745 other designs in all price ranges to choose from. I’m not exaggerating – there are actually 745 other designs.

The other awesome thing that Shutterfly features is perfect for people like my parents who have everything they want and are ridiculously hard to buy presents for. However, THIS year, they have an adorable grandbaby, and I have like ONE MILLION pictures of her, so what better thing to do than make them a calendar featuring their favorite person ever? There are a ton of cute themes for the calendar background, and it’s a great idea to showcase babies or weddings or the year in pictures or travel (Alice, that means you, you world traveler!).

Anyway, the bottom line is that you should check it out. And as a bonus for my blogging friends, if you check out the Shutterfly holiday cards, love what you see, and write a post about it, you can get 50 FREE cards! Yay! So get on that bandwagon and go to this link to learn how to get your cards.

You now have no excuse not to send out cards this year.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Confessions of a blog neglecter

So ever since I met Chris and it became clear that we were in this for the long haul, I’ve had sort of a hard time blogging. Mostly because all of the sudden my life changed from single Amber to stepmom Amber, and I had all of this ADJUSTING to do. Like having two small children in my life. Like maintaining and enjoying my relationship with Chris. Like moving out of the area where my family and friends lived into a town where I knew NO ONE (which isn’t as horrible as it sounds, because the town is only like 30 minutes away. But still). There were other things too, but those were kind of the major ones.

So now it’s been 4 years since we started dating, and I realized that I should be writing some of this stuff down. I’ve been married for two years, and I have a 6 month old baby in addition to my two sweetie pie stepdaughters. I want to write this down for me, so that I remember what went on, but I also want to write it down for my kids, so that they know that I wasn’t just the rule-setting, house-organizing, fun-ruining mom type. I have another identity in there, I just have to make sure I don’t lose it.

Two years ago I made the decision to be a stay-at-home mom. I had the opportunity to cut my hours at my job and do it from home. It went ok for a while, but due to the fact that my boss was a complete asshole and then he also hired a psychopath to pick up my slack (and really, despite my tendency to exaggerate, these two things are ACTUALLY TRUE), I looked for and found another job. I still work from home, but I work for an organization that is a dream as far as employers go. I’m guaranteed a minimum amount of hours and can work more if I have the desire and time. No real deadlines, no micromanagement – awesome. So I’m blessed in the job department. It was really great when I was pregnant, because since I was sick all of the time, I never had to deal with an office or sick days, and I had the freedom to work whenever I got the chance. It’s also great with a new baby, because I do what I can when I can and I don’t have to worry about whether I should be working instead of playing with my baby.

I love my life. I love my husband, who is so helpful and such a good dad and a hard worker and just all-around terrific. I love my two big girls, who are totally smitten with their baby sister and help me a lot by playing with her while I fix dinner or take a shower. I love my parents, who, speaking of smitten, think my baby is the best thing to ever happen. EVER. My mom comes over twice during the week to play, and she and my dad both come over on the weekends (my dad and Chris are finishing our basement), so I get a break and can run errands or work or whatever.

Again though, it’s an adjustment, because I am a people person and I have a hard time having no one to talk to all day except a baby. Granted, she listens really well, but she’s still lacking on the response front. Apparently that gets better once they’re older. Anyway, I feel a little lonely and isolated sometimes. However, I wouldn’t change a thing, because I am thankful every day that I can stay home with my baby and be home when the kids get back from school, and that I am not stressed out having to work full time and fit in dinners and family time and baby time.

So. I know I’ve probably said this before, but I’m working on writing more on here as an outlet and because it’s always been fun. I suppose I shouldn’t worry about the identity part – that will sort itself out eventually. See, I already feel so much better!