Seasons Change

Look closely, and you can see a worm in Mama Robin's mouth. 

Today marks the first day of summer. And, like clockwork, the last of our baby robins left the nest... almost like they knew spring was over and it was time to move on. 
We first noticed these four feathered babies when our small pup, Jack, became obsessed with a small pine tree in our backyard. He circled it and watched it like he was on the hunt. That’s when Cor spotted the nest.

At the base of this little tree was the only place Jack could be found since our friends hatched. We had to watch him closely to make sure he didn't harm the babes.
We kept the pups locked inside more during our bird time, but that didn't keep  them from bird watching through the window.

On it, rested a plump mama, with her mate always nearby. Then we got our first look at the babes at feeding time. They were so little. This was only two weeks ago.

Here, mama is tending to her very young birds. Such a neat photo to capture!

How much these little guys grow in such a short amount of time. Just yesterday, these four babes sat squished together in their small dish home.
1, 2, 3, 4... This is when we discovered that four babes called this little nest home. 

Then it was down to three in the nest, with the first adventuresome guy resting in a nearby tree after his first flight. 

It wasn't long before the nest was down to three peeps.

Number 4 decided to take flight. Here, he rests in a nearby tree, waiting for his next go.

And by this morning, only two babes remained. 

This was the last time I saw the babes in their nest. Down to 2. 

By the time I got home from work, the nest looked like this. Not a babe in sight. Just in time for the first day of summer. 

It sounds silly, but I was sad when I came home to an empty nest. But I'm glad the babes are finding their way in the world.

Part of me was sad to see our little empty nest, but I was also happy to know that they babies grew and were doing well. 
The last of our little friends now rests on the fence out back. Practicing flying from one part of the fence to the next. Every so often, mama stops by with some food and motherly advice. 

The last of the four birdies spent this evening flying from one fence board to the next, getting used to her new wings. 

Soon this last babe will be on her way and our baby-bird saga will be over. The seasons are changing. Life is progressing. And I know it may sound cheesy, but I loved this opportunity I had to watch some of that change with our springtime house guests. I wonder what the next season will hold around here... 

Was it Intuition?

This and many other prints that I adore are available on the Skippy Designs Etsy shop.

Confession: I absolutely believe in intuition. Do you? 
Call it what you will. A voice. A feeling. Energy. A dream that feels like so much more than just a dream... Intuition is a way of feeling or sensing things. A way of connecting with yourself, others, and even a higher power. 
I think all of us are intuitive. Some just know how to tap into it better. I’m fortunate enough to have some VERY intuitive people in my life, and I love it! I, on the other hand, am still learning to understand my own intuition and how to hear it/know it.
What’s the point of this, you ask? Well, I had a strange encounter with my own intuition today. To the outside observer, it won’t amount to much. But it brought me some great, much needed joy. So, to me, it amounts to everything. Interested?

These prints are very similar to the ones discussed in my story below. You can find these amazing images at the Skippy Designs Etsy shop.. Love them! 

Here’s the story:
About a Year Ago: I visit Gardner Village and see this incredible set of printed canvases for sale. They’re pink. There’s a scrabble one. There’s a typewriter one. There’s even one with a bitty white dog on it. So many things that I adore! They scream “Megan.” Alas, the set is almost $200. This does not scream “Megan.” I leave, not to think about them again, until... 
6 Months Later: I visit the same store. The set is still there. I discuss my love for it with the clerk. She informs me it’s the last one. She also informs me it’s still $200! Dang. I want it, but I leave. I just can’t spend that kind of monies on an unnecessary item.
This Week: If you read my “C Word” post, you know I’m stressed. I’m tired. And I don’t feel too hot. More on this in a moment. 
* This Morning: I come out of sleep thinking about those prints. Pictures I haven’t thought of since my last store visit. Not only am I thinking about them, I’m very sure that I’m going to buy them today. I have no plans to go to Gardner Village today. And I certainly didn’t find $200 of spare change in my couch. But I know they will be mine. As I become more alert, the thought leaves me. 
This Afternoon: I’m in Target with a friend on our lunch break. We’re walking down the picture aisle. I ask her about another picture we both want. Another pic neither of us can justify spending the $ on. Neither she nor I have purchased it yet, either. “Oh well,” I tell her, “if we wait long enough it will end up here anyway.” As I gesture to the pics in the aisle, I notice it. Them. The pink, “Megan”-screaming pics! They ended up in Target! Now, they’re not on the same large canvas ones, but the prints are identical. And I love them just as much. I almost squeal with delight. Me, the sick, sad girl, is now so, SO happy! 
Later this Afternoon: I buy the art! And I love the art! And, guess what! My friend buys similar art. And she loves hers just as much.
Here I am, just after my moment of Target bliss. I was so excited that I asked Joannie to snap a picture of me with the art. 

And here's Joannie with her purchase. It's in a red color scheme and is equally as cool! 

Sure, you can call this coincidence, but why would I wake up and not only thinking about these pics, but knowing they’d be mine today if it weren’t for intuition? 
The funny thing about my personal experiences with intuition is that they’re so often random. I don’t know why this happened today. It’s not like a vision of the winning lottery numbers hit me or something. This is often how my intuition works, which makes it hard for me to understand or recognize. 
And the same kinds of things happen to my sweet mama. I hope she won’t mind me sharing that with you. Her scenarios are often as random and seemingly ordinary as mine. But it’s intuition. And intuition is so not ordinary. 
What about you? Have you had intuitive experiences? I always love hearing about them if you’re open to discussing them. If not, I completely understand. This is a personal thing, and it can be a sensitive subject. If you are up for a little chitchat, I’d also love to know how you recognize your own intuitive abilities. Care to share? 
*Note: All of this actually happened on Thursday, which is the day I wrote the post. So if you happened to see me today and think, she didn’t go to Target today, this would be why. Of course, knowing me, there’s a very good chance i’ll go to Target again the day this posts anyway. Not intuition at work; just me knowing myself and my predictable shopping patterns. ;) 

The Twenties-Countdown Clock

Let the countdown begin. In one week I will officially be in my thirties. Eep! There are SO many things I thought I’d have done by age 30. And I’m proud to say that I’ve done many of those things. I’m married to the love of my life. I own a lovely (albeit dirty) home. I’ve established a career that I enjoy. I’ve traveled to many amazing places. I have a college degree... and the list goes on. 
Yes, there’s naturally a but. There are things I haven’t accomplished.
While I started working on my Masters degree at age 24, a full-time job, a wedding I had to plan (my own), and a severe case of mono all got in the way of me ever finishing it. I had the best intentions that I’d go back to school after I was married. Has that happened? Nope. Can’t help but feel like a failure in this area.
More importantly, I always thought I’d be a mama by age thirty. As you may know, it almost happened (by accident) earlier this year, but that ended sadly last May. 
Now I’m left wondering if my priorities were out of whack. Instead of investing all of that time and energy into my career, a career I love, should I have put more into this goal. It’s one of those things. You know, the “there’s time for that someday” kinds of things. Well, someday is here and I’m left feeling incomplete. Inadequate. Unfulfilled.
Please don’t get me wrong. I KNOW I’M NOT OLD. I know there’s still time to be a mom. And I’m proud of where I am in life. I treasure my life with Cory. I think it’s really fun that I get to see my name published on a monthly basis. I get a kick out of the silly TV segments I do. I value my family and friends SO much. And I think I do an alright job dealing with the frustrations of having narcolepsy (somedays are better than others, of course). 
So, why is it that I still feel like I’ve done something wrong? There’s only one of me, after all. I can’t be all things to all people. Heck, I can’t even be all things to all me. I’ve done what I can with the life that I have. And I’m happy with the life that I have. Is it because I put these pre-established expectations on myself YEARS ago, before I was even old enough to know what life really is that these thoughts haunt me now? Perhaps. I just wish I could get past the self-set timeline and admire who I am as an almost-thirty-year-old woman without those “but you should have also done...” in the background. 
I know, this is a little on the deep side for my usually crafty blog. These are just the things bouncing around in my head as the clock continues to tick, and I thought sharing might help me sort them out. We’ll see if it works. In the meantime... 
Tick tock. Tick tock. Someone please silence that twenties countdown clock!

2010 in iPhone Photos

It's no secret that I like to snap pictures with my camera phone. In fact, this year alone I did a couple of Studio 5 segments on this topic and wrote about using camera phones in Creating Keepsakes magazine.

What's the deal with this obsession? Well, a phone is one thing we almost always have on us. If you're lucky enough to have a camera built into yours, and so many do anymore, this means you always have a camera at the ready. Perfect for those everyday shots!

Inspired by an idea Margie Romney-Aslett posted on Facebook, I decided to post a few of my 2010 phone-photo highlights. I have close to 1,000 images on my phone at the moment, so I really had to narrow. Here are a few. I love the glimpse it gives into my year. You bet I'll be keeping that camera busy in 2011.

Note: I'm breaking all the blog/online rules with this lengthy post. Please accept my apologies for all of the scrolling. If you want to opt out now, I'll completely understand. 


Jan. 1: Cory and I try our hand at homemade marshmallows. Aren't they cute? They were tasty, too!

Jan. 7: Jewels and I catch a flick. I can't remember what we saw, but I know we enjoyed pausing to play with the jumbo chipmunks.

Jan. 12: I do my first of many Studio 5 segments for 2010. I was really stressed about what to wear, so I posted this pic for my personal team of fashion consultants. In other words, I posted it to Facebook. ;)

Jan 23: My cute coworker, Kim, and I join friends for a fun-filled day at Disneyland before the CHA craze begins. I can't go to D-land without stopping for some Dole Whip. It's delicious!

Jan 27: CHA (the Craft & Hobby Association trade show) is in full swing. Love the opportunity it provides me to see amazing new crafting products and beautiful friends. Speaking of friends, I adore these two gals, Jill (Jillibean Soup) and Stephanie (Bella Blvd.). We go way back to the new exhibitor days when they were patient enough to put up with my amateur film making skills. You can watch the outcome of those visits here and here.

Another sweet CHA friend. I don't think they get more passionate than Maggie. Check out her Cuttlebug Challenge blog for bunches of projects to make with your die-cuts.

Jan. 30: On my way home from Cali, I stop to enjoy a little Viva Las Vegas with these pretty people (my DH and parents). Here, we're waiting in line to go up in the Eiffel Tower at the Paris (where we stayed), something I had never done before. Very cool, BTW!

Part of my Vegas experience includes my first frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity. Super num!


Feb. 4: The stunning Lori and I fly to Portland, OR to teach at the first CKC event of 2010.

Of course, a trip to Portland meant a stop at the legendary Voodoo Donuts. Oh. My. Gosh. SO good! It was in a semi-ghetto part of town, but the risk to our lives was totally worth it. ;) 


March 14: I spot the March issue of Creating Keepsakes on newsstands. I happened to make the layout on the cover of this issue, which makes this moment even more exciting than it usually is for me. Naturally, I move it and its sister pub, Card Creations by Paper Crafts, to the front of the display.

March 15: I make one of my first posie bracelets, snap a picture, and send it to my friend for feedback.

March 17: Edward and I show up for work in our glorious green.

March 23: A HUGE day. Mom has her last cancer treatment. Our family goes out to dinner to celebrate.


April 1: I show up for work extra early to pull a series of office pranks, including kidnapping this doll and holding it for ransom. This is the picture I sent to the doll's owner when asking for my payment.

April 8: I fly first class for the first (and probably only) time. Look at all of that legroom. My legs actually fit without squishing up against the seat in front of me. I was so thrilled by this that I grabbed my camera and obtained some photographic evidence.

April 10: Kelly and I take a break from teaching at CKC St. Louis to visit "the arches." Some 20 pictures later, we finally got a shot with both of us and the arch. (BTW, "the arches" is what cute Kelly called them. I still LOL every time I think of that. I later told the CKC St. Louis crowd to ask Kelly about "the arches" whenever they saw her. Yeah, she was thrilled. Hahahahahahaha! Good times!

April 25: Cory wins big on a penny slot in Wendover, NV. Way to go, baby. Dinner's on you!

April 30: At last, after nearly two years of growing, my hair is cut for Locks of Love.


May 8: Schmom, Pop, Cory, and I participate in the Race for the Cure. Mom's lookin' extra good in her pink survivor's shirt!

May 15: Cory and I take Cory's parents to see one of our favorite comedians, Brian Regan. If you haven't heard of him, I highly recommend you check him out here. He's heeeeelarious!

May 17: I make my way to NYC for the Nat'l Stationery Show. I couldn't go that far without making a trip to Tinsel Trading. It was just as incredible as Martha promised me it would be. ;)

May 23: I take a break from teaching at CKC Buffalo to visit Niagara Falls.


June 14: My cousins visit from Denver. We go to a family-favorite destination--Lagoon. I rode these same boats when I was their ages.

June 27: Jewels and I visit the Utah Arts Festival, where we purchase darling handmade purses.


July 24: Cory and I take in a ballgame as part of our family's July 24 celebration (UT holiday).

July 29: Time for CHA Summer in Chicago, which means meeting up with more delightful friends, including these two sassy ladies, Kerri and Liz. Love these girls! Ummmm...yeah...Liz is standing on a stool in this shot. She's actually quite bitty, but she wanted to appear taller than me and the step stool did the trick. LOL


Aug. 21: After teaching at CKC Charlotte, Cory joins me for a little summer vacation, which included a stop in Denver, CO, where I bought this M-A-zing card catalog.

Aug. 27: I take a Creative Escape in Phoenix, AZ, where I get to play with paper and see a bunch of sweet friends, including Miss Maggie, who was teaching at the event.


Sept. 5: Cor and I join Curt and Gina for some of the best pizza in Utah. If you're going to have The Pie pizza, Curt (my brother) insists you go to this location at the University of Utah. It's worth the drive.

Sept. 11: I visit the flag fields in Sandy, UT to remember those lost on Sept. 11. The many flags on display, each representing somebody lost, were both beautiful and sobering.

Sept. 25: I take many of my phone photos at the mall. This is one example. I was totally inspired by this Fossil display at Dillards. Wanting to remember the colors, the font, the patterns...basically everything about it, I took a pic.


Oct. 8: The Creating Keepsakes team takes Joannie (associate editor) to Texas Roadhouse for her 40th birthday celebration. Yippee ki yi yay!

Oct. 25: Mom and I head to Denver, where I film a few scrapbooking/paper crafting videos for work. After a long day of filming, Mom and I crawl into bed with Aunt Ruby to watch the nightly news. Yeah, we're a wild bunch like that. Look out, D Town!

Oct. 29: The Creating Keepsakes editorial and events teams get together for a frightfully fun Halloween celebration. Our magazine team came as Cackling Keepsakes, a coven of crazy witches.


Nov. 5: Time for the holiday craft fairs to commence. I was selling my posie bracelets at my friend Holly's boutique. Here they are, all set up and ready to go home with happy shoppers.

Nov. 22: I puppysit for PK. This pic was to let mama know that Lex Pup was doing just fine. Well, she was a little chilly, but we got along okay.

Nov. 28: Bobby comes home from Iraq. We (he, Jewels and I) spent the day crafting and went to a movie that night. After the cinema, we went for this, the best yogurt in town. I'm sure I'll never hear the end of the fact that I thought it would be regular yogurt and not frozen. This also happened to be the day of a major snow storm here in UT. Why on earth would I knowingly go for FROZEN yogurt when it was a blizzard outside? Oh well. My puffy coat kept me warm and this tasty treat was totally worth the chill.


Dec. 4: Another favorite phone use: creating a shopping list. If I see something I want, I snap a photo and send it to Cory. It's a good way for both of us to remember wishes.

Dec. 14: The Creating Keepsakes team takes a break from writing and editing to enjoy a holiday breakfast and Secret Santa gift exchange. Isn't my present pretty? I couldn't resist the photo op.

Whew! What a year it's been. Thanks for taking a look back with me. I hope this inspires (and didn't bore or frighten) you to take more everyday photos with your camera phone.


Sure, I feel fat and my house smells like puppy pee, but I'm going to love, doggone it!

To make one or not? This is the question every year when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. Last year, I didn’t make a resolution, therefore I didn’t break a resolution. In 2009, I made my list of "realistic resolutions," and I’m pleased to say that I stuck to every one of them. 
This year...hmmm...
I don’t know if it’s because I’ve spent far too much time watching “I Survived: To Death and Back” on the Biography channel this holiday break, or if it’s the fact that 2010 was a little on the harsh side, but I’m thinking my 2011 resolution needs to be love. 
Love! What does this mean? I thought I'd explain with a few photos. Here goes:
Just because my house usually looks like this (messy):

And I currently look like this (super chub):

And I almost always feel like this (tired): 

And my to-do list looks like this on a good day (long):

Does not mean that I’m going to forget about these guys (my pups):

Or spend less time with this handsome fella (my honey):

Or neglect these happy folks (my family):

Or put off the time I want to be spending with these crazy kids (friends):

In other words, I’m not going to let my hectic schedule, lack of narcolepsy medicine, and personal insecurities get in the way of what matters the most to me--those I love. 
  • I’m going to stop dodging house guests because our home is a reck and smells like dog urine. 
  • I’m going to spend more time with family between the usual big events. 
  • I’m going to spend more time walking those pups who absolutely adore a little neighborhood stroll, even if there are things that need doing. 
  • I’m not going to put off seeing an old friend because I feel too fat and embarrassed. 
  • And I’m going to keep in better contact with my friends, even if that’s as simple as a little Facebook wall graffiti from time to time. 
I’ve spent far too much time letting my insecurities about the way I look, the way I feel, the way my home looks, and the things I have to do get in the way of loving and being loved in return. If those “I Survived” shows have reminded me of anything, it’s that life is short and the only thing that matters when all is said and done is the love we’ve experienced. 
I managed to accomplish my last two year’s worth of resolutions, let’s see if I can make it a charming third time in 2011. 
What, if any, resolutions did you make this year? I’d love to read about them.

Another Awesome October Occasion

October is a big month in the Hoeppner-Suggs household. As you know from my recent post, Cory and I were married in Oct. (Thanks for all of the lovely comments on that post. They put great big grins on our faces!)

We also adopted our sweet Jack from a shelter in October of 2007. He’s been a wonderful, bright, bouncy addition to our home and our family.

As you may remember from this post, my sweet Cory took his life back in Oct. 2008 when he checked himself into rehab after being on prescription pain meds (used as prescribed) for several years. This was a HUGE time in our lives. A turning point that we’ll never forget.

But these happy things aren’t why I’m writing today. I’m writing because today marks the 11-year anniversary of the day Cory and I met. We were just youngins when we met at Crapplebee’s on this night, 11 years ago, but it was easy to see that we were MFEO. (That’s a Sleepless in Seattle reference. Do you know what it means?)

11 years later, and I still get lost in these pretty eyes!

Anyway, I’m thrilled to celebrate this special occasion over a delicious oriental chicken salad at Crapplebee’s tonight. Yum! And, if you’re interested, you’re invited to read our silly love story here. With details including an abusive manager, a filthy bumblebee uniform, a bird-flippin’ teen sent from Heaven, and an adorable stranger in a sports car, how can you resist? ;)

This is a pic taken in those early years. It's pretty easy to see why I was smitten. What a cutie!

Also, on a completely unrelated note, I’ll be on Studio 5 again today. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll check it out this morning at 11:00. Here’s a peek at one of the projects I’ll be sharing. More on that in a future post.


Five things about marriage on our 5-year anniversary!

Five years ago today, I married the most beautiful man in the world. In honor of this life-changing event, I’d like to share five things I’ve learned about marriage since saying “I do.” (And I’ll sprinkle in a few wedding day photos for good measure.)

Warning: This may get a bit sappy. I just can’t help myself. ;)

This sign in the hall of the Bellagio announced our wedding as one of their events that day. Fun!

1. Few things are better than falling asleep and waking up next to the one you love. Everything from the way Cor’s handsome face looks as he sleeps to the sweet smell of his pillow, make this one of my favorite things about sharing my life with him.

This is the look that was on cute Cory's face when I started walking down the aisle.

2. A happy home is a full home. We live in a modest-sized house that’s rarely clean and often smells like doggie (ick), but when Cory and I are both here with our two pups, it’s the best place in the world.

Here I am moments before the big event. The necklace I'm wearing was a wedding gift from Cor. Pretty!

3. I hit the husband lottery. Did you know Cory makes me dinner every night? (He's downstairs making breakfast right now.) I can’t cook and he likes to (plus, he’s great at it), so it works for us. He also buys our groceries 9 times out of 10, helps me clean the house (when we get to it), takes amazing care of our dogs (they love him so), and supports my crafting hobby 100% even though it’s pretty much taking over our home. I'd say I'm a lucky girl.

Cor and I opted to include a unity candle in our ceremony. We each took a lit candle and used them to light a bigger and better candle.

4. Marriage is definitely about strength in numbers. The past couple of years forced Cory and me to grow up rather quickly. With things like disease and illness, death, rehab, and miscarriage, we’ve been through a lot, and it seemed to come in a short period of time. This may have been enough to break me, but it didn’t, and I know that’s because I have the strength of two people. Cory is a rock of support, stability, and love, and I couldn’t have done it without him.

With this ring, I thee wed.

5. Marriage may not always be easy, but it sure is fun. Last night after dinner, Cor pulled out our surprise dessert, a package of Halloween Peeps. He knows I love ‘em, so he decided to buy us a bag full to enjoy. Yay! We give each other little surprises like this all the time. We play games (Yahtzee is a favorite), walk the dogs, watch movies (we’re currently into The X Files series--so cool!), joke and laugh, travel, and basically just enjoy our time together. It’s like one big sleepover with your very best friend! Does it get better than that?

You may kiss the super happy bride!

I knew the events that took place five years ago would change my life, but I didn’t realize how much. I thank God for blessing me with such a brilliant, caring, strong, sensitive, funny, and down right hot partner. ;) Here's to five more amazing years!

Happy anniversary, Cory. I love!