Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Dad and His Guitar

This is my wonderful, kind, gracious, amazingly talented Dad!

Handsome, isn’t he?

Absolutely one of the greatest men I knew.
I didn’t have that much time with him, my mom took us away when we were very young and we never got to see him due to various circumstances that are unclear to me, even now. At age 20, I moved to Florida to be with him while I went to college. Six years later Heaven called him home.

All through my younger years I would listen to his music on tapes he had recorded for us. It was his dream to be a musician and it was something he was great at! Nashville just missed out on him.

I can still remember hearing him sing to my brother Toby and I this classic song that I never can forget, ‘Puff the Magic Dragon.’

He had a beautiful voice. Amazing voice! He was blessed.
He was a kind man. The kindest!
I could never say enough about him for everyone to understand just how important he was to me, to my sister Michelle, my brother, his wife, everyone.

This is his guitar.

He bought this before I was even born (no, I am not telling you how long ago that was), and played it all throughout his life, right up until the time he died.

Take a gander at the photo above again, that is the same guitar with a somewhat younger version of Dad! Pretty awesome if you ask me!

He would sit in his chair at home with his guitar right next to him within his arms reach. Whenever he thought up a tune, he’d pick up the guitar and let the tunes flow through him and out of it as he sang along with his perfect voice.

They were quite a pair, my Dad and his guitar. You'd swear they were soul mates, if that is even possible. He never went anywhere without it. Seriously, ANYWHERE!!

I believe with all my heart that this beautiful instrument is imbued with his spirit. After he passed, my step-mom asked me if there was anything of Dad’s that I wanted.

This guitar was my only request.

It is honestly my most cherished possession in all the world. And it is still so beautiful. It never leaves it's case!! So I took this photo because I just want to share it with everyone.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mommy’s Week!

 • Daddy lost Draven in the park in Vegas! Yeah, what an adventure! He is now on restriction and is not allowed to go anywhere alone with the kids!

• Draven only told me “NO!” 161 times this week. He’s 2!

• Mommy actually made it to two therapy sessions this week. Let me rephrase that, two torture sessions that leave me in utter pain for at least 36 hours post-visit!

• Daddy turned 30something this week! Hahaha, he is older than me!!

• My Bestest Friend (yes, I actually am very good with grammar, but I just love this phrase!) did a review with a giveaway of my Flower Commotion Paper Scrapbooking Kit. Hooray Steph!!

• The kids and I were leaving early Friday morning to go to Vegas, again. As Kaida stepped out of the front door she shrieks, “Where is MY truuuck?!??!!” I told her that Daddy took it to work. She shouts, with obvious disdain in her voice, “Daddy took MY TRUCK!?!?!?!”
LMAO! Yeah, she’s 3!

• On our way home from Vegas we only stopped about 11 times during the 3 hours and Draven cried the last 15 minutes of the trip!!! Yay! 
To distract him I excitedly shouted, “Look guys, we’re home!!!” And the kids started going through the list of what they were going to see once we got home.
Kaida’s list, as I am driving the last 2 blocks and rounding the corner to our house, “…and we’ll see Daddy. Yay Daddy! And my dog, and my cat, and my baby, Look, it’s our house, and My Truck. My Truck! There’s my truck!! MY TRUCK!!! Yay it’s my TRUUUCKKKK!!! My truck is HOME!!!”
So I park the car, get the kids out of their seats and tell them to go get Daddy. Kaida runs into the house as Daddy is coming out. She stops Daddy and asks in a very demanding tone, “Daddy, why you take my truck??”
LMAO! Yeah, Daddy didn’t even get a hug!

• And chalk one up on the brilliance chart for me, since I figured out, FINALLY, how to make my background on this page stationary as the rest of it scrolls!! Yay me!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Park Privileges Revoked!!

Every week I have several visits to a Chiropractor for physical therapy. This specific doctor is in Las Vegas, 3 hours South from where we live. Yes, I wrote that correctly. Add it up and it is 6 hours round-trip. Why do I have to go to this specific doc you ask? We’ll get to that in the next post.

Now on my last visit, it was a nice treat to have my husband tag along with me to watch the kids. Tonopah is small. I mean blink-your-eyes-as-you-drive-through-and-miss-it small. So naturally everyone jumps at the chance to get out of it for a day! He had come once the week before and we figured out a pretty cool system of entertainment. I drop him and the kids off at this awesome, AWESOME park just a couple miles from the Doc's office, and they hang out and do whatever else Daddies and toddlers do! Worked out great. When I returned we had our picnic on a nice warm day in Vegas! 

Yeah, that was last week. This week was… a little more… interesting.

I was gone for nearly two hours. When I returned to the park, everything was great. Kids were getting tired from all the play-time, we were all hungry and ready for our picnic, although Todd did seem a bit somber. After a while he makes this ridiculous comment that gets under my skin when ANY one does it.

“Well, I’m not gonna tell you what happened or you’ll kill me!”

What?? Any kind of insinuation like that is… aggravating and… just… grrrr!!! Why would you bring it up if you’re not going to tell me???

So after a few more of those irritating comments, “no, I like breathing, I can’t tell you,” and “I like my man parts in tact” (that one I cleaned up the language), “I like living!” I finally got it out of him, read on.

He and Kaida and Draven were climbing up the large jungle gym, going down the slides, running back around to the ladders, and repeating. After who the hell knows how long, Daddy realizes one of the monkeys is missing.


So he immediately starts looking around, calling for Draven. He is NO WHERE to be seen or heard!!! We are in the middle of freaking Las Vegas, Nevada!! SIN freaking CITY and my 2-year-old son is wondering around somewhere by himself!!!???

Are you freaking kidding me???

So Daddy is having heart failure, running aimlessly through the park looking for the boy! He noticed a few cop cars in the parking lot and headed straight for them.

Apparently, some woman saw the boy wandering aimlessly and notified three local law enforcement men! Thank GOD!!

Now, I may seem a bit calm compared to many other women in this very situation who would be cutting her husband’s limbs off slowly with a butter knife, recording it on video so she can go back and show it to her friends for a good laugh later. I was actually quite calm as I was being told by this scared-to-death-of-ME man what had happened and what the police did to him as well as what Draven did to him! Read on!

Daddy was given a full interrogation by these three policemen. They checked all his identification AND ran a background check on him and ME!!! He got the piss scared out of him so much that all I could do was laugh at him!

And THEN, the cops are asking Draven, “Is this your Daddy?” And Draven got this really pouty look on his face and glared at Todd, stepping back towards the nice officer! LMAO!!!! That’s the best!
Todd is trying to tell Draven to come to Daddy… ROFL!
Todd was thinking, “Great, they’re definitely gonna run me down to the station now!”

So as my husband relayed this entire story to me, I didn’t feel the need to flip out, because my dear boy was sitting in my lap, perfectly unharmed.
Needless to say, Daddy has lost his park privileges!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Kallio Kalleidoscapes: Four Years in the Making

I started out wanting to be an Art Director. THAT sounded like a nice job! I imagined it would be in a large design firm…

Imagine a beautiful spacious window office with a gorgeous cityscape view, a personal assistant who would take my phone calls and fetch my coffee, and legions of interns and graphic designers to whom I could bark orders and to whom I could impart all of my great wisdom! Yeah! Sounds great, doesn’t it? I thought so, too!

However, one sunny summer day, some jackass driver crossed the median on the freeway, changing my life forever! Now, thanks to my multiple levels of pain and several physical complications, performing the duties demanded by a regular desk job in an office with regular and obscene hours is no longer in the cards for me.

Instead of pursuing the career I had always dreamed about, I began to pour my energy into things that I both enjoyed and that my physical condition would still allow me to do… my hobbies!

One day, I was out scrapbooking with my dearest Mother-in-law (who just happens to be the woman who turned me onto scrapbooking in the first place, thanks Mom!) and a friend of hers. We were all discussing the amazing designs of the scrapbook paper that each of us were using and we were wondering, “How do the creators make them so gorgeous?” My Mother-in-law’s friend then asked me, “Why don’t you design your own scrapbook papers?”

So I thought… and I thought… and I thought…

(Here you can imagine Winnie the Pooh tapping his forehead.)

…and I could not come up with a single reason as to why I didn’t design my own papers.

Why hadn’t I thought of this before?

Her question sparked my creative energies and I began drawing out potential designs. I played with design after design after design. I created everything myself, either by hand or in Illustrator (a favorite program), and I produced few designs that were promising, but not quite perfect yet. Three weeks before having my son, I started designing the first line that had really set my heart afire. Through days and nights (let’s change that to weeks) of very little sleep, cause the babies really prevented any kind of rest for mommy (all you Mommies know just what I mean), I worked painstakingly on my new paper line. When I was done, I ended up with two matching lines that I was very, very happy with, Dreaming Draven and Kaidalicious, named after my little monkeys.

With complete lines designed, I began brainstorming ways that I could get my designs into scrapbook stores all over the country. The amount of money required to have them manufactured was outrageous, of course, and I just didn’t have it. It was going to be expensive as hell!! To print them at home on my awesome printer would have demanded a ridiculous amount of ink, making it another non cost-effective means of production. Alternatively, I thought maybe someone would be willing to purchase my designs.

I approached one of many large companies asking them if they would be interested in ordering a large quantity of packets to sell in their enormous online store. After months and months of impatiently waiting for a reply, I finally got a big “NO!” Their company was “moving in a different direction.” That was the only explanation that I was entitled to.


So I proposed the same idea to a few other big name companies with hopes that someone would be interested buying my designs. To my surprise, and to my utter dismay, each one of them said “No!” For various reasons, none of these companies were interested in buying my designs!

What a freaking bummer!!! And another freaking grrrrrrrrr!!!

At this point, I was feeling quite depressed and discouraged. All of my hopes were beginning to diminish. I was simply crushed.

There were so many consecutive let-downs weighing on my spirit. I was on the verge of giving up, thinking it was just an absurd dream. Fortunately, a few of my dear loved ones wouldn’t let me throw in the towel so easily. These blessed souls reminded me that I possess a great talent and that my designs are gorgeous. My husband wouldn’t let me forget how original anything that I created was. He said that he had seen his mother’s papers, (let me remind you that she IS quite the scrapbooker and emphasize her ENORMOUS scrapbook supply collection) and he pointed out that my designs were so incredibly different than anything he had seen that someone was bound to notice them.

I moved forward.

I didn’t have the means to have anything manufactured yet, so until I could come up with the money, I was inspired to start on new designs.

I was at my best friend’s house visiting with her and she was showing me these gorgeous photos she had taken of some flowers. She was experimenting with various unorthodox photography techniques and most of her images were intentionally blurry. My only thought was, “Awesome!” She didn’t have any plans for these images, but I did! Instantaneously, I was struck with an idea for some new paper designs. I asked for her permission to use the images and even though she thought I was a little crazy (finger twirling around her ear kind of crazy) she said yes. My Flower Commotion line is a product of her floral images combined with my Illustrator and Photoshop expertise. I am oh-so pleased with it, and so is she!

About the time I finished her Flower Commotion line, my Halloween line, my Christmas line, and Shiver, I got a random magazine in the mail. This particular magazine did a lot of scrapbook paper sales. How exciting!! Optimistic, I approached them with my six different scrapbook paper lines. I was sure there would be at least one scrapbook line in my conglomeration that they would be interested in.

I was so sure!

But guess what?? That’s right, it was just another stinking “Thank you, but no, we are not interested in any of your designs at this time.” At least this company was more open to communicate and quicker with their response!

Another freaking bummer!!

Nonetheless, I was not about to allow that little “no” deter me from becoming a successful scrapbook paper designer!

Even though Anyone with the means refused to help me! Anyone who could have, declined to support me! Anyone who was anyone seemed to disapprove of my designs! Anyone I turned to at all for assistance was not going to help make my dream come true!

So freaking what?!?!?

That is just going to have to be their loss! It is MY dream, and I won’t wait on “Anyone” to come through. And I am not about to change my style so that these big corporations will approve of them! Everyone else I’ve showed my designs to loves them! I worked hard on them and I am quite proud of them.

Finally, with my husband’s financial contribution, I was able to get one of my paper lines manufactured. I was ecstatic but a little bummed that I had to pick just one!

So, without Anyone’s help (my husband’s financial help being the exception), I have opened up two shops online. Some of my kits are available as digital disks. Currently, one is available for order as a paper kit in my Etsy shop and in my own scrapbook shop:

In pursuit of my dream, I got an awful lot of NOs and naturally my feelings were hurt in the process. Even so, I persevered and am now making my own dream come true on my own terms!

Blending in with everyone else has never been an ambition of mine. Not ever! I wanted to design something unique with my own artistic style. My goal was to make paper lines that I myself would want to buy, and that I felt were missing from the existing scrapbook market. I have put countless hours of devoted thought and hard work into making something special that would stand out and hopefully turn people’s heads.

My designs are amazing. I hope that you will agree. This paper is something that I have imbued with my own scrapbooking spirit! I have poured all that is inside of me into creating this paper. My desire is that the scrapbooking world will benefit from these designs!

I will not settle for anything less than success!

Thank you for your interest in Kallio Kalleidoscapes!
Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

Jessica LaRue
Kallio Kalleidoscapes

A little something out of the ordinary!

Follow KKscapes on Facebook and Twitter!

Visit either of these sites to purchase my amazing and unique products!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What the Hell?? Wednesday

My friend at the Blue Zoo always writes WTH Wednesdays hosted by


and I love reading her posts as well as other people’s. Funny Stuff! I thought I would give it a shot since I finally have one great WTH?? Bear with me.

So I am in Vegas on one of my three weekly physical therapy trips. Just finished my therapy session and am driving in my Avalanche, with my 2 kids, down I-215. It is a three lane freeway most of the way and I am in the center lane going well over the speed limit. There is quite a bit of traffic since it was mid-day. There is an SUV passing me in the left lane, going slightly faster than I. Coming up on my ass is some idiot in a white Chevy pick-up hauling ass. He quickly swerves over into the left lane, and gets right on the SUV’s tail…

What the Hell?? Where did he think he was going with all this traffic around us??

He then attempts to jet in front of me, where there really wasn’t any room for him to fit for passing. I take my foot off the gas to slow and allow this idiot to get in front of me, when the SUV switches lanes suddenly also!!

What The Hell???

Both vehicles slam on their breaks directly in front of me on the freeway at 70 plus MPH and I nearly rear-end the idiot as the car behind me nearly rear-ended me. Panicking and focusing on just breaking and not hitting anything, I look up slowly and notice a freaking car coming at all four of us, driving in the wrong direction down the freeway.


That Jackass nearly killed us all, and who knows if he actually did cause a pile up somewhere else down the freeway.

What the hell is up Crazy city drivers??

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fitness: Don't Be a Sissy!

Fitness goals.
We all have them don’t we? Some may seem unobtainable. But they really aren’t when you try. And by try, I mean get off your butt and do it! No excuses!! NONE! Take me for example. I started gaining weight in my mid 20’s when I took a desk job in an office filled with people who always left candy dishes on their desks.
A few tiny candies a day won’t hurt… that is what I used to believe!
I would go jogging every evening, trying to burn off the candies I ate that day. After a few weeks I realized that I was gaining weight!

WHAT?? Gaining??

I could run 3 miles a night and I was putting on pounds?? I didn’t understand it. I was frustrated and disappointed. After some research (and research is seriously key in fitness) I discovered that I wasn’t stimulating my muscles enough by simply jogging.
We bought a bo-flex.

Yay! The workouts became more strenuous and more effective. At the time I didn’t realize this, but I still wasn’t doing everything necessary to lose the pounds.

Then came the car wreck. That’s right. I broke my 12th thoracic vertebrae and shoved my 4th and 5th lumbar vertebrae out of alignment. Any plans of fitness I had were now gone forever, it seemed. Five months of bed rest, a turtle shell brace, constant excruciating pain. There was no way I’d ever be fit and thin.

After a couple years of healing, I finally decided to try exercise again. I was very nervous, honestly. I made it through the wreck without being paralyzed but wasn’t sure if anything I did could make it happen with a broken vertebrae. Twisting, turning wrong, crunching. So I took it easy, but still did daily exercises. After about a month, I learned that I was pregnant. Ecstatic to be so, but once again, my fitness goals were pushed to the back burner. I was sick and miserably in pain with every pound I gained. Two pregnancies went by before I was able to really put my focus back to fitness.

Constant pain with my “healed” crushed vertebrae, a split pelvis from my first child birth attempt, headaches from a backwards curvature in my neck, various amounts of nerve damage all over my body, and pain from 2 c-sections were not about to deter me enough to not be in shape! I wanted to feel good about myself, feel good in general, and look good. I began exercising about a month after I had my son. I started with my husband’s great research. This is what he is best at.
He taught me that it won’t make a difference how much I want to work out and how many calories I burn, if I am still shoving junk food in my face I just won’t reach my goals.

So, absolutely set in my heart, mind, and soul, I put forth every effort I possibly could, every ounce of energy I had towards becoming a healthy mommy of 2 babies!
I drastically changed my eating habits, started drinking tons and tons of water daily, and exercised 1-2 times every day (Slim in 6). Within 4 months I had already lost 35 pounds!! OMG!! I couldn’t believe it when I looked at the scale! I nearly cried!! I think I did cry! My clothes fit better, things I hadn’t been able to wear in years fit me! It was so exciting. I became addicted to fitness! Then learned another hard fact.
Another 2 months had passed and I barely lost but maybe 5 more pounds. I didn’t understand. I was doing the same things I did when I lost the first 35, what the hell was the problem?? And that was exactly the problem. Doing the same things over and over. My body had become adjusted to my routine, so nothing was being stimulated any longer. I learned you have to change up your routine to keep your muscles active and stimulated.

So I bought some new workout DVD’s. This is when I became addicted to Turbo Jam! They are the best workouts I have ever done, fun, and quite addicting.

In total I have lost over 50 pounds. I am almost 32 and I am seriously in the best shape of my life! I can fit into clothes I wore when I was 18! I can keep up with my kids, and do anything I want and feel good doing it. I am proud of myself for not using excuses to get out of doing what made me feel good in the long run. And I really had a lot of excuses. And believe me, I tried the excuses on myself, but myself just didn’t listen! I had goals to reach and wasn’t giving up till I hit them! Stubbornness was my ally here!

So, in conclusion, take a look at your goals. Now take a look in the mirror. If you’ve been “trying” then you should be close or at least on your way to reaching your goals. I’m not one to sugar coat anything. If you’re not reaching your goals, then you are simply not trying. You’ve got no one to blame but yourself. Everything you do to your body matters, so does everything you don’t do. Find a workout buddy, a best friend (TheBlueZoo is mine) to keep reminding you of your goals, get your husband off his butt and make him do the workouts with you. Take a few weekly trips to the gym, lift some weights for serious muscle stimulation and ultimate fat loss goals. Join some of the awesome online fitness forums for more advise. Do your research; everyone’s bodies are different.
Don’t make excuses. You want to be fit, then Be. We’re all worth it.


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