Monday, September 24, 2007

5 weeks!

All ya'll Americans will be landing in England exactly 5 weeks from today - getting excited!? Here's the plan so far - Tuesday we gots Momma & Pops, Brian, Crystal, Dominic, Aunt Anne, Becca, and Molly flying in. Wednesday Chris, Miriam, and Isabella. So, Tuesday we've rented a mini-bus to get everyone at the airport, and we'll probably just spend the day hanging out at our house eating fish and chips, drinking a good pint of British beer. Tuesday, we're thinking we'll send everyone off to Leeds Castle, and either just Paul, or Paul and I will go up and get Chris, Miriam, and Bella. Then we'll meet you at Leeds for the rest of the day - I think we'll get back from the airport at 1-ish, depending on customs. They may not be up for Leeds Castle as soon as they get here, so we may take them to the house, it's really up to them. Anyways, Thursday is Canterbury day - we'll stroll around, have lunch, do the Cathedral or whatever else you want, then in the early eve, the girls and boys will split up for their respective Bachelor/Bachelorette (Stag & Hen night) parties. I don't know what the boys are planning, but for the gals, we'll all go out to dinner, then just go around to pubs or something - nothing too exciting. The old folks (hahaha) can decide if they want to stay out all night with us youngens. Then Friday will be Londontown - weehee. I need to make a plan for that day - let me know what you'd all like to see. We can start the day with a double-decker bus tour or something cheezy like that, so you can get pictures of all the famous stuff. Then we can do the London Eye, Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, walk around the meeeellion pound shops in Kensington, er, gimme suggestions! Then Saturday is of course wedding day, Sunday will probably be relax day for a lot of us - or you can just take the bus or train wherever. Monday Becca and the Chris family will be leaving, and I haven't planned much for after that. We'll probably go to Brugges on Tuesday. That's it - so let me know what you think!

Elijah has the most obnoxious schedule at school this week - he's only there from 1-3. So by the time I get back to my house, I have like an hour before I have to head back. I think I'll just have a cuppa at Mark's house, cause he lives right by the school! Elijah is doing well, learning more and more everyday. He'd rather play Transformers than read anyday, so it's hard keeping his attention. James is sleeping over on Friday - they're both just a bit excited about it. I think Mark & Emma are too. Haha.

Business is going well - I've had lots of positive things going on lately, I think in say, 6 months, things will be going REALLY well. It seems as if brides order samples WAYYYY before their wedding, so it takes a while before they actually place an order. Yesterday I got a great email from a girl I sent a sample kit to - she LOVES it and can't wait to order, but she's not getting married for 15 months, so she's gonna wait a bit. I've actually had quite a few emails like that. I've contacted about 100 companies in the past week about creating partnerships (we refer each other, I pay them commission, etc). I've had a decent response, and any referrals will be supah dupah. Anyways, I'm starting to plan my other venture, mwahhahaa - I cannot stop! This one is more business than creative, but it still has to do with graphic design. I'm gonna start a student freelance type of company to get students freelance work before graduating so they have professional level stuff to put in their portfolios. I'll give you more details when I plan more.

The back bathroom is comin' along! Paul plastered most of the wall, so now we just need to finish that plastering, paint the walls, do the flooring, stick in the toilet and sink, and it should be nearly done. Slowly but surely the house will get done!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Yo. How is everyone? Us Mah-ins are doing well. It was COLD this morning. My face was like, frost-bitten by the time we got to Elijah's school. Shoot. I've been looking online for a £200 car, but what am I talking about? We can't afford a £50 car. The wedding is closing in, the mortgage on Paul's other house kicked back in, and, uh, I'm making peanuts at the moment. I sense the orders - they're out there - it's just taking some time. My first order is going to print tomorrow - that's exciting. I think when the brides-to-be send out their invitations with my copyright on the back, business will pick up. I'm going to a meeting for a Kent-based wedding organization tomorrow eve - I think that'll bring good things. I already landed a few freelance jobs from talking to the head of the organization, so it seems like it's gonna be a good thing! I've also been encouraging myself by ordering my competition's samples, and mine are better. I'm serious. Better print jobs, better card stock, better color. I just gotta get the word out - but man, it's so so true it takes money to make money. I gotta save up for some more advertising.

This past weekend was fun. Our little fam went to St. Margaret's beach on Saturday - it's a beautiful rock beach in between 2 looming chalk-white cliffs. I forgot my camera, but here's a couple photos of it -

It was a perfect day too. We just sat on the beach and rummaged through all the cool rocks. Paul wrote "ARSE" on one of the rocks and tried to make me believe it was actually IN the rock. What a geek. Haha. Then I found a little barnacle thingy- and named him Barney the Barnacle and took him home with me. I took a picture of him and posted it. He's great - he's on my mantle now. Anyways, then Saturday night Paul and I went to our friends Mary and Jonathan's house for dinner. That was a lovely time. We have a lot in common (besides the fact that she's American and he's English) - and they're a hoot - we had a good time laughin' a stupid crap n' whateva.

Elijah is doing really well at school. We're about to practice writing his name (he has homework already!), and then we're gonna take a stab at reading practice. He's starting to grasp sounding out letters to make a word - I think he'll be reading before we know it! He's still all about James Bates, we'll be having another play-date at his house tomorrow. We went to Kidz Planet yesterday and they had a good ol' time.

That's it - nothing exciting, just regular life in da UK. Weehoooo.
Oh, here are a few videos of trampoline fun:

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Elijah is officially a big boy

Today is Elijah's first day of school! He was soooooo excited. I posted some pics of him in his new uniform 'n stuff. I'm quite happy about the whole thing - I think he would've gone completely mad if he had to stay here with me much longer. He's ready for school and friends and structured playtime. I think it'll do us both a load of good. We met up with James Bates and his parents on the way to school and walked together. Elijah and James are so cute - their conversations are amazing.

"I have a Power Rangers water bottle".
"Well, I bought a Power Rangers shirt for FIIIIIVE pounds!"
"Look at my Go Diego Go backpack!"
"I have a bag too - mine's for schoooool."
"I'm going to big boy school with you!"

They're so cute. I'm glad Elijah has James - it's nice he has a little best friend already. His parents are pretty cool too - Paul and I will have them over for dinner once the back of our house is presentable...hopefully in the next few weeks.

So I had my trade show yesterday. It went very well I think. I honestly couldn't tell ya if I'll get an order from it, but the response was great, especially from other businesses. I'll be having a meeting with a photographer this week about starting a partnership of sorts - they'll plug me, I'll plug them (it will work out perfectly since my invites have photos in them). They're also involving a guy from the Kent Wedding Network cause he's really interested in my stuff. So yay. I'm about to call a lady that seemed really interested in stuff for her wedding, and she's getting married in 5 weeks, so she needs 'em fast. Hopefully she'll actually order! Of course, my wandering mind is already conjuring up another business plan for another venture. We'll see how far I can take it!

Not too much else goin' on. It's kinda chilly today - I think summer is coming to an end, sadly. We were gonna go camping in our back garden this past weekend, but didn't, cause we suck. So this coming weekend we may actually go real camping down in the warren. Weehoo! Then in a few weeks we might go up to Leicester cause I got Paul a go in a Lamborghini for Valentine's Day this year, and we haven't had a chance to get up there yet. There's also a Space Museum in Leicester, so we wanted to make a weekend out of it. We'll see!

That is all. Arrivederci.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

News & Videos

G'marnin' everyone. It has been one tiring weekend. Paul had Friday off, and I feel like we've been running around non-stop since then. We had Elijah's party to plan, and the house needed a total clearing out. Plus I had biznass stuff to do. It's funny how you feel like you have no time, then when you go to write a list of what you did, it doesn't seem like that much.

Elijah's party went really well. We had a bit over 20 people here - lots of food and talking and such. There were 5 kids, and they all had fun jumping on the trampoline and playing together. Elijah's best mate James came over, so that was nice for him. Before the party, Capel had a village-wide garage sale, so TONS of people in the village had garage sales. The village was madness all morning - people everywhere trying to get a deal. I got a guitar for £6 (that will not stay in tune no matter what), we got Elijah a bunch of books, and Paul got a gas trimmer for the garden and a trowel, weeeeeee! I really wanted a bookcase, but didn't find one. Elijah got a ridiculous amount of loot for his birthday - I doubt he'll be playing with his old toys for a while. Yesterday he got a race track, a tether-ball game for outside, a remote control Lightning McQueen, a Shrek punching bag, another Transformer, a Transformer Mr. Potato Head, and loads of candy. Lucky boy!

Paul's doing well - back to work in London today. The hours have been pretty consistent - he's up at 5am, and gets home at 6ish everyday. Some days he gets home earlier, if they feel like slacking a bit. I think he'll feel better about the whole thing when he gets his next paycheck when he sees the lovely London pay.

My work is going well - some good news, some bad. First - the good. I got my first order last week! Weehaw! I've been sending out about 5 samples/sample kits per week, so that's really good too! The bad news - I've been following some posts a girl has been writing on a wedding forum here in the UK. At first, she was sooooo excited about my invitations, she was plugging me like crazy telling everyone how amazing they were. Then I sent her a sample kit, and she wrote and said she was disappointed in them. Yeah, whatever girl, I'll show you disappointed. She said she didn't like the printing. I'm not gonna let it get me down too much, everyone has their own opinions. The thing is - most wedding stationery is mostly white or cream with colored words and designs - my stationery is all-over color, so no matter how you print it, it will not look as perfect as white/cream stationery. From what she said, I think she was expecting perfection. I'm still trying to make the sale with her - I have a few tricks up my sleeve. I'll let you know and celebrate if she ends up ordering with me! But overall, I've had a really positive response and things are going well. My tradeshow is next Sunday, hopefully I'll get some business from that.

Elijah starts school a week from today! He's pretty much ready to go. He has his uniforms and his school bag - all he needs is a lunch box! He starts 8:45-noon for 2 weeks, then it's 1-3pm for a week, then 11am-3pm for a week, then full time from 8:45am-3pm. I'm ready for him to go to school, not in an evil way, but I think he's ready for it. It'll be so nice for him to be around other kids again.

Ok, enough jibber jabber - here's some videos of Elijah! I also posted some new pics on the website.