Archive | Daily Life RSS feed for this section

30 Days of Thankful: Week 1

Last year, I started intentionally documenting this season of gratitude by participating in Cathy Zielske’s 30 Days of Thankful.  You can find a glimpse of my 2012 album HERE.  Life seems to be moving at 1,000 mph lately, so this tradition is especially meaningful for me right now.

Here’s a look at the first batch:

Thankful

Day 1:  So grateful for quiet moments filled with beauty.  This tired pumpkin fell asleep on our walk this afternoon.  Love the feeling of slowing down to take in nature’s breathtaking array of Fall colors.  It’s been raining leaves for the past few days- we’ve seen gusts of golds, oranges, and reds swirling through the air.  Feeling grateful for bursts of sunshine, a beautiful sleeping baby, and sweet moments of utter calm.

Thankful2

Day 2: I made a new friend today!  Normally, I am terrified of larger dogs… BUT, this sweet gentle giant captured my heart.  I’m so thankful I had a chance to meet “Bear” and catch up with his mama.  Good coffee, a loveable puppy, and a great conversation with a friend… a perfect Saturday morning!

Thankful3

Day 3: Dearest Olivia- I am so grateful for your beautiful smile.  Your wide open grin quite literally lights up the room.  We are in awe of how much you have grown and learned over the past 10 months.  The road has not been easy- you are already unbelievably strong and I know that you will become an amazingly confident, caring woman.  Right now, I am soaking in precious moments: your sweet little laugh, the symphony of your distinct babbling sounds, and this amazing smile.  Love you always, Mom.

Thankful4

Day 4: I am so grateful for my husband, James.  I am constantly amazed by his ability to fix anything.  I have yet to find a project that intimidates my mechanical engineer!  I still don’t know how a simple conversation about painting the breakfast room turned into a full scale kitchen demo and renovation… BUT, I am so grateful that James has the knowledge and skill to craft a beautiful space.

Thankful5

Day 5: I am so grateful that my parents live close enough that popping over for dinner is an option while our kitchen is a functional mess!  Tonight, we enjoyed a wonderful new slow cooker recipe.  I will definitely be making this quinoa, chicken chili again!  Earlier in the week, my mom made a batch of homemade chicken noodle soup.  Olivia LOVED this dinner… It was probably the most we’ve seen her eat of solid foods in one sitting.  It was so cute to watch her devour this dinner favorite.

Thankful6

Day 6:  Feeling extremely grateful today for perfect timing.  I had to take Olivia to music class during the window of delivery for our new kitchen appliances.  Our new oven, microwave, cooktop, and hood were delivered just before my mom had to leave for an appointment.  Five minutes on either side (my mom leaving or our return) would have meant the difference between moving ahead with the project and the reality of delays and/or extra delivery fees.

Some of my favorite details:

Thankful Details

Don’t you just love those tool die-cut images?  I embellished the digital base pages with patterned paper, punches, glitter, gold leafing, metallic nailheads, and ribbon.

Update: See Week 2 of this Thankful Project

Comments { 10 }

In the Workshop: Halloween Scrapbooking

As I mentioned in this post, I created 2 scrapbooks to savor the season and preserve some of our first Halloween memories with Olivia.

Halloween Memory Books

I just love how these turned out!  I followed Kathy Orta’s instructions from her Interactive Mini-Scrapbooks guide to transform a mixture of photos, papers, and embellishments into a treasured keepsake.  I also tried to leave a bit of “empty” space in various places so I could add journaling text documenting funny stories.  Here’s a peak at the overall layout of the book on the left:

Halloween Memory Book

And, here’s a glimpse at some of my favorite design elements:

Halloween Memory Book Details

For this book, I used lots of punches, patterned paper, letter & number stickers, glitter, and die-cuts.  I am really looking forward to adding more pics to cascading pages in the center section over the next few years.  I think it will be so fun to look back at our baby’s different Halloween costumes.

I decided to make the second book for my sister-in-law.  Here’s a peak:

Halloween Memory Book Details 2

The last page was intentionally left blank for her to add a picture from this year’s Halloween.  The little pocket with the bat contains a collection of fun Halloween jokes from Kristen Duke… I knew my little nieces would get a kick out of reading these!

Looking forward to next year’s “spooktacular” memories!

 

Comments { 0 }

A Message from Cinderella…

Happy Halloween!

Photo Credit: TH Photography & Design

Our photographer posted the perfect caption to accompany the bottom photo: “Pretty sure she is thinking, Don’t make me turn you into a frog!”

 

Comments { 0 }

Fall and Halloween Traditions

Lately, we’ve been:

watching the leaves turn.

Fall-leaves

visiting the pumpkin patch.

Pumpkin-patch

helping Olivia stand and pull herself up on various pieces of furniture.

singing (lots of singing).

practicing different learning concepts like “on/off, open/close, up/down, etc…” with our very active 10 month old.

picking out the perfect Halloween costume for our girl.  Our darling little Snow White literally grew overnight… right into the next sized costume!!

Costumes-2013

crafting various cards and collecting new project ideas.  So excited to be part of Jessica’s new team!

loving this beautiful smile.

Smiles

shaking off feelings of overwhelm and stress.

and most recently:

dreaming of a beautiful, fully functional kitchen (see this post).

thinking about Halloween traditions.

I’m particularly intrigued by Linda’s suggestion to make a fortune cake on the blog Giggles, Gobbles, and Gulps.  I loved reading Modern Parents Messy Kids guide describing 31 ways to begin a family Halloween tradition.  (J and I might have to try using cookie cutters to carve our next pumpkin!)  These 2 pins {HERE & HERE} have an awesome list of suggested books to read at Halloween.  And finally, a simple search on Pinterest yields hundreds of fun “Boo Your Neighbor” ideas… I can’t wait to try out this fun activity next year!

To capture the memories, I created 2 multidimensional mini scrapbooks from scratch in early October.

Halloween Scrapbooks

The inner pages are perfect for recording the details of Halloween adventures across multiple years.  More details to come regarding this amazing keepsake based on Kathy Orta’s instructions!

How do you savor the season?

Comments { 2 }

Happy Birthday J!

Happy Birthday, dear James!

James 31 Family

What an incredible year- we’ve definitely done our fair share of growing (literally by two feet), laughing, traveling, compromising, and generally trying to figure it all out.

James 31

To my partner in crime, cheers to 31!

Comments { 0 }

Reaching…

Motherhood-Reaching

It’s the end of September and this lovely clematis plant is still blooming.  It survived a grueling pruning in July and rewinding of its delicate stems.  Currently, one of its purple blossom gracefully swoops out underneath the mailbox and waits patiently for its daily dose of afternoon sun.  As I was pulling into the driveway a couple of days ago, the thought hit me that the vine is literally reaching for what it needs.

I keep noticing this little plant and thinking about the concept of reaching.  This past year has been full of so many “reaches” for me.

Reaching for patience.  Reaching for normalcy.  Reaching for grace.  Reaching for inspiration.  Reaching out for help from pediatric specialists.  Reaching for information.  Reaching for answers.  Reaching for certainty.  Reaching for strength.  Reaching for joy.

At the beginning of December of last year, I had full plans of following along with Ali Edwards’ project One Little Word for 2013.  And, then Olivia came early.  Our hearts overflowed with love for our precious new baby while our brains raced to manage the myriad of challenges that are associated with prematurity.  Scrapbooking plans in the early months obviously flew out the window.  But, I knew what word I would have chosen for 2013 immediately and without hesitation: GROW.  James and I were expected to grow up, grow stronger, grow faster than we ever thought possible.

Today, we are still reaching.  But, with a little more grace, humor, and wisdom along the way.

When I see that gorgeous clematis bloom, I smile.  Yes, it’s reaching.  But, from another vantage point, its graceful stretch serves to welcome me home, a beautiful reminder that I’m returning to my incredible family.

There’s beauty in the reach.

Comments { 2 }

Lately… Summer 2013

Lately-Summer-13

Row 1: In late July, James’ parents visited and we tackled cleaning up our yard.  We weeded like crazy!  (I don’t think our yard has had any attention since Olivia’s early arrival.)  The garden bed along the side of the house was completely overgrown.  Due to the unseasonably cool summer temps, Olivia was able to spend some time outside with us.  She is pictured here on one of my favorite quilts from my Grandma.

Row 2: We tried a recipe for homemade mango margaritas… yum!  Olivia practiced her swimming skills and I enjoyed snuggles early one morning with both my girls (Lexi and Olivia).  I also sent my favorite children’s book (Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You) along with a handmade card to a friend that delivered her baby very prematurely.  My heart goes out to this new mama and we pray for their sweet boy each day.

Row 3: I severely burned my hands after a glass dish broke filled with scalding liquid.  Real aloe and lavender essential oil were a saving grace.  We made a fun “Congrats!” sign for a friend that completed his PhD.  I couldn’t be there in person to hear his dissertation defense, but Olivia and I cheered him on in spirit!  We also celebrated 2 big milestones during the month of August: Olivia learned how to sit-up by herself and tried her first solid foods (avocados!).

Row 4: A friend and I tried making laundry detergent, body wash, and diaper rash cream using essential oils.  With my mom’s help babysitting Olivia, I was able to work on several fun card projects this month including several thank you cards.  On August 17th, we took Olivia to the zoo for the first time.  We enjoyed seeing the giraffes, elephants, and tigers.  I never realized how gracefully hippos glide through the water!

Row 5: Olivia took her first plane ride to Washington DC to attend James’ brother’s wedding over Labor Day weekend.  (Read my 10 Tips for Traveling with a Baby post.)  It was awesome to see Olivia interacting with her 4 sweet cousins.  Our trip included many sightseeing adventures and even a trip to the ocean!  Olivia was not a fan of the waves.  When the water started to rush up onto her feet, she immediately started crying!  We met a fisherman along a pier while exploring the beach that proudly told us his philosophy on fishing: “You just missed the two best fishing days of the year… yesterday and tomorrow!”

Row 6: Lots of wedding fun!  A quick pic of J and I before the ceremony started.  Olivia “helped” us make a card for the newlyweds… she might have tried to bite off the corner… And, finally, our sweet girl turned 8 months old.  It is amazing how much she changes and grows each day.

Comments { 0 }