Category Archives: Scrapbooking

Time for a Little Respite

Today I head back to work after 11 days off.

I feel spoiled.

I am a bit spoiled by it. The proof was in how hard it was to drag myself out of bed this morning! I’ve been staying up til 1 or 2 in the morning every night. And sleeping in quite a bit too. That’s something I almost never do. But it sure did feel good!

I look forward to this each year. With the way the holidays fell this year, I only had to take two days of PTO. Not bad. It reminds me a little bit of when I was a stay-at-home-mom with the boys. Long stretches of time we could fill as we saw fit. Only now they can fend for themselves pretty well:). I really enjoy the potential the break holds; the opportunity to do those things I don’t seem to get around to the rest of the year. I try to make it a mix of have to’s and want to’s. Things that keep me sane and things that feed my soul.

The first day of break I jotted down some things I wanted to do; a mix of things that I had been putting off or hadn’t had time to get to and things that I had been looking forward to doing. Writing it down helps me so much! If I don’t jot it down, at the end of the break I have inevitably forgotten something. I hate ending a break with that sinking feeling. Lists are my friend!

To keep me sane this year…

I updated the kids resume tracking documents – a spreadsheet I keep of the volunteer hours, clubs, leadership, and activities they are involved with and their grades. This was really helpful when it came time to do scholarship applications for Oldest Son and I haven’t entered anything all fall semester. It feels good to be caught up. And it reminded me why Middle Son meets himself coming and going! He is involved in so many things – that snuck up on me.

Did lots of paperwork for our health insurance. Hubby’s employer has a great insurance plan with potential for big discounts by doing some wellness things. I had put it off for a couple of months and the deadline was looming. Feels good to have the time to finish that!

Cleaned out two of my dresser drawers – the unmentionables. I no longer own any socks with holes in them! Gone. And I’m so glad. I love reaching in the  drawer and knowing I can pick any pair of socks! Provided they match that is. Lots of other purging here that makes it so much easier to find what I need in the morning.

Emptied the desktop on our laptop. This was making me crazy! It was completely covered. Completely. I put things on the desktop when I don’t need to keep them, but need a place to put them in the meantime. Like when I’m saving an attachment to edit and resend. Except, I’m terrible about deleting. So it was a mess. I cleaned it up and the next time I logged on I had a moment of panic thinking the laptop crashed when the desktop was empty. Ha!

To feed my soul…

We read the Christmas story together as a family. We had a great conversation about Mary and what she must have been thinking, about Joseph, where Mary’s parents were and what they thought. I think the boys heard it through a new filter this time. Good stuff.

We made cutout cookies. We actually made a bunch of goodies together on Christmas Eve. We had a list of people we wanted to take them to just to say we were thinking of them. We didn’t get them all delivered, but we did some. I’m sorry if we ate your treats. But we were still thinking of you! Does that help?

I made big, fleece, feather pillows for the boys. This was to feed my need to sew and they turned out great! Start to finish in half a day! That is unheard of for this chick.

Crocheted a scarf. I just started crocheting again – I did a long time ago – and wanted to make a fun scarf. I actually made two! And a cover for my new Kindle. I have another one started – they go so quickly!

Lots of scrapbooking happened over this break. Lots! I started and finished 39 scrapbook pages! Impossible you say? Here’s the thing, I’ve switched to scrapbooking in Picasa. It is so quick and easy! And when I’m scrapbooking something like Christmas, that each kid was a part of, I only have to make one page and order 3 prints. Sometimes I switch out a picture or two; maybe make the focal picture different depending on whose page it is. But that is simple to do. Thus, 39 pages done! I finished December, November and most of September. And I just got an email that prints are on sale. How lucky am I?!

I did some outdoor photography. We have a lovely blanket of snow which makes for great pictures. I had to take advantage of the snow while I could. You can check out  a few of the pics here. So much fun.

I did a little writing. Not as much as I expected. I just wasn’t feeling it. I have lots of ideas swirling in my head though. I’m hoping they firm up and form into some good writing soon.

I also did a few things just because I could…

I watched every episode of season 1 and season 2 of Downton Abbey. And I can’t wait for season 3 to start this Sunday! It’s such a good series. But yes, that was 15+ hours of TV shows. Just because I could.

I stayed in my pjs all day…several days. More than I would like to admit. But, no shame. It was my break, time for a little respite. If staying in my pjs all day gives me that, I’m ok with it.

I didn’t finish everything on my list.

I’m working on my first book on my new Kindle, but I’m not finished. One of my goals was to read at least one book. I’ll get there, just didn’t make it before the end of break.

I did a lot of thinking about wardrobe refashioning. That’s a start I’d say. This will have to move to my 2013 goals:). I hoped to refashion a few pieces or at least spend some time looking at my clothes a little differently. Seeing what I could put together that I haven’t thought about before.

We also failed at getting our Christmas letter written. It will go out, and probably before Epiphany. Maybe. But I had really hoped to have it done over break. So if you sent a card and haven’t heard from me, don’t take it personally. Or if you took me off your list because you haven’t received a card, hold on I’m working on it!

Now it’s time to step back into reality. The grown up world where I must shower and wear real clothes. The world where I have deadlines and fires to put out. I’m ready! I’ve had my time for respite and I’m ready to hit the floor running!

Ok, maybe after this cup of coffee…


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Filed under Goals, Holidays, Lifestyle, Scrapbooking

Senior Year – Pictures

I’m pretty excited! We have Oldest Son’s Senior pictures this weekend! The first of many, “I can’t believe we are …” moments I’m sure. I didn’t do the same kind of research for this that I normally would. This one happened more by gut. I stumbled into the whole blogging world last year when a new co-worker told me about her blog. Very quickly I found Whatever and was hooked. I started reading her archives and found I really enjoyed her honesty and her kind spirit. But most of all, I loved her pictures! She does a fabulous job of making the everyday look inviting. She captures a feeling in her pictures that I really like. I love how she embraces color and how she uses different perspectives to make ordinary things seem intriguing. And it just so happens, she lives in Kansas! How lucky are we?

I showed Oldest Son her blog and asked what he thought of the pics. That’s when I found out. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. I bet you know what’s coming…..This is a bigger deal to me than to him! I know right? Shocking!

He thought the pictures looked good. He wasn’t totally impressed like me. Oh well. He will be there and I’m sure Meg will capture his personality beautifully. And I will love the pics and have a hard time narrowing them down. I’m really looking forward to seeing what she comes up with for Oldest Son.

I’m also excited because I will get a disk with edited photos that I can put into a book, make prints, share with friends, etc. This was important to me; to have the freedom to use the pictures. I completely value the talent that it takes to get a great picture and I’m happy to pay for that. But I want the freedom to be able to do what I want with the pictures afterwards.

So there you have it. Senior pictures this weekend! I think I’ll take pics of the photog taking pics:). Might be a fun perspective to share. I’m just glad Oldest Son isn’t Oldest Daughter or I think I would be feeling a lot more frazzled right now.

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Filed under Legacy, Parenting, School, Scrapbooking, Senior Year

Is Facebook the New Family Scrapbook?

I am kind of a Facebook junkie. I’m on it every day. I have it open at work, check it at home in the evening, and have had the app on my phone for a couple years. I have to say it has been a great way to reconnect with family and friends. Its also strengthened some of my relationships. I think its had a positive effect on my life. But I’ve noticed a trend recently that I’m not sure I’m ok with. It has to do with preserving family memories. I take a lot of pictures. Its my thing. I love capturing all of life’s important moments, I always have. I’ve been an avid scrapbooker since about 2000. But lately, I’ve found that I’m taking most of my pictures with my phone. And they are going straight on Facebook. Once I have shared them there, I am mentally finished with them. They don’t get filed in Picasa like my other photos.

I think this is good and bad. I love that I have already seen my nephew’s prom pics. If it weren’t for Facebook, I wouldn’t see them until this summer when we visit. I’ve also seen so many cute pics of my college roommate’s daughter. She’s two and I haven’t met her yet. And it’s so fun keeping up with my cousin and his family who are currently stationed in Okinawa. My parents have been able to keep up with what is going on in their grandkids lives even though some of them live hours away.  It really is good t o share photos on Facebook. The drawback is when I forget to include those pictures with the rest. When I don’t get them filed and included for scrapbooking. And, its easy to forget that the other grandparents aren’t on Facebook and haven’t seen all that is happening in the grandson’s lives. We have to be deliberate in keeping them in the loop. 

I did have the reminder recently that Facebook is not a permanent thing. There is no guarantee it will be around when the boys are out of college. Things can change very quickly and this is a privately owned website. They are not beholden to me to maintain it as is indefinitely. They could decide tomorrow to put a limit on the number of photos you are allowed to store and delete the rest. It could happen. I guess my next big job is to file all my Facebook pics in Picasa – and maybe even include the captions and comments. Now I just need an app that will do that for me! Gotta email Google I’m sure they can figure it out.

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Filed under Legacy, Lifestyle, Scrapbooking

The Pleasure (or pressure) of a Scrapbook

At least 10 years ago, a friend introduced me to the idea of scrapbooking. It started with a recruiting album for my home based business. I wanted a way to tell my story to others; to share the business that I loved with my hostesses. This friend helped me cut out some pictures, add stickers and journal to tell the story. We worked on it a few nights together and I was really impressed with how it turned out. And apparently it was pretty good- I was the top recruiter in my group that year! It was fun too! Figuring out what pictures to use, what I wanted to say in a few sentences, how to “accessorize” my page.

Shortly after that I was invited to another scrapbooking party. I had a really hard time picking the 8-10 pictures of one subject that they recommended I bring. I settled on some pictures of our first trip to Phoenix to visit my brother and his family. That night we learned all kinds of things about scrapbooking. We learned to choose pictures to tell a story, how to incorporate colors, the importance of journaling and that the stickers come last. We also learned about cropping pictures. This was a new concept for me and frankly, I didn’t like it. I’m a photography buff, have been since high school. I had never thought about cutting up my pictures. I worked hard to get what I wanted in each shot, so the idea of cutting something out was foreign. But after a lot of coaxing I took the plunge and cropped a picture. And it didn’t kill me! In fact, it looked good. It was amazing how cutting the picture down actually made it better. {Interesting concept; trimming out the clutter helps you focus.} I was pretty much hooked at that point.

That’s not really surprising though. I love most creative things and have tried quite a few over the years. I’m a pretty good seamstress- made my prom dresses in high school – but once my boys out grew infancy that hobby kind of took a back seat. There are lots of things you can sew for little girls…boys, not so much. I did lots of cross-stitch back in the 80’s when it was popular. I don’t think my bifocal contacts could take that anymore. I remember doing macrame’ with my mom in the 70’s. When we were first married I did lots of arrangements and wall hangings with dried and silk flowers – even sold them at craft shows. But, I digress.

Scrapbooking felt like a creative hobby with a purpose. I could capture my children’s lives; all their firsts and special moments. I could share the albums with their wives and children. A beautiful token of my love for them.

Those who know me well know I like things to be in order. Things have to be organized; chronologically, alphabetically, by size, grouped by color. Whatever the trait, they just have to be organized. So of course, I started my scrapbooking adventure by organizing my photos. I put them in shoe boxes with index dividers I bought at a garage sale (see, I knew they’d come in handy for something!). Each box holds one year. Then within each box I put them in calendar order grouping the events or activities; winter/snow fun, Easter, spring, swimming in the summer, fall fun, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. That still wasn’t enough organization. When I thought about the fact that I have three kids so would need to do three albums, I realized I would need to separate each event into three groups of pics – one for each boy. So, I spent a lot of time organizing pictures – this was before digital cameras.

I’ve been scrapbooking for 10 years now. Not one of my children’s books has 10 years of pictures in it. Not even close! The first child’s (because it’s always this way) is done from birth to 2 1/2 years old. The second child’s book is done from birth to his first birthday (actually I ran out of tape runner tonight so his first birthday pics aren’t stuck down, but the layout is done). And the third child….well, I got tired of doing baby pages…so, he has some pages starting when he was a toddler and going through his 4th birthday. They all have random pages from elementary school. As my kids would say, EPIC FAIL!

I think my tendency to be a bit OCD might contribute to my challenges with getting the albums done. I have a few rules about my scrapbooking:

  1. It must be chronological
  2. It must not skip any events or get them out of order
  3. It must include all the people who were there
  4. It must be equally creative for each child
  5. It must include journaling the story that goes with the pictures
  6. It must tell the story of their life!

No pressure on myself or anything.

It should be easier now. I’ve transitioned from my scrapbooking stuff being packed up in boxes that were pulled out and spread all over the table while I worked on an album to a dedicated space in our home. I have everything laid out around my chair in the workspace; photo boxes (I upgraded to the real photo box kind) cutting tools, markers, accessories and the notebook I use to plan the layouts. I’m a lucky girl. Now it’s just a matter of making the time.

So tonight I come down stairs to scrapbook for a little while – it’s been months! I spend an hour figuring out where I left off. I can’t just pick up and go on (see rules1 and 2 above) or things will be out of order. I decide on the next page to do, a birthday. I’ve scrapbooked a lot of birthdays, how do I make this page unique (see rule 4 above)? Hmm…hmmm…ooh! I have an idea. I choose the pictures, crop them to fit, lay them out with the carefully chosen embellishments. Now I  just need to tell the story. There’s not picture of me at the party. I was there, that much I remember. I wonder if there is a picture in the box still. Come to think of it, there isn’t a picture of Grandpa and I know he was there. This isn’t good (see rule 3 above). I guess it is what it is. I can’t go back and recreate the moment. I’ll just have to include in the journaling who all was there. Even if there isn’t a picture at least there will be a record of who came. So, what did we do for that birthday? Um…we had cake, there were guests, um…he opened presents, what did he get. Oh there’s a picture of the presents. Wouldn’t it be fun to include what his favorites were? And maybe who he got them from? I should have filled out his baby book or kept a journal. I can’t remember anything other than what is in the pictures. This is bad (see rule 5 above).

And so, two hours have passed. And that one birthday party is not captured in the album.

My boys have had 42 birthdays between them. Math is not my strong suit, but if I average 2 hours per birthday that’s 84 hours of scrapbooking on birthdays alone! Not to mention holidays, play days, vacations, school, soccer, band, scouts…(see rule 6 above). I am completely overwhelmed.

The way I see it I have a few options. I can quit now knowing there’s little hope of ever catching up. I can throw the rules out the window and just throw together a scrapbook for each boy. Or, I can keep plugging away. Getting lost in the memories as I sort the pictures. Feeding my soul by using my creativity to make a special gift for my boys. Maybe its the experience of creating that is my gift to them. As I sit at my scrapbook table, one of them is inevitably watching TV or playing a video game in the same room. Each picture I come across conjures up another memory I feel compelled to share. We talk, we laugh, we share some special moments. And that is enough. One day their albums will be done. And I will start on my grandchildren’s albums. I will probably be behind on them too. But I will enjoy the experience.


Filed under Family, Legacy, Organization, Scrapbooking