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As I continue to work my way through our photos from 2005, I am surprised now and then at how tiny the boys used to be.

Is this toddler really the child who now wants to write “MORE Star Wars movies and games, AND act in them!” when he grows up?

Who now reads Magic Tree House and Serendipity books while his big brother makes his way through Harry Potter and Percy Jackson?

Who is now learning to cut his meat with a knife?

Who knows darned well not to open his Easter basket until he wakes us up and gets the okay?

Nah.  Couldn’t be.

I’ll just keep telling myself that.

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So, I’ve had these two photos of the boys for five years.  I’ve scrapped them six times over the past three years…and trashed every try.  They’ve been giving me fits.  I decided to try again, using this week’s DigiDare for inspiration.  Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.  After more agonizing, I decided simple would suit these best:

I was right: simple was best.  (And, yep, I’m still working through the 2005 photos.  And, nope, I don’t think I’ll ever catch up.  I’m okay with that.  Mostly.)

Something old: The font, 1942 Report, looks like it came from an old typewriter.  It’s one of my go-to fonts.
Something new (meaning a supply I haven’t used before): The stitched heart from the Once Upon A Story Kit (Designs by Lili)
Something borrowed: The idea to block the photos with papers, taken from a layout Mom emailed me this evening.
Something blue: The stitching and both fonts are navy.

(Other credits: papers by Carnia Gardner – Siri Kit, Amber Clegg – Built Tough, & Karah Fredricks – A Fresh Start. Font: Pea Stacey’s Doodles.  Alpha by Monica Guerra Leiria – Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.)

The tips and tricks have been flying in the Jessica Sprague class I’m taking!  Over the past week, I’ve been more and more excited by learning the little things I’ve missed out on by self-teaching.

PoolFun
Kalen helped with this one – titling and colors.  (Hint: photo fun, whether with a digital camera or in Photoshop, is a great way to distract a cranky kid!  They love seeing photos of themselves!)

PPFlowers-WEB
Believe it or not, Jason snapped this shot with his camera phone.  These were my Mother’s Day flowers from him.

EasterNest-WEB
Selective coloring – I’ve done this before, many times, but this technique is much easier.  Well, by easier, I mean it allows me to mess up more often, with less frustration.  How could I not love that?

And now, my favorite…

Storyboard1

This one just may get printed and framed.  What do you think?  Office?  Guest room?  Living room?  Although we tend to have browns in our living room…I guess I could change the tone.  Thoughts?

Even with everything else going on – Jason coming to town, Kalen’s birthday, the Jessica Sprague class – I’ve still managed to find some scrapping time.  After all, I’m completely frustrated with the poorly-written pattern I’m using for the baby gift I’m crocheting, and I’m not feeling patient enough to deal with it.

So here we go.  Apparently, we (my mother, my father-in-law, and I) took a LOT of photos in March of 2005.  Still working through them!

NewDesk

As Nicky’s fifth birthday approached, I asked him if he wanted a bicycle.  Standard, five-year-old boy birthday fare, yes?  Oh no, he wanted a desk!  Somewhere he could sit and write notes.  Hey, cool!  An elfa desk it was.  (I was, after all, a happy employee of The Container Store at the time.)  The sketch for that one is this month’s free template from Karah, an awesome designer and all-around really cool gal.

EggHuntFarm

One of Mom’s friends and her husband always hold a huge egg hunt & spring party out on their farm for all of their friends’ kids.  Hay ride, egg hunt in the field, moon bounce – fun!

Continuing the egg hunt theme, here’s my interpretation of this week’s PencilLines sketch:

NhoodEggHunt

Today, I participated for the first time in the Sketchy Thursdays scrapalong at Diana’s blog.  The true challenge in this for me was to use busy, bold paper.  It’s not at all what I usually go for, but she specifically said to use the paper we’ve been avoiding!

Tangled

There we are…a week’s worth of layouts.  I’m whittling down the 2005 photos slowly, but surely.  I could have them all done in about three months, but since I’m counting on us moving sooner rather than later, I’m aiming for the end of the year.  (Credits behind the cut.)

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We’re coming to the end of the first week of the Photo Editing course I’m taking at JessicaSprague.com.  (This was the free one I mentioned a couple of weeks ago.)  Verdict?  Oh my wow.

Short review: If you want more photoshop skills, take a class from Jessica.

I’ve been using Photoshop Elements for digital scrapbooking for about three-and-a-half years now, and I think I do okay.  The problem is, I’m self-taught, through trial and error, so I’ve missed a lot along the way.  This class, which is called “Frame-Ups and Special Effects” is backfilling a few things I missed, and introducing me to new ways to use some products I’ve skimmed over in the past.

Some of the things I’ve done for class this week:

Wyoming-WEBThis is really simple, just adding some word art and a frame to a photo I took in Wyoming, when Jason and I were driving across country.  However, I’ll admit that putting the elements on the photo hasn’t really occurred to me before.  Lesson 1: Thinking outside the box (or frame, as it were).

This next assignment is the one that had me bouncing in my seat when I completed it yesterday.  This is a photo taken on the same drive across country, in the little town of Collyer, Kansas.  This is the town my grandfather was born in.  His grandparents settled there after the civil war.  Unfortunately, it isn’t a particularly thriving community anymore, but a number of my ancestors are buried in the town cemetery, so when I noticed that we’d be driving right by on our way across Kansas (I mean literally – the freeway is practically adjacent to the cemetary), I begged Jason to stop.  This is the Catholic school house:

IMG_8569-WEB

Yesterday’s lesson involved applying textures over photographs.  I’ve used textures – on paper.  Again, putting them over photos hadn’t entered my brain.

School-WEB

Such fun!  One of the ladies in the class was doing great things with textures over her wedding photos.  I can’t wait to get going on that one of these days…

Today, Jessica showed us TTV (Through The Viewfinder) textures, which are supposed to give the feel of photographs taken with antique cameras.  In honor of Kalen’s birthday yesterday, I decided to play around with a photo of him when he was teensy.  (He was only a day or two old here.)

Kalen-NICU-WEB

The texture is by Steffen Jakob, and I only altered it by using the Dodge Tool a bit over Kalen’s face, to reduce the graininess a bit.

Obviously, I’m having fun with this.  I can’t see making many of my pictures look antique for the scrapping I’ll be doing, but the wheels are beginning to turn as to how I can apply some of these techniques subtly for effect.

After a week away from my computer, what do you suppose the first thing I did was when we got back to Mom & Dad’s house?

Okay, the first thing was to sit and chat with Mom and the boys for a while.  (Dad’s in Anaheim for the Barbershop Harmony Society Convention – his chorus took 12th place!)

What do you suppose the second thing I did was??

Oh, well…that’s right, the second thing was to carry my luggage upstairs and sort of get a start on unpacking it.

But the third thing – the third thing I did was to boot up Photoshop!  Yep!  Had to get a layout done for last week’s PencilLines sketch before today…

CleanFreshFun

I’m sure most parents forget just how little their kids once were.  (At least, I hope most parents do…if they don’t, I really suck.)  Doing all these layouts from 2005 is really tugging my heart strings.  Kalen’s not even two years old yet in these photos, and Nicky’s less than a week out from his fifth birthday.  I don’t often get sentimental about the boys growing up, but sometimes the realization of how much they’ve grown in such a seemingly short amount of time hits me all of a sudden.  I won’t even begin to think about what the next few years are going to bring!

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Tomorrow, the boys and I are heading out to house- and dog-sit for a week, so I’ll be on a scrapbooking hiatus.  No worries, I have crocheting to do!  There’s a certain baby gift I need to get moving on…

Since I knew I’d be going through Photoshop withdrawal next week, I knocked out a couple of pages today.  First was today’s challenge at JessicaSprague.com – to scrap a screenshot.  I adored Jessica’s sample, with a Google Map of her house, so I ripped it right off.

OurFirstHome

We bought our first house in 1999, so all of the photos are in printed snapshot form.  Of course, this means they’re also packed away.  Once we get to Seattle (and I find them, and I find time to scan them in), I’ll finish this layout right up.

The second layout, since it’s Friday, was for a DigiDare.  This week’s Dare is to scrap a chaotic situation.  With two young boys, it just fell to me to choose which situation.  (You know I have a few to choose from.)  How about a two-year-old eating?  That should fit the bill.

MessMaker

The tricky part of this one was to scrap it in a chaotic style without losing focus on the photographs.  I’m pretty happy with it.  (And, BTW, how freaking cute is that spaghetti-covered boy?)

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(And it makes a great background color!)

First things first.  What did I find in my inbox yesterday morning, but a request to use this layout of the boys with my dad on the Creating Keepsakes blog!  Of course, I gave my ecstatic permission, so here it is.  I even get a prize – how nifty is that?

Now, over at JessicaSprague.com, it’s birthday week!  A freebie every day, a free photoshop class in July (you have to sign up this week!), and challenges every day.  Well, you know how I love challenges to get the creative juices flowing, right?

Yesterday, we were to use one of the suggested movie posters as inspiration for a layout.  I was so inspired by the poster for A Mighty Heart that I pretty much lifted it straight off the page to scrap the pictures from the first Preeclampsia Foundation Walk-A-Thon I hosted.

PFWalk-wideblurI love this format for displaying lots of photos.  Today’s challenge was to do a layout completely in neutrals, with just one added color.  I decided to use this picture of Kalen to document the boy’s freaking hilarious giggles.

ContagiousGiggles(Credits, as usual, behind the cut)

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As I approached my 30th birthday a few years back, I began to get really excited.  It wasn’t just for the party…

Aimees30th

…but more for the number itself.  I was so excited to leave my 20’s behind!  Most of my friends dreaded passing into a new decade, but not I.

It’s not that my twenties were bad.  On the contrary, I had a wonderful time in college, met the man of my dreams, had a great marriage and two healthy children.  What I would not miss about those years, however, was the attitude from some people who had long ago left that age behind.  I cannot tell you the number of times I heard a variation of the phrase, “Oh, well, you’ll understand when you’re older.”  By the time I’d reached 28, I was well sick of it.  I suppose the fact that I look younger than my age doesn’t help, but I was convinced that I would stop receiving those patronizing comments once I was in my thirties.

And I did.  Who knows why – perhaps it was my own attitude that staved them off.  Regardless, I find myself happily ensconced in the middle of a decade that sees me neither a young, inexperienced girl, nor yet middle-aged.  I am looking forward to my forties just as happily (although not at all wishing the intervening years away), because I see that there is nothing as ineffectual in life as wishing you were in the past, or younger than you are.  I cannot wait to see what the years ahead bring.

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It’s so much fun to be going through these pictures from 2005 – so many of them are of the kids playing down on the floor.  They don’t spend quite as much time down there these days, although the Legos and trains are still a pretty good floor draw.

My parents have always kept the boys for overnights on a pretty regular basis.  I love that our kids have such involved grandparents (on both sides!).

BestWeekend-wholeThe quote reads: The simplest toy, one which even the youngest child can operate, is called a grandparent. ~ Sam Levenson I love that!

One of the most brilliant toy inventions ever is the laundry basket.  Oh, you may think it’s meant for the hauling of clothing to and from the laundry room, but no!  It is, in fact, the ultimate automobile (or train, or covered wagon, or what-have-you).  Laundry assistant is a secondary pursuit for the sturdy laundry basket.

GoingSomewhereDon’t you love how Nicky is unabashedly sitting right on his baby brother?  Kalen looks like he can’t decide whether to sit back and enjoy the ride, or bring the uncomfortable seating arrangements to my attention.

(Credits behind the cut)
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