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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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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.

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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I set to work on the latest Digi Dare yesterday afternoon (main components of the challenge – one word title and one photo containing only one subject).  Looking through my 2005 photos, I found this one of Nicky with his listening equipment.  His occupational therapist at the time, Ms. Yolanda, had determined that he was a prime candidate for a program called Therapeutic Listening to help with his Sensory Processing Disorder.  Nicky continued with TL for many months.  I don’t know how much it helped, and how much was the other forms of therapy or simple maturity, but he did show improvement over that year.
Listen
(Credits behind the cut)

Today I finished up another baby blanket.  This one’s bound for the NICU, to warm some little baby while he or she is having feedings.  I needed something mindless to work on while the boys and I watched the original Star Wars trilogy last week, and j. had sent me a great skein of bright orange yarn, so this was born.  I’m halfway in love with it, just for the colors.  I’m so tired of pastel baby clothes and blankets, I swear I’ll never make anything pastel for a baby again!

IMG_9544

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I have found only one drawback to diving back into the mania and joy that is digital scrapbooking.  With Jason three-thousand miles away and not here to drag me off the computer, I am staying up way too late creating.

But, oh!  Don’t you think it’s worth it??

NotWaitingForSomeday

Journaling: So far, this period of our family’s life has been one of the most difficult we’ve encountered. The decision to live apart to fulfill our dream of moving to Seattle was not an easy one. We know it’s the right thing to do, though. People tell us we’re brave for selling the house and splitting our family up while we work towards our goal…but I see it instead as a willingness to sacrifice short-term comforts for the long-term health and happiness of our family. We’ll be together again soon enough, more appreciative than ever of our time together. We’re not waiting for someday – we’re making our dreams come true right now!

Stuck

(Credits behind the cut!)

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Happy Bench Monday!

- blog

My hook is flying madly whenever I find time to park myself on the sofa…mostly in the evenings, watching Jane Austen movies with Mom and Dad.  Doctors’ waiting rooms also make fine crochet studios, especially once you’ve been through the pattern repeats a bit.

IMG_9407Sólás Caomh by Jodi Euchner

This is one of the most difficult patterns I’ve ever done.  Now that I’m going strong, it isn’t so bad, actually, but the first few repeats were murder.  Cable crochet in and of itself isn’t so hard…what makes it fiddly is the “Shut up, I’m counting!” nature of the pattern, plus the unfamliar motion of working front post stitches behind stitches you just made.

Anyway, I’ve now completed six of eleven repeats, and I’m supposed to have it done for a baby shower on Saturday, complete with border and blocking.  Eh, piece of cake, right?  Riiiiight…

Or, it would be if I didn’t keep taking breaks to scrap a bit.  Hey, in my defense, the poor hands need a rest now and then.

SweetTreat

Yesterday (yay!), PencilLines posted the sketch for this week.  Sketches help so much when inspiration is scarce.  As you can tell, I’m a bit behind in my scrapping.  (Yes, that 19-month-old eating the green popsicle is entering First Grade in a couple of months.  Don’t even ask about their baby albums.)  In the past, I jumped all over, scrapping whatever photos hit my mood at the time.  However, I’ve taken a cue from my dear friend (and scrapping/design guru), Karah.  I’m approaching it methodically now, working my way through 2005.  In a few months, I should have an album to show for it!

Sweet Treat Credits:
Sketch (reversed) by Anna Bowkis for PencilLines blog (#137)
Background paper by Audra Little (A Little Ensanada)
Krafty Brackets Paper by Christine Honsinger for ScrapArtist.com
Noteworthy Alpha by Birgit Kerr
Stitching by Birgit Kerr (Easy Living)
Scrolled Alpha (recolored) & Bird by Lori Musser/Page Frocks (Paper Dreams)
Swirl Stamp by Amber Clegg (Tranquility)
Cardboard Circle and Scalloped Border by Amy Martin (5255 Collab Kit)
Flowers & “Cool” Word Art by Shabby Princess (Happy Go Lucky)
Journaling Lines by Designs by Lili for ScrapArtist.com (Pieces of My Heart)

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