Wednesday, December 28, 2011

December Daily :: Day 25


I always have a hard time when document Christmas Eve and Christmas Day because there are always SO many pictures and great memories. It's hard to pick just a few. Next year I need to come up with better layouts to capture all of the great moments.

Journaling reads: You woke up this morning at 8 o’clock. I could hear you open your door and few seconds later yell “Mommy! Mommy, let’s go downstairs.” I purposely didn’t respond because I wanted you to come and get me. You walked into our room all stoic... your way of not showing any emotion. I said, “why? What’s downstairs?” Finally a smile broke across your face. “Presents. From Santa!”

This was the present you made for us at school. You were so excited to give it to us that it was the first thing you grabbed when it was time to open presents. We LOVE it. Thank you.

We spent the day playing with all your new toys, and then we got ready to go to Aunt Kari’s for Christmas dinner. Mommy had popsicles and crackers, but everyone loved the ham and potatoes et al. You gave and received lots of great presents like your remote control fire truck, ceramic train music box, and Kanga! We finished the special Christmas celebration by singing happy birthday to Jesus. A blessed day indeed!

Click here for a list of credits and supplies used in today's layout.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

December Daily :: Day 24


I woke up on Christmas Eve sick. I have to admit at first I was a little excited thinking about spending the day alone and quiet... but quickly became very sad. I was determined to make it to my in-laws. I showered and got myself all made up, and I was feeling OK. We were on our way, made it about halfway there and the car ride was making me very, very nauseous. I made Jeff pull over at a gas station so I could get some fresh air. I nearly lost my cookies so to speak, and had to sit on the curb because I started to see stars. Not good. I had Jeff take me home, and I cried the whole way.  I was mad at myself for even thinking I could make it, and now Jeff and Sean were going to be late. I was sad I would miss seeing Sean and his cousins. I was sad that I would surely miss some really cute memories. I spent the night on the couch. Bah humbug.

Journaling reads: Christmas Eve! Twas the night before Christmas, and the parties were starting! We celebrate with the Hipelius side of our family on Christmas eve, and you were ready  to party! Mommy, however, wasn’t. She got your bug stomache, and didn’t make it to Grammy and Grampy’s today. Bummer. She was really sad about it and ended up watching TV the whole night under the glow of the Christmas tree. You, however, had an awesome time playing with your cousins. You told me all about the yummy food you ate like pretzels, crackers, rolls, ham, mashed potatoes. Oh and cake. Your favorite. Then you opened presents and lots of them! You are very loved.

Here are a few more pics my dear husband shot for me that night. So, so cute.


IMG_1505 IMG_1507






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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas
Wishing you and your loved ones a blessed Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2011

December Daily :: Day 23


Pictures like these I wish I had a Nikon and/or a better lens. I used my kit lens instead of my 50mm 1.8 because it was such tight quarters, and I wanted to get the Christmas tree in the frame. So that meant I had to use the tripod as well as bump my ISO as high as it would go. The focus is OK but there is so much noise. I hate noise. Oh well, c'est la vie.

Journaling reads: You’ve been watching one Christmas movie every day this month, but tonight was family movie night. The Polar Express. Your favorite. you watched pretty much the whole movie, but fell asleep right after the first gift of Christmas. Will you always be able to hear the bell’s sweet sound?

Click here for a list of credits and supplies used in today's layout.

December Daily :: Day 22


I have a confession to make. I hold a guilty pleasure in pretty wrapping paper and ribbons. And when I found the awesome prices on the adorable paper at Hobby Lobby a few years, I fell in love. Don't tell my husband.

So it's only fitting that today's entire page be just my wrapping paper.

Journaling reads: After our campout last night, we had a hard time getting moving today. But we finally got dressed and took the truck in for a new solenoid, and we played with Buddy the dog while we waited. Next, off to brave the crowds at Kohl’s, and then back home to build Geotown around the little Xmas tree. Finally, I had time to sit and start wrapping presents!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

December Daily :: Day 21


If you think you've seen this post before, you may have -- I updated it to include page 2 about our campout last night. I didn't think I'd get a decent photo, but I did. Lo and behold I know something about using my Canon :-)

The journaling about the campout reads: You’ve been sick the past couple of days. A bug stomache, as  you like to call it. Nothing too serious, and you’re a big boy now so you can handle it easily on your own. With all the yuckiness that comes with being sick, your advent activity today was a special treat - campout under the Christmas tree with Mommy. We wacthed Elmo’s Countdown to Christmas and fell asleep under the twinkly lights. It was pure magic and the perfect medicine for an
upset tummy.

And, remember my ranting and raving last year that I would never make another gingerbread house EVER? Well, clearly I'm insane because I did it again. This year was much calmer with better preparation. I used graham crackers this year glued to boxes with icing. MUCH, much easier.


The main house is a 12 pack box of Mike's Hard Lemonade. Jeff was worried that the bottles were still inside. I assured him they were not. The box in front is a lasagna noodle box, and the chimney is a spaghetti box. The roof I had to measure and cut out of cardboard.

IMG_1431_edited Royal icing made from egg whites and powdered sugar - a snap. Paint the box with some icing and start slapping the graham crackers on.  Then decorate. My roof is Necco wafers, and the windows are wafer cookies. The tree is a sugar cone.


Did you make a gingerbread house this year?

December Daily :: Day 20


Another full page photo... not sure why I didn't do it sooner in the month. Maybe I'll go back and see if I can add some. That's what I love about digital scrapping.

Journaling reads: Snowflakes as big as tissues fell today, and you couldn't resist going out and trying to catch one.

Christmas plus three year olds plus singing makes for a VERY fun morning. Today was your first Christmas program, and you loved every minuted of it. Jingle Bells, Happy Birthday Jesus and We wish you a Merry Christmas were all sung beautifully by you and your little friends. Mommy and Daddy and Grammy and Grampy and Uncle Mikey all came to see you, and then we had fun doing all the activities.

Click here for a list of credits and supplies used in today's layout.

December Daily :: Day 19


The full page photos are back... I couldn't resist. They weren't in my original plan for the book, but I sure do love them. Especially this one. This is our daily life right now in December. Love it.

Journaling reads: Today we went to Color Me Mine in downtown Crystal Lake to paint a Christmas plate. We used your handprint and created a Santa face using your handprint for his beard. You also painted  an ornament because you were getting a little antsy while mommy painted Santa. Maybe we can do this again next year, and make it a tradition.

"Mommy, Mommy! Come look at my army men!" Such is life with an almost 4 year old little boy. I love you, Sean Thomas!

Click here for a list of credits and supplies used in today's layout.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December Daily :: Day 18


One of the most anticipated days of the year. Visiting Santa. Sean prepared by writing his Christmas list -- oh, about a month ago! Luckily it was in his giant coloring book and he knew exactly where it was. He hadn't finished coloring it, so he quickly did just that because he knew that Santa would appreciate a fully colored page.

No journaling on today's page. I figure a visit to Santa can be told in just photos. Plus, nothing really exciting happened that needed to be expressed in words.

Click here for a list of credits and supplies used in today's layout.

December Daily :: Day 17


You've got to love adorable little ones. Those baby blues... to die for.

Journaling reads: Today we celebrated round one of Christmas with Aunt Susie and Uncle Frank. It was a fun-filled, crazy evening with lots of playing, running, hide and seek and present-opening. You received lots of great gifts including Lincoln Logs, matchbox cars, Playmobile Santa set, and clothes. You topped the evening off with a dance with MacKenzie. So, so cute.

Click here for a list of credits and supplies used in today's layout.

December Daily :: Day 16


I'm loving the extra spots this year for multiple photos. Yet, a large part of me yearns for the real simplicity of just one photo day. I think I might have to return to it again next year. With that said I'm happy and content with this year's book so far. It's not the same as year's past and therefore will be unique in telling of this year's story.

Journaling Reads: The Botanic Gardens has become an annual tradition with Aunt Maureen. The Wonderland Express is amazing, and the lights and decorations inside and out are breathtaking. Then we finished the night with dinner at Max and Benny’s. Yummy! We all had a great time.

Click here for a list of credits and supplies used in today's layout.

December Daily :: Day 15


Journaling reads: Today was one of those days where I had a ton of things planned down to the minute, and something completely out of my control threw a wrench in my plans. A day to remind me that God is the one in control, not me. I dropped you off at school and then headed out to run some errands. Then the truck stalled. I called Daddy, and then it started only to stall again. Luckily I was able to get myself into a parking lot and called Allstate Motor Club who sent a tow truck for me. While waiting I said a quick prayer and asked for God’s protection. Grandma Shelly came to pick you up from school, and several strangers reached out to offer their help. We were able to borrow Grandma’s car to go get our hair cut, and then we went to see Grandma McDunn at the rehab facility. Portillos for dinner, and then Grammy and Grampy came to see you. You saw all of your grandparents today. It turned out to be a lovely day.

Click here for a list of credits and supplies used in today's layout.

Monday, December 19, 2011

December Daily :: Day 14


Journaling Reads: We made Christmas cookies today, and boy was it an adventure. I called Daddy and told him to remind me not to make cutout cookies again. A LOT of work without much return. But, once we settled down and started decorating it was all worth it. You loved icing the cookies and putting sprinkles on them. Then we pulled out the Pillsbury cookie dough and made chocolate chip cookies. I normally make yummy homemade, but today the store bought dough was a welcome respite.

Click here for a list of credits and supplies used in today's layout.

December Daily :: Day 13


I'm behind in posting these pages, mostly because I was waiting for these cards to reach their recipients. I have all of the other pages built so get ready!

Journaling reads:
Our Christmas card this year featured twelve photos - one from every month highlighting the fun things we did all year long. The best thing about this card is the awesome deal I got from Thanksgiving weekend they were running a 70 percent off sale. And if provide them your mailing list, they will address your envelopes AND free postage. Wowza! I received 100 cards for 42 dollars. That’s less than what I would have paid for the stamps alone. Plus, no hassle with addressing and stamping each envelope. Now that’s what I call an awesome value!

Click here for a list of credits and supplies used in today's layout.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December Daily :: Day 12


I had a productive Monday, and back on track with a normal schedule. Daily mass, workout at the YMCA, grocery shopping... and a picnic lunch under the Christmas tree! If you want to impress a three year old, this is it. He was giddy and talked about it the rest of the day.

I'm not sure this story deserves an entire spread, but my story for Tuesday does... and when you're doing a photo book you have to keep in mind your page count. I still love this for its simplicity.

Journaling reads: We had a picnic lunch today under the Christmas tree. It was delightful, and you thought it was the BEST thing EVER. We have to remember to do it again next year.

Click here for a list of credits and supplies used in today's layout.

December Daily :: Day 11


We did a lot on Sunday, so I decided to include little thumbnails of the highlights. The coup d'etat was the Nutcracker in downtown Woodstock. Our seats were really lousy, and Sean fell asleep during the second act when our friend Annie (his babysitter from summer) was dancing... but it really was very beautiful, and I enjoyed it!

Journaling reads:

1. Jingle the elf is getting trickier by the day

2. Flowers from Trader Joes. So pretty. Daisies are Grandma Shelly’s favorite flower.

3. Giving tree present dropoff was today at church. You really loved the idea.

4. Happy Meal french fries have become teeny-tiny.

5. Downtown Woodstock Opera House

6. We went to see Annie in the Nutcracker. You feel asleep in the second Act and missed her altogether. This photo is not of Annie. No pictures were supposed to be taken, but Mommy didn’t hear that until someone told her.

Click here for a list of credits and supplies used in today's layout.

December Daily :: Day 10


I'm getting caught up on all of my December Daily pages. Today was my last day of grading, so now I'm free to really focus on Christmas and other things!

Journaling reads: You LOVE hot cocoa, and ask to drink it just about every day. Today was your lucky day because it was your advent activity! I also bought myself a Kindle Fire, and we’ve had so much fun playing with it. Books, music, movies, web, games. There’s not much it can’t do! Our favorite game is Angry Birds. It came in handy while we went to visit Grandma McDunn in the hospital. You played games and watched movies most of the time. Then we finished the day with dinner at Chili’s - your favorite restaurant.

Click here for a list of credits and supplies used in today's layout.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December Daily :: Day 9


Today was our annual outlet mall christmas shopping day. This year we headed north to Kenosha, WI and had lunch at Chandler’s at the Radisson next to the mall. By 1pm we hit the stores, and didn’t stop but for a short snack break and a quick dinner at Subway. We hit the last store just before 8pm. Whew! A long, productive day. It was a bit chilly at 19 degrees, but no snow so we consider ourselves lucky.

Click here for a list of credits and supplies used in today's layout.

December Daily :: Day 8


The past few years in my December Daily book I've written a letter to Sean. I loved doing it, and really wanted to do it again this year. But when I sat down to write it didn't sound like me. It's hard to explain. It sounded more like a different mom... one that I wanted to sound like. Does that make sense? Anyway, I scrapped it because I didn't feel like it was authentic. And then I decided to have it be in Sean's words. I had a conversation with him about his favorite things, and other fun tidbits right now. This way I was able to cover lots of things, and get it straight from the horse's mouth. Inspired by Cathy Zielske.

I love it.

Journaling reads:  A conversation with Sean - December 2011

My favorite color:  Green
My favorite food:  Pizza
The best show on TV is:  Curious George
The coolest person on Earth is:  Kevin
My favorite school activity:  Coloring
My favorite stuffed animal: Winnie the Pooh
If I could go anywhere, I’d go to:  The zoo
When I grow up, I’m going to be:  Darth Vadar
Three words that descibe me: silly, funny, happy
I’m asking Santa for: Hot Wheels Trio blocks, Lift and Go Garage, Lincoln Logs
What I love best about Xmas: The Christmas Tree, decorations, ornaments, cookies
My favorite song:  Boo to You
My favorite movie:  The Muppets
My favorite game:  Angry Birds
My best friend:  Drake... and Hannah... and Mommy
The last book I read was:  Too Many Toys by David Shannon

Click here for a list of credits and supplies used in today's layout.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

December Daily :: Day 7


Simple day, simple layout. My favorite.

Journaling reads: Wednesdays are often a day for us to play catch-up around the house, and run errands. Even during Christmastime, these things must get done. Today, Mommy had to work in the morning but then after lunch we bundled up and headed to get allergy shots, the library and the post office. You were so excited to mail the card you made for Hannah!

Click here for a list of credits and supplies used in today's layout.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December Daily :: Day 6


I'm getting into the groove of this project. Here's another simple layout that I love. I had to alter this from the original because of the size of the photo. But all's well that ends well.

Journaling reads: St. Nick stopped by last night to leave some treats in your boot. You were so excited that you couldn't sleep. You kept coming out to check if he had come, but I warned you that he might pass you by if you weren't asleep. Luckily that didn't happen.

Click here for a list of credits and supplies used in today's layout.

Monday, December 5, 2011

December Daily :: Day 5


Woo hoo! Nothing like finishing a couple pages before the day is even done. It helps when you decide not to take any photos. I really love this layout but there are only so many things you can actually do with it. This was a story I really wanted to document because it's a new tradition, and one that Sean is really loving. So I knew from the start that I wanted to use this template for this story.

Easy peasy.

Journaling reads: Every day during advent you get to pick a Christmas movie out of the big bucket to watch that day. It’s one of the many different countdown activities we have going on in our house this month. You LOVE it! So far you have watched the Grinch, Muppets, Thomas, Frosty and Olivia. And it’s nice for Mommy to have a break to get some work done. Soon enough things will slow down around here, and we’ll have time to PLAY!

Click here for a list of credits and supplies used in today's layout.

December Daily :: Day 4


The goods news is I remembered to bring my camera with me to Barnes & Noble. The bad news is it didn't have a CF card. UGH!! I can't tell you how many times I have done this. Too many to count. So I resorted to using my cell phone camera which is lousy. I used an Orton effect in Photoshop, but not sure it's going to do the trick. On the screen it doesn't look so bad, but I'm afraid when it's printed the resolution will be noticeable stinky. Bummer.

Eh... c'est la vie, right? The memory was captured. Day 4 complete.

Journaling reads: Last year we started a tradition of going to Barnes and Noble and picking out a new Christmas book. This was your advent activity today, so we went after church tonight. Your memory is just like Daddy’s because you remembered from last year that they have a Thomas train table set up, and you beelined it straight there. We literally had to pull you away from those trains in order to look at the books. But you love to read too, so it wasn’t too much of a struggle. You were trying to decide on either The Gingerbread Pirates or Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Not a big surprise that the pirates won! You loved reading this book tonight before bed, and it’s a nice addition to your Christmas books.

Click here for a list of credits and supplies used in today's layout.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

December Daily :: Day 3


Yesterday was chock full of many different things, but I focused on just one story to document. Trimming the Christmas tree! Believe it or not, we still have more to do today since the big tree wasn't ready yet. Jeff had to spend most of the day replacing bulbs. So Sean and I worked on decorating the tree in the living room. He had the BEST time ever. And he's now old enough that I don't have to worry about the ornaments too much, and we finished super fast!

I used the template I originally created for day 3 (shocker!), and while the photos are kind of small for my liking I generally like the page for its simplicity.

Click here for a list of credits and supplies used in today's layout.

Friday, December 2, 2011

December Daily :: Day 2


I went simple today, using one of my photos as the background for the page. I kind of love it. Not totally, but you can convince me. Wink. Wink.

Journaling reads: We woke up to the season’s very first snowfall this morning. You really wanted to make snow angels, but it will have to wait until we get more snow! In the afternoon we traveled to Arlington Heights to meet Aunt Kari and Hannah at the Lamb’s Farm craft show. You received five dollars in your advent bucket this morning, and wanted to buy everything you saw. “I love it, Mommy!” You decided on a jingle snowman ornament.

Click here for a list of credits and supplies used in today's layout.

December Daily :: Day 1


Day 1 is complete. I have to be honest and tell you I'm not in love with it. I'm yearning for my simple approach from last year when I used one photo, told one story, and kept it super simple.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to change this. Stay tuned.

Edited: I determined the bright green ribbons were a little too much for me. I deleted them and enlarged the photos some. I like it much, much better. Whew! Crisis averted.


Click here for a list of credits and supplies used in today's layout.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent 2012 :: He's coming


Jingle Elf is coming tonight. Woo hoo!

But lest we forget that Jesus is also coming, and isn't that the real reason for all this hoopla? The past few years I've tried hard to not only create wonderful memories for our family, but to also prepare my heart and soul during Advent. A time for preparation for Our Lord Jesus at Christmas, but ultimately for the end of time when he comes again. Whoa, heavy stuff. Hence why we insert things such as Jingle Elf to make the journey a little easier to manage. Either way God will be there along the journey, for every single step.

This year for our advent calendar I have created activities for Sean to do every day. Some are fun, some are silly, and some are sweet. Most of them focus on doing things together or doing things for other people. Here's our list in case you are in need of some ideas. This forced me to get our calendar in order, but we're flexible. If something changes I can easily switch the pieces of paper into a different bucket.

  1. Jingle elf is here! Find him.
  2. Pick out a special holiday treat with this money ($5 for holiday craft show)
  3. Decorate the Christmas tree
  4. Pick out a new Christmas book at B&N
  5. Make a card for someone and send it in the mail
  6. Recycle some toys to share with others
  7. Do a puzzle & leave it out for everyone to see
  8. Make a craft with Mom
  9. Wear something red today
  10. Have hot cocoa & cookies
  11. Wrap & bring presents for the giving tree at church
  12. Picnic Lunch under the Christmas Tree
  13. Lunch with Grammy & Grampy
  14. Bake & decorate cookies
  15. Bring a treat bag to the neighbors
  16. See the trains & Christmas lights at Botanic Gardens
  17. Make a handprint plate at Color Me Mine & visit Santa
  18. Take a drive to see Christmas lights
  19. Decorate a gingerbread house
  20. Talk about how you & Jesus were alike when you were babies.
  21. Campout under the Christmas Tree. Look at the stars just as the shepards did.
  22. Polar Express & The Nativity movie night
  23. Open one present tonight
  24. Bake a birthday cake for Jesus
  25. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lord, I give you my womb

Lord, I give you my womb.
I’ve been repeating this meditation over and over again for the past 11 days. I had to in order to let go of all the control I thought I had over the process. On 11-11-11 Jeff and I woke up before the sun, and headed east to Highland Park, IL for our very last fertility treatment. Along the way we watched the sun rise, and we couldn’t help but feel hopeful.

It takes a village to raise a child, and this particular weekend I was convinced it takes a village to conceive a child too. Sean spent the night at Grammy & Grampy’s, and then the next night at Aunt Kari’s so that I could rest. And we had tons of people praying for us.
After the procedure, our doctor came to see us. He said everything went well and now all we do is wait and pray. He understood that it doesn’t take a village to conceive a child. It takes God. We thanked him nonetheless for his care and love for us over the years, and he got teary eyed. This was the last hurrah.

Over the course of 8 years I have been poked and prodded all in the name of life. It’s been a journey. I’ve learned a lot, but mostly I’ve learned about letting go. God’s will be done. And His will is going to be infinitely better than anything I can control. Heck, I have a hard time roasting a chicken for dinner sometimes. Imagine if I was in complete control of creating a human. Yikes!
This morning I dropped Sean off at preschool, then headed to the fertility center for my blood test. The nurse told me she would have the results around 3pm. Next I went to church where conveniently they were having Eucharistic Adoration today (nothing is a coincidence!). I spent an hour in prayer and conversation with Jesus. I cried when I first knelt down. I needed to get that out – let go of the control -- and hand it over so that Jesus and the angels could carry me today.

At 2:15 the nurse called and told me it was bad news. The test was negative. I’m not pregnant. Surprisingly I was able to finish talking to her without tears breaking through. But as soon as I hung up the phone, they burst forth. I’m not pregnant. I’m never going to give birth again. The last hurrah is over.
Sean walked into the room, and said “what’s wrong momma?” I told him I was sad, and he asked why. I said, “because God hasn’t blessed us with a baby brother or sister for you yet.” He shrugged his shoulders and said, “It’s ok momma. Don’t worry. He’s working on it.”

And that, my friends, is the answer.
Our next journey is domestic adoption. This path to building our family has been in our hearts since the beginning. I’m going to continue to pray, but pretty confident this is where God is leading us.

Speaking of prayers, for the past eight years and specifically the past 11 days we’ve had the very best prayer warriors praying for us. I couldn’t help but be reminded this week of the scripture where the men lowered their sick friend through the ceiling in order to see Jesus. The man was healed because of the faith of his friends. Thank you, friends and family for all your love and prayers. We are certain we couldn’t have made it through this journey without you & your faith.
Lord, I give you my womb. Your will be done. The sun will rise again tomorrow, and we’re hopeful.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The view from here :: Fall 2011


The view from here is colorful & sunny. Through hard work and the grace of God the present is clear, sharp and fresh. The future is blurry but from the looks of it bound to be stunning.


Simplicity. It's been my mantra this year. My daily prayer. In many ways my prayer was answered. In others, not so much. It remains my focus in just about every area of my life. Faith. Family. Home. Health. Fun. We can't forget fun. I struggle with priorities, and the devil is in the details. Literally. That's when my type A personality strays away from simplicity, and loses focus. The devil is sneaky.


Many of you know that I love creativity. I love photography. Somehow at the beginning of this year I was able to prioritize and fit everything in. My Project 365, one photo a day, easily fit into my daily plans. Then Easter came, and that was thrown out the window along with a lot of other things. I'm not sure why, and I'm still praying and working on getting back into balance.

This past week Jess wrote a blog post that spoke to my heart. While she's talking about photography as a business, I think it applies to so many women these days. Especially those moms in my generation who long to be both a present mother and the desire to do X, Y or Z.

That's where I am. Me today.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

December Daily 2011: Foundation Pages

December Daily 2011 Digital Templates

I hate to interrupt your Thanksgiving preparations to talk about December. Yuck, right? Well, snap out of it! After you eat all that turkey and pumpkin pie and watch some football you'll have exactly two days before Advent begins.

Enter my annual December Daily project. It's an album project started by Ali Edwards that documents every day in the month of December. I started the project two years ago, and absolutely adore it. I do it all digital, and then print to a photobook. It's just the way I roll.

One of the keys to success is to have the base pages created in advance of December so that the project doesn't consume you, and you can actually enjoy the memories as they happen in real time! And heck, if I didn't come up with my core pages ahead of time it just wouldn't happen. I look at this step as the creative concept stage. The good news is I'm my own client, and I approve!

I spent an entire day designing the digital templates. Whew! I'll be documenting all 31 days, so all of these templates will be used at least twice changing up the paper & colors... and knowing me I'll alter and/or create new ones along the way. But this gives me a great headstart.
  • Scraplifted layouts from 12 Days Album by One Little Bird (Oscraps)
  • Frames :: Biograffiti’s Photoshoot Album (Oscraps)
  • Ornament Brushes :: Stems of Three Holiday Numbers by Michelle Martin for Designer Digitals
  • Papers :: Pierrette by Michelle Martin for :: Syage by Michelle Martin for :: Photoshoot Papers by Biograffiti (Oscraps)
  • Word Art :: Ali Edwards Holiday Words for Designer Digitals :: 12 Days Word Art by One Little Bird (Oscraps)
  • Christmas Elements :: Christmas Dreams Glitter by Mindy Terasawa for Designer Digitals

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving Countdown

Thanksgiving Countdown_1Thanksgiving Countdown_2

It's happened, people. Thanksgiving is less than a week away! Um, summer? Where did you go? Weren't you just here a few weeks ago? Now we're wearing jackets and cozy cable knit sweaters.

Don't get me wrong. I love fall. Absolutely adore it. The best is when you can wear a sweater with a pair of capris and flip flops. I'm a "like the best of both worlds" kind of gal. I like to have my cake and eat it too... with a cherry on top.

Anyway, I digress. This post is not supposed to be about me. It's about this little boy you see here, and that funny looking turkey he's holding. Last weekend his Grammy gave him a very cute Mickey Mouse advent calendar. And he wanted to put it up immediately. It was a struggle. Lots of whining. Crying. And a trip to the naughty step. {Sean, BTW, not me}. Once he settled down I explained that we had to celebrate Thanksgiving first before we could start counting down the days to Christmas. So he innocently asked, "well, when is Thanksgiving? Do we have a Thanksgiving calendar?"

We didn't.

But I made one lickety split! Enter some construction paper, popsicle sticks and a little red pipe cleaner for the gaggle thingamajig. Sean worked on coloring the popsicle sticks while I cut and assembled the turkey (sometimes called a chicken... Sean doesn't understand the fine differences in his poultry). Now, every day before we eat breakfast we grab the next popsicle stick, slap a little double-stick tape on it, and shove it into the turkey. Then while we're eating breakfast we count up the remaining sticks.

Guess what folks? There's not many sticks left.

If you look closely the gaggle is literally hanging on for dear life. Glue wasn't doing the trick. Yesterday I finally whipped out the stapler. It's not going anywhere now. But he looks like he's been in a mean hockey game. And further yet, we thumb-tacked him to our art center in the kitchen. The poor fellow clearly looks like he's been shot in the head. He's seen better days. Perhaps next year a pilgrim's hat will be in order and some laminating.

PS. Check out Sean's camera smile. He's such a three-going-on-four year old.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Halloween 2011


Twas the night before Halloween and all through the house, not a creature was stirring... except for JACK!


The poor creature started out as a lovely pumpkin. Large and plump with a perfect stem. He lived in the trunk of our SUV for about a week before coming into the house. At which time we promptly sliced into his pumpkin head. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was that.

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Sean couldn't really decide if he liked gutting and cleaning the pumpkin. Honestly, these pictures were about the extent of his involvement. Except of course he decided he wanted a "kinda scary" jack-o-lantern. I obliged...



The end result was worth the effort. I had so much fun carving this big guy. And even more fun snapping pictures of him in the dark. 

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Then the big day arrived. The day Sean had been talking about for a month. By noon he was ready to get into his costume, but I occupied him until two o'clock. Darth Vadar could not wait any longer.

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Come on, admit it. You're imagining the VW commercial, aren't you? We did teach him how to harness the force to turn things on. Unfortunately our Ford Excursion doesn't have remote start.


Around 3:30 the animals arrived. A little lion named Mackenzie. And a little monkey named Luke. Sean's baby cousins. They were ready to go!

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We attempted a group shot, but with three little ones under the age of 4... it was hard. Nevertheless, moment captured.


Then the big boys came, and Sean's friend Drake (a couple years older) was dressed as a Storm Trooper. Perfect compliment to the dark lord. And then all of a sudden Sean was running alongside the big boys trick or treating... leaving his baby cousins in the dust.

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They didn't seem to mind. 

Down the block Drake wanted to run off and catch up with his big brother. His mom and I stopped him briefly, but then said, "yea, you can go ahead." He hesitated, clearly thinking through his decision, then smiled and said, "no, I'd like to stay with Sean." OMG. One of the cutest things I've witnessed in a long, long time.


Then it wasn't too many houses later that Sean saw his baby cousins, and wanted to trick or treat with them. So we parted ways with Drake, and Sean played the big cousin role showing his little cousins the ropes. 

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Our neighborhood is VERY active. We had over 200 kids come to our house. Yowza! The streets were swarming with costumed characters. I love Halloween. The kids have a blast. There's no presents involved. And the chocolate. Oh, the chocolate. 


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