Saturday, April 30, 2011

When baby goes to sleep....

Mommy plays! :)

Friday, April 29, 2011


I've been scrapbooking since I was 13.  That's right....I used to walk down the street to my neighbor's house, where she taught me to crop, cut, and paste my very first scrapbook and introduced me to Creative Memories - the most popular scrapbooking supplies company back then.  Since then, I've crafted many scrapbooks...for myself, for my family, friends, etc.  I made my own wedding album.  I have documented friendships, vacations, holidays, and just everyday moments.  I've always loved the process of taking all of these separate components and putting them together to achieve a creation that is completely personal.  And me in a scrapbook store = kid in a candy store.  In addition, I love preserving memories and telling a story so that, someday, my kids and grandkids can look back and have a glimpse into our lives.

I've been somewhat "stressed" about how I'm going to organize and display the pictures that I've been taking of Natalie.  I take her picture everyday.  Maybe a little ridiculous - but I don't want to forget the sweet faces she makes...the way she is growing and changing...her new experiencces.  I have taken almost 1,000 pictures since she arrived.  Yikes!  There is NO WAY I can make scrapbook at this pace!  There are too many pictures!  Too little time!

What to do?  Well, I've been weighing all of my options....
1.  Print my pictures and put them in pocket-page albums.  This is a time-consuming option as well.  I'm not so good at uploading pictures very often to get printed....and I don't have the space to journal around my pictures.  Plus, printing photos is expensive.
2.  Photobooks.  I like the idea of a nice, hardbound book...such as what you can find at Shutterfly.  What I don't like about them is their layouts, colors, etc.  Not for me.  So I found a website called My Publisher.  I downloaded their free software and started making a book.  I liked their layouts better, but still had little control about how pictures and words were placed on the page.  Limited color choices...the backgrounds are grey, black, white.  Which does show off the pictures....but I still like the look of a little bit of color.  Plus, it was hard to get the journaling on the pages - I like to write on my scrapbook pages.  The journaling tells the story of the pictures....many times I have looked back at my books and have read my words and it literally helps to bring back memories of things I had forgotten.

I wasn't happy with either of these choices....they just couldn't replace my beloved scrapbooks.  Then I saw what Kelle Hampton does to chronicle her daughter's lives (Have you seen her blog? Amazing!).  She creates her own layouts, then uploads them to Shutterfly to be printed (so she doesn't have to use their pre-made layouts, colors, etc.).  I didn't know you could do this!  So, I was intrigued by this whole "digital scrapbooking" thing. 

After a lot of googling, video tutorials, and website reading, I was able to pick up the basics.  You need a program to create the layouts - the  most popular is Photoshop Elements.  You can download a trial version for 30 days, then purchase the full version for $79.99.  Not bad.  Next, you need to download some templates, papers, etc. to use on your pages.  (You don't have to do this - but it takes some of the guess work out of creating the pages and makes it go much faster.)  Then you can insert your pictures and journaling, and VOILA! 

Unfortunately, it is not quite that easy...  Photoshop has quite a learning curve -- it's not an easy program to learn. I got frustrated trying to figure it out.  So, I went back to Google and YouTube and found some great websites with more tutorials.  (I had to get the information in 10 minute intervals as my baby allowed!)

Now that I've started and figured this whole thing out...I'm afraid I may have created a monster! There are so many websites where you can get FREEEEEE things for "digi" scrapbooking.  My favorites right now are Shabby Princess and Two Peas in a Bucket.  There are lots of neat things out there to purchase as well - but I'm all about the free stuff.  Templates, papers, die cuts, oh my!  Many of "digi" scrapbooking items are a little "busy", but you can simplify the layouts as you work with them in Photoshop to make them cleaner...which is the look I was going for.

Okay, okay.  After all that talk - do you want to see my first layout?  I did it more just as an experiment, and am not sure I'll eventually put it in a book, but it's a good first go at it.  Simple layout...some pattern, some color.  I didn't do much journaling yet because I was just figuring it all out, but there's space for that later. 

What do you think??? I'm SOOOO excited about this!  I had to do a lot of playing and learning over the last couple of days...but this layout took me less than 15 minutes!!!  That's MUCH less time than the old cut and paste of scrapbooking.....and a solution that I'm very happy with!  Looking forward to creating my first book and learning more about digital scrapbooking. :)  Any of you out there dabbled in the world of "digi"?  Would love to hear some of your favorite resources, websites, etc.

Monday, April 25, 2011


I have always loved, family, Easter dinner....chocolate.  How can you go wrong?

But now Easter is so much sweeter with my little bunny.

We enjoyed a beautiful Easter weekend.  Lots of time with family, lots of good food, lots of chocolate.  Did we make it to church?  Well, no.  We tried.  We failed.  But we had a great Easter nonetheless!  Here's our weekend in pictures...

Hope you had a great holiday!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

2 Months!

My beautiful Natalie is 2 months old today!  We had our monthly photo shoot this morning.  Get ready for cuteness overload...

Okay, I know that was a lot of pictures...but I struggled to edit my 81 photos down to 12.  She's just so cute!!!  (Or, I'm just an overly proud momma...)

Natalie is growing and changing each day.  She has the sweetest little personality, and all of her little smiles and coos make me so happy.  I love that she is interacting with us more and more.  She is just starting to chuckle a little when she's really happy, and I see smiles all day long. 

She is still eating great - every 4 hours during the day.  She has started going one long stretch at night (last night was 7 hours!!).  She knows when she is going to get fed, and she kicks her legs, opens her mouth, and grunts.  And if I take too long, she lets out a high-pitched squeal as if to say "Hurry up, Mom!"  It's so funny!

Evenings are rough around here - although it seems the last 3 or 4 days haven't been as bad.  She gets very fussy and tired, and it breaks my heart to see her unhappy.  However, just as quickly as the fussiness begins, it goes away again (usually lasting about 2 hours).  We try different things to calm her down -- she loves baths, being swaddled and rocked, or riding in the car or stroller.

I leave Natalie for little bits of time every now and then - her favorite babysitters are her daddy, cousin Danica, and Aunt Karen.  I take her out with me a lot too....we've gotten really good at running errands together and getting out and about a few times a week.  This makes Mommy feel like a human being - I can't be cooped up in the house all week!

Natalie's two-month appointment is not until next week, so I'm unsure of her weight and length right now.  I'm looking forward to finding out how big my girl has gotten.  I am not looking forward to her getting shots at the appointment. :(

I love this baby more and more each day - if that's even possible!  I look at her and marvel and think how on earth was I blessed with such a beautiful and precious little girl?!  She is the light of our lives!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Favorite Time of Day

Each day, my sweet baby girl wakes me to eat around 7.  We wake up slow, and I leave the lights off as she quietly nurses.  But then, after her tummy is full, we turn on the lights and open the blinds to have our morning playtime.

This is my favorite time of day.  Still in our jammies, we snuggle and talk and play and kiss.

I talk and sing to her and she responds with little coos and gurgles....

 And sweet smiles...

Then we do some tummy time.

It doesn't last long!  She gives me the pouty lip...

And then really lets me know what she thinks.

 After about an hour, she is ready for her paci and her morning nap.  Such precious time that I spend with my precious girl.

We did finally make it to church over the weekend.  It was a success!  A little hard to pay attention with such a beautiful baby on my lap, but I was happy to be able to take her to church as a family.
Doesn't she look cute in her dress and bow?!?

Happy Wednesday!  Natalie is two months old tomorrow, so watch for her monthly pictures by the end of the week!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thrilled to Announce....

My beautiful best friend had a beautiful baby boy yesterday.  Welcome Jackson Drew Ryan!  I love you!

Apparently Jenn rocks at having babies...and this little sweetie made his appearance in record time with no problems or complications.  So thankful for a healthy little boy.  You will be seeing lots of pictures of Jack and Natalie together in the months to come!

Congratulations Ryan family!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Over the past year of my blogging experience, I have come to discover many blogs that I enjoy reading.  My husband says I'm just a nosy "busybody", but honestly, the glimpses into other peoples' lives is compelling to me.  The chance to connect -- even with a complete stranger -- is satisfying and fulfilling. 

There are stories of loss and grief and pain.  But they are followed with stories of triumph and peace and joy.  I am overwhelmed with the stories of mothers who have faced tragic circumstances...and then have found the strength to overcome and rise up.

A mother who lost her sweet son to a heart defect, but is now pregnant with twins.

A mother who's beautiful fourth daughter lived for a short while, but was adored and loved during those precious moments that she was here.  Since then, their family has welcomed another beautiful girl!

A mother with a sweet boy born with a heart condition -- he fought for 12 days before going home to Jesus.

A mother with a little girl so full of life -- taken too soon by cancer.
As I read these stories and follow the lives of these women, I am often overwhelmed by their strength.  They have overcome the worst of circumstances -- and, by the grace of God -- have found new peace in His plans.  In times when it would be so easy to turn their backs, they have instead turned towards God for peace, understanding, and comfort.  Their faith has been inspiring to me.  Now that I have my own beautiful daughter, I can't imagine the pain that many have had to endure.  I am so blessed.  I complain about sleepless nights and fussy times....but the truth is -- She's here.  She's healthy.  She's beautiful.  God is reminding me that my insignificant annoyances are nothing compared to what others have endured.  I pray that He will continue to remind me of my blessings.  That He will continue to give me a thankful spirit and an attitude of joyfulness.  And also that He will protect my sweet girl and keep her safe and healthy and happy. 

She has reminded me to pray in a new way -- exchanging my selfish prayers for grateful ones.

She is the greatest gift I have ever received.

And I am thankful. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Late Weekend Update

We had a beautiful weekend.  Full of blue skies.....

Snuggles with great-grandma....

Spring blossoms...

Watching our handsome daddy help grandpa... 

Just chillin'... 
I love this little sweetie!

My week ahead holds a full to-do list.  Spring weather tends to catapult me into productive, making lists, and planning ahead.  I was working on gettin' things done yesterday when I had a bizarre experience.  I came upstairs from the laundry room to find my living room FULL of a swarm of termites!  They were crawling all around the front door frame, the floor, and MY BABY!  Needless to say, I freaked out and called the husband in a complete panic, telling him to come. home. NOW.  I put the baby in the bedroom and closed the door - sprayed the bugs with ant spray (it's all I could find!) - then fed Natalie and rushed her to the car so we could make a break for it and make the daddy deal with the aftermath.  Unfortunately, we have a very expensive fix ahead of us.  Fortunately, the exterminator says we "caught it early".  Whatever that means!

I have two big goals this Spring:
1.  Do some major purging!  I need to clean out the storage room in the basement.  It is full of items that we haven't used for years...things that we definitely need to get rid of.  Every once and awhile I feel the need to get rid of all the unnecessary clutter in the house. 
2.  Get my body back to pre-pregnancy shape!  I got the a-ok to start exercising from my doctor at my 6-week check last Thursday, so I am geared up to get going.  I lost 30 pounds almost immediately after delivering...I was carrying an awful lot of fluid and it seemed to melt away quickly.  Unfortunately I gained about 45 pounds during my pregnancy, so I have 15 left to lose.  Actually, I'd like to lose more than that.  Not to mention that my body is completely different than it used to be.  Anyway, I'm hoping to stick with it and get back to normal.

Perhaps putting it in writing will help me to be accountable for these two goals...I'll keep you posted! :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Remember when....

Remember when I used to post crafts on this blog???  Yeah.  That was before her....

I miss my creative endeavors....but have complete faith that I'll start to find some time for them again in the next couple of months.

Well, just because I can't craft doesn't mean I can't dream about crafting!  So, here's a little roundup of crafts that I *wish* I were dabbling in these days.  Livin' vicariously, baby!

This is so cute...I wish I could make one to hang in my kitchen doorway...

Scrapbook paper tree
This would look cute on the console table in my entryway...

And...because I have a whole new world of little girl crafts to cute is this hairbow?

These spring pillows would look really cute in my living room.  Wish I were sewing these days!

My new *distraction* is waiting to be fed, so I really must go.  I hope some of you out there are getting your spring craft on!