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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

20 months ... time seriously needs to slow down!

I had a weird moment today. I was unloading the dishwasher and two things happened. First, I was about to put LC's plastic spoon into the drawer when it struck me that she has been showing a preference lately for using metal ones like her sisters. So instead of putting it away I gathered up all the plastic cultery from the drawer and put it away ... for visiting children to use. Then I returned to the dishwasher and saw the new IKEA bowls and plates that we recently purchased for Marley and Paige. They had been showing a preference for using the Denby bowls at breakfast time and since our particular pattern was discontinued I thought my nerves would better handle them eating from, and potentially breaking, inexpensive bowls rather than irreplacable ones!

So what was my weird moment? My girls are all growing up so fast!! The baby years are rapidly falling behind us. LC was 20 months old today. 20 months!! That's only 4 months away from 24 months. And that's just Mommy Code for 2!!!! Sheesh!

Okay, just had to get that off my chest.
I'm looking forward to moving beyond dirty diapers and sleepless nights but I will miss the limp, sleepy baby cuddles and the cute footy pj's! I may even cry when Paige enters Kindergarten next year!

Yes, I'm turning into one of THOSE Mommies!! :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

December Daily - Foundation Pages Take II

Instead of putting all (66) of the pictures into my blog I've decided to upload them to my Picasa account and post a link here. That way only the truly eager will be subjected to my crafty obsession!! :)

Just to give you a teaser though, here is what the album looks like now ...

Here's the link - gosh I hope it works!!

... you know you wanna!!!


Snow Day!

Remember last night when I mentioned that we were under a snow fall warning?
Here's what we woke up to.

These were taken at 7:00AM out our front door. 

And then the scene in our back yard at 7:00 ... 

... and below at 9:00AM. 
Marley, Paige and LC were chomping at the bit to get out and play in the snow. Greg made them wait until 9:00 so as not to disturb any neighbours that may have been trying to sleep in.

Sleep in?! What is this thing of which you speak?

Marley "introducing" LC to snow.
Paige getting ready to dive in.

LC having a little taste.

Marley making a snow angel.

This was (seriously) the best picture of the 3 of them out of about 30 that I took. I have a whole new respect for kids photographers and their abilities to get awesome pictures of children!!

Going to work on those retakes of the December Daily a little later but for now I hope you enjoyed the snow fun!! Keep warm everyone!

Friday, November 19, 2010

December Daily - Foundation Pages

Okay, here it is ... sort of.

That sounds a bit cryptic so let me explain ... I finished the foundation pages for my December Daily album today and took roughly a million pictures of it. However, most of the pictures sucked! Poor lighting and even poorer background! Sigh. It's too late to redo them now but I will try again tomorrow. Until then, here is what I have so far.

Not all of them though ... I just can't do that to you!!

The front cover.
Funny story about the ribbon detail on the right ... I punch the holes wrong the first time and rather than redoing the entire cover, I (quite ingeniously if I do say so myself) came up with the idea of covering the holes up with ribbon. Looks like it was always meant to be, no?
When I took these pictures I hadn't adhered any patterned paper to the daily pages (I used the 6 x 8 digital templates from Ali Edwards) and some of the transparency papers still hadn't been hole punched. That's why you see quite a bit of "stuff" hanging out the right side of the book. Now that it's all done, you don't see that. I will attempt to post more pictures tomorrow to show that.

I used an ornament cut out from MME The Merry Days of Christmas line and then broke out my stamps. The December and the 20 and 10 are from a pack I found at Homesense, the D is from Martha Stewart's Monogram set. Then I hand wrote the "aily" part - in real life it's harder to tell the difference.

This is the inside of the front cover and the first of my ... let's call them Daily Cover Pages, shall we?
I've never made one of these albums before and really admired Ali's so tried to follow her example as best I could. I checked out the cost of buying the transparancies that she used but it was going to cost me as much in shipping as the sheets themselves so I went to Plan B - scouring every LSS I know of for alternatives!! I am really happy with the results. I ended up finding a stash of glitter die cut papers in my own stash which saved me a bundle too! I bought some overhead projector transparencies and spray glued the die cuts to them. Some have adhered a bit more securely than others so we'll have to see how those pages stand up to handling by the girls!!

Here's another page - this is a transparency that I found in the wedding section at one of the scrapbook stores but I think the white looks wintery so ... it works for me! The picture below shows the pattern on it a bit better. 

For most of the cover pages I added some sort of date embellishment but others, like this one, I went a different route. Here I used a Thickers foil shape to high light to number 5. 

Day 10 needs a couple of comments ... first, I love the trees! This was one of the glitter sheets I found in my stash. Good score, eh? Also, as I was putting all this together, a package came in the mail. A little while back I won a RAK over at Apron Strings   and inside this little envelope was a package of fabric flowers from Jillibean Soup that were PERFECT! Thank you Lori!!

This cover page was another "wedding" find but again, it's white, it works! I haven't put the date on this page but it's the cover page for the 18th which is the day we will be heading out to Abbotsford for a big Graham/Campbell/Day Christmas. Hence the Family tag.

This is another one of the white roses transparency and the cut out is from that MME sheet again. It's super simple but I really like this one. 

Ah, my snowman. It won't stay stuck to the glitter poisetta's so I'll have to find a different way of adhering it but I really like it. The number 21 is from Elle's Studio Christmas Mix and Match Vintage Number Tags. I liked it's simplicity but directly against the poinsetta's it didn't sing. Then I found the snowman on a page of Christmas stickers (Echo Park's Wintertime) and everything fell into place. I stuck him to a piece of patterned paper (from the MME the Merry Days of Christmas line) then adhered the 21 to his belly and cut him out. Voila! Isn't he cute? 

I found this piece of transparency and knew this was going to be my December 25th cover page! All the other papers I got two cover pages out of, but this one, I only wanted the one. (The transparencies and die cut papers are all 12" x 12" so I could get two 6" x 8" cover pages from each one.) I added a foil star for some added bling and dimension and I may go back and add a 25 somewhere, but for now, it's done.

This is actually the only one like it because I made a mistake in my cutting. I accidentally cut a piece 6" x 6"!!! Doh! 
I also haven't added anything to this partly because I kind of ran out of steam, and partly because I'm waiting to see what happens that day (the 30th). It may just stay this way forever! We'll see!! 

Here's a quick peak at what the cover pages look like all laid out. Some are actually hockey card protector sheets (cut down to fit) and others are 4x6 photo protectors (also cut down to fit). I hope to find neat things to fill up the pockets of these! 

Thanks for sticking with me. I will take some pictures of the completed Daily Pages tomorrow and post them too. It's exciting to see the book all put together. Now I just need December to get here so I can start filling it up!! Oh, but first I need to find all the goodies to fill up the advent calendar for the girls! That's my plan for tomorrow.
If it doesn't snow so much over night to prevent me from heading into Michael's!
Yes, you heard me right! We have a snow fall warning tonight here in the Lower Mainland! 5 - 10cm apparantly. It was snowing big fluffy flakes when I picked Paige up from preschool today and the kids were tearing around trying to catch them on their tongues! So cute!!

But they don't have to shovel it!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Update - 4 Simple Goals

Er ... I sort of forgot about my public declaration to improve my everyday life! Oops!
Life with 3 little kids can suck the brain cells out your ears and fling them to the four corners of the globe!
My apologies for not updating my progress (or lack there of as the case may be) but I will attempt to do so now.

Goal #1 - Eat more fruits and vegetables: Hmmm ... I did really well on that one in September when the farmer's markets were brimming with fresh produce from local growers. Now that winter is approaching fast and floods have destroyed the local potato, turnip/root vegetables and bean crops, it's been more of a challenge. From today I will strive to remember this goal everyday!!

Goal #2 - Move more: This has kind of happened, kind of not.
I did get fitted for a brace ($1400! Ouch!) which is helping my knee pain but after several attempts to return to running I have had to acknowledge that more base building needs to be done before I can run without pain. By base building I mean get my core back (3 kids have totally destroyed whatever core I may have had at one time) and work on basic muscle strength. I feel I'm in a bit of a catch 22 situation. I need to do exercises like squats and lunges to strengthen my large leg muscles to support my knee, but the actual DOING of these exercises puts stress on my knee and increases my pain. I've been wearing my knee brace more than the fabricators thought I should but I was finding that all the walking to school and back, the parent and tot gymnastics and the duty days at Paige's preschool were really taking their toll. At it's worst (about a month ago) even going grocery shopping without my brace sent my knee into realms of discomfort best avoided!!
I would say that I have accomplished the goal of moving more but it still needs to stay in place. Now my movements need to start being more vigorous!

Goal #3 - Limit my Facebook time: Hmmm ... yeah, this one hasn't happened so much. I try but then get sucked into one of those addictive games (Farmville, Cafe world or Fairyland are my drugs of choice) and before I know it, hours have passed. Okay, I'll try again. Really!
I would like to try to update this blog more frequently though. Finding the balance between "productive" internet time and "wasteful" internet time is my new challenge I think!

Goal #4 - Find a job: This one hasn't happened either. In fact I am not even sure if it's something I want to do right now. Finances aside, my heart is telling me that being at home for my girls is the right place for me to be right now. Throwing a job and all the added complications of child care arrangements into the already crazy schedule of school drop offs/pick ups, extra curricular activities and those never ending chores, seems WAY harder than my life needs to be right now. This is a topic that I could go on and on about but won't.
I'm going to officially declare this goal as dead.
Instead I will replace it with Find out What I Want. I've talked about this before and it's something my therapist and I are working on. It seems to change daily though!!

Okay, I must hop into the shower as Greg wants to go to IKEA and perhaps fight with Home Depot some more about a door we ordered 2 months ago ... don't get me started! Thanks for listening!!

Hmm ...  change of plans - LC went down for a nap. :)
Now what?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Project 12 - October 2010

It's hard to believe that this is my 10th post for this project! Two more months/layouts to go and I will have one more completed project under my belt.


Okay, here goes ... the sketch we were given was ...

... and here's what I came up with.

I got so motivated last month that I actually picked the base papers, the striped bit along the bottom and cut out the circle before putting away my supplies. It made it pretty easy this month to pick the pictures and then the embellishments. I think I may have to do that again ... oops too late! I've already packed up my Project 12 bin! I have a very good reason for that which I will talk about at the end of this post. :)

A couple of comments about my process this month ... if I may! It's hard to tell from the picture above, but that black strip along the bottom is actually a sequined ribbon that I came across in my stash. I was looking for a blue ribbon to compliment the blue journalling strip but ... somehow this one was a better fit. The striped paper and the leaf paper are Bella Blvd (FINALLY got to use some Bella!) and when I went looking for some blue embellishments to tie in the blue journalling strip, I came across the oak leaf and the "Fall Fun" title sticker. Once those were added the layout really seemed complete.
The sketch shows lots of stitching lines but while I have been known to sew in the past (fabric, not paper), currently my sewing machine is dead and buried (in the garage under about a ton of cobwebs!) so I got creative. I used my circle templates and drew on the "stitches" with pen. I was pretty nervous to start drawing all over the pictures but figured, if it didn't work I could always reprint them. Once I'd finished though I really liked how it looks!

Here is a close up of the left hand side ...

... and the right hand side.

Well, there you have it. Another month done! This has been such a fun project. During Marley's stint as Star of the Week at school, she took the album in for sharing. I didn't hear any comments about it but just the fact that I have created something that allows the girls to quickly and easily share what life is like in our family is so neat! I'm definitely signing up to do this again in 2011!!

So ... I cryptically made mention to another project that I'm getting ready for. It's entirely possible that with this one I will have bitten off more than I can chew but ...
I'm going to do a December Daily a la Ali Edwards.
In my quest to live more in every moment - especially with my kids -  and to document our lives, I am going to undertake this project this year. Last year I made the girls an Advent Calendar with the intention that each drawer would hold things besides chocolates. Things like "let's make cookies today" or "let's decorate the house" ... you get the idea. I see this working really well in conjuction with the December Daily project.
The idea of the December Daily is to save emphemora throughout the month as well as document in photos what life is like in the run up to Christmas. Some people document all 31 days of December, Ali only does the first 25. I am undecided but will prep up to Dec 25th and if I decide to add on later, I will.
Currently I have spread out all the "fixin's" of my album on the dining room table (gosh, I have a lot of Christmas supplies!!) and am waiting for a few (relatively uninterrupted) hours to start compiling. Today is a Stat, tomorrow Greg has taken a vacation day and Monday he has a Flex day so hopefully somewhere in those 5 days I will be able to find time to do this!! Once I have the shell together I will post pictures and come December I will attempt to blog more regularly and give you updates.

Okay, off to Costco. Thanks for checking in with me today!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Kids + Leaves = Fun times!!

It looks like Blogger is allowing me to post more pictures - yay! - so here goes ... The annual Leaf Raking!

We have this HUGE Wrayburn Ash tree in our front yard and this past weekend it decided to shed roughly 90% of its leaves overnight! So Greg put the girls to work. Luckily they are young enough to still think of it as fun - LOL!

And clearly, it wasn't all work for Paige!!

LC got in on the action too.

Here we have evidence of Paige working ... and Marley running to jump into the leaves.

In between us and our neighbour is this lovely Maple tree. It hasn't dropped all its leaves yet so I took the opportunity to get all artsy. Have I mentioned lately that I LOVE my camera!!!

Marley and Paige post leaf pile jump. The leaves were all wet but the girls didn't seem to mind!

A cute picture of LC ...

... and one of the big sisters, Marley and Paige.
I tried to get one of all 3 girls but there wasn't a lot of cooperation happening. Oh well.

It was a beautiful day. Sunny and crisp. We all went to watch Marley's soccer game too. Those pictures are still in my camera though so they will have to wait for a later post.
Thanks for visiting!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Gotta love those sunny Fall days!

We've been really fortunate lately in the weather department. September was universally GROSS, but October was quite lovely and so far, November has been surprisingly sunny! No complaints here!!
Last Thursday Marley's class took a field trip to Burn's Bog - a local park and conservation area. Her teacher was short drivers so she opened it up to include siblings. Marley was the Star of the Week last week (each student gets to take turns being the Star - bring in special guests, treats and sharing plus make a ME poster) so I decided it was appropriate to drive and to take Paige and LC. Because of the little ones I don't normally go on her field trips so this was a special treat for us all.

I had LC in a back pack carrier (thanks Trish - finally used it!) which worked well but added an element of danger that I wasn't expecting. I'm not sure if you can tell from the pictures below but access to the bog is on raised wooden boardwalks. Even though the weather has been pretty sunny, there have still been a few rainy days here and there and there is a heavy dew in the mornings. This meant that the boardwalks were super slick! Most of then had a narrow strip of chicken wire nailed to prevent slipping but there was a fairly long section - like the one below - that did not.

Picture this:
knee brace + hiking boots + camera around my neck + my youngest on my back = taking the gingerest of ginger baby steps!
You laugh but it was pretty scarey!!

Here is our leader, Michael, telling the story of how this tractor came to be stuck in the bog.

Yup! That's a tractor in there!!
This is a fallen down tree (the root system) that a bear actually made a den in until it caved in.
We didn't see any bears.
Thank goodness!
Moss covered tree branches ...
... and just one sample of the many different types of mushrooms we saw.
To say the moisture content in the bog/forest was high is a bit of an understatement!!

I have more pictures but blogger won't let me upload them until I purchase more storage space. Who knew?! Now I'm just waiting for my additional 19GB to get processed. Grr ...

... stay tuned ...

Kids jumping in leaves coming soon!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Getting Real - Ouch!

Greg poked his head around the corner of the dining room (that's where my computer and scrapping supplies are currently set up) earlier today to ask if I'd read a post a friend of mine had shared on Facebook. I hadn't but knew I'd see her later so I asked her about it. She started to talk about how she'd found this article all about the disease of "perfection" - basically how 90% of us pretend things are hunky dorey even when we are crying inside. I knew this was something I had to read for myself as it's something I've been struggling with lately. I was blown away! Check it out for yourselves and I think you'll agree that this man has struck a REAL TRUTH!

In a follow up post he asks us all to help with the cure. Basically, he figures that since we have all struggled with different issues our life experiences may help somebody out there who is struggling with similar issues. He asks that we leave a comment on his post describing our struggle and its resolution and then have the "present you" tell the "old you" what you wish you'd known at the time. Does that make sense? I will attempt to do this now ... I may leave this post and come back to it. It's got to be perfect, no? Ha! NO!!! But it does have to be REAL and sometimes (like now when LC won't go to sleep) I can't find the right words because I can't hear my own thoughts!

It would be easiest to say that my biggest trial was the loss of my parents when I was 14. We were all in a car heading to Edmonton to pick up my brother Andrew from the University of Alberta. It was the day before his 18th birthday. Weather was clear. I was excited to be skipping school to head to the Big City. I was excited to see my big brother again! As was my want, I scooched down in the back seat so I could comfortably read a book and doze. The next thing I know I'm lying on a stretcher telling a bunch of strangers who I am, where I live, where we were going and asking them "why can't I move my legs?" This was (I learned later) in the paramedics station in McBride after they cut me out of our crumpled car and before I was medivacced to Prince George for emergency abdominal surgery (ruptured spleen, collapsed lung etc.) Then it was on to Vancouver where I spent a month in Shaughnessy's Spinal Cord Unit - another surgery, many hours of physio - followed by a couple more months of physio at GF Strong Rehab Hospital. I was really lucky and my spinal cord injuries were not permanent. I eventually gained all feeling and (over time) movement. 22 years later I can walk, run, ride a bike, swim, climb a mountain ... anything I put my mind to.

That would be the easy trial to talk about and having written the words it does seem like it should have been the biggest struggle in my life. But right now, at this moment, my biggest struggle is just getting through each day. The 14 year old girl that I was then wouldn't have listened to any words the 37 year old woman I am now would have said. I was SO determined to walk again. I HAD to prove the doctors wrong! I shoved all feelings about the loss of my parents so deep it took years for them to surface (and new ones still pop up even now.) I struggled with depression during my university years to the extent that I left university and moved to Scotland - most of my parents family lives in Scotland or England (we came to Canada when I was 7.) I existed there for a long time before I started LIVING there. Once I started living, I got to know myself through my relations. Today I am so grateful for my time there!

Once I returned to Canada my quest to know myself continued and still continues to this day. THAT is my biggest trial! Who am I? What do I want? Who do I want to be? Usually that question is followed by the words "when you grow up" but I AM grown up! Now what?! Every time I look at my 3 beautiful little girls I wonder what the heck I'm doing? How did I get to be "big enough" to have kids?! How do I teach them everything they need to know to be functional, happy, intelligent, independent, loving, gracious young women when I'm not too sure how to be all those things myself? I guess that's kind of the point though isn't it? We can't be all those things. Not all at the same time anyway. My struggle then is how to feel OK with imperfection.

I liked Dan's comment about the disease of "perfection" not being the same thing as being a "perfectionist". I definitely have perfectionist tendancies - tempered with a great deal of laziness! I've been seeing a therapist for a couple months now and I must say that even though it doesn't neccessarily feel like we talk about super deep issues, I feel more at peace. I think just facing my imperfections ... no, admitting that I HAVE imperfections, is a major contributor to this new inner calmness. I don't find myself yelling at the girls as frequently. I find I am able to push down the feelings of frustration when Greg leaves dishes undone or newspapers on the ottoman. Our marriage, my job as Stay-at-Home Mom is not a competition to see who can do the most, be the best, get the most accolades from the kids, our parents, our friends or each other. It's a team effort to raise 3 girls to womanhood, to maintain a home in a manner that is healthy, sanitary and makes us proud. We are both doing the best we can and that's all anyone can ask. Period.

I think I got a little off topic - it's now almost midnight so I'm not even sure if this makes sense any more!! I also realize that I am baring my soul to the world but since it's basically my family who reads my blog anyway, I think it's safe! Check out the link below to follow up blog about the cure for Perfection.

Remember to keep it real. I sure will!

Hallowe'en 2010

For the second year in a row we have hosted "Hallowe'en Chez Day". This is a combination of celebrating Griffin's birthday (Oct 28th) and then letting the cousins loose on our candy centric neighbourhood! Suffice it to say that no birthday cake was required this year as the kids were overly primed to get out Trick or Treating!! (Read: bouncing off the walls by 5PM.) Here are a few pictures that capture the scene.

Dinner - the kids table from centre going counter clockwise; Kieran, Griffin, Jasper, Paige, LC, and Marley.

The Birthday Boy. Not so impressed with turning 2 I think. Or maybe it was being forced to drink from the Princess cup - LOL! We're a little short on boy themed stuff in this house!
The birthday present opening chaos. To be honest, I"m not sure how many of Griffins presents he actually got to open himself. He had a lot of "help" from his bigger cousins! Marley was the official card reader - now that she's mastered reading she grabs every opportunity to  practice. Awesome!

The cousins all set to fill their bags with candy!
From the top: Buzz Lightyear (a.k.a. Jasper), Hannah Montana (a.k.a. Marley), The Cutest Chicken on the Planet (a.k.a. LC), Princess Ballerina (a.k.a. Paige), Monkey #1 (in darker costume - a.k.a. Kieran), Monkey #2 (a.k.a. Griffin) and last but definitely not least, The Cutest Bumble Bee on the Planet (a.k.a. Zoe).

It's not the greatest picture but this is what our house looked like. The girls made a lot of pumkins, bats, cats and ghosts for the windows and Marley made a really good witch (in the window just above the jack'o'lanterns). I know that Hallowe'en is starting to take over from Christmas in popularity but I refuse to go crazy with decorations (so far). We threw these up earlier in the day and took them down the next day. Call me a Hallowe'en Scrooge but seriously, it's a holiday based on pagan rituals. NOT going there!!

At a neighbours waiting to yell out "Trick or Treat!"

LC figured things out REALLY quickly! She insisted on holding one of our hands (good girl) but fairly tore up and down the drives to get her fair share of the loot. And of course because she is so darn cute, she tended to get extra!!

I spied this at a house and had to take a picture.
Hope you all had a safe and happy Hallowe'en!