Sunday, February 26, 2012

Project Life {Week 8}

 {Shhhh....don't tell my dad!  Luci perched herself by the front door after I had returned from getting the mail, and I gave her a few moments in the sunshine before I closed the door.  I think we're all anxious for spring!}

 {I got demoted. :(  I have clipped the boys' hair several times, but for some reason Drew opted for Dad's handiwork this time.  I'll try not to take it personally. ;)}

 {With haircuts like these, I'd say they're ready for summer!}

 {The dining room table has been a center point for much of our activity this week.  Lots of puzzles and lego-ing, as well as a round of Cootie and coupon clipping.  It's a good thing the table is as large as it is!}

 {Getting the wiggles out after dinner.}

 {First, the obvious - I swear this isn't posed.  Super cute, right?  Yep.  Second, the boys are totally in love with Tom & Jerry right now.  It honestly is the only thing that makes them settle down and be quiet for a little while.  My new best friends are a cat and a mouse.}   

{Brad and I took the boys to the Baby & Kids Expo at the Civic Center on Saturday.  We picked up some freebies, got some balloons, ate snacks, and got to pet some animals.  Fun times.}

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What I Have to Look Forward To

Words that are becoming all too familiar in our house...

"dead" "death" "die"

...and the clincher

"poop" "poopy" "pooper"

What is it that is so side-splitting hilarious about the word "POOP"???

And Reed.  He about busts a gut every time he farts.

And -OMGolly- I can't believe I just typed that word to be published on my blog.

Seriously.  Boys.

And we're just getting started...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I really haven't the slightest idea about what the relationship between brothers is all about.  I'm a girl.  And I can't even speak to the significance of having a sibling of the same gender.  I am the younger sister of two brothers, so my only real example of "brothers" is that between my own (and it's a really good example, by the way). :)  But as a kid, I didn't pay that much attention - I didn't observe and dissect their bond - I was more concerned with the relationship between Barbie and Ken.  Who the heck cared about Legos or Star Wars?

That should make it quite obvious, then, that I don't "get" boy things.  I struggle, more than one person should, when walking down the boy toy aisles at Target.  A little pink amongst the action figures and building blocks would go a long way.  I am much more comfortable with Strawberry Shortcake than I am with GI Joe.  I don't even consider myself a girly girl...I've just never had to pay attention to boy stuff before.

And now here I am, raising two boys.  [Granted, I'm not alone is this task, but I think that we as moms have a tendency to think about these kinds of things more than our male counterparts.]  In the last several months, I have seen the relationship between Drew and Reed begin to blossom.  They are brothers.  They play together, and they yell at each other.  Drew is just as likely to tattle on his brother as he is to encourage him in his endeavors.  Reed can be heard screaming at his brother just as often as he can be heard making him laugh.

Sometimes I sit and watch.  And marvel.  I see their love for one another.  I see their frustration.  I see that they enjoy being together.  I see when it's time for them to have their own space.  I see how glad they are to have each other.  {I see how loud and obnoxious and irritating they can be when they're together - and how likely it will be for them to someday start the house on fire...}

I am struck now by the responsibility to nurture this relationship.  How do I best allow them to grow, as individuals, but also in relationship to one another?  I'm unsure of a magical potion that will ensure that these brothers remain friends.  Certainly they'll fight and yell and say unkind things to one another.  They'll be teenagers, for crying out loud.  I just don't know anything of what can make the bond between brothers so natural and strong.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm not an idiot.  I don't want to be so naive to say that they'll be BFFs.  Although that would be great.  And I won't be so delusional as to think that anything that I can do will make them be that way.  They are different ages.  They have different personalities.  They'll have different friends and different interests and different talents.  They're different, and that will most likely lead them in different directions.

My hope, though, is that when they come back together, they'll actually like each other.  And that they'll get along.  And they'll know what it means to be loved by their brother.  They'll disagree, and they'll argue, sure - but I want them to learn how to stand up for the other, to encourage the other, to fight for the other, to protect the other, to serve the other.  I want them to know that when they feel like they don't have anything else, they'll have one another.

Here is what I know I can do:  I will pray for them.  I will be aware of their strengths and their struggles.  I will value their individuality and honor their differences.  I will encourage their independence and allow them to work through their squabbles.  I will teach them forgiveness and how to say "I'm sorry."  I will teach them that their bond with each other is like no other.  I will show them what it means to be a family.  And I will tell them how lucky they are to have one another.

I will encourage them, I will support them, I will love them.

They will always be brothers.

I hope they will always be friends.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Project Life {Inside the Album}

So, I'm in my third year of this whole documenting our lives thing, using the Picture of the Day format the last two years and now doing a weekly format.  And while I realize that my blog is intended to be read by family and friends, and that the bulk of you have no real interest in any of this {which by all means, stop reading now and check in again later this week for more cute photos and stories} ... here's my real purpose in sharing this:

I love this project because it documents the here and now.  It tells our story, one in which won't be told again unless I'm intentional about recording it.  It's easy.  I'm including words and photos that, although to anyone else looking at it might appear to be boring and mundane, tell a real and true story of our lives right now.  And recording our story has become so, so important to me.  And maybe seeing everything come together will inspire you, too, to record your story.  Maybe you'll use Project Life products, maybe you'll go a different route entirely.  The important part is the preservation of your story.  Because you, and your family, are important.

{Side note: In telling our story, some things are personal.  So there are a few things blurred out in the following pictures...just move right along past that.}

So, for anyone reading that is interested, I wanted to share the process and products I use - briefly.

{Go HERE to read about my new approach for Project Life this year.}

I usually use Saturday night and Sunday as my photo processing/editing/selecting days.  I go through the photos from the week and select the ones that I definitely want to use in that week's layout.  I then use this page planner to map out the layout.  Because I don't develop my photos at home, and I typically wait for a good promo code to use through Snapfish or Shutterfly, it takes a few weeks to get the photos for my pages.  But that doesn't mean I can't work on everything else.  I'll go ahead and get the journaling done for the layout, and include any extras I've decided to use, and finish it all up so that when the pictures are developed, I just need to pop them in.

As for products, I'm using Becky Higgins' Turquoise Core Kit and her Design A Page Protectors as a base.  I decided for this year to use the American Crafts D-ring album in black (they're my favorite, and I use the green ones for Reed's albums and the brown ones for Drew's albums.  I like uniformity).   I also have Design F page protectors and Design G to use primarily as inserts when I have too much for the basic layout.  On my wish list?  Pretty much everything else :) although I'm most urgently interested in Design B and the 6x12 page protectors, as well as these 6x12 pages.  Anything else I add to the album comes from my personal stash of scrapbooking goodies, which primarily comes from Hobby Lobby and Michaels.

Let's take a look, shall we?  

Week 1

Week 1, left side
{The "2012 Goals" cards are courtesy of Plucky Momo, found HERE.  Every Friday she has a free download suitable for Project Life, or whatever suits your fancy.  Worth checking out.}

{I ran out of space for journaling on this photo, so I slit open the backside of that pocket to include a little hidden journaling card that can be pulled out.}

Week 1, right side

Week 2

Week 2, left side

{One of my favorite things is to divide up the 4x6 pocket to house two 3x4 items.  I love the versatility of these page protectors!}

Week 2, right side

{Another new favorite technique?  Chopping up the kit journaling cards to make banners or other journal spots to place directly on top of the photos.  And yes, I know there's a typo on this one.  Oh well. :) }

Week 3

Week 3, left side

Week 3, right side
{I'm waiting on a photo for that bottom right pocket, which will also house a little journaling.}

Week 4
{I used my first insert (Design G) this week.  We had tons of photos from Drew's birthday festivities, and I needed the extra space to include all of it.}

Week 4, left side

{I wanted to include more on our sweet friend Yvonne, who passed away this week.  I created my own flip pocket to use, and I love it!  I'll definitely be doing this more.  It houses the memorial folder from her funeral, as well as some journaling.}

{Using this week in the life approach instead of a picture each day has allowed me to include some smaller stories that don't necessarily have a photo to go along with them (Drew's quip above).  Or to include a picture that doesn't necessarily need any explanation (hopefully it's assumed we watched the Smurfs this week by including the movie poster).}

{Front of the insert includes snow pictures from the week...}

{...and the back was all about Drew's 5th birthday.}

Week 4, right page
{To couple with the back side of the insert, this page is all about Drew's birthday party.}

Week 5
{This layout isn't totally complete.  I have yet to receive the 6x12 page protector that I'll use as an insert to include a long journaler about Brad's medical experiences.  You can see here that I also included an 8 1/2 x11 protector that I cut to size to fit the homemade get well cards the boys made for Brad.}

Week 5, left side

Week 5, right size
{I'm also waiting on a picture for the bottom right pocket that will come when I order prints again.}

So there you have it!
Five weeks, totally documented, here to be remembered forever.

I love this.

And if you love this and want to see more examples of Project Life, click on the link below.

The Mom Creative

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Project Life {Weeks 6 & 7}

It has been a sloooowwww two weeks of pictures.  I can't say that I'm particularly busy, we just didn't make picture taking a priority.  Boo.  Ah well, that's the beauty of this project for this year.  Not having a picture for one day (or 10) isn't a big deal when I'm able to fill in the gaps with other little bits and pieces of our everyday life.  I finally have about five weeks of pages complete in this year's album, so for those that are at all interested (ahem, no one) in how it's coming together, I'll post pictures of that soon.

Anyway, here are a few photos from Week 6...

{We rediscovered our tent when the boys and I went looking for something new to do in our moving boxes.  It's been a great, "new" playplace for the last couple weeks.}

{Is this the beginning of something beautiful?!?!}

{Drew has his 5-year well-child check-up last week.  Thrilled, isn't he?}

I took off last Thursday for a little weekend away, to scrapbook with my cousin.  I was able to take a break from motherhood and enjoy god-motherhood while catching up with Megan and my favorite hobby. Win/win/win!

{Olivia, my sweet goddaughter.}

{Our scrapbooking posse.}

{My corner.}

The boys, then, were on their own for a couple days.  Pizza picnics and silliness ensued!

{Apparently Reed had taken off his pants and put them back on again - backwards (you can see the strings hanging down) - and was hilarious. :) }

I have an entire Valentine's/love theme planned for my Week 7 layout.  Because we don't have *any* pictures from this past week, I hope to do a little family photo shoot soon to fill in the spaces, as well as a few other tidbits here and there.

Hopefully this week we'll kick picture taking back into high gear! :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Drew @ 5

Good gravy.

Seriously y'all.  Drew is five.  It still hasn't sunk in.  I see him every day.  Every day I know he is five.  But when I go to say it outloud...when I have to recite his birthdate as "1/26/07"...dang, 2007 was a long time ago!  We're talking kindergarten in the fall.  Gracious.  My Lord, what will I be like when he turns 10?  Or six for that matter?!?!

Anyway...pardon my very ridiculous mother moment.

Like we did last year, I sat down with Drew to interview him on his 5th birthday.  I want to do this annually, to have a little live video all about Drew as he grows up.  For nostalgia's sake.  And mine. :)

The number of questions I asked coupled with some very dramatic long pauses from Drew makes for a lengthy video.  Feel free to watch, or not.  I know his grandparents will, so it's a win/win regardless. :)


I took Drew in last Thursday for his five-year-old well-child check up/kindergarten physical.  (Again with that "k" word.  Sheesh.)  Here are the highlights:

  • He currently weighs in at 49 pounds, which is in the 90th percentile.
  • He is 44.32 inches tall, which places him in the 77th percentile.  {He must be leveling off, as he's been in the 90+ percentile his entire life.}
  • He received the three booster vaccinations he needed before school in the fall.  He wasn't looking forward to it (who would be?) but pulled through like a champ.  "Mom, you were right.  It only hurt for like two seconds!"
  • I had a few concerns to talk with his new pediatrician about:
    • The tubes in his ears.  Our ENT physician in Illinois left it up to our new pediatrician to decide if an ENT consult would be necessary after our move.  This was the first Drew has been seen since we moved, and upon looking into his ears...the tubes have fallen out of his eardrums!  They are still sitting in his ear canal, waiting to fall out on their own, but without them engaged in the eardrum - this means no more ear plugs or ear band-it in the tub anymore!  Wahoo!  While the tubes have been marvelous for Drew {and we pray now that he won't have any more ear issues that might require reinsertion}, those plugs are a pain in the tush!  We are definitely looking forward to more carefree pool days this summer!
    • Drew has a tendency to walk on his toes.  I wanted to talk with his doctor about it because I didn't know if it was of major concern or not.  Everything I have read about it talks about it being an issue when a child first learns to walk, but for Drew, it is something he started doing around the age of three.  With gentle reminders and guidance on how to walk from heel to toe, he seems to be doing it less and less.  After discussing for a bit, his doctor feels as though it is something that he'll grow out of with time.
    • We talked about another concern I have with Drew's development, and his pediatrician gave me some guidance as to what to look for and how to approach things.  Nothing major, but I want to be sensitive to the fact that Drew is getting older, and he'll soon reach an age when he doesn't care for his entire life to be shared on the interweb. :)
So, all in all, we have one healthy, active, growing five-year-old son!

But OH, to add insult to injury with my inability to grasp that my children are growing older...on his appointment facts sheet that the nurse sent home with us, it states at the bottom:

Next check up at 9 years old

{did you hear me whimper???}


And to wrap up, here's a little glimpse into what Drew loves, and doesn't love so much, at five:

What he likes:
Lightning McQueen
video games
The Electric Company
ice cream
the color yellow
art projects
Tom & Jerry

What he doesn't:
hot things (food, bath water, car seat)
taking a break to use the potty
being quiet
trying new things
"scary" things in movies
running errands
getting his hair cut
the dinner hour
doing anything by himself

What I love most about this kid?
That, despite my pleas, he is growing up, and he's becoming a very sweet, sensitive and smart boy.

Man, I love this kid.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

You've Got Mail

I've seen a few --- okay, several --- Valentine's Day ideas out on the ol' world wide web, and I'd love to do them all...someday...but for this year, I've introduced these:

I first saw these mini mailboxes used HERE, and fell in love {pardon the pun} with the idea.  I picked up these at the Dollar Spot at Target (seriously, I love those bins) and had originally only picked up two for the boys.  But then I returned and picked up two more for Brad and me.  I like love notes, too. :)  So the idea is this: each day, I place in their mailboxes a little note or a treat leading up to Valentine's Day.  It's not a big deal - just a little note to tell them one reason I love them, a printable Valentine I've found online, a Hershey's kiss, or some stickers - something that makes them feel good.  When the flag is up, they know they have mail.

I also let them know that it wasn't just for me to put love notes in; they could do it, too!  {How else was I going to get any love???}  I've received some (YAY!) but I also want to encourage the littles to give something to each other - a note or a picture they've drawn/colored.  Just a little something to say, "I'm thinking about you and I think you're pretty great."

It's always a good idea to share the love.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Guess Who....

...peed in the big boy potty?!?!?!

This guy did!

Of course, it was right after he pooped in the tub... but I'll take it!

I'm not holding my breath that this is the beginning of something big, but it sure is exciting stuff!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Project Life {Week 5}

Wowza, did we have quite the week!  And for once, I don't have the two little boys to thank/blame --- it was the big guy this time around.  I'll spare the bitter details, for both Brad's sake and for yours, so I'll just summarize...
  • Brad had outpatient surgery on Monday morning.
  • He was anemic prior to surgery, and lost a normal amount of blood during the procedure.
  • We come home mid-afternoon... Brad passes out around 5:45 that night.
  • 911 is called. Police officer and ambulance arrive.  Brad has snapped out of it, but not in good shape.
  • Taken to ER via ambulance.
  • Proceeds to spend two nights in the hospital, receiving blood transfusions to raise his hemoglobin.
  • Comes home Wednesday, late afternoon, to recoup from both surgery and his hospital stay.
Obviously, it's not quite as simple as it sounds, and I am going to type up the whole story and insert it into our album for posterity sake.  But let me just tell you this - I was scared out of my ever-lovin' mind.  Two things I learned during this experience: 1) I really, honestly, don't know what I'd do without Brad, and 2) God hears me.  Well, I've always believed the second, but when He answered my prayer within two seconds of saying, yeah, He's for real.  And He did it twice.  

So anyway, Brad is on the mend, and is much better now than he was at the beginning of the week.  He still has some recovery to get through, so he could use some additional prayers for that.

This week was a bit light on photos, and many were taken with my cell camera (I was on the move a lot this week), however I was still able to capture a few other stories this week.

{In recovery after surgery.}

{The texts I sent to Brad while he was in the hospital - per his request.  He missed his boys.}

 {The boys, upon hearing that Daddy is coming home!}

{Making snowmen with Papa.}

 {Reed has had a cold for over a week, and Thursday night he complained that his ear hurt.  We dashed off to the after-hours Express Care and got an antibiotic for an ear infection.  He cuddled with me after we got home, and quickly fell asleep.  I held him for longer than I needed to while he slept - it's been a long time since I've rocked him to sleep, and it was nice.  And I know I look angry in the picture - I wasn't.  Bad angle, maybe? :)}

 {When my dad has a late night bus trip, it has become a bit of a habit for him to stop by the grocery store to pick up some day-old donuts.  What was once a special treat for the boys has become quite the expectation.  Earlier this week Papa brought home plain glazed donuts.  Drew scolded him, saying they weren't the good kind because they didn't have sprinkles.  Papa was sure to bring these home the next time!}

 {Drew has been anxious all week to go to the store to spend his birthday money, and we finally made a trip to Walmart on Saturday.  He knew just what he wanted (more legos) but was a bit overwhelmed by all the choices!  He finally settled on two, and is as happy as a lark with his new favorite things.}