Monday, August 31, 2009

I just want to share a couple new layouts. The first one was a sketch challenge by my totally lovable FGirl friend Angie at SIStv. She gave us the basic sketch design and then added five things we needed to include on the layout. Here's the thread with her challenge. And here's the layout I made:

In addition to the basic design, we were to have a stamped image (I stamped the script words onto the yellow circle), the word "live", the color yellow somewhere, a monochromatic patterend paper (see the dots on the yellow circle?) and a flower somewhere.

I totally love a challenge like that because it gives you the parameters of a layout, narrowing the gazillion of possibilities available to you. For me, this is good. Scrapbooking - especially in my very well-stocked scrap room - is like going into a retaurant that has an extensive menu. I find that overwhelming sometimes because it's really hard to choose what to have. So, with a sketch and defined elements, it really helps me to focus rather than to slip into a mindless, glazed-over stupor, just staring at my desk with drool dripping out my mouth. Know what I mean? :)

And here's my latest digi for One Little Word's 59th prompt: beauty.

I love to use a play on words for my titles. The page credits can be found here. If you click on the image (as always) you can read the journaling a little better.

In other news, Matthew and Martha went camping - finally (and maybe for the last time this summer!) - yesterday. We drove down and sat around the campfire at their very scenic campsite overlooking Lake Jean at Rickett's Glen State Park. We doggie-sat Taco, so they came back today to pick him up. They had picked a ton of wild blueberries, so I whipped up a "Huckleberry" Buckle, as Chris's mom used to call it. YUM! Chris made Shrimp fraDiavolo for supper. It was a great meal. And there was, of course, a game of spades afterwards. Dang, it was close, but they beat us. That's three times in the last couple months. Maybe they're finally figuring out how to play this game! ;P

Tina and I have a lunch date tomorrow. We're going up to Eagle's Mere (to the Sweet Shoppe) and will do a little shopping and maybe even hiking. I'm hoping for a few photo-ops, too.

It sure feels like fall out. It's going to get into the upper 70's this week (they say), but the nighttime temps are chilly! It was in the upper 40's this a.m. when I got up! Yowser. I'm just so not ready for that yet. I guess it's because summer really only just got going. On the other hand, it will make walking outside so much easier when it's not as warm. (And the lower humidity makes the body aches subside, too.) We do have a trip to Martha's Vineyard coming up at the end of the week, though, so I really do hope the warm weather makes at least a temporary return appearance.

With that, I'm off to bed. The chilly temps do make for cozy sleeping!


Saturday, August 29, 2009

It's every grandmother's dream when she's called into active duty. And, today, I was. Little Maggie's been fussy and - believe me, I remember how this is - Eva tends to act up when mommy needs to give the baby lots of attention. So I went down to play with Eva and do any baby holding needed. Or ANYthing needed. Eva and I played and colored. Emily brought the baby down after she had nursed well and handed her off to me. Chris came over after work and took Eva to the library and then put in a movie for her when they got back. I was able to let the baby snuggle in for a long nap on my nice, cushion-y body bed while Emily took a much needed nap herself. Bliss. Maggie would wake up every now and then, look around, smile a little and then fuss a bit and I would switch her position and walk her a little bit and then she'd fall back to sleep. Yeah. Pure bliss. :) I was able to help in the kitchen a wee little and then Chris and Eva and I took Maggie for a walk in her stroller while Emily grabbed a shower. It was heaven. Heaven, I tell you! And, obviously, I was able to snap a few sweet photos, too. Maggie's 7-1/2 weeks now. Hard to believe! That just doesn't even sound right!

So, we brought Eva home with us and left Emily and Maggie by themselves for the two hours before Dustin came home. And Eva will go to church with us tomorrow.

Martha's bringing Taco over in the morning, too, because she and Matthew are going camping (finally - they've been trying to get there all summer). And then we may be granddaughter sitting again tomorrow afternoon/evening a little - as Maggie will allow - because it's Dustin and Emily's 1st wedding anniversary and they want to go out alone to celebrate at least a little. And we want to help them do that however we can.

It's so freaking wonderful to be completely free to be able to help out. What a blessing that I'm not exhausted by a job. And that Chris is so available to help, too. Because he totally wants to. That's what grandparenting is all about - being that support system. Helping your kids to succeed and to be happy. What a privilege. Sigh...

Oh. Chris saw Maggie smile for the first time today. I don't quite know how he's missed it before. My first time was at the reunion. It was...well, I can't even explain it. But now Chris knows why I'm always trying to get her to smile. It's completely captivating. And it was fun seeing (and hearing) Chris go ga-ga over her darling smile, too. Yeah. We've got it BAD!


Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Difference a Week Makes

There's the latest digi I did for One Little Word.
And here are the credits:
Template, staple by Katie Pertiet
Papers, twine by Gina Marie Huff
Charm by Little Dreamer Designs
Heavy stitch by Patricia Christensen
Stripe clusters by Heidi Williams
Fonts: Courier (journaling); 28 Days Later (“Play”); Jefferson (“Passion”)

The photos are from the reunion. I so love to hear (both of) my son(s) play music. One of the great blessings of my life.

The very night that I last posted, our little Maggie Monet was hospitalized. She is home safe and sound now and, without going into all the details of her experience, suffice it to say that in the end she just had a virus. Of course, there was lots of probably unecessary invasion to her little body, but once you're "in the system", so to speak, it's really hard to have a voice, much less use it. There are so many unknowns with newborns. I mean, they just can't tell you what's wrong and, as new parents, you definitely do not want to mess around with guessing when your child is presenting out of control symptoms.

We're just glad she's home without any horrible diagnosis to have to deal with. On the other hand, coming home with no definite answers is a bit unsettling. And then you begin to question every pain, every discomfort, every fever, every blotch.

We were at Dustin and Emily's for dinner last night (and a game of spades which we couldn't finish because of the time, but that the outcome of was pretty set in stone...we were killin' 'em!) and Maggie was a bit fussy. She didn't want to nurse when Emily thought she may have been hungry, but, overall, just appeared to be going through a bit of a fussy time as so many newborns do - especially at that particular hour - 7-10 p.m. ish.

While I don't for a second want Maggie to grow up any faster than she must, at the same time I do hope she passes through this fussy stage soon so that Dustin and Emily can relax, get some much needed rest and be more free to also interact with Eva, who has just started kindergarten.

Chris got to put Eva to bed last night. And little Maggie quit fussing rather quickly (at least for a while) when I put her on her belly on my knees and "rocked" her back and forth. I offered our nightly services... ;) My philosophy when I had little ones - the one that kept me from pretty much freaking out all the time - was that my child would not be doing - whatEVER - by the time they were 18. In other words, this is a phase and it will pass - it's not forever. That's hard to understand when you're in it, but, oh, so true.

My favorite point in the evening was when I was holding Maggie and Eva was saying her good-nights and she came and hugged my neck and said, "we're your two favorite girls in the world, right?". (This is something she's heard me say before...) Of course, I heartily agreed with her!

We're hosting a little dinner party for a dear friend tomorrow evening. And in the morning, it looks like we're making another run up to NY state because the same dealer we got the Matrix at has found us a great deal on a used truck. Chris has been searching and searching (granted, for only a couple weeks), but last night he/we decided to just try to patiently wait for what he really wants instead of tending to jump on what he's finding "out there" and usually giving up in his hastiness a feature or 2 that he really does want. This morning Simmons Rockwell called about a truck that is exactly what Chris wants and it's not even on the lot yet. It's a great deal so, off we go. This time, hopefully, we'll be in and out because the whole "cash for clunkers" thing is not going on. And, now we WILL be able to give the old truck to Matthew and Martha if they want it.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Blackwell and Beyond

Wow. It's the 19th already. Holy moley. How did that happen? Well, I guess I find myself saying that a little too much on here lately. That is going to change - but probably not until about October. Until then, my posts will be only occasional - as in when I can find the time. And I want to take the time today, even though the day already isn't going quite as planned. But that's okay.

I spent the morning preparing for a bible study/fellowship time I'm hosting tonight. We're studying a book called "You Matter More Than You Think" by Dr. Leslie Parrott. I just finished reading the book and our women's group has the study books as well as the videos. It's really a nice study with an important message to women who probably don't realize the difference that they make in other's lives just by the love they naturally show.

My plan for the day included dusting the first floor and cleaning the bathroom while Chris did the vacuuming (our agreed-upon arrangement). Chris also had reviews to work on this a.m. and then was to take the new car (did I mention we got a "new" car? New to us, anyway - a 2006 Toyota Matrix) up for a free inspection this afternoon and then come home to cook supper (also the agreed-upon plan). All this and then have myself and the kitchen all cleaned up before the women come over. And all in the stinkin' hot, humid weather. Whew!

But Emily called this morning - as I have encouraged her to do many times - asking if we might be able to have Eva come up because the baby was fussing and she thought Eva could use more attention than she was able to give her. So, even though our day was thoroughly planned (our "Plan A"), we are adjusting to God's "Plan B". And that's the way I see it. Rather than an intrusion or distraction from what we had planned, it's a way that we can help Emily and encourage her to call on us. I see it - just as my bible study was pointing out - as a way to make a difference in someone's life by showing love.

In other news, Chris and I have had our week in Blackwell which was punctuated with the Barlow family reunion. I think we would have come away with more of a feeling of relaxation if we had planned our week together to come after the reunion rather than before. Because the reunion does tend to be a little chaotic. And then there's the horrible day of cleaning and packing up at the end. Ugh. Unfortunately (or, perhaps, fortunately if I think about it...) I put my back out BADly the day before the reunion. I was relegated to pretty much sitting around the whole time - no biking, hiking or swimming for me. I tried to go for a walk, but it ended up being a bad idea. But, that meant there was also no cleaning up and lifting and etc. It took a full week to get me straightened out. Chris did take me to a nearby chiropractor's office the day after it happened so he (Chris) could adjust me, but the tables were ancient and the adjustment was not a very good one. I needed to get home and get treated at Chris's office.

But, all in all, it was a great time. We had a few storms, but it was sunny enough for people to get in the water most every day, although the water was quite high and "fast" at times - and quite cold! Between us, there were 3 bear sightings and we saw a Bald Eagle almost every day.

Here a just a few of the many photos from our time in Blackwell:

That's Eva and Nicholas playing a game outside on the deck.

And there's Ryan taking (most of) the kids for a ride in the "community" boat.

Taco, not being a "water" dog, was tied while Matthew was in swimming and he pined for his beloved master the whole time. I just love that photo...

And Chris snapped this photo of a bunch of us enjoying ice cream at the Cedar Run General Store. My back didn't stop me from doing that! :)

And, finally, there was a LOT of baby-holding going on at the reunion. We had three babies. I got some great shots, but I though I'd just share this one of Emily and Maggie - aren't they both SO beautiful?

Emily and Eva and Maggie met us over at Kellie's pool a couple times this week and we "dipped" Maggie for the first time. Emily also expressed some breast milk and I got to feed Maggie a bottle. Sooooo sweet! And Chris got the burp out of her. If you're not a grandparent, it's hard to understand just how thrilling these little things are. ;)

Well, Eva is watching a video and eating peaches, watermelon, yogurt and Kashi "heart" cereal. Then we're gonna squirt each other with squirt guns. Chris took the car up to get inspected and when he comes back he's going to take Eva to see a movie at the theatre and then take her out for supper. When he takes her home Dustin will have been home for a while and he and Emily and Maggie will have had some "alone" time. And, by Chris taking Eva out, I will have time to get the rest of the housework done and myself ready with plenty of time to spare.

God's Plan B is all good! :)

Saturday, August 01, 2009

New Month, New Decisions

Well, here we are at a new month. And I've made a new decision. It has been on my mind for quite some time now, actually. I've tossed it around, gone back and forth, changed my mind and, finally, settled on what I want - what I need - to do. It is with a heart full of gratitude and appreciation that I have decided to step down as a Fashionista (i.e. a Design Team member for Scrap In Style TV). Sigh. This was something that I wanted sooooo badly. And when the opportunity came up about 8 or 9 months after I'd become quite active in the SIStv community, well, I held my breath, prayed and hoped that I would be chosen for the team. And I was! Wonder of wonders I was! And it has absolutely been everything that I'd hoped and dreamed it would be. I found it artistically challenging and fulfilling for sure. It was so fun to give other members (SISters) of the website a thrill by choosing a favorite layout each week. I so enjoyed being in the position to be an encouragement to others, maybe even a mentor of sorts. But the absolute best part has been getting to know Jeanette (the owner of the site) and the other Fashionistas. I expected that this would happen, but I never realized what an absolute blessing it would be to me. These women are amazing - every one of them. And they accepted me (being a slight bit - ahem - older - than them) and befriended me and made me feel so welcome. We've laughed together, cried together and have totally gotten silly together. We've worked hard together, have had virtual parties and actual slumber parties, have eaten together and have scrapped and taught side by side. It's been an amazing and wonderful year. So what the heck am I doing stepping down?

It's all about time. For me, time is EVERYthing. And I think the older I get, (even though I don't necessarily feel older) I feel my time on this earth slipping away. And as much as I love these women and this web site I have just had to ask myself if I really want to be spending so MUCH time on the computer. Being a Fashionista has meant spending hours and hours on the computer each week. I needed to look at layouts and leave comments in addition to being a presence on the message boards. In order for me to do my job to the best of my abilities - which I was whole-heartedly committed to doing - this simply required putting in time on the computer. In addition, I was working with the collections and occasionally preparing tutorials and contributing in an assortment of other ways. This all takes time. I think I realized how much time when for a couple of months, we didn't get a collection to design for and all of a sudden I actually had time to work on some projects of my own with some of the extensive stash of product I've collected over the years.

Not only that, but I just have felt this nudging, so to speak, that there are people right around me that perhaps I should be giving more of my time to. I'm intimately related to some of those people - like my children and grandchildren and I just want to be available to them. I just keep thinking that I may not always be as healthy and energetic as I am now and I want to be free to do whatever my heart desires - in my own neck of the woods - while I can.

I will most definitely still be an active participant in the SIStv community. I have no intention of giving that up. But I will log on when I feel like I have the time, at my leisure. And if I feel like I want to stay off the computer for a whole week (not bloody likely) then I will. I can just pop in to the website for a few minutes instead of an hour if I want.

I have sooooo many scrapping projects I want to do. And a beautiful scrap room just full of supplies. I love being able to go in there when I want and then, when I've had my fill, I can get up and shut the door behind me and come back some other time. LOVE that!

I'm only one hour and forty minutes into my "new" life and already I'm feeling, well, not a "relief", but a sense of release. Release to be free again with no constraints on my time. Free to choose how to spend my day without that pull to the computer. So far - it feels good. (Even though right now I'm ON the computer! But now I'll even have more time to blog.)

I really do plan to continue my friendships that I've made on SIStv - and there's no reason that I can't do that without the little red star by my name. :)

In other news - we've got some new pets around here. Just what we needed. Oy. We have THREE hermit crabs. Chris and Eva picked them out at the pet store and then came home and prepared a glass tank for them. In the photo below, Eva is very proudly showing me her dirty little feet after finishing this project. I don't think the dirty feet had anything to do with the project in particular. She just happened to think it was a good time to show them off to me!

And speaking of pets, just look at these two. How cute are they? That Beatrix is such a wild woman. She is keeping Rocky on his toes! She has zero fear of him. She drives him crazy jumping all over him and just annoying the heck out of him (which he takes quite in stride). And then, when she's exhausted herself, she decides that he'd also make a good pillow. And, again, he doesn't mind at all. "Ho hum" is pretty much the constant look on his face. She's a riot to watch and perhaps has rejeuvenated his old bones a bit. He is 15 after all. I wonder how much all of this will change when she gets spayed next month. We'll see.

Finally, here's a photo of Chris's that he took when we went out in the kayaks last week. We finally had a lovely, sunny, not-too-chilly morning, so we (meaning he) packed them up and headed to Rose Valley Lake for a little paddle. It was so relaxing and peaceful. I'm looking forward to more of that.

So, tomorrow when Chris is done at work, we head north to Pine Creek. Blackwell, PA, specifically, where we'll rent out little green cabin again and sit on the front porch every morning with out coffee watching the ducks swim by in the creek and the fishermen come by and try to get some of those very smart fish out of there. Where we'll pack up our breakfast and bike up into the PA Grand Canyon and watch for Bald Eagles as we enjoy our little picnic. Where we'll whack around a badminton shuttlecock to work up a good sweat so we can jump in the fabulous swimming hole just 20 feet in front of our cabin. Where we'll enjoy ice cream at the Cedar Run General Store for lunch whenever we can and dinner al fresco every night unless we're dining at the Cedar Run Inn or the Manor Hotel. Where we'll play cards or read or sit by a fire. Where the phone won't disturb and the computer won't connect. Ahhhhhhhhhh yes. Tomorrow we go on vacation!
The Barlow family reunion will cut short our usual week up there. But the good news is that we won't have to pack up to attend - because it's right there in the same place. Sweet.
So, it's over and out and I'll be back when the month is almost half over! Sayonara....