Hiking, Layouts, Mount Rainier, Scrapbooking

From Life to Layout: Snow & Bench Lakes

Okay, hike of the year right here. I thought Kelly Butte would stay in the lead, but Snow & Bench Lakes knocked it out of the park.

Snow & Bench Lakes 2018

This was the first time we had hiked this trail since I was 35 weeks pregnant with Nora. Of course I had to take a comparison shot with her four years on the outside! I’ll never get tired of photos like these. Life with kids is a total trip.

35 weeks // 4 years

We’ve reached a really good stage of hiking with the girls, and we’re enjoying the hell out of it while it lasts – Nora packs her own backpack with her lunch, her water, a map, and her best bear, and hikes like a pro.

Snow & Bench Lakes '18

Lily is surprisingly content in the carrier, as long as she gets to escape and trail run like a madwoman from time to time.

Snow & Bench Lakes 2018

(…and work on that microbiome!)

Snow & Bench Lakes 2018

The last time we were here, we didn’t take the little spur trail down to Bench Lake because Fetus Nora had dropped and the trail didn’t look welcoming for my rickety pelvis, but we were so glad we chose to go down there this time. The girls loved splashing in the lake, us adults loved the drop-dead gorgeous reflection of Mount Rainier…

Snow & Bench Lakes 2018

…and then suddenly a garter snake came swimming along!

Snow & Bench Lakes 2018

A snake in a lake is not something I would normally want to see, EVER, but since it was a harmless garter snake, I filed it under the Very Cool Things tab in my brain.

Snow & Bench Lakes 2018

That tab also houses our lunch break – Nora climbed the steep trail up to the turquoise, glimmering Snow Lake, then sat down, unpacked her lunch and her little sit pad, and enjoyed the view like a fully fledged human! When did she get so big??

Snow & Bench Lakes 2018

I haven’t even mentioned the fall colors yet! They were off the charts. Everything about this day just rocked – the kind of high that keeps me going through the low I’m in right now.

Snow & Bench Lakes 2018

I feel like I’ve been dwelling too much on the negative lately, so when I scrapbooked this trip, it felt good to highlight the really positive parts of life right now (prompted by the Seasons Story Kit).

I wanted the fall colors in the photos to really pop (I was writing about both the literal season of autumn and the season of life we are currently in), so I used the digital files in the kit to recolor the ‘so good’ circle and the Anne of Green Gables quote card a nice shade of teal that worked well with the red and orange hues, as well as the color of the lake. The rest of the products are from the physical kit, plus a little bit of this sheet of vellum that I am obsessed with and have used on at least ten layouts so far.

Seasons Story Kit

I ended up cutting the big photo of Nora into a swoop, which felt like a very 2006 move, but also left a good nesting space for the circles.

Oh, and I also used an extra acrylic word for the title, from an old Story Kit called Old + New – I tend to hoard those acrylic words, so I’m always happy when I use them. And this was a twofer!

Seasons Story Kit

I find it really hard to limit the amount of photos (and words, apparently) I include to document a day like this one, so I ended up with a 9×12 layout, a 9×12 pocket page, and a 6×12 insert. Of course I forgot to include the baby bump/4-year old Nora comparison, so I might have to sneak another insert in there too.

Seasons Story Kit

Interestingly, the three enlarged photos – Nora with the map, the yoga pic, and me hugging Nora – were all cell phone photos. I’m getting closer and closer to leaving my big SLR at home…I really only bring it in case we see bears or marmots (or snakes swimming in lakes!) and I have to zoom.

Seasons Story Kit

Speaking of cell phones, JK’s cell phone put together an auto video from the hike and it’s super cute. Scrapbooking is great for thoughts & photos, but it can’t capture wobbly toddler legs quite like video does!

Snow and Bench Lakes, September 2018 from JK & Ingunn on Vimeo.

Hiking with baby, Layouts

From Life to Layout: Chanterelles!

It’s been hard for me to get out of the house lately, but motivated by the promise of chanterelles, I took Lily into the woods.

Mushrooming with Lily

The day started off with a sighting of Langdon Cook (author of one of my favorite non-fiction books, The Mushroom Hunters: On the Trail of an Underground America) guiding a group of aspiring foragers. Surely that meant we had come at the right time for mushrooms!

Mushrooming with Lily

I carried Lily up a very steep, very long path to get to my secret chanterelle spot…only two find two other guys there. Nooo! They were finishing up their hunt, and I dejectedly started poking around a little bit, expecting to find nothing.

Mushrooming with Lily

Luckily for me, these guys must not be very good at spotting chanterelles, because Lily and I ended up finding a whole bunch. And when I say that Lily found them, she really did! At first she pointed to every kind of mushroom and said “Look! Mushroom there!”, but eventually she honed in on the gold and kind of sort of pronounced the word chanterelle. The cutest!

Mushrooming with Lily

After our hunt and a well-deserved lunch/running around in the woods session for Lily, she wanted back in the carrier and promptly fell asleep. I found some more mushrooms and somehow managed bend down and pick them without waking her up.

Mushrooming with Lily

This was such a good day…I’ve felt so low lately that I’ve been missing out on how much Lilyis growing. But the endorphins from carrying her up through that steep forest and the dopamine hits from finding mushrooms allowed me to fully enjoy her constant chattering from the carrier. I need to get out more. I know this. Why is it so hard.

Mushrooming with Lily

I was worried that Nora would be angry that I had picked mushrooms while she was in preschool, but she was just excited and happily cleaned them so she could have them on her pizza. Yaass!

Mushrooming with Lily

This was such a meaningful day to me that I wanted to get it scrapbooked while it was fresh in my mind, so I used the November Stories by the Month kit from Ali Edwards to make a very quick and simple 6×8 spread. I focused my journaling on the whole symbolic thing of how these mushrooms only show up if we’ve had rain.

Yum.

Albums, Scrapbooking

Halloween Album

Among the December Daily offerings this year is the most adorable 3×8 album…and while 3×8 is too small for me personally to use for December Daily while my kids are this small and cute and photographable, I decided the starry night cover would make this a perfect album for Halloween. Yesss!

Halloween Album

I never really cared about Halloween until Nora was born, so I haven’t scrapbooked it before (EDIT: that was a lie; I just found this old Howl-o-Ween page from 2008, heehee), but I love the idea of having this little album with all of Nora and Lily’s costumes in one place.

Halloween Album

I want to keep the album really simple and doable, so each year gets one quick spread. I used the October digital release from Ali Edwards to make most of these.

2014, when Nora was just under two months old and I made my dreams come true by dressing her up as Mukmuk. Aaaw. Side note: she drew me a picture of Big & Mini Mukmuk a couple of weeks ago and my heart burst for the millionth time since having kids.

Halloween Album | 2014

In 2015 she still had no idea what Halloween was, so when JK dressed up as Jon Snow, Nora happily tagged along as his direwolf, Ghost.

Halloween Album | 2015

Halloween ’16 was so good – we dressed up as a family of dinosaurs with my baby bump as an egg with a baby dinosaur popping out. It was also the first time Nora trick-or-treated for reals, and she was obvs a massive fan.

Halloween Album | 2016

2017 was Lily’s first, uhm, ex utero Halloween! She went as the grizzly companion to Nora’s polar bear. For this spread I used the October Stories by the Month kit.

Halloween Album | 2017

This is the first album I’ve actually dared let Nora flip through…she loved it and wanted to keep it in her room (sorry, kid).

Nora

This year the girls have reached the age of actual opinions, so they will be dressing up as (surprise!) Anna and Elsa. My spread for 2019 might be more princessy, fewer bats.

Albums, Layouts, Scrapbooking, Tips and Tricks

Norway 2018 // Starting (and simplifying) a big vacation album

This summer, we got to go on a five-week vacation back to Norway. It was a really good trip that I knew I wanted to scrapbook, but the thought of cramming five weeks of non-stop adventure memories into one album was kind of daunting.

Norway 2018 Album

There’s no way I would ever be able to scrapbook such a long trip chronologically, so in order to not feel overwhelmed by the project, I decided to split the album up into sections. This made the whole thing seem much more organized and doable, at least in my head.

I ended up with four separate sections, plus a mini section each for the plane travel to and from Norway.

On the back of my opening page, I created a pocket using a flight map from the in-flight magazine and the menu of the restaurant where we had lunch before our flight (Floret at SeaTac – Cafe Flora’s sister restaurant, so good!). I used it to hold our tickets and some flight ephemera.

Norway 2018 Album

Each of the main sections gets a full page photo with a half circle and a stamped title – I decided to stamp as messily as possible so I wouldn’t have to get all perfectionistic and sit there fiddling with the stamps for three hours.

Norway 2018 Album

After the opening page, each section has a divided 3×8 page protector with a short introduction. The circle embellishment combo I used is an idea that I totally stole from @klisterprinsessan – I used journaling spots from old Ali Edwards kits and circle stickers from this year’s summer release.

The first section is about my parents’ summer house, which is where we spent most of our trip and is what I view as my home in Norway. I miss it so much!

Norway 2018 Album

The next section is about the people we spent time with there – grandparents, aunts and uncles, old friends.

Norway 2018 Album

Norway 2018 Album

Section number three is about the three-day trip JK and I took to the mountains, which was such a wonderful, relaxing (even though we hiked or ran every day) getaway for us.

Norway 2018 Album

I collected tons of memorabilia on this trip, and I’m trying to use a lot of it in the album, like this map and really well-designed circle logos from brochures I found.

Norway 2018 Album

The last section is about my sister-in-law’s wedding, the main event of our vacation!

Norway 2018 Album

This section is full of all sorts of stuff: programs, hymns, JK’s handwritten speech, a bag of confetti…and it’s going to be epically cute once I get photos of Nora and Lily as flower girls in there!

Norway 2018 Album

Norway 2018 Album

The album ends with the flight home…that blue thing in the back is a barf bag from the plane, which I’m using to hold the tickets. Heh.

Norway 2018 Album

Since this album is going to be full of really busy photos, I’m keeping the rest of the design simple – white journaling cards, typed journaling, stamps, and a handdrawn black line. (This page is about how we ran into former Prime Minister of Norway and current Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, on a hike! It was such an ultra-Norwegian experience.)

Norway 2018 Album

For now, the rest of the album looks like this: random photos, journaling cards, and memorabilia here and there.

(These photos are of me, the girls, and their grandparents in front of the summer house in 2015, 2016, and 2018!)

Norway 2018 Album

I’ve written a list of important things to remember, so there’s no rush in finishing this album – I can just jump in and work on it when I feel inspired or want to reminisce.

Norway 2018 Album

Dividing a project like this into themed chunks is definitely the way to go for me!

Hiking, Layouts, Scrapbooking, Top Trips

From Life to Layout // Beaver Lake

I’m unfortunately crawling along down deep in the dumps these days, but I am doing everything I can to climb back up. One of those things is to get outside and move – I think what kicked this depression off was not being able to run after Sun Mountain due to a little injury – I really need to get back into it, because it’s what makes up the difference between Ingunn as a useless lump and Ingunn as a fully functional, content human. Another thing is to be mindful, and to take notice of life around me (versus just counting down the hours until I can go to bed).

Beaver Lake Autumn 2018

The new Story Kit, Learn, prompted me to combine these two things. We were going on a family hike – nothing big, just wandering as far as we felt like on the PCT south from Snoqualmie Pass (we turned around at Beaver Lake instead of hiking all the way to Mexico), and I decided to actively seek out life lessons from the day.

Beaver Lake Autumn 2018

Nora came prepared with her very own map, and she would stop at regular intervals to check said map and make sure we were in the right place. I love this kid.

Beaver Lake Autumn 2018

She is just wonderful in general. See, it’s so frustrating to go through depression as a parent – not only is it difficult because I can’t just take a mental health day off, but there’s also this guilt that comes along with objectively seeing how amazing my life is and how lucky I am, yet here I am not wanting to get out of bed in the morning.

Beaver Lake Autumn 2018

Luckily, depression doesn’t mean that I can’t feel happiness – this day was so good. These ups keep me going through the downs.

Beaver Lake Autumn 2018

Oh, and here’s a bonus life lesson that didn’t make it onto my scrapbook page: all this rain comes with a silver lining – mushrooms! Nora found her first king bolete! She was so proud.

Beaver Lake Autumn 2018

And just like rain brings with it delicious mushrooms, these gloomy times of mine have silver linings as well – mindfulness, intense empathy, and deep appreciation of the good, little things in life.

Beaver Lake Autumn 2018

I scrapbooked this using the Learn Story Kit, of course, since that was the prompt of this little experiment. I love, love, love the photo of me and Nora, so I enlarged it and added one of the digital stamps from the kit as my title.

I kept all my journaling on page two, divided into the different life lessons:

Everything is a phase // I’ve always tended toward all-or-nothing thinking, so when things change for the worse, I immediately assume that OHMIGOD LIFE WILL BE LIKE THIS FOREVER. But parenthood has taught me that life is full of transitory stages that feel endless when you’re in them (morning sickness, inconsolable newborns, tantruming toddlers), and that they do in fact end and life goes back to being pretty damn awesome. The tantrumorama of this morning did not, as I immediately feared, ruin the day. This too shall pass, and that includes this current phase of life where depression is doing its damnedest to take hold again.

Just get outside // Hiking is my number one antidepressant, but it’s hard to take your meds when you’re in the thick of things. But it’s pretty clear that everyone, young and old, feels better outside. Troubles melt away and bodies relax. Wifi is replaced with mountain views and fall colors and family songs. Muscles warm up and lungs fill with fresh air and endorphins course through our bloodstreams, leaving us high on life and blissfully tired.

Skills are built, not born // Nora has been working on finding her trail legs since she first hit Tiger Mountain at ten days old. There have been a lot of stumbles and missteps, but she gets back up and keeps on going. (At one point today, she stopped and said “last time I fell off a rock here and started crying and threw my sunglasses!” – that was a year ago! How does she even remember that?) You can’t keep harping on your kids to keep practicing yet tell yourself that you are useless and untalented and uncreative because you lack certain skills. You just need the courage to work on those skills.

Be true to yourself // Nora’s hiking fashion picks of today included unicorn pants, a rainbow tutu, and a badge from a tech conference in 2016, and she wore it all with pride. Don’t worry that you are not fitting into someone else’s narrow view of what life should look like. Do what works for you and your family.

The journey matters more than the destination // Today we didn’t even have a destination! We just set off south-bound on the PCT and moseyed along, picking mushrooms and berries and enjoying each other’s company. Nora found her first porcini and she was so proud. Be present. Be mindful. Don’t let life pass you by while you struggle to find the summit.

Learn Story Kit

I used embossed number stamps along the side, then gelatos to create little watercolor blobs around them. (I used too much water around number one and kind of messed it up, but whatevs.)

I added a 6×12 photo pocket in the middle with four extra photos. In the center pocket I attached that great wood veneer “life lessons” piece to some vellum, and on the back I put some lyrics from a song that was stuck in my head during the hike: Springa by Ane Brun. (It’s from a new movie about Astrid Lindgren that I am just dying to see!)

Beaver Lake Autumn 2018

I didn’t include the photo of Nora with the bolete, because it occurred to me that I’ve never scrapbooked about the fact that we love to forage for mushrooms! So I’m saving that photo for a future page full of…fungal fun. I can sneak my silver-lining-of-rain life lesson onto that page instead.