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Layouts, Scrapbooking

Scrapbook Therapy

Not gonna lie – as much as I love my kid, 2.5 isn’t my favorite age. There’s a lot of Jekyll and Hyde-ness going on. On Sunday, I ended up googling the phrase “Exorcist tantrums” (and, much to my relief, found that many many parents before me had put those two words together). So I’m doing my best to focus on and treasure the Jekyll moments, because Jekyll is the sweetest, kindest, most wonderful little being there ever was.

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Now that Ali Edwards finally released her 6×8 Story Books, all my random little 6×8 pages finally have homes! And something about that size makes scrapbooking less intimidating than if I were to make a bigger layout. I bought one album for me/the family, one for Lily, and one for Nora. This page will go in my own album, not hers, because she doesn’t really need to see it until a time where she might have a toddler herself.

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I like that my album is going to be full of little thoughts I have that I probably wouldn’t have bothered to make a full 8.5×11 page about. Having kids is wonderful and fulfilling and fun, but sometimes it’s very hard work, and this album is turning out to be pretty therapeutic to me during those times. I thought I would use Ali’s May release kit to make a sappy page about Mother’s Day, but since Mother’s Day just happened to fall during my most challenging week yet as a parent, it felt right to focus on how I cope with that instead.

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Layouts, Scrapbooking

Through the lens I see life

I’ve struggled to get back into the groove of scrapbooking after Lils was born, but this month as I was making my pages for Ali Edwards’ April releases, I think things finally clicked back into place and I felt inspired again.

Participating in a simplified version of Week in the Life was part of it – every time I start focusing more on our everyday life, I get really excited about being able to look back on these pictures and notes in the future. Another reason, and this will probably sound dumb, is that I had a really vivid nightmare in which I was told I only had a couple of days left to live. Of course I woke up all sweaty and sad and couldn’t for the life of me fall back asleep. I spent the rest of the night thinking about what I want my girls to know if that were ever to happen. First and foremost how much I love them, but also what my feelings are about certain life situations that they might end up in some day. I’ve always just scrapbooked with my future self in mind, because there’s no guarantee that anyone else will be interested in looking through these albums, but if something does happen and I’m not around to talk, my girls will have a chance to sort of peek inside my brain and see how I handled things like depression, infertility, and the ups and downs and stress and joy that come with raising little kids.

Lens

Ali’s Story Kit theme this month is Lens, and it’s one I think I’ll be using for a long time, both for literal interpretations of what I’ve seen through my camera lens (because I have a never-ending backlog of gorgeous hiking adventures I want to document) and for pages like this one, about how I choose to look at life (complete with real-life giant bags under my eyes and unkempt mom hair).

As for Week in the Life, I was just too tired last week to participate fully (because apparently I choose to spend my nights envisioning depressing scenarios instead of sleeping), but I did make a mini version that I adore. It was supposed to be one photo and one story per day, but then I ended up with too many photos I loved and had to change it to two photos and one or two stories a day. Much less time-consuming than a full-on WITL, but I ended up with a really good overview of our everyday life right now along with my thoughts and some cute quotes and stories from Nora.

Week in the Life Tuesday

Week in the Life Wednesday

It’s coming together really quickly since it’s just a matter of adding the date boxes and a transparent white box onto my photos and printing the journaling I had written each day, but since I decided to double my stories, I still have to go through my notes and finish those last bits of journaling before I can share the whole thing.

Easter

Of course scrapbooking shouldn’t be all heavy thoughts, after all, this is a hobby I do for fun, so since part of the April release was Easter-themed, I went all in with a good old-fashioned event page. Because sometimes you’ve just gotta share how cute your kid looked in her dress. Or while devouring a giant chocolate bunny.

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Layouts, Scrapbooking

Bond (James Bond)

This month’s Story Kit theme is Bond, which meant I obviously had to scrapbook about JK and Nora – in my completely non-biased opinon, they are the cutest daddy/daughter combo around, and their bond has grown even stronger this past year. JK helped me out so much with childcare when I was sick and down in the dumps during pregnancy, and now that he’s on his epic parental leave from work, he’s pretty much in charge of all things Nora while I nurse and nurse and nurse and do the little baby things.

J-K + Nora (Ali Edwards Bond Story Kit)

Now I have a whole list of other relationships I want to scrapbook with this too – Nora and Wellie! Wellie and Basil! And, of course, Nora and Lily. Aaaw.

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Baby, Layouts

Lily’s Birth Story

The theme for Ali’s February product release is, unsurprisingly, all about luuurve! I used the opportunity to finally get Lily’s birth story down on paper for her baby album. I’m glad I had jotted down some notes a couple days after the big event, otherwise the story would have read something like “I coughed and then this amazing baby came out”.

I loved the gradient LOVE YOU journaling card, so I used this Photoshop trick to turn the background transparent, then just erased the part that went over my shoulder. Ta-da!

Lily

I spent the day before Thanksgiving in bed with what was either bronchitis or pneumonia – whatever it was, I felt sicker than I have in years and years. I had just coughed so hard that I sprained an intercostal muscle and had to get help just to go to the bathroom, so I hoped that my body would know to not go into labor just then. But nope. Another coughing fit (while watching Shameless on my laptop in bed – sorry I don’t have a more romantic story for you, kid) broke my water and I knew there was no turning back now – I was going to have a Thanksgiving baby. I called the midwives and just tried to get some sleep.

I woke up at 2am with contractions, and stayed awake the rest of the night. They were spaced pretty far apart until they suddenly, out of nowhere, started coming every 2-3 minutes. I freaked out, picturing a baby-born-in-car scenario, and woke JK up so we could rush off to the hospital at 5am. Bessefar stayed home to wait for Nora to wake up (I’m so glad she didn’t see me in that state).

I vividly remember thinking that I would give birth within an hour and that I could make it that long, but the second I laid down in the hospital bed, the adrenaline wore off and my contractions became very spaced out and erratic. On top of that, I had to get intravenous fluids and nutrition since I hadn’t been able to eat or drink much the last couple of days. There was a contagious disease warning sign outside our room and almost everyone who came in wore a mask, which didn’t help the whole I-feel-like-death thing.

I knew my contractions would come faster if I were standing, but I didn’t even have the energy to get out of bed…and eventually realized I didn’t have the energy to get through the contractions much longer at all. I talked it over with Kim, my midwife, and decided to go for the epidural.

It felt bizarre being so numb during labor, but this time it was definitely better than the alternative. I was even able to rest for a couple of hours while JK watched a Manchester United match. I really didn’t like that I wasn’t getting any natural cues from my body anymore and I was worried about having to do coached pushing this time, but it was fine – I let Kim know that I was starting to feel some pressure, pushed for about 15 minutes, and then little Lily was born.

I immediately gave Lily a big hug, but she wasn’t crying and she was this awful grey/blue color that really scared me. The nurse started rubbing her until she finally cried, but she was a gurgling mess (not unlike her mamma) and suddenly a bunch of people were there to help suction a ton of fluid out of her. They considered whisking her off to the nursery for extra observation, but once we did some skin to skin and nursing, she perked up.

All throughout the pregnancy, I was worried about how I could possibly love another little baby as much as I love Nora, but the second I hugged Lily, all those concerns were gone. I know it was Thanksgiving, not Christmas, but my heart grew three sizes that day.

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Layouts, Scrapbooking

More baby layouts

I’m slowly but surely chugging away on Nora’s baby album, mostly focusing on the must-do pages for now…but I also have lots of cute filler page ideas I want to make so I can include the very best super adorbs photos we’ve taken of her.

First up – the birth story! I’ve actually made this before, but I hated how it looked, so for the first time ever, I redid the layout. This one works much better with the other pages I’ve made from the hospital.

When you were born

Here’s an obligatory page about the exhaustion/bliss of the newborn period…

Up Early, Up Late

…and one about Nora and pappa – this one is old, but I don’t think I’ve ever shared it here.

I love you

I think this is my favorite page of the entire album; it’s so cool to have all the important milestone information in one place on a timeline like this! Also: so many cute faces on one layout.

Little Details

I really do love making these little tidbit pages full of Nora’s little habits and quirks that I am bound to forget if I don’t write them down. This was her at 18 months.

18 months

And here’s a quick one about her second birthday celebration…

Two

…with a corresponding tidbits-at-two page using the same papers (like I unintentionally did on her first birthday combo).

Love You

As for further must-do pages, I definitely need to make something about her relationships with all of her grandparents (and with me!), and maybe one where I use a photo from every month of her first year so you can see her growing from a wrinkly little peanut to a big girl. And then it’s on to just getting all of those massively adorable photos into her album. <3