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November 26, 2012

Proud Parent

I haven't talked about it much, because there really isn't much to talk about. My daughter has microtia, atresia of her right ear, meaning she has no hole/no opening and is missing a full sized, fully developed ear. She was born this way and we've taken the necessary steps to ensure she is as healthy and normal as she can be. And so far, she is. She's hitting all milestones, she is not delayed in anything and if you saw her in a room of "normal" kids her age, there is no way you would be able to point her out as the kid missing the ear. Most recently I had her speech and language clinically tested at U of M to create a baseline to ensure she continues to improve and not hit any set backs in her learning and development.

Of course I think my daughter's speech and language is great for an almost three year old. She talks a lot, and I attribute that to the fact that I talk a lot to her and with her no matter where we are and I've always talked a lot to her, even when she was an infant in the car seat at the grocery store! Her sentences are complex, her memory is good and she does mix up a few words which always make me laugh. Most recently she was calling Thanksgiving, Kindergarten. Anyhow, at her evaluation I was super happy to learn my daughter has the vocabulary of a 3 year, 8 month old child. And her speech is normal, and falls right in the center of being normal for a child her age - meaning she has an issue with all the things kids her age struggle with - Saying "L's" and "Fr" words. 

So there's my gloating, I'm a proud parent of this amazing child: there she is, just sitting on her blocks, wearing a butterfly antennas and wings, pretending to cook and eat....


November 21, 2012

Crazy Week & New Knees

My mom decided to have two new knees put in the week before Thanksgiving! Not sure what she was thinking, but I've been spending every-other-day at the hospital visiting with her. It gave me the chance to use up vacation time that I struggle to use since I only work four days a week! 

Rachel loved visiting grandma in the hospital. She loves to take walks down the hallway and smile at all the nurses and people that pass by. She ate her lunch with grandma one day and we took grandma to see all the hospital sights on Sunday. They included: the Christmas tree, gift store, toy store, restaurant (cafeteria) and the naked babies. The naked babies are mannequins at Beaumont hospital. They are spray painted colors and have writing on them. I honestly don't even know what they are for, but Rachel loves to go to the first floor and see them. Rachel also likes to sit in bed with grandma and watch cartoons. This works well for us since we're often visiting during nap time.

My mom is doing better. Her knees are great, she's getting around great, just not feeling so great from the epidural, pain medication and other meds they have her on. But she's coming home so that's all that matters! She's motivated and not going to let these new knees slow her down! 

November 15, 2012


Before my husband mowed the grass/mulched the leaves, I asked him to rake a pile for our daughter to play in. He used the leaf blower to make this pile and one afternoon and Rachel loved playing in it. Later on she brought her baby and stroller into the pile and was throwing leaves onto her baby.

She was giddy with excitement running to the pile! She was giggling the entire time. 




November 08, 2012

Digital Hybrid Scrapbooking

My college friends have scrapbooked for a while and have always tried to get me to do it. They'd say things like, "you'd be good at it because you're so artsy and crafty." If they REALLY knew me, they'd know I hate the words "artsy" and "crafty." But I still love them for not knowing and for using those words.

Well, my friend S, introduced me to hybrid scrapbooking and my coworker told me about her digital scrapbooking. I himmed and hawed about it for a few years before actually taking the plunge and doing it. A lot of people ask me how I do it and so I've decided to create this post in an attempt to explain how I do it - It might not be the right way, or the way you want to do it, but it's my way and it works for me. It seems super complex and a lot of work, but it works for me. (I can already see one of my friends/stalkers rolling her eyes, sitting down with her coffee and reading this.)


I begin with a spiral bound notebook that I put my notes in. One page per month. 

I purchased We R Memory Keepers multi pack pages from Amazon. I found them cheapest on here, but also buy them online through Joann's when they are on sale. I open up all of my packages and organize them so all of the sleeves are together. I just used the cheap paper sleeve dividers that come with the product and pasted (literally, with a glue stick) an image of the sleeve onto the divider. This helps me to keep an inventory of my sleeves and I know what to order when I begin to get low.


Another thing I do (most recently as my daughter gets older) is organize her artwork. This is easy when I'm a year behind scrapbooking (currently working on 2011 and it's 2012). I write the month and year on the back of all of her artwork when it comes home so I know when she created it. I decide what I want to keep and what I want to toss.  I note the types of artwork and sometimes the size in my notebook.


 I break open the January 2011 folder (on my computer) and I have it already organized by "event" or "happening." I look at all of my photos and figure out which ones I might want to use for my scrapbook. I also make a list of the January events in my notebook.  For example, three things happened in January and I organized them as:
  Trip to Georgia
  Avery + Rachel Photos (we had photos done with a photographer)
  Miscellaneous January Photos

Below is a visual of the folders on my computer:


After each folder is full of photos, I then began to sort through them. I figure out how many vertical and how many horizontal photos I have.  I use the thumbnail view to group them into events and figure out what I want to scrapbook - do I just want to slip in my 4x6s, or do I want one page with a header? Or will I scrapbook an entire 12x12 page? I purge photos at this point and I make notes in my notebook what I am going to need/scrapbook and place where.

Below: I arrange the photos in an order, compatible with my page protectors, and keeping the "events" together. This is where I decide things like "do I really need 15 photos of my kid in the snow?"


I make notes in my notebook so I know what layout I am doing for each month. I also note if the photos have been uploaded to a site for developing or if I need "filler/narration information."



If I am going to digitally scrapbook a page, I begin the layout. If I am going to just develop the 4x6 images and put them into the sleeves, I being uploading the images to an online photo site. Once I've gone through all of the folders in that month and figured out where each photo will go, I take a screen shot of each folder just in case my photos get mixed up and I don't know where they go. Then I print the screenshot. Once in a while I'll have an extra photo and I'll note that on the screenshot that I print out. I add notes to the page as shown.


Away from my computer, I take my handy dandy notebook and begin to "pull pages." I mark on each page with a sticky note what month and date they are for and pull them from my dividers and put them into a pile, in order, beginning with January.  This way, when I go to my scrapbook crops, I am ready to assemble. I add in the artwork to the pages at this time and then at my scrapbook crops, I often affix the artwork to 12x12 scrapbook pages.

I order my photos in bulk, most recently there were 275 4x6 images that I ordered and 25 12x12 pages. If I work hard, I can complete a month in 1-2 days. That's simply organizing and pulling photos and pages and uploading the 4x6s and designing the digital pages. 

 The layout shown below contains several different pages all grouped onto a 12x12 page that I cut apart.


For my digital pages, I use the program that I use at work, Adobe InDesign. I do not recommend this for any scrapbooker. This is a complex design program that I am very fluent in, and it's expensive, so save your money and research actual scrapbook programs. (I know nothing about scrapbook software programs.) Every layout begins with a blank page. I do not have any templates, (and some people need templates) all of the designs come from my head, or a google search I do for ideas. All of the scrapbook "papers" and digital elements I have downloaded from websites that offer freebies. I have yet to pay for any digital elements, but I can see in the future I might have to. Especially for holidays like Christmas. You can only find so many freebies for popular holidays.

Some of the sites I use to download digital elements are: 

Shabby Princess
Peppermint Creative
Computer Scrapbook
A Cherry on Top
Sweet Shoppe Designs
Two Peas in a Bucket

My software program gives me the ability to create items any size and print multiple sizes on one, 12x12 sheet. Once I print the sheet, I can cut out my pieces and assemble them into my book. I print my 12x12 pages at Persnickey Prints for $1.99 a sheet. I am very happy with their promptness and quality and I love their flat rate shipping fee. 

Once my pages are done, I toss them into my We R Memory Keepers Faux Leather album and sit back and enjoy looking at my hard work and reliving memories. 




I hope you are still awake and your head is NOT spinning from all of this! If you have any questions don't hesitate to email me with "Scrapbooking" in the subject line. I'm sure I missed something! 

I the Teacher

I catch my daughter being the teacher a lot. Whether she's at home, eating dinner, riding in the car, I overhear things like this:

"I the teacher."

"You have to sit. Alex, do you see Chloe using her listening ears?"

"Shhh, quiet, I am talking." 

It's hilarious and sort of scary at the same time! How on earth is she imitating me when I'm not around!?!

One morning when we were home she sat in her rocking chair and lined up her "friends" and read them a story, because she was the teacher. I feel like I need to tell you who her friends are....Fluffy, Wally, Monkey, Baby, Bear, Monkey, Big Boy, Baby....



November 06, 2012

Pumpkin Patch 2012

It wouldn't be Halloween without a visit to the pumpkin patch. Thankfully the one we go to has a petting area, too, because Rachel loves to check out the animals. This year it was a touch warmer so we decided to do the wagon ride. While we were there, Rachel saw one of her friends from school so they sat by each other on the wagon!

Every year I make her sit on a pumpkin.