Ha, it’s Wednesday.

Monday I started a blog post, because Halloween!

Monday night I never finished it.

Tuesday I kept working on it.

Tuesday night I blew it off and never finished.

And here it is Wednesday! No post! Well, minus this one. And the one I’ve been working on for three days. Today will just be a twofer. No wonder I never get things posted!

Here are some cute kids, just for fun.

You’re welcome.

 

What’s new?

Isn’t it funny when people ask you “what’s new with you guys?” or “what’s going on with you?” Sure, just friendly chitchat. Despite its crippling effects of realizing you have NO legitimate response. Right? Think about it.

Well, the other day I was feeling nice so I unloaded part of the dishwasher for Duncan. He repaid my by yelling at me and refusing to do his dinner job. Motherhood is my favorite. (Meh, a little sarcastic.)

I cleaned up two beds that were peed in! It was very different from my usual one bed per morning routine. Exciting! (TMI?)

I saw a great t-shirt with a Supernatural quote on it, “Driver picks the music, Shotgun shuts his cakehole.” I felt all excited and realized it would make a great cross stitch pattern. I was going to go draft it up and feel good about the whole project, but then I got distracted by exhaustion and took a nap instead. (Too pathetic for public announcement.)

I made DINNER. This may come as a surprise for the category of “something new”. But, when you spend hours creating an aisle-by-aisle mapped out grocery list that teams perfectly with the month’s new menu, you’re too exhausted from shopping for 6 people for 30 days to cook. (Ooh, no. This would require admitting that I don’t “have it all together”.)

Today I peed with the door closed! (Saaaaad, mama. Just sad.)

Not much, mostly the same old mom gig. *smile* (Genius!)

Recently I’ve added to this response by discussing school goals or quickly recalling something adorable one of my nerdlings recently did. Tip: Kids are always doing something, whether it’s cute or annoying, and it always makes for good conversation.

Strikethrough or not – how do you respond?

Psst… that red-colored link up there? Totally worth it. Well, regardless of Sammy’s disdain for Black Sabbath and Metallica. Tsk tsk. One day I might actually catch up on Supernatural. I’m currently finishing the last of Season 9 of The X-Files. 

 

Que Será, Será

Whatever will be, will be. 

Man, that’s hard. For everyone, right? But then you go and be an adult and have children and you are responsible for those little humans. Whatever will be, will be? Can’t write that on a page in my planner. That sounds like open-ended crazy talk.

It doesn’t have to be negative or bad, there are positive sides to holding your arms open and telling the universe, “come at me, bruh.” No matter our intentions or our own upbringing, we do our best and hold our breath for the day when they start having their foundations tested. When they hold their breath and do their best.

 I think despite our shortcomings and failing moments, the true message generally gets through and it leaves them jumping off the edge with confidence, knowing they have a plan and are prepared to meet the future and shape it their way. What they find there is out of everyone’s control. That is as it should be, though difficult. That’s growing up. That coveted transference of imaginary power and control. 

As parents of small children, that control or power is easy. At least it was for me. Sure, not easy to do but easy to understand. I knew what was needed of me, what was required. We’re back to our basic roots and understanding of survival – we do what we need to do. Love the baby, feed the baby, bathe the baby, swaddle the baby, protect the baby. But what about when the baby grows an attitude and a dislike for mashed produce? 

Sometimes whatever will be, will be because there’s no way to plan for it. My oldest, though very similar to me at her age, is so much different than I ever was. How could I have forseen what her day would be like every day? What her environment would be like outside of my influence? 

And to say raising each child was that same basic instinct would be naive. They were all so different. The first was mild mannered and “easy”. The second was a very happy baby but he never slept unless he was literally laying on my body. The third preferred her thumb over the beloved “fia” (pacifier) and cried through her many battles with anxieties. My last was similar to my second in demeanor but struggled with her health and had breathing that needed constant attention and treatments. She, though it wasn’t much of a surprise, never took a pacifier or a thumb. Honestly, with a nebulizer mask over her face for so much of her little life, how could she? 

These are things I never could have prepared for. And then when the attitudes and opinions grew? All bets were off – it was (and still is) an entirely new game. 

Today they’re all independent in their own ways. Even down to the youngest who’s just past four years old. Their physical needs have grown into emotional needs. They can feed themselves, wash in the shower, or (generally) keep themselves safe – but emotionally I’m not useless yet. What used to be as simple as a warm blanket, fia, and a hushed song now requires forgiveness over slammed doors and second chances after angsty, attitude-laden comments. 

But between ripping off bandaids and “ruining their lives”, my job is relatively simple – being there when they need me. Which may be the hardest job of all. If they would just listen! We’ve all been in their shoes at one point or another, and we don’t have all the answers either. But “use my experiences”, we might plead, “learn from my mistakes!” They won’t. Have you ever tried to plan for every outcome for your child, to fix what isn’t yours to fix? Life happens, it’s messy and it gets in the way. Planned or not, it happens and it’s maddening. They need to have their own experiences, learn their own lessons.

The religious side of me looks at my personal experiences with being a parent and wonders how difficult it must be to be our Heavenly Father. To have rejected the plan of a son who wanted to just “make it work” only to watch us all completely butcher doing it right. He chose choice over force; freedom, flexibility, and forgiveness over rigid conformity. The ultimate example of all-encompassing patience and love. Maybe that’s the message? If you’re meeting the necessities, is there a “doing it right”? Our kids might have to repeat our mistakes, each one of them in their own way. But if they learn the lesson and their lives are better for it, wasn’t that the goal? To teach them how to find the path, not just to show it to them? 

 It’s true. Beyond me, or my parents, or their parents – all the way back to the beginning. You love, you try, you work hard, you sacrifice. And still? Whatever will be, will be.

And, thank goodness. 

Outside.

Throwback Thursday to that time when I wrote this post and never hit publish. Written 9/1/16.

I never realized the power of being outside.

My dietician, Denise, kept telling, “just go outside.” When I go outside things feel smaller, more manageable. The task at hand hasn’t changed, but I have. You can’t tell me that you look up into that big blue atmosphere and feel trapped or cooped up. It’s honestly almost too much. I’m a homebody, always have been. Even when I was younger, though at that point I was probably a roombody, as most adolescents are. (Or maybe I’m making that assumption because my oldest daughter is very similar.) I spent time at friend’s houses, sure. But when I wasn’t making an active social effort, I was in my house, and most likely in my room.

As an adult, it’s nearly impossible to stay in my room. Can you imagine the toys and discarded socks and string cheese wrappers that I’d pull out of my bed each night? Shudder. Don’t even. My kids are all over the place, the older two do tend to look for those spots where they can find solitude on their own, but we have a very busy house. Not having the solitude of my own place, I just kind of gave up. Sometimes I hole up in the Office, other times in the Music Room working on library stuff, even the Laundry Room. Pathetic! But if I’m folding blankets, linens, panties, and the like – the kids steer clear. (I might ask for help!)

But Denise kept repeating herself, “just go outside.” So I tried it. It was nice for walks, getting outside, even if it was just 15 minutes a day. My problems that usually clouded my mood and frustrated my quick-but-reliable-fix-mom-style seemed to not feel quite so large. How could they? I wasn’t surrounded by constant noise or consistent “butmom!“, yet it wasn’t silence. I’m the oldest of five – and we were LOUD. I don’t do silence.

I enjoyed my walks but managed to turn it into something I could use against myself. I obsessed over miles or minutes per mile or even glanced at how many calories my phone and my Fitbit claimed. Because, yes, I ran TWO separate trackers. Le sigh. I really do like you, Numbers – you just make me crazy.

So, while I continued my walking, I stopped treating it like exercise. Sometimes I wear jeans and we go somewhere all together. Other times I pull out the yoga pants and headphones and hit the street in the traditional exercise way. I tried to incorporate it into my normal life, not add it to what’s already there. The 20 minutes to the library? We were just headed to Storytime. It wasn’t really exercising (psst, it still counts!) it was just being a good mom, and treating my girls to a fun morning.

Today I took it up another notch. Every time I’m at my parent’s house in the spring/summer, we always end up sitting outside. For a meal, to chat, to watch the kids play, to watch my dad (and now my husband) play/navigate their RC boats in the Willamette – why not? There’s always a reason that’s not too hard to find and they have the perfect deck and view to do it. I’ve even complained to Cameron that I wished we had something that would allow me to do the same. To get to walk out the back door and sit and read a book.

Simple right? Well, the chairs are in the trailer – somewhere, the picnic table isn’t exactly comfortable, and you can only lay on the grass for so long. Especially with the chickens out! It just wasn’t giving me the same feeling. I wanted to sit and see the sun and relax. Not argue with a compartment in the trailer to sit in an uncomfortable camping chair. Lazy? Probably. But beside the point! I even tried to convince Cam we didn’t need to rebuild the shed, we should just pour a slab or build a second deck and put comfy patio furniture on it! Yeah, not so much. That idea didn’t last, ha!

So today, I just did it. I took two minutes and checked for the chairs, I couldn’t figure out which compartment they were in and everything was locked anyway. Flop. So I yanked out one of my IKEA chairs and maneuvered it onto the deck. I set it down, closed to door, and sat down. Sure, it’s no river view, but it turns out there’s a lot to my own little backyard. Our Japanese Maple by the deck is growing strong, the gladioli along the back stretch are still in bloom, the garden has grown and while production is slow it’s growing, and the neighbors behind us who were rumored to have tried to start a tree farm have given me a nice little chunk of trees to stare at. It does give me a little reminder of a time when I didn’t have many trees in my view.

Looking out from my office window, where I’ve been spending increasingly more time, I am blessed by the view of my neighbor’s yard… aka construction zone. Half finished shed, old and most likely rusting swing set, a dog run semi-covered by plywood, and a glimpse at what looks like a Gma & Grandson window sticky afternoon project. Not the prettiest.

Looking up it’s instant homesickness… a flat, dry horizon with -count them- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 trees in my field of vision.

Thank goodness for green.

Whether it’s a bird flying by, a neighbor’s hammering on some non-HOA-compliant addition, a yappy dog, or the neighbors’ small kids playing on the other side of our fence – there’s something to be said about outside noise. Sure the dog gets old at 3:00 am, but at 6:00 in the evening sitting out on the deck, it’s not a large annoyance. The problem is what it is on a manageable level. I’m not drowning in contentious situations and bracing for when I float to the ceiling, I’m in such a huge space that I can’t imagine the number of troubles it would take to even get me off the ground.

It does make a difference, though – suddenly the book I so badly wanted to start today, doesn’t feel like such a chore. When you find a Le Guin on the library discard shelf for free, you take it. I read today. I spent too much time on Facebook, sure, but I READ WORDS OUT OF A BOOK TODAY. Lately, unless we are begging for something to work on/stress over/tear down/rebuild I just do not have the time to read anymore. It’s seriously sad.

So for now, I’m thankful I have my deck. My random inside-chair placed outside. The Christmas Tree Farm fail in front of me. Even the wifi that reaches all the way outside and still functions – I’m writing, right? All good things that were waiting for me, that were always there.

I just had to go outside.

my project life

ETA: Oops! I just made it very clear that the example Project Life page I used was TOTALLY random from a quick Google search, ha! I gave credit to the wrong crafty lady! Looks like Jessica, from themomcreative.com, had this posted on her blog as a guest post… oops! So Kayla Aimee, from kaylaaimee.com, is actually the one who made the spread! She’s also doing her spread in a non-traditional way. (Though still super cute!) For a better representation of what I was trying to explain, see the side by side comparison further down. Sorry! ❤

babies!

I’ve been Project Life-ing a TON this week. They recently had a sale (still going on for a little bit today!) where all in-app purchases were only $0.99! At first I was hesitant about the whole thing. Scrapbooking on my phone? How would I get my photos? How many in-app purchase would I have to make to make just one page?

This is Project Life:

Random adorable spread from random Google search. Credit to themomcreative.com and kaylaaimee.com.

So, photos go into pockets and then cards go into the other pockets. There are filler cards, journaling cards, title cards, etc. You might remember this kind of scrapbooking from my video about our trip to California and our time spent at Legoland the Lego Chima Waterpark. Jessica, from themomcreative.com, Kayla Aimee, from kaylaaimee.com, uses a lot of super cute embellishments and totally makes it look different which I love… but I’m very much a noob and that’s another post!

So, Project Life: it’s pocket scrapbooking – things go into the pockets. Easy, quick, fulfilling, and oh-so-cute.

Now bare minimum, in order to do this, you need a book (or pages that will go into a larger book), photos, and cards. You could use scrapbook paper, cut and trimmed. I used paper as well in my completed book, but I also love the Project Life cards. (Some of the cards in the video in my Legoland album are We R Memory Keepers, they’re available at Walmart and fit almost perfect in the pockets and are interchangeable.)

A “kit” contains 4×3 cards and 4×6 cards:

Example of a “Core Kit”

The price of the kits varies depending on what you get, whether it’s a new or discontinued kit, etc. Kits are wonderful, I love having them to chose from, organizing by color, playing with them while scrapbooking, etc. But! While some cards are repeated in the kit (depending on what size kit you get) once the card is used – it’s used. That’s it. For some cards, you wouldn’t want to repeat them over and over, and I totally get that. But some cards are definitely made neutral and with a matchy, reusable type design and I might use them as a neutral filler or a favorite journaling card – BUT – eventually the repeats run out too.

Enter Project Life app. This app is SO fun. It’s just like Project Life that you put together on your desk or table, but app style! You can start out with a few selected kits for free and then when they had their sale – I went crazy! Even at their regular (inexpensive) price, these aren’t printed cards, people! They’re unlimited! *enter emoji with heart eyes* You order “kits” just like you do IRL but they’re digital. During the sale at just $0.99 per kit (ANY kit) it was an absolute steal!

You make your pages the same way you do with paper photos and cards. Select which photo you want to go in which spot. Done. There are different layout options and even background color options, though I’ve stuck with a simple white so far. If you’re iOS it uses Dropbox and your gallery to sort through for photos to scrap, and if you’re Android it uses your gallery and Google Photos. Just, love.

Once you’ve completed your page(s) you can print, slip into a non-pocket page (think page protector but 8×8 or 12×12 size) and you’re set! They look almost identical. Look! Click here to see them side by side! (These are Jennifer Johnson‘s pages. She was chosen for the Project Photo Rescue done by Becky and her team. DREAM! I guess that’s the disadvantage to being a little crazy about organization… you don’t win a chance for Becky to come help!)

Here are a few of the ones I’ve been working on:

Page for Charlie’s book

(star is just added for a cover-up)

Page for Liv’s book

I’ve been enjoying myself and my bazillion new “kits” on the app. I’m officially doing all my kids’ albums in the 8×8 size which is such a relief. I’ve always wanted to do scrapbooks for each child plus family and couple books, but was so overwhelmed by the task. Now having them all digital makes it so much more manageable. I’m not printing multiple copies of certain photos that I want each child to have, I’m just putting them in digitally!

This won’t be the last thing you’ll hear about Project life, that’s for sure. I’m almost done with Las Vegas and Mexico in our Anniversary Vacations album. Just in time for our cruise, ha! We have a specific Disney Creative Memories album that will house our Disney vacations – so Disneyland, from the same trip as Legoland, will go into my Creative Memories album like our wedding and honeymoon.

Embracing the crazy mess of differences and enjoy the evolution of my personal scrapbooking is what Project Life is all about. And I’m enjoying it.