Sunday, September 28, 2014

Just Hanging

These pictures perfectly capture Zachary's personality! Dave had taken them camping with Grampy & Grammy over Labor Day weekend while I stayed home to work on lesson plans and the Walk-n-Roll. (It was awesome being home alone for 24 hours in a quiet house!) Knowing I would want pictures to scrapbook, Dave took over 200 pictures - and he said that I had a picture problem!!

Scrapbooking Tip
One technique I have learned from Scrapbook Generation sketches is to use smaller photos, like the 2x2 square photos next to the title. It's a great way to add extra photos and they add a little variety to my layouts. I now deliberately zoom out when taking certain photos, knowing that I am going to crop them down.

Another technique I like using is placing the title across both pages of the layout. It really worked here sandwiched in between the photos.

Journaling Close Up

I love Zach's smile in the bottom picture! He comes up with some unique expressions!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

U R My Sunshine

I can't take any credit for this layout. It was a kit I got in my class materials at a Creating Keepsakes Convention. When I saw the title I knew I had to showcase a picture of the three loves of my life. Dave used to sing this song, "You Are My Sunshine" to me when we were dating. Then when we had the boys both of us sang this song to them. These boys are the sunshine of my life! 

Journaling Close Up

I did this layout in 2009. I never imagined that I would have to live my life without Dave. And I still am so much in love with him.

I took this picture of Dave in Gettysburg. We were driving home from Florida and stopped for the night in Gettysburg and then spent some time doing the "touristy thing." The best part - we were alone without kids!!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

One Messy Eater

I love these pictures of my little Zach Attack. He had the chubbiest cheeks and he also liked to EAT. (I wish he would eat for me now!) He had the brightest smiles and also the biggest frowns - especially if you took his food away.

Scrapbooking Tips:
This layout was based on another great Scrapbook Generation sketch. I was looking for a sketch that featured multiple photos and this was a perfect fit. Because I have a picture problem I tend to use lots of photos on my layouts. 

Buttons are one of my favorite embellishment. They are cheap and come in every color and I usually have a lot on hand. I took the circle idea off of the sketch, but instead of layering just cardstock circles, I adhered buttons on top. It added dimension and I loved how they mimicked the polka dot paper. 

This smile could not possibly get any bigger!!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Kisses for Daddy

This is a simple layout - a blast from the past. Caleb was two years old and kissing Dave. My mom grabbed the camera and snapped away. Caleb was just so cute - he'd kiss Dave and then laugh and giggle. Just a moment in time captured and I am so glad it is! 

Scrapbooking Tips:
I scraplifted this layout from a Creative Keepsakes magazine. I tend to use a lot of striped paper because it is a great way to get a lot of color into your page. I picked the striped paper first and then chose the solid cardstock and ribbon to match.

One of my favorite ribbon techniques is to forgo the bow and just tie a knot. Not only does it save time, but sometimes a bow looks too feminine on my boy pages. Knots are more "manly".

Photo Closeup:

One thing I always loved about Dave was his smile. His smile lit up his whole face and even his eyes smiled! And nothing made him smile more then his boys!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Way Up High

This is a fun memory! I couldn't help snapping a ton of pictures from just this one ride. The boys screamed the whole time, "Hi Mommy! We're way up high!" Dave was just as big a kid.

I LOVE how this layout looks. Most of my layouts are based off of sketches designed by Allison Davis and Debbie Sanders from Scrapbook Generation, and I followed their sketch down to the last detail. Did I mention I love the results? 

I typically use neutral colored card stock for my background, but when I chose the yellow paper I thought I'd be daring and use a purple background. When the layout was done I noticed the purple brought out the color of the seats in the ride. That was not on purpose.

Photo Close Ups:
Who's the bigger kid?

Their faces say it all!

I love the laughing faces!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Never Take for Granted the Simple Things

I'll be honest . . . sometimes I look at this layout and think it's too busy, and other times I looks at it and love it. I guess it just depends on the day! It was important for me to scrapbook these photos. Caleb had only had his power wheel chair a couple of weeks, so his new found mobility and freedom were relatively new and it was so wonderful to see him able to move on his own!

We were in Cape Cod with my brother, Peter, and his family. Jess had hung beach towels on a clothes line and Caleb just had to run through them! He was being a typical four-year-old. It was so much fun to watch him. 

I love the expression on Caleb's face! He was pretending he was "racing" and was determined to win! It was so adorable to watch!

Scrapbooking Tip:
I scraplifted this idea - mix and matching different stickers to create a title. I knew my title was going to be longer so I looked for smaller stickers for most of the words, and then used the larger stickers for the words I wanted to emphasize.

Journaling Close Up:

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Helping Daddy

As I was looking through a stack of pages that needed to be put in albums, I found this layout. The now familiar grief washed over me taking my breath away. Something as simple as seeing Dave doing normal everyday things with the boys reminds me all over again of the memories that won't be made. But as quickly as the grief hit, it went away and I smiled as I remembered this day. . . 

Dave had trimmed a tree branch that was close to our house and Zach had to rush outside to be part of the noise. Once Dave was done he began to drag the branch to our "brush pile" on the far side of the yard and Zach just had to help! A precious memory of a little boy wanting to be like his Daddy. 

Scrapbooking Tip:
Because the pictures were busy I wanted to keep the papers and embellishments simple. One of my favorite brands of paper is Echo Park and their camping collection seemed to be the best fit. I especially loved the wood grain paper and both the brown and orange papers matched Zach's outfit - he was getting lost in all the green. A few leave stickers and a simple journaling sticker adhered with foam tape completed the look I was trying to achieve.

Photo Close Up:
This was one of my favorite photos on the layout - it captures Zach's little personality. He was starting to go the opposite direction and had to get turned around. He caught on quick though - and he stayed with Dave until the job was done!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Travel Adventure

Dave loved creating adventures for our family. He loved to travel! In June of 2009 we went to Niagara Falls. It was a great trip, and I'm so glad that Dave took us. We made some awesome memories, and I'm so glad that Daddy was there to see the boys experience Niagara Falls for the first time.

Being the obsessive scrapbooker that I am, I had to take pictures of the boys strapped into their car seats on the way to Canada. In fact, we were on the bridge waiting to go through customs when I snapped these.

I love Caleb's expression! I was trying to get him to look out his window because the falls were RIGHT THERE!! He wasn't very impressed. On the other hand, Zach was getting excited because I was acting excited. He was smiling and laughing but not sure why.

What was Dave doing? Laughing at me! He always used to ask, "You have a layout in mind, don't you?" As I would snap away trying to get THE perfect shot, he would often say, "Boys, just do what Mommy says and she'll stop taking pictures."

As far as the design of this page, I used a sketch from Scrapbook Generation - my absolute favorite go-to for inspiration! Then all my papers, stickers and embellishments came from the same Simple Stories collection. It was a very simple page that came together quickly but I loved the finished result. But the most important aspect of this layout? It brings back some great memories.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Welcome to the World, Baby Zachary!

My scrapbooking style has evolved over the years, but this is the layout I did for the beginning of Zach's album. Again, I chose busy pattern paper for my background. Lately I tend to gravitate toward smaller patterns and also solid backgrounds. I also was in the phase where I was typing all my journaling because I didn't care for my handwriting. That has changed. Now I don't care what my handwriting looks like, what's more important to me is preserve my writing for the boys.

Journaling Close Up

I added white mats behind the photos to make them stand out from the background. I wasn't into inking my edges then - and that would have made them stand out even more . . . . Hmmmmm. . . . . it might be worth going back to do that. . . .

I love this picture - even though you don't see Dave's face you can tell that he's smiling. Smiling at his little boy. . .  and falling in love with Zachary Robert!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Daddy & Zachary

Zachary just celebrated his sixth birthday - and his first without Daddy. Other than our first Christmas without Dave, just five days after his funeral, the boys' birthdays have been the hardest "firsts" for me. I always think back to the day they were born, and it was just Dave and I in the delivery room. Dave held both boys before I did. It was Dave up with me in the middle of the nights. And it was Dave the boys first fell in love with!

These pictures were taken in the first few months of Zachary's life. He was such a fussy baby - especially those first few months. Lots of holding, burping, and letting him fall asleep up on our shoulder so he'd keep his last meal down.

As far as the scrapbook layout, I kept it simple because of the busy pattern paper I wanted to use. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't have used light blue stickers directly on the pictures because they blend into the colors of the photos on the right page. But it looked good at the time I was scrapping - and I was most likely sleep deprived because I had a fussy four month old!

Photo Close Ups:

I took this picture at 1:00am Zachary's first night home from the hospital. That was a miserable night with both Dave and I trying to calm Zach down. Daddy had the magic touch! We waited until Zach was in a deep sleep before we tried laying him down and going back to bed.

Daddy and his little man! Zach was about two months old when this was photo was taken. Dave absolutely loved being a daddy - and Zach adored his "Dayee".

I should do a layout of all the pictures of Dave asleep with the boys! As any new parents, we slept when we could - and with Zach we never knew when the next nap might be. If Zach was sleeping it seemed either Dave or I was sleeping too - and obviously Dave didn't waste anytime moving to the couch or bedroom!

I know that Zach's memories of Dave will be few and far between. That is so painful to me. Zach had the world's best daddy and he won't remember. He'll have to be told what Dave was like and how much Daddy loved him. But, you know what they say . . . a picture's worth a thousand words.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Shamu Stadium

Ahh. . . . Shamu Stadium. . . the last stop in Sea World. We walked past a vendor selling fish puppets and both boys went nuts. Caleb picked out a dolphin and Zach wanted the Orca Whale. This was perfect because we made it to the stadium early, and the boys entertained themselves for the longest time! Of course Daddy joined in on the fun and put on a puppet show like only Daddy could do - complete with silly songs and voices. We still have those puppets, and occasionally Zach will play with them, acting out his own silly plays, just like his Daddy.

Scrapbooking Tip:
I am particularly proud of this page for a unique technique I used. I was having trouble getting a picture of the whales jumping out of the water. If my picture was clear, I only could see the tips of the whales' tails. The pictures with the whales in perfect position were blurry. I was just about to go without the picture when inspiration struck!

I grabbed one of my blurry pictures out of the garbage and cut out the whales. I then used foam adhesive to attach the whales to one of the clear photos of the stadium.

I was very pleased with the result! At a distance you can't really tell that I merged two pictures. I know some scrapbookers would have used Photoshop, but (confession time), I really don't like using the computer to scrapbook! Occasionally I will type out some of my journaling, but I like to see my handwriting on my layouts. 

Here's my argument for using handwriting over computer journaling. Ever since Dave died anytime I find something in his handwriting, even a grocery list, I save it. I love seeing his small, all caps print. Dave didn't write as much as I do, so what I find is very precious. I also want the boys to know that little tid bit about him. What I have a lot of in Dave's handwriting are the love letters he wrote to me while we were dating, some after we were married, then a lot when he was going through the Police Academy. But most of those "handwriting samples" are for my eyes only, and while I will share some with the boys as they get older to show them how much their Daddy loved Mommy and later them, they are not scrapbook material. To collect things to show the boys is so important for me. Anything that can give them glimpses of their Daddy is worth saving.

I hope that my boys would feel the same way if anything ever happened to me. My handwriting is all over the scrapbooks. Notes to them telling stories, telling them I love them. They will never have to wonder how Daddy and Mommy felt about them.

So that's way I'm going to continue to handwrite my journaling, and I don't see this ever changing! A computer might make the printing perfect and spacing even, but it can't add the personal touch handwriting can. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sea World Memories

Remember how I said that Dave was sick with the stomach bug the first night of the cruise? Well, the day we stopped at Port Canaveral, I woke up feeling extremely nauseous. We had already told the boys that we were going to Sea World, and I was just as excited as they were. Dave offered to take the boys by himself, but I didn't want to miss out Caleb and Zach having this adventure. I also knew if Dave took both boys by himself, it would be hard to get lots of  pictures . . . . and there would be a gap in the scrapbook. (I'm only partially kidding!)

So, this Mommy ate very little, took a hour long bus ride to Sea World, and then started walking the park. All day I fought the queasiness and tried to sip Diet Coke and eat a couple of bites of that nutritious theme park food every hour or so. We tried to hit every show that we could because I could just sit. 

I'm happy to report that I did not get any sicker, and I would not have missed this day for the world. Dave could have done it taking both boys, but I'm sure he was pretty happy I said I could manage going. Besides, I will never forget that day and there are pictures to prove that both Mommy and Daddy went to Sea World . . . even if the boys don't completely remember.

Journaling Close Up:

Scrapbooking Tip:

I used scraps of paper to create this colorful border, and the left over stickers from my Sea World sticker sheets - the ones that I typically don't use. They were sitting on a pile of scraps on my table and the color combination caught my eye. So I just glued everything down and layered the stickers. A cheap and easy way to decorate your layout!

Photo Close Ups:
Daddy and his boys - Memories in the Making

Caleb wanted to stand, so Daddy got him out of the stroller and he stood for the longest time just looking out at the water. Even when Caleb could stand, we couldn't just leave him - especially on pavement. So Daddy was right there, giving Caleb a soft spot to fall if he should need it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Show Time

The highlight at Sea World for Dave and I was the shows. We got to sit down and contain the boys for a certain period of time! We laughed so hard at a mime that interacted with the audience before the sea lion show. He would mimic or poke fun at the people walking into the arena and getting settled for the show. It was hysterical! Caleb kept asking, "What's so funny?"

Scrapbooking Tips:

I love using shapes for journaling spots! The sketch I was using had one less photo to leave room for jounraling. I wanted more pictures so I added my writing to the embelllishment.

To add dimension to my layout, I popped up some of the bubble stickers with foam squares. I like using larger stickers, but I usually alter them in some way. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sea World

Our first Port of Call was Port Canaveral, Florida. We had already decided to take the boys to Sea World, and purchased our tickets, when a couple of weeks before we left a trainer was killed during a show. Until further notice all Shamu shows were canceled. I was so disappointed. We had talking about Orca whales and how we were going to see one. Thankfully, the week we left they started modified shows.

Scrapbooking Tips:
This page design I repeated for every new Port of Call. I left white space on the left hand page, placed between the journaling and embellishments. I started pattern paper under the border and carried it onto the left hand page. I placed all photos in a grid on the right page. I created a visual triangle with the gold circle embellishments. (I took the color from the Sea World logo.)

The journaling also follows the same format on all the "Port of Call pages". I tried to capture the highlights of that particular location. 

Another element I repeated was laser cut embellishments. These are not the cheapest scrapbooking supply, but I had splurged at a Creating Keepsakes Convention and bought one for each stop we made on the cruise. I really like the overall effect, and the whales are perfect for Sea World!

Sea World here we come!

Sunday, July 13, 2014


We quickly learned that cruising with little kids meant spending a lot more time in our cabin. Zach was still napping, and Caleb was used to having "quiet time" every afternoon. This was a good thing because Mommy and Daddy were tired after entertaining two little kids. We brought our portable DVD player and current favorite DVD's and Dave and I slept while the boys really didn't . . . .

Scrapbooking Tips:

I try not to use the same titles repeatedly, but sometimes it can't be helped. I can't remember what kids' movie I got the word "Chillaxin" from, but I thought it just fit these pictures. 

Also, one of my favorite types of pattern paper is stripes. I love that it includes so many colors. The stripe pattern featured here is one I use on many pages to create a cohesive album look.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Our Cabin

Okay, I have this habit of taking pictures of all the cabins we've stayed in. Dave actually encouraged it and then suggested I take a picture of our cabin numbers to add to the scrapbooks. So every cruise album has an "Our Cabin" page.

Dave booked us a balcony suite. Before Caleb got his power chair, we traveled with a huge double stroller. A balcony gave us a place to store the stroller when not in use. We also figured any extra space with the boys would quickly get overtaken with toys, shoes, clothes, the extra suitcases, and anything Zach managed to get into.

Scrapbooking Tips:

Sometimes my letter stickers can get lost against pattern paper.  When this happens I outline them with a dark, fine-tipped marker. The beauty of using white stickers is that sometimes I can color them a certain shade that will "pop them off" the background paper.

Close Ups:

Yes - that is a picture of Caleb standing! He never was able to stand on his own without the help of leg braces that stopped just short of his knees (AFO's). Until he grew too tall, with his AFO's on, he could stand if holding onto something and side step. You could never really leave him standing unattended because his knees could buckle and he would fall. He lost this ability shortly before his fourth birthday. Just another reason to despise SMA.

Daddy was just awesome! I love this picture of my three boys. He was so motivated to keep our dream to travel after Caleb's SMA diagnosis . . . and we did.