Showing posts from January, 2014

I Have a Picture Problem . . . .

I have a picture problem. I admit that. Dave was the one to bring it to my attention. To his credit, he lovingly indulged me. That's how we ended up with these two pictures. Here's the story . . . 
On every cruise Dave and I had been on, we've always had our picture taken as we boarded. I often used that picture for the first page of the vacation album. I was planning on that picture for the boys' first cruise album. Because Caleb was using a stroller in place of a wheelchair, they had us bypass the picture line. 
Later I was in our cabin letting Zach have some "down time" hoping he'd fall asleep for a cat nap. Dave took Caleb out and about to explore the ship. While they were taking in the Lido Deck they encountered a ship's photographer. They posed for the picture and went on their way. When Dave got back and told me about it, I dragged them out for a family picture because that would make the perfect "title page" for an album! I promised…

Stingray City

Without a doubt, this was one of the highlights of our Western Caribbean Cruise. It certainly was the highlight for Caleb. Daddy and Caleb had no fear when it came to the getting near or kissing the stingrays. I was a little more cautious, and Zach had just woken up from a nap so he was a little dazed and confused, and he didn't know what to make of the big gray things.
This is just one of the many layouts to remind me Dave liked adventures. He wanted his boys to swim with the stingrays and I know it made an impression on Caleb. Before we headed back to the ship we bought Caleb a tiny stuffed stingray. That night he had to sleep with it, and before he even opened his eyes the next morning he was mumbling, "I want to swim with the stingrays." Dave loved that! 
Dave was never afraid to try new things. I know that was one of the reasons he liked cruising so much. So many new ports of call, adventures, sights and sounds - not to mention all the new foods he tried! He also l…

My Three Amigos

Another layout from our Western Caribbean cruise . . . . pictures from Cozumel, Mexico! When we docked there was a long pier, but way off in the distance we could clearly see The Three Amigos Cantina. That was our first stop.
When Dave and I were dating, I suggested we watch the movie The Three Amigos. I had already seen it, and thought he might enjoy it because he liked Steve Martin. Dave loved it!! I can not count how many times we watched it together, but it was enough for both of us to quote it. Lines from The Three Amigos would creep into conversations, and when would try to make me laugh, he would sing, "My Little Buttercup" and mimic the dance Steve Martin and Martin Short performed in the movie.
My boys still have not seen this movie (and I don't plan on showing it to them for a LONG time) but I HAD to take the picture of the three of them. Nana & Papa held up the boys on either side of Dave so I could the perfect shot of my three amigos. 

We made some great…

A Pirate's Life for Me

This is the first of many pirate scrapbooking layouts I would do. Zachary is quite the pirate lover . . . .maybe because we exposed him to all things pirate at an early age.
These first and third pictures were taken on the first night of the cruise outside the dining room and the middle picture was on our first port of call. Dave was the type of guy who would play to the cameras whenever he could. When we got to Grand Cayman we were met by more pirates and Dave gave his best "Arrrgh" for the camera. Dave had fun no matter where we were or what we were doing.

Scrapbooking Tip:
To make the pictures flow across both pages I glued half of the picture on the left hand page. I placed it so I wouldn't cut through Dave's or the pirate's face. Then I put the whole page in my paper trimmer and carefully lined it up and cut the picture. I then placed the pages next to each other and glued the right hand side of the picture to the page. It was a little nerve wracking the fir…

Sun Fun with Daddy

I have so many favorite pictures - and this is one of my favorites of Dave and Caleb. We were at Paradise Beach in Cozumel, Mexico. My mom actually took this picture - she waded into the water and captured this great moment between father and son. I can honestly say that Dave enjoyed this moment just as much as Caleb did. A daddy and his boy enjoying the surf and sand.
Scrapbooking Tip:  This picture was so precious to me I had to keep it the focal point of the page. I kept the sun embellishment and journaling close to the picture to draw the eye to Caleb's sweet expression.

Formal Night - After Kids

This is a layout from the boys' very first Formal Night. Their first cruise was to the Western Caribbean. Caleb was two and Zach was 10 months old. Caleb had recently been diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy and we decided that we needed a break from doctors, therapists, and stress. We had always wanted to travel with our kids and after listening to the neurologist and the reality of SMA, we were concerned that it might not always be possible. So we decided to get started. . . . 
The boys loved it!! They turned out to be natural travelers. I was in my glory snapping pictures of every new adventure they had. And of course, they were adorable on formal night. 
This is one of my favorite family pictures because despite the direction our lives had taken, we were still smiling. 

Formal Night - Before Kids

We love to cruise! Shortly after our honeymoon, Dave and I began saving to take a trip for our fifth anniversary. Like most newlyweds, we had to pinch our pennies so we started saving right away. 
Our honeymoon was memorable in the sense we go chased out of St. Thomas by a hurricane. The island was beautiful and we wanted to go back, but the most economical way was to cruise there. Our fifth anniversary was October 16, 2004. In February of that year it looked very possible that Dave would be selected to start training at the NYSP Academy that summer, which meant that we wouldn't be able to travel in the fall. So rather than not take the trip, Dave booked our first cruise for March 2004, and we celebrated early. It was a wonderful trip and only made us want to travel and cruise more.
This layout shows a picture from our Southern Caribbean Cruise. That was one of our favorites - five beautiful ports of call and seven days to soak up the sun and enjoy some turquoise water and white …

You Make My Heart Sing

This is yet another Great Escape layout. There was a fountain that would spurt water up at various times from random spots. The boys thought it was hysterical. I wish I could capture the laughter of that afternoon on a scrapbook page.

At first Caleb was on the outskirts just watching Zach. He knew that water was not good for his power chair. After a minute Dave said, "Come on, Caleb! Let's go get your brother!" He wheeled right into the middle of the fountain and Dave figured out which spouts were going to spray when so he could get Caleb out of the direct spray of the water. He did it in a way that Caleb did not realize what he was doing. Dave was so conscious of how much Caleb is left out, and he was determined that wasn't going to happen.

When I was thinking of the page title I remembered how happy I was to see both boys doing normal "little boy" things. It's hard to explain, but it actually feels like my heart is swelling - getting bigger as I feel…

Great Escape - Part III

Much to my surprise, Caleb loved The Scrambler ride. I did not want to let him - I was worried he could get hurt, but Dave said, "I'll go with you, Buddy!" I gave him "the look" and he assured me Caleb would be fine. Caleb was not only fine, but wanted to ride it two more times.

The second time around, Caleb wanted me to go with him. While we were waiting for the ride to start Caleb started singing, "You spin me right around, Baby, right around, " in his best Alvin the Chipmunk voice. Just like his Daddy, Caleb can always find an appropriate song to match the occasion.

Scrapbooking Tip:
I found that the perfectionist in me was taking way too long to create titles when I tried to line the stickers up in a straight line. So to save time I started layering and "tipping" my letter stickers - and for this title that technique was perfect!

Great Escape - Part II

These pictures were just begging to be scrapbooked! Zach was so adorable in his rain poncho, and also easy to spot from a distance in the bright yellow. His mission was to step in every puddle possible. He was also fascinated by the grates. He had to stop and look, and if there was anything nearby that would fit, drop something into the water.

Caleb figured out the faster he drove through the puddles, the bigger the spray. When Caleb realized he could splash Zach he started driving circles around his little brother. It was so much fun to watch them doing "normal" boy activities. That's one of the little things we never take for granted!

Scrapbooking Tip: One of my favorite "go to" techniques is to attach a sticker with dimensional adhesive so it pops off the page. I love how it gives the cloud a "puffy" look.

Great Escape - Part I

Dave and I took the boys to The Great Escape in June of 2012. We decided to go for just the afternoon for two main reasons. First, we're never sure about accessibility for Caleb, and secondly, Zach's sensory issues can be a bit problematic. He was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder in 2011, and sometimes he can easily go into "sensory overload". That means melt downs, crying, and anti-social behavior. We were not sure what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised! (You'd also never know we only spent an afternoon there judging by the amount of scrapbook layouts I have.)

It poured shortly after we got there. I don't mean rained, or sprinkled, but drenching, down pouring rain. With an electric wheel chair, this is not a good. We bought rain ponchos and draped Caleb's chair, and put one on Zach, who loved wearing it. As fast as the rain came, it went away, but Zach continued to wear the rain gear for a while. (You'll see a cute layout tomorro…

Wrestling with Daddy

These pictures bring back fun memories. We were at the Dorral Arrowood Resort for the Casino Night Fundraiser put on by the PBA. Dave and I opted to stay a couple of extra nights so we could take the boys into Manhattan. Caleb & Zach love staying at hotels and swimming in the pool so they were super excited.
We were hanging out in our room and Dave was unsuspecting when Zachary climbed up on him. The Zach Attack was trying to tangle Dave in his “blanky” and then would be distracted by the cartoons playing on the television. There was lots of gigging and laughing and Dave loved every minute of it!
Again, I used a sketch from Scrapbook Generation. I thought the circles would make the page more fun and I added some stitched circles on top of the pattern paper.

Caleb's New Wheels

I know the picture of this layout is a little blurry, but I really wanted to post these pages today. The pictures on this layout were taken at Shriners’ Hospital the day Caleb got his wheel chair back in 2011.
Caleb was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy the week of his second birthday.  SMA is a genetic disease where the body does not make a protein needed to keep motor neurons alive. Without this protein, motor neurons in the brain stem and spinal cord die. As the motor neurons die, the muscles weaken.  SMA affects all the muscles in the body and many SMA patients have pulmonary complications.
Caleb did not really crawl and never walked.  We waited two years to get his wheel chair. I don’t why we did. We tried a gait trainer for him (walker) hoping to see him have some mobility, but sadly, that was only useful in therapy.
Hearing Caleb had SMA was devastating news for Dave and me. There were many tears. Dave had always imagined hunting with his sons, teaching them to play th…

Impromptu Jam Session

I found this layout today. It was buried in a stack of layouts that need to go into albums. I cried. Here is Dave, jamming with Zach. It all started out with Zach playing the toy drum set my aunt had given Caleb. Dave immediately pulled a chair up close and began playing along. He let Zach take the lead and set the tempo. He coached Zach when to hit the cymbal. Given Zach’s attention span this impromptu jam session lasted only a couple of minutes. I’m so glad I have these pictures, or I would have forgotten this precious encounter.
Dave loved sharing his love of music with his boys. Music was in his blood – he couldn't help it. The guitar called to him. I would tease him and call it his mistress. When he played he was lost in his own world. I loved to watch him. We spent a lot of time together – he playing the guitar while I scrapbooked. This is just one of the many things I am going to miss.

It was the Everyday Things . . . .

As I look back and reflect on Dave's life, his greatness came from all the little everyday things he did for me and his boys. The everyday things showed his love, compassion and certainly patience. I feel like I captured that side of Dave on this layout.
Dave and I have spent a lot of time building LEGOS the past couple of years! In 2012, we were in Minnesota for the Families of SMA conference and were about fifteen minutes from the Mall of America where there is an awesome LEGO Store. Caleb insisted on a massive Dinosaur LEGO set complete with a helicopter. We built it back in our hotel room and the boys had a blast playing with it while we were there.
However, we learned that LEGOS don’t travel well. After the three day drive home the helicopter had broken apart. Dave spent just as long rebuilding it as I had building it the first time!
I made this layout using a sketch from Scrapbook Generation. I like their clean linear looks. I picked the color scheme to compliment Dave and …

Reflections of Christmas Past

Without a doubt, this past Christmas has been the hardest and most painful for me. It was almost impossible to celebrate without Dave - except for the fact Caleb and Zachary were sooooo excited! The day after Dave's funeral Caleb started the Christmas countdown . . . . ,"Mommy, only four more days!!" What a Christmas it was thanks to the generosity of Dave's fellow troopers. The boys were inundated were presents from stations all over! It will be a while before I am able to scrap those pictures, but hopefully, when I'm ready, the pain will have lessened and I'll be able to appreciate the memories.

In the meantime, I was thinking back to past Christmases with Dave. Our first married Christmas (1999) was spent in the ER, waiting for Dave to get stitches! Then there was the year that we both bought each other a DVD player. (And that had been all we could afford!) Then Christmas 2004, the first year Dave was on the job. He had just graduated from the Academy and…

My New Year's Resolution . . . To Make Dave Proud

I have been scrapbooking since I was sixteen years old. It has become more then a hobby, it is my therapy and a way for me to count my blessings. I almost gave up this hobby when my older son, Caleb, was diagnosed with a genetic neuromuscular disease in 2009. It was too painful to think that my child would not have the "normal" pages in his scrapbooks - you know, his first steps, running on the playground, and playing sports. My life was now filled with doctor and therapy appointments.
Guilt is what kept me going. My younger son, Zachary, was two months old and there were no scrapbook pages featuring him. I decided I would scrapbook his first year then pack up my paper crafting supplies. But then an amazing thing happened. God used my scrapbooks to begin healing my heart. I realized that even though our life was shadowed by Spinal Muscular Atrophy, my boys were still smiling in the pictures. They were happy and having a good life. What I thought would be a painful reminder …