Monday, March 31, 2014

Caleb's Fedora

When Caleb first started getting into video games, Dave went looking for a challenging, yet age appropriate game for a five year old. The twenty-something salesman at Best Buy sheepishly told Dave that he really liked playing the LEGO games and that Indiana Jones was one of his favorites. Dave and I are Indy fans, so he bought the game for Caleb . . . . 

Soon our five year old was enthralled with Indiana Jones, to the point where Dave ordered him Indiana's trademark hate - a fedora. Caleb loved it so much he wore it to bed all last summer. It was such a big hit, that Zach needed his own fedora. I have (no exaggeration!) at least a hundred pictures of Caleb wearing this hat, so I felt it deserved its own layout.


Photo Tip:

One of the best take aways from all the scrapbooking magazines I've read, is to zoom in on important detail photos. Caleb fell asleep holding his LEGO Indian Jones, and I didn't want to ever forget this phase. It called for a closeup photo.

Scrapbooking Tip:

I followed a sketch to make this layout and I was debating whether or not to include this banner and stitching detail. I'm so glad I did. It only took a couple of minutes, and I love how it turned out. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Dress Up

Have I mentioned lately that Dave was an awesome daddy? I know I sound like a broken record, but words just don't communicate how devoted Dave was to his boys. 

Zach loves to dress up. He went (unwillingly) with me to Hobby Lobby and found, in my opinion, the ugliest black foam pirate hat. He HAD TO HAVE it! He was so excited about this hat and it was only $3 - the best $3 I ever spent. This was two years ago now, and both he and Caleb still wear it.

One night Zach wanted Dave to be the pirate, and Dave just played along. He didn't just wear the hat, but talked in his best "RRRR, me mateys" pirate voice, and even put the boys to bed in character. He told them that they had to walk the plank, and then proceeded to drop them into the ocean (aka their beds).

I miss all the characters and voices Dave did. I try to imitate him when the boys ask, but it's nothing like Daddy's.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hello there, Handsome

I will admit that I moved past my apprehensions about Dave cutting Caleb's hair. In fact, I even asked Dave to cut it. We were getting ready for our road trip to Minnesota and I was running out of time to take Caleb for a hair cut, but I had time to take pictures! I loved all the faces Caleb made while Dave buzzed away.

Close Ups:
Dave was pretty focused on the task at hand!

Caleb looks like a mini-Dave.

Journaling Close Up:

Scrapbooking Tip:
I belong to a monthly kit club through Scrapbook Generation, and this kit was designed by one of my favorite scrapbookers, Allison Davis. As much as I love getting the kits every month, sometimes it's hard to match my pictures to a pre-designed layout. When I saw the title, "Hey there, Handsome," I thought immediately of these pictures.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

My First Haircut - Caleb

Here's a layout from 2008 - Caleb's first haircut. He was 18 months old. No one accused him of having a beautiful head of hair when he was born! Dave and I took him to Super Cuts - the same place we spent hours waiting on the weekends for Dave to get his hair cut when he was in the NYSP Academy. When Dave was about half way through his training, he decided that that it would be a time and money saver to have me learn to cut his hair. I started cutting it the weekend before his "official" picture was taken . . .  not great timing.

When I was pregnant for Zachary I was on bed rest for the first trimester and was unable to cut Dave's hair. So, he started cutting it himself, and continued to do so after I was allowed out of bed. He became pretty good at what he described his "high and tight" haircut.

Dave had assumed he would be doing the honors of Caleb's first haircut. I usually went along with Dave when he had ideas, but I flatly refused on this occasion. So back to Super Cuts we went! Dave was okay with that, but still maintained he could have done a good job. 

One day a few years ago, I was working and Dave sent me a picture of Caleb's new haircut - he had done himself - and I have to admit that Caleb didn't look half bad. He was happy to look just like Daddy - and in reality the high and tight hair cut made him look even more like Dave, if that was even possible!

Scrapbooking Tip:

I included a lock of Caleb's hair on the page. I slipped it in a vellum envelope and adhered it underneath the "after" picture. Super Cuts had given us a certificate commemorating Caleb's first hair cut, but I couldn't fit it onto the page, but I couldn't throw it out. I folded it and taped it to the inside of Caleb's baby book. 

I have a hard time throwing out anything "sentimental". But if I can't fit it in the scrapbook, I don't just want to stick it in a box. (I have too many boxes filled as it is!) What I've started doing is taking pictures of the certificate, card, etc., and then sizing the picture to fit the scrapbook page. Once I have a picture, I toss out the item. It really is a space saver.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Helping Daddy Mow

One of the boys' favorite summer activities was helping Daddy mow the lawn. Technically, they weren't really mowing. Dave would go out and mow, and then once the work was done, he'd take the boys for a ride.

Zach especially liked riding with Daddy, however, he didn't like the noise, as you can see by the picture of him covering his ears. Many times Dave would turn off the motor and just let Zach pretend he was driving. I love the smile on his face in the far left picture. He was just as happy sitting on the mower with Daddy as he was actually going for a ride.

Scrapbooking Tip:
I used up a lot of paper scraps on this page. I found a layout just like this in Creative Keepsakes magazine and thought it would work with these pictures and the scraps I already had on my table. It isn't necessarily my "style", but I love that I didn't waste any paper!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Daddy's Helper

These pictures are shadowed and blurry, but I absolutely love them! It's Caleb helping Dave build his little Crazy Coupe car. Caleb loved it when Dave pulled out his screwdriver, and had to have one too, just like his daddy.

This is before we realized that Caleb had SMA, and our doctor had suggested we get a riding toy that would force Caleb to use his legs. It's a little painful to see Caleb sorta standing in the second picture. We were still blissfully ignorant at how developmentally far behind he was, especially because when he wanted to he could balance and stand. Helping his Daddy was motivating.

That's one of the many things I'm really missing about Dave - his ability to think outside the box to motivate Caleb. Everything is so hard for Caleb because of the SMA and he gives up easily. Frankly, I would too. Dave could do things in a way where Caleb thought he was having fun, and little did he know, Daddy was sneaking in some exercises and extra physical or occupational therapy. This was just one of the many ways Dave was an awesome daddy.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Like Mother, Like Son

This was a fun page to put together. Dave used to make fun of me because I would fall asleep all the time with my glasses on and my book laid open across my chest. Many nights I'd wake up as he was taking my glasses off. Once I fell asleep with a bottle of hand cream standing up on my chest. Dave got a lot of mileage picking on me for that! 

Caleb follows in his mommy's foot steps. Dave went in one night to check on the boys before we headed to bed. As I was climbing into bed I heard, "Amy, come here and bring your camera."  There was Caleb fast asleep with his Buzz Lightyear toy on his chest. Dave began picking on me all over again. 

Since then we found him asleep in various positions - toy cars in his hands, a book open across his face, his toy cars all lined up on his bed. Yep - he takes after his mommy, and it's one of the few things that he gets from me. In so many ways he's just like his daddy.

Scrapbooking Tip:

I stole this page idea from my favorite scrapbooker, Allison Davis of Scrapbook Generation. I loved the circle background and I stitched around one circle and used one of my favorite embellishments - buttons! The striped strip of paper under the picture helps anchor the design.

Close Up:
The picture that inspired the layout.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Lazy Days of Summer

I love swimming pictures! And it's a good thing because both boys LOVE the water. Dave loved horsing around with Caleb and Zach. He always loved throwing them in the water, or tipping over the raft they were floating on. He also would let them flip his raft. Once again, I wish scrapbooks could record the sound of the laughter and squealing. When Daddy was in the water with the boys there was always lots of laughter.

Scrapbooking Tip:
I used a sketch from Scrapbook Generation. ( I love the fact that they offer an online class using 6x6 paper pads in your layouts. It's a time saver! 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mommy, We're Playing Popcorny!

It was almost 8pm on a Sunday night. Dave had just finished working his 60 hour work week. I was going crazy having just spent the past three days with the boys. I made them Zach's favorite snack, popcorn, and stuck in a movie. Daddy came home just a few minutes later.

I followed him into the bedroom while he changed and told me about his interesting workday. I was starved for some adult interaction. I was also exhausted and flopped on the bed while we talked. After a few minutes Dave headed to the kitchen to get something to eat. I heard him yell, "What happened?!" I ran to see what was going on and this is what we found.

Caleb, our little talker, jumped right in . . . "Mommy, we're playing popcorny! We made up a game. I even made up the rules. [Caleb's a stickler for rules!] I dump some popcorn and then Zach has to take it where I tell him . . . . " And that's all I remember. However, I'll never forget how proud Caleb was. He did not have his wheel chair yet, so we know Zach was the one to make the mess, yet here was Caleb taking the responsibility. He honestly did not see the problem and thought we would be just as excited about this new game.

It took Dave and I a LONG time to clean up after popcorny, and we very kindly, but firmly, told Caleb not to play popcorny again, AND to check with us before making up any more games.

Scrapbooking Tip:

I looked for popcorn stickers but couldn't find any that were big enough for what I was envisioning. I had some yellow striped paper scraps and cut out bumpy shapes. Then to give a more "popcorn like" texture, I crumpled each piece before adhering it to my layout.

Close Up:
Popcorny - all over our brand new carpet!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Construction Zone

Zach does not sit still for long . . . ever! One day Dave called me into the kitchen and told me to bring my camera. Zach had been sitting and playing with his Matchbox construction zone and had been quietly playing for over half an hour! This is unheard of in our house!!

He was adorable, playing with his trucks and making all the appropriate noises. I snapped away while Zach contentedly played. This might have been the last time he focused so long on any one toy.

Scrapbooking Tips:

This is one technique I read in Creating Keepsakes - when I ran out of certain letter stickers, I cut out the outline of the letters from the same sheet. Using the letter outlines help stretch my supplies and save a little money.

Zach was not wearing a hard hat - that was a sticker from the sheet of construction stickers I was using. I adhered it to my picture using a foam square. It's hard to tell in the picture, but it added a cool 3-D effect to the layout.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Lately as I go back through my scrapbook albums, I'm so grateful I took pictures of the little everyday things. I wouldn't have remembered this day without these pictures. . . . 

Dave was a devoted Minnesota Vikings fan, and he took a lot of abuse for his loyalty. He wore the team colors proudly. For Christmas one year I bought Dave a jersey and a child size t-shirt. 

The Vikings were one game away from the Super Bowl. Just one game!! After church, Dave told Caleb he had a surprise for him. They went upstairs and came down dressed alike and ready to watch the game.

It was the little things like this that made Dave a fun Daddy. Caleb didn't care about football at almost 3 years old, but he liked that just Daddy and him were doing something special. He played with his Thomas trains while Dave watched the game. It was time well spent.

Scrapbooking Tip:
I only had two pictures for this layout, so I wanted a simple page. At first I tried to do half the page purple and the other half gold, but it didn't look right - so I did two-thirds purple and one-third gold and it made all the difference. I covered the seam with football ribbon I found in a bargain bin at Wal-Mart. It's a simple page but holds priceless memories and lots of team spirit!

Sunday, March 9, 2014


This layout is the last page of my Western Caribbean Cruise album. We were still adjusting to news that Caleb had Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Those were hard days, but taking this break from therapy appointments, doctor appointments, and reality helped prove to us that there were going to be good days ahead.

I find myself going through the same range of emotions, but on a larger and deeper scale. When we learned Caleb's prognosis we struggled adjusting to what our life would look like. The day to day activities had to change, our goals and dreams had to change, and we had grieve. Since Dave's death, I struggle every day - make that every minute. My life no longer looks like what we had pictured. My day to day activities changed - and it's hard to even dream of a life without Dave.

In all honestly, it's the boys that keep me going, and make me even want to move forward, but it's still painful. I have no choice but to go forward - for them. I need to remind them that even though life will never be the same, there will be good days ahead. Dave would want that . . . .

Close up:

Love You

June 2007 Today would have been Dave's and my 19th wedding anniversary. I look back on wedding pictures and can't believe how...