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. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Leaving NYC

We headed south to Port Canaveral, Great Stirrup Cay & Nassau from New York City. It was great - we drove to the city, parked right at the pier, and boarded. It was great not having to fly to catch the boat, especially with two little guys and assorted toys in tow.

Another perk of leaving from NY was sailing past the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Those are two places I had never been to, and claimed a spot at the deck railing to have optimal photo opportunities. These are the best I could do. (Hint: I got much better pictures on the way back into NYC. Stay tuned!)

Zach was much more interested in running once we sprung him from the stroller. Dave ended up running after him. I had built up the Statute of Liberty to Caleb, so he wanted to stay with me at the railing. We were on our way South and we were having fun!

Scrapbooking Tip - Letter Stickers:

One area of my supplies I have simplified are my letter stickers. I found a brand I LOVE - Doodlebug Design. I have all sorts of styles and colors from this company and I mix and match. It stretches my supply saving me money, and precious time - everything looks good together so I don't spend forever picking out "the perfect" letters.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Cruise Album!

I've decided to show a vacation album from the first page to the last, and this was one memorable vacation. 

We cruised to the Bahamas on the Norwegian Gem, and it was our only experience with Norwegian Cruise Lines. We had mixed feelings.

Do you remember the swine flu epidemic? Shortly before we left on vacation there was even a cruise ship where most of the passengers ended up with this dreaded flu and the ship was quarantined. We were scheduled to leave on a Saturday and on the Thursday night before Caleb was up all night vomiting. Saturday morning as we were getting in the car to leave for NYC, Dave asked me where we kept the Pepto Bismo. Not a good sign . . . . he reassured me he was fine . . . . he was coming off of night shifts and his stomach was a little off.

While we were waiting in line to board the ship, we were asked to fill out a health survey asking questions like, have we been sick with stomach / intestinal issues, or been in contact with anyone who has. Dave took my survey and filled them both out. He looked at me and pointedly said, "Caleb wasn't really all that sick the other night . . . ."

That night Dave did not want to go to the dining room to eat. That should have been my first clue. Then he said we should all go to bed early and "rest up". He never did that the first night of a cruise - he loved to explore the ship. So far we had not left the cabin. Did I see that red flag? Nope . . . 

In the middle of the night, I woke up alone in bed. Poor Dave was horribly sick with the stomach bug . . . on a swaying cruise ship. I felt so bad for him! But at the same time I had to go into survival mode. I squeezed around Zach's portable crib and climbed into Caleb's twin side bed with him. We didn't need both adults sick. 

Fortunately, by the next morning, Dave felt 100% better. We ate a huge breakfast at the buffet and headed out to explore the ship. The boys we none the wiser, and Dave warned me to "tell no one." There were warning sign all over the ship about swine flu and staff stationed at the doors of the dining room to pump hand sanitizer into your hands before heading to the buffet. We kept our secret and went on with our vacation . . . but that was a memorable first night on board.

Scrapbooking Tips:
Because I do no scrap chronologically, my albums do not have a cohesive theme. When I finish my layouts I put them in albums according to chronological order. However, when I do vacation albums, I do scrap in order and tend to settle on a theme or certain look. There are a couple of reasons I do this. It helps me get the album done faster, and it gives me a couple albums with a cohesive look and theme. 

As I post the album pages (in order!) you'll notice a couple of things:

  • I use the same template over for certain pages. Each time I scrapped a layout about the various Port of Calls, I used the same look. This saves a lot of time. I also like how it defines each of the different stops we made.
  • I try to limit the paper lines I use. I like purchasing paper and embellishments in packs. I love it when the guess work is taken out of the paper picking. I tend to find 1-3 paper lines I like and leave them out for the duration of the vacation album scrapping. Seeing some of the same patterns over multiple times, helps achieve a cohesive look.
  • I love having multiple photos on each layout! I take way too many pictures not to fill the layouts up with photos. I usually do a minimum of 6 photos for a two page spread - there are exceptions, but not too many. I want the photos to stay the focus of my scrapbooking.

I hope you enjoy seeing an album from start to finish. As I look back, I can't believe how little the boys were. Sometimes I thought we were crazy to travel with such little kids, one with a major disability, but I am so glad we did. Every moment is precious and it was worth all the sacrifices we made. I would not go back and change one thing. The boys will be able to look back and see how much Daddy liked to travel and find adventures, and how much he wanted to give them the world!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Happy July 4th!

It's been a long time since my last post . . . the reason, plain and simple - grief. I have not scrapbooked since the first week of May. The last time I tried I broke down in tears at pictures of Dave smiling back at me. I have not really pulled out the pictures since then, or even wanted to look at any. It has been too painful. 

But, the desire to get my paper, scissors and photos out is beginning to return. It's like I can hear Dave's voice in my head, telling me to, "Go scrap it out." That's what he used to say to me when I was stressed . . . "Go scrap it out." 

So, I've dusted off the scrapbooks and started reliving some of the good memories . . . and July 4th, 2008 was one of them. Caleb and I spent the day at Minerva Lake. Dave was working and I was very pregnant with Zachary, who was born that August. Caleb was all smiles and so happy to be in the water and playing in the dirt. 

I had so many cute pictures of Caleb that I wanted to put on this layout. The best way to do that was group them all together. I needed just a few embellishments to create a true patriotic layout! I used all paper scraps to put these pages together. I used my Creative Memories trimmer to create the wavy red strips and a star punch with white paper to create the stars. 

Scrapbooking Tips:

Instead of journaling, I used photo captions. For a while I was typing my journaling out because I thought I liked it better than my handwriting. But, I've found it's faster to use my handwriting, and it leaves a little personal touch of me in the family albums. Here I typed them out, cut them into small squares and inked the edges red to keep with the patriotic theme.

It's hard to tell, but I added some dimensional glaze and white glitter to the stars. I wanted them to stand out a little, but not too much to take away from the pictures. I also didn't want them in a strait line. I find that perfection takes too much time, and I like the more casual look it gives my pages.

(This picture of Caleb reminds me so much of Dave at that age - it's all in the eyes and smile!)

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...