Showing posts from 2017

A Season of Peace & Hope

Today I do not have a layout to share but this powerful painting. I have a copy of  this painting on a postcard that my grandmother gave me back in 2008. I thought I had lost it, but two weeks ago I found it while I was sorting old photos. The irony of finding this now is that Caleb is scheduled for surgery this coming Monday, December 4th.
Caleb is having spinal fusion surgery to correct a severe scoliosis curve in his spine. When he was diagnosed with SMA back in 2009, the neurologist told Dave and I so many scary things that would happen, one of them being scoliosis. Children who battle neuromuscular diseases and live in wheelchairs are more likely to develop scoliosis, and once it hits a certain degree curve, surgery is the only option. I spent the past year getting second and third opinions, talking to specialists and fighting the insurance company to get the best possible surgeon and medical team to care for Caleb, which means we leave tomorrow for Rochester. 
This is a major s…

"Mom, why do you scrapbook?"

One night I was working in my new craft room, stamping and scrapping away the stress of a busy weekend when I heard grunting and groaning behind me. Zach was pulling a kitchen chair, a stack of notebook paper, and his box of crayons into my room and proceeded to set up on the other side of my already crowded scrap table. He didn't ask if he could join me, and I hadn't invited him. His thought process was he had a project and I would help him.
He got right down to business, creating a comic book very similar to the Captain Underpants book he had recently been reading. He was proud of his creation and was focused and working hard. He worked in silence, despite my attempts at conversation, so I turned Project Runway back on and got back to my work.
A couple minutes later when he was done with the outline of his Captain Diaper character and had started to color it in he asked me, in a very serious voice, "Mom, why do you scrapbook?"
I had one of those moments. You know …

Brotherly Love

Ah, brotherly love . . . who can't relate to the bottom photo on this layout? There's nothing quite like the relationship between siblings. One minute you're best friends, and the next you want to strangle your brother or sister!
Caleb and Zach have an extremely close relationship. They are best friends! When Caleb was first diagnosed, and we realized how much help he would need with everything, we worried about the dynamic between brothers. We were concerned that Zach might resent all the attention Caleb would get just simply on the basis he needed it. To add insult to injury, Dave and I were encouraged not to have any more children because SMA is a genetic disorder. 
While we know many families that have gone on to have additional children - some completely healthy, other affected with SMA - we made the decision not to have any more kids. I was heart broken at first, but when we realized that Zachary had some special needs of his own that completely differed from Caleb&…

Grief Comes in All Shapes & Sizes

I posted this picture on Facebook back in May of 2014. We were in Washington DC for Police Week and this was Zachary minutes before leaving the hotel for the Police Memorial Ceremony at the Capitol. I was waiting for the elevator with both boys, and then I panicked because I couldn't find Zach - I turned around and he was back by our hotel room door. It was early in the morning, too early, and it was a hot and humid and we had to dress up. Zach was acting how we all were feeling, and let's face it, this picture is adorable!
Police Week was a pretty intense experience for all of us. The NY State Police made it possible for Dave's family, my parents and the boys and I to go to Washington D.C. to attend the annual C.O.P.S. (Concerns of Police Survivors) Conference. There was something comforting about being around other families that experienced the same type of loss we had, but at the same time, it ripped open scabs that had barely begun to heal. 
As hard as it was to lose …

Gangnam Style

Dave loved music and could rock a dance floor. He had rhythm flowing through his veins and it seems that Zach has inherited some of his daddy’s musical talent! While Zach struggles academically, his music teacher always gives him “exceeds expectations”. Zach also has Dave’s love of dancing!
One night I had taken Caleb out for an appointment, and when I came home Zach ran up to me, “Mommy, Yook! Yook!” Dave hit play on his iPod, and "Gangnam Style" started blaring and they both broke into dance. Not the choreographed dance most people associate with song, but their own version! It consisted mainly of Dave and Zach starting from opposite sides of the room and hopping/galloping past each other to the opposite side of the room. Dave looked a little winded, and when I asked Dave how long they had been dancing like this he said, “Oh, about an hour. Zach hasn’t gotten tired yet!”
On Caleb’s 5th birthday, Zach and Daddy demonstrated their dance for all the extended family. I so wis…

Same Design, Two Different Looks!

Happy Saturday! 
Hopefully you get some time to kick back and relax this weekend. I've got some scrap time planned. I can already feel my blood pressure lowering. . . . 
I've mentioned many times that I use sketches from Scrapbook Generation when I scrapbook. They help me plan my layouts as far as photo size and placement. I create the color scheme/theme and add my own personal touches. There is so much versatility when you use a sketch as the following two layouts demonstrate.

This layout shows some of the candid photos we took on Formal Night. I knew I had a lot of vertical photos I wanted to display so I looked for a sketch that would showcase more vertical than horizontal photos. The original sketch called for a 4x6 journaling block, but in this layout the pictures spoke for themselves, so I swapped it out for another photo.

This is a layout I did in 2012 and shows all the fun Zach had with an empty diaper box. Why he was wearing a winter coat on the first warm day of spr…

A Lazy Day

I love capturing the everyday moments of life – not just the birthdays, Christmases, graduations, but the little things that make up our lives. I took these photos during our Disney Cruise, and they document real life – one tired family.
We had just been swimming with the Sting Rays in Grand Cayman. We were on the ferry headed back to land. It was hot and we were all tired and sweaty. I noticed that everyone was quiet and I think Alyssia fell sound asleep sitting up!
One thing I noticed when I got home is that in one of the pictures, Zachary is covering his ears. The engine was loud and rumbling and all the noise and sensory input was just a little too much for him. Zach has sensory issues – he was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). One of Caleb’s occupational therapists picked up on the fact Zach was struggling with some issues. He was a little wild and crazy and seemed to need to play rough, which she explained was his way of getting the sensory input he needed.

Beach Bums

Oh, this layout brings back some vivid memories. When I showed the finished pages to Jim, Alexis, and Alyssia they all said the exact same thing, “I can still hear that BONG!”

We were in Cozumel, Mexico at Discovery Cove and we had the amazing experience of swimming with dolphins. I still have not scrapped those pictures because it was so phenomenal an experience I want to make sure I have the *perfect* layout, papers, embellishments, etc. All of us interacted with the dolphin and everyone but Zach swam with them. It was definitely a memorable day!
After the dolphin swim, we got to relax on the beach and in the pools there until the buses came to take us back to our ship. We passed the main entrance to the beach and saw this amazing dolphin sculpture. It really was beautiful – showing a group of dolphins jumping up out of the water and it created a perfect photo op.
A lot of people had the same idea we did and we had to wait a couple minutes for our turn to take photos – and we were …

Best Buddies

This is one of my favorite pictures from 2014! That was such a painful year of firsts for me, moving on without Dave. I felt like I was just existing, going from one day to the next. Most days I was numb, and other days I missed Dave so much it would feel like I could barely breathe. Without a doubt, the boys kept me going. I would look at them and remember that they were Dave’s living, breathing legacy and I would determine again that I couldn’t let Dave down in this area. His boys were the love of his life and it was up to me now to raise them to be like their father, and remind them about their Daddy. Not a small task!
We were given a week at a Christian camp, Camp of the Woods, in Speculator, NY. I didn’t feel like going, but was so glad we went because the boys had an absolutely FANTASTIC time! Our cabin faced the lake and we enjoyed this beautiful view.
I love this photo so much because all I said to the boys is, “I want to take your picture here,” and Zach, completely unpromp…

Ohana Means Family

Our family has changed drastically since my last entry! God has abundantly blessed my boys and me and we doubled in size! Last October I married a wonderful man, Jim Bleau, who has two amazing daughters, Alexis and Alyssia. I marvel at God's goodness and provision for me, and have to wonder if during the dark depressing times where I have been broken and cried myself to sleep, God was trying to whisper, "Just wait until you see your next chapter. I'm not done writing your story."
While we have "blended" our family and move forward as one, I find my passion for scrapbooking reigniting. Although we carry the scars of everything both of our families have been through, I can honestly say that we smile a lot more! I find us laughing and looking forward to the future again, but at the same time remembering and honoring Daddy. I look through the pictures that have been too painful to scrapbook, and even though they may still bring a tear, I'm ready to remembe…