Better Late Than Never

When I first got into scrapbooking, I decided I wanted to make one scrapbook for every year of my marriage. The first one would start with our honeymoon and end with pictures from our first anniversary, and the following books would run anniversary to anniversary. I thought it would be a great keepsake of our years together, and it could also serve as a kind of anniversary gift from me to Tim every year.

The first book went together smoothly. I finished it a couple months after our first anniversary, but I forgave myself for missing the self-imposed deadline because I had only begun scrapbooking that April — two months before our anniversary.

I got to work on the second book, but before I knew it our second anniversary had come and gone, and I wasn’t anywhere close to finished. Six months later, I resolved that 2008 would be the year I would get caught-up on my scrapbooking. But then I  watched our third anniversary come and go, and I still had a long way to go before finishing the book that should have been finished a year before. Needless to say, I did not uphold that particular resolution last year.

I don’t know if I’ll get all the way caught up this year — after all, I am a year-and-a-half beind — but thanks to the idea my sisters-in-law had for us to get together once a month for an evening completely dedicated to scrapbooking, I do know that I’ll be better about working on my books on a regular basis.

This week we had our first scrapbooking night, and . . . drumroll . . . I finished the scrapbook! The one that I should have finished a year-and-a-half ago! It’s done!

Want to see some of my favorite pages? Of course you do! (You can check out other highlights from this book in the scrapbooking category.)

Pictures from the weekend Jessie came down to visit us and we went to the penny arcade in Manitou Springs.

Our first summit of the Incline.

Spring Break in Vail and our first trip to the Vail Film Festival.

Aleisha’s church fundraiser Masquerade Ball — complete with the actual masks we made and wore that night.

The boat page. I especially like this page because it reminds me how much Tim insisted that we really needed to buy this boat and we would use it all the time and it would be a totally justified expense to our tight-at-the-time budget. The pictures on this page show the one and only time we have ever used that boat.

Tap recital. I’m particularly proud of the tap-shoe footprints I created for this page. I love the way they turned out!

One of many Ben pages, with pictures from a time before Smalls.

The last page! It’s done! Hooray!

Now I get to start the next book. Any bets on how far behind schedule that’ll get done? (Keep in mind it’s already six months past-due.)

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

My family is not one to pass up an opportunity to throw a party. And since my brother and his wife will be bringing my first niece into the world on or around October 9, last weekend seemed like as good a time as any to have a party and celebrate.

We consulted with the parents-to-be and determined the basics: It was to be a couples’ shower, it would place the first weekend of August, and no silly shower games would be allowed (though Tim and I were a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see who could empty a baby bottle full of beer wine “punch” the fastest . . . someone had better remember that game whenever I have a baby shower of my own, is all I’m saying).

And with that, my mom and I got to work. We researched ideas online, emailed back and forth over every last detail — the food and drink, the setting, the decorations, the invitations. My dad got busy replacing his deck so it’d be ready to support 25 or so people and a table full of presents. And I went on a bit of a spree at the scrapbook store and got busy putting together a present that I hoped my sister-in-law would love.

Three weeks before the party, Tim and I spend the weekend at my parents’ house. Tim helped my dad build benches in place of a deck railing, and my mom and I shopped for party supplies and constructed a cake out of diapers and champagne. It was quite the productive weekend.

The shower was this past Saturday, and I believe it was a great success. Chris and Meg (my brother and his wife, respectively) seemed to have a wonderful time, as did the rest of the guests. And, from what I saw of the presents, my little niece already has quite the collection of adorable stuff.

Would you like to see pictures? Of course you would!

The gift table, complete with diaper cake and advice cards for the guests to fill out.

The food table, complete with fruit, cheese, and three delicious flavors of homemade cheesecake. In the background are two bowls of punch — one spiked, one not.

Oh, man, my mom makes a good cheesecake! The front one is blueberry, the one in back is chocolate swirl. The third one was Oreo. Yummmmm.

Chris and Meg were kind enough to get hostess gifts for my mom and me. I got Spanish wine — yum!

My lovely co-hostess, opening her gift — a bottle of wine from New Zealand, I believe.

Since my dad and Tim were hosting the party as well, and all they did was re-build a deck while my mom and I did most of the planning (boys are so lazy sometimes!) , we put them to work as Official Party Photographers.

Because I know you’re all dying to know, the dogs behaved themselves very well at the shower. Ben even (hesitantly) let a few strangers pet him!

The guests of honor, surrounded by family, friends, and presents!

As I said above, the parents-to-be received a lot of really great gifts for their daughter. There was great stuff off the registries and beautiful hand-made and personalized gifts. And then there were the gifts from Tim and me. (It’s my blog, so it’s only fitting that we focus on my gifts now, right?) As I thought about what to get my brother, I fondly remembered countless nights hanging out in his bedroom while our dad read to us. While I knew that getting the books I remember my dad reading most (The Chronicles of Narnia, and A Wrinkle in Time) would be a little advanced for a newborn (not to mention I’m pretty sure my brother already has his own copies of those classics), I also know that it’s never too early to start reading to your kids. And the thought of my brother reading to his daughter the way our dad used to read to us completely melted my heart. So I got him a mix of our early childhood favorites and other dad-related books: Hop on Pop, Just Me and My Dad, Daddy Loves Me, Spot Goes to the Farm (in which Spot and his dad explore the farm), and That’s Not My Dinosaur (because Chris, like most little boys, was an avid dinosaur lover as a child). He seemed very pleased with the additions to his library.

My idea for Meg’s gift came to me much more quickly, but it was more time consuming to put together. I mentioned above that I went on a little scrapbook shopping spree once the date for the shower was set. I came home from that shopping trip with bags full of baby-themed supplies, seasonal embellishments for every month of the year, and the cutest little baby scrapbook you ever did see.

And then I spent many an evening constructing the best page layouts I could come up with while Tim worked on his thesis or watched some awful movie. The result? A “Baby’s First Year” scrapbook with a page for every month of the year, complete with photo mats and calendars. Meg shares my love of scrapbooking, and I knew she’d probably want a book just for her daughter. But I also knew that she’d likely be pretty busy during her first year of motherhood (I’ve heard that this parenting thing can be pretty time consuming). I put this book together so that she will be able to easily add her favorite baby pictures from each moth and make note of important dates and milestones on the calendars. And if her reaction when opening it was any indication, I think it’s safe to say that she liked the gift.

Pictures of the inside of the book after the jump for those of you who are interested.

Read more

Dear Mr. King: Leave the Children Alone

Yesterday afternoon I took advantage of a rare burst of motivation and did a couple hours of scrapbooking. Because I like having background noise when I’m being crafty and because Tim is always up for a horror movie, regardless of the quality, Tim hung out downstairs with me and watched The Mist while I cropped.

I didn’t pay attention to most of it. I heard and saw enough to get a general idea of the plot: the main character was concerned with taking care of his little boy, walking on the moon was apparently a grave sin, and in Mist-ville, Maine, if you went outside you got torn up by tentacle-y things. I mostly focused on whatever pages I was putting together at the time, only occasionally bugging Tim with a “What just happened?” or a “What are they doing now?” in a half-hearted attempt to keep up with the movie.

I stuck the last photo on my last page for the day a few minutes before the movie ended, so I gave the final scene my full attention. This was a huge mistake.

More details (including spoilers) after the jump. Read more

Books of the Scrap Variety

Over the weekend I played catch-up a little with my scrapbooking. I finally got through the batch of Christmas photos I was working on, which means I am now caught up as far as January . . . 2007.

Yes, I am a year behind. This drives me crazier than it probably should, but there you have it. One of my resolutions for ’08 is to get completely caught up, so I just sent a photo order to Wal-Mart for all of the pictures from the past year that I haven’t printed yet. After eliminating those pictures that don’t need to be cropped, the order ended up being just over 400 photos. Wish me luck.

The thing about getting caught up, though, is that it doesn’t mean I will be all out of cropping to do. I still have an engagement album to finish, and I want to make a 7×7 album of my Spain photos. Of course, I don’t feel like I can work on any of these “extra” projects until I am caught up with my main albums, so I really need to sit myself down at my cropping desk and slap some more pages together. (Just to clarify, my ’08 goal is to get caught up with the main albums, not to finish the engagement and Spain books, too. I’m not that crazy.)

Speaking of my scrapbooking desk, would you like to see it?

(Click the photo for annotated version on flickr.)

I completely love having a space specifically for scrapbooking. It takes away the excuse of “I would work on the book, but then I’d have to pull all that stuff out of the closet, make a mess all over the kitchen table, and then clean it all up again.” Trust me, on most days that thought alone would be enough to make me put off scrapbooking for another day. Plus, this desk is right by the basement TV, which means I can hang out and and be boring and get some cropping done while Tim plays something boring like Resident Evil 4 (or, as the guy on the game says, “Resident Evil . . . FOUR“) on the Wii, and we both get to do our boring-to-each-other hobbies while still spending time together. Win-win!

But enough about where the cropping takes place. Let’s get to the good stuff: The results of all the hours of cutting and sticking and arranging that happen at this desk. Here are some of my favorite pages from the 2006-2007 book. (Info for newbies, and/or those of you who aren’t loyal enough to have committed every detail of my life to memory, gosh!: I’m making a book for each year of our marriage. So the book I’m currently working on will span from June 27, 2006 to June 26, 2007. The last pages of every book will be filled with anniversary photos.)

(See other favorite pages from this same book here.)

(Also: Click the pictures to see them bigger!)

The Halloween party at Jessie’s place in ’06. The yellow paper with the cut-out stars is actually the paper that I . . . wait for it . . . cut stars out of for my costume. When I was done cutting stars, I thought the remaining paper looked cool and saved it especially for this page.

Halloween pumpkin carving ’06. I totally cut that bottom border free-hand. You’re amazed, I can tell.

Making the traditional Thanksgiving Pizza, an event that now takes place the day before Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Day traditions: Black Friday ads and turkey feast prep.

Decorating for Christmas ’06. I love it when a page comes together quickly and simply like this.

And now all that’s left to do is wait for 400+ photos to arrive on my doorstep (amazingly, home delivery was the cheapest option available, even with shipping costs — saving money and convenience? Yes, please!) and plant myself back at that desk. I think I may need a glass of wine or two . . . you know, to get the creative juices flowing.

Playing Catch-Up

A few items of business that I’ve been meaning to post this week:

First, a great big shout out to Gary for coming up with Cannibal! The Musical as the movie referenced on my “Let’s Build a Snowman” scrapbook page on Monday! Gary, your prize will be in the mail early next week. For those of you who have not seen Cannibal! The Musical, I highly recommend it. It’s best viewed under the influence of alcohol, especially if you drink every time someone says “Schpedoinkle!”

Second, and speaking of things involving the word “Packer,” we attended my cousin’s wedding last weekend. Since the bride and groom are both big Green Bay Packers fans, the wedding was Packers-themed, which was pretty fun. The bridesmaids wore green dresses and carried yellow roses, the bride — who looked gorgeous — also carried yellow roses and had a green sash tied around her dress, and the guys all wore yellow boutonnieres.

There were inflatable footballs and football confetti as centerpieces on some of the tables at the reception. The other tables had a more traditional floating-candle centerpiece, which served as a perfect goal in which to flick the confetti footballs. This is how we entertained ourselves while we waited for the Bride and Groom to arrive at the reception. (Tim won, by the way, with an astonishing 11 footballs in the centerpiece!)

When the bride and groom arrived, they were, quite appropriately, wearing Packers jerseys. This was both adorable and helpful in protecting their formalwear from the delicious BBQ lunch we had.

Even the cake was decorated in green and gold, complete with a mini Packers helmet next to the bride and groom figurine.

It really was a fun wedding. It reflected the bride and groom’s personalities very well, which is what makes a wedding great, in my opinion. My cousin and his wife are a wonderful couple, and I know they have many many happy years of cheering on the Packers together ahead of them.

Last but not least, tomorrow is the great wine stomp competition. Wish us luck in winning that trip to Napa Valley!

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