Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Scrapping as therapy

Warning: Downer post ahead ;-) So, an old friend of mine committed suicide back in February. Although I hadn't seen him in about 7 years, this hit me hard for many reasons. First of all, although we had lost touch, he was a big part of my life for a long time - all through high school and college. The last time I saw him was when I was living in Tucson in grad school and he flew out to stay with me for a weekend. Secondly, even being in the field of psychology, I don't understand suicide. I just can't fathom life ever being so bad that there is no hope left. Thirdly, the Ben that I knew was such a positive, happy, lovable person. He was the last person that I would have ever thought would end up like this. And I didn't know him in the last few years, so I never saw his descent into darkness. It was so hard for me to grasp that this person I knew as so happy ended up struggling so much. Anyway, a few weeks after attending his funeral, I wrote the journaling for this layout. I wasn't able to bring myself to actually create the layout until last night - it's called "You died too young":
Journaling is the main element of this layout and very long, so I don't blame you if you want to skip it, lol. But in case you're interested, here it is:

February 2008

Dear Ben,

Every time I’ve thought of you over the last month, my heart has been heavy and filled with sadness. I’m filled with confusion and questions that I know will never be answered. I can’t stop wondering what went wrong. At what point did life let you down so much that you felt forced to make the decision you did? How did my happy-go-lucky, laid-back, jovial friend turn into a person who had to face life’s hardest battle, fighting and struggling to stay alive. I feel anger and frustration amongst my sadness and a strong sense of injustice and disbelief over why life has to be so difficult for some people. These feelings spin throughout my heart, and then I remember. I remember the person you were. Your friends did an amazing job of describing you at your funeral. Elon talked about how you could talk medicine with the doctors, law with the lawyers, yet also break into a rap song on the street with a homeless person. Your heart held no boundaries – you judged no one and gave everyone a chance. I also remember your laughter. I remember your charm (oh my, were you ever charming!). I remember your gentle soul. I remember the way you’d call me “Stacers” in that relaxed, deep voice of yours. And I remember how incredibly genuine you were. And then, amongst all the heartache, I smile.

I smile at memories of high school times. Endless nights hanging out at people’s houses, parties, going to prom (both yours and mine) in the same group, you driving up to my parent’s house in some random car you were playing with at the time, beach week. And I smile at memories of college times. You visiting me in the dorms, me visiting you at your frat house, college parties, road trips, and more good times. And then I smile at my memory of the last time I saw you. Tony and I were living in Tucson and, true to typical Ben nature, you called me up out of the blue and asked if you could come visit in two days time. And you did. Your first day there was a typical hot Arizona summer day, and you wanted to go hiking, despite the fact that the temperature was well over 100 degrees. So we did. I panted up the mountain and you practically ran to the top. And what did you do when we got to the top? You took your shirt off and dropped to the ground and started doing push-ups. And, of course, you then had to top off all of your exercise with a cigarette. That memory brings a smile to my face every single time because that is who you were. Spontaneous, full of life, charismatic, and fun. I’m sorry that I hadn’t seen you in so long, Ben. I’m sorry that we lost touch. I’m sorry, Ben, that I didn’t realize until you were gone, just much I appreciated the times when we were friends. How much you, and the person you were, taught me. I’m so sorry that life turned on you and became so unbelievably hard. And, most of all, I’m sorry that you’re no longer here. You will forever hold a place in my heart. Rest in peace, Ben, rest in peace.

I've only done one other layout in my life that was so difficult, and that was when I scrapped about my grandfather's death on 9/11/01. Both times, however, creating these layouts was so cathartic and therapeutic. It truly reminds me (like I could ever forget, lol!) why I scrapbook. This is what it's all about.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I finished!!

Whoo! I am so excited!! I finished my last layout for the Memory Makers Masters contest, took photos of my layouts, had them printed (Costco prints in a 12x12 size, and they did a great job!), and I completed the information sheets and photo releases. This bad boy is 100% complete and ready to be shipped! The post office closes soon, and i'm sure i'll double check each layout about 10 times again, lol, so I think i'll mail everything off tomorrow.

No matter what the outcome, i'm really happy that I completed this challenge for myself, especially since it was pretty last minute, lol. And I have now created 5 new layouts that i'm proud of, and in the end, I know that is all that matters (although winning sure would be nice, hhehhea!) :-)

Now to sit and wait for more then two weeks, ugh! The last time I had an agonizing wait was throughout each round of the Last Scrapper Standing contest at CMK. Of course, that was well worth the wait for me, but it was painful all the same! Who wants to tell me some funny stories to help pass the time? ;-)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Weekend Update

It's been a good weekend... how was yours? On Friday (that's kind of the weekend, right? :-) we had a playdate at the park. Chloe and Super Noah had a great time. Here are some photos:
Yes, it was a "I want to wear my cape and mask" day for Noah. We have those fairly regularly around here, lol.

Tony worked yesterday, but my mom came over and we took the kids to the splash park/pool. After several hours in the sun, we all took a good nap after that!

Today we took the kids to see a movie - "Kung Fu Panda." We've been wanting to take Noah for some time now, but we weren't sure how Chloe would do. We decided to just go for it and take her, so she saw her first movie at 19 months! She actually did really well until about the last 20 minutes (thanks to popcorn!), and then she got a little restless. Nothing a short walk with mommy couldn't fix :-) Anyway, it was a cute movie and a nice family day. Oh, and can you believe that the theater we went to has a built-in daycare/playland where you can leave your kids so you can go see a movie?? Wow, now i've heard of everything!

In scrappy news, I'm still chugging along on my MMM entry. I had completed layout #4 (of 5), but then I decided that I didn't like layout #3, lol. So, I went on to the "I believe" layout, and I am almost done with that. So, now I just need to do one more layout, and i'm done. I'm certainly realistic in my expectations and know my chances are slim, but I'm happy with what i've done so far. So, at least I now have a few more layouts that I love. Well, except for the "I believe" layout which I don't get back, that is a hard one for me to swallow. So, wish me luck that MM publishes it at some point so I can get it back ;-)
I also got a request from Scrapbook Trends the other day for my Hannukah layout for the December issue. So i'm excited about that!

Anyway, Noah is requesting the computer (gotta love having to give up computer time to an almost 4-year old), so i'm outta here. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

101 Random Things

Ok, I got this idea from the fabulous Leslie Ashe to write up a list of 101 random things about myself. I had a lot of fun reading Leslie's, and it was a lot of fun to write mine! And hey, since i'm still holding out for the prospect of entering MMM and can't share layouts, I have to keep you all entertained somehow, right?? :-)

Here goes!

101 random things about me:
1. I had a dog named Keefer growing up.
2. and a cat named peaches.
3. and a hamster named Brittney.
4. she died while we were away on vacation and friends were watching her :-(
5. speaking of animals, I wanted to be a vet when I was growing up.
6. but then I decided it would be too much schooling.
7. so I decided to go into psychology instead (yeah – b/c that doesn’t require a lot of schooling, lol!)
8. I am ABD – all but dissertation
9. my real degree is an Ed.S (Educational Specialist) – it’s in between a master’s and a doctorate
10. I never really wanted to be in the doctorate program but my professor talked me into in.
11. I guess that’s why I never finished ;-)
12. I can still do private practice work without the doctorate, so it all worked out.
13. I still took the doctoral comps, though.
14. the written comp was 8 hours long.
15. the oral was 4 hours long in front of my whole committee of 6 professors.
16. that oral comp was seriously the most stressful experience of my life.
17. my GPA was much better in grad school then undergrad.
18. I think because I partied a lot more in undergrad:-)
19. that’s probably why I liked undergrad a lot better then grad school!
20. grad school was in Tucson.
21. I liked it there but really missed the east coast.
22. I surprised myself – I didn’t think I’d miss the east coast as much as I did!
23. tony and I weren’t even dating a year when we moved out to AZ together.
24. we drove each other crazy when we first started living together.
25. it was good experience for getting married and still driving each other crazy, lol.
26. planning our wedding was fun – lots of bonding time with my mom.
27. I’m very close with my mom.
28. and my dad.
29. and my brother and SIL.
30. I wish that we saw my MIL more.
31. I guess you can sum it up that family is really important to me in general!
32. My friends are incredibly important to me, too.
33. I used to have my belly button pierced.
34. and my nose.
35. and had lots and lots of holes in my ears.
36. and had one other mystery location pierced :-)
37. my mom hated all of it.
38. got one of my piercings on a trip with my friend lisa.
39. we flew into AZ and spent 3 weeks driving through Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.
40. I was reminded the other day that we rode on horses through mountains in AZ and crossed a small river.
41. we met a guy from Australia who we hung out with for a few days.
42. I miss Australia.
43. I studied abroad there my junior year of college.
44. definitely was a life changing experience for me.
45. I had an Australian boyfriend when I was there.
46. he visited me in the US the following year.
47. but I had another boyfriend then.
48. Lauren and I visited New Zealand on our spring break when we were in Australia.
49. it was the coolest thing to drive on windy roads looking at waterfall after waterfall.
50. we got stuck in a sheep crossing once and had to sit there for about 30 minutes until they all went across the street.
51. we stayed with my brother’s friend greg for a few days.
52. my brother and I fought a lot growing up.
53. we got really close, though, when he moved out of the house (good timing, huh?) when I was around 12 (he’s almost 6 years older then me).
54. I remember being really mad at him one time b/c he was supposed to help put my very first bike together and he changed his mind and wanted to sleep in.
55. I used to take my dog for walks while riding my bike.
56. that wasn’t very smart – I fell one time and hurt myself really badly.
57. there weren’t many kids my age in my n’hood – only one, actually.
58. I love that the n’hood we live in now has so many kids noah and chloe’s ages.
59. I played softball when I was younger and my dad was my coach.
60. to this day, my dad and brother make fun of my lack of athletic ability.
61. tony makes fun of my softball playing skills, too, and I don’t think he has any right to since it is all hearsay that he is going by :-)
62. my childhood best friend Marci played softball with me too.
63. we lost touch for awhile and then got close again in college.
64. we don’t talk anymore and that makes me sad
65. I also played basketball briefly when I was younger.
66. I think I am pretty good at making baskets (but that is about the extent of my athletic ability, lol).
67. I also was on a cheerleading squad (but only as a little kid).
68. and a baton twirling team (is that the right word? Are they called teams?)
69. and I was on a bowling league.
70. but I quit because I had to miss watching the smurfs on Saturday mornings.
71. but then I was pissed that I didn’t get a trophy like the other kids.
72. I also danced for about 8 years – mostly jazz.
73. I was in recitals every year.
74. tony and I took swing dancing lessons twice in the days before we got married.
75. we had a 15 piece swing band at our wedding – they were awesome!!
76. we’ve been married for 6 years now
77. I always wanted to have a boy and a girl, in that order.
78. that is what I had :-)
79. however, I also was convinced ever since I was little that I would have twins.
80. we didn’t find out the sex of either of our babies when I was pregnant with them.
81. I thought that would be super hard for me since I’m such a planner, but it was the coolest thing ever.
82. tony was completely convinced that chloe would be another boy, and he had me convinced, too.
83. If noah had been a girl, his name would have been Maya Brooke.
84. If chloe had been a boy, her name would have been Lucas Ray.
85. noah is named after my grandfather.
86. he died on September 11th, 2001.
87. yep… *the* September 11th. Horrible day for me for many reasons!
88. The Ray part of Lucas Ray would have been after Tony’s father who died back in 1998.
89. I wish the kids would have gotten a chance to meet their grandfather.
90. I have a horrible attention span.
91. and I diagnose children with ADHD all the time.
92. I can scrap for hours upon hours, though.
93. it helps keep me focused ;-)
94. I learned to crochet when I was really little from my mom’s friend.
95. I also used to dabble in cross stitch.
96. and knitting (but I was much better at crocheting).
97. I played the guitar in college.
98. my parents bought it for me for my birthday.
99. a lot of my friends played, so I learned from them (and I also took a class in college).
100. I really miss it and always say I want to get back into it – yet my poor guitar sits unplayed in a closet.
101. I thought it would be hard to come up with 101 random things about me, but I could actually keep going!!

Hope I didn't bore you to death, lol!

Speaking of MMM, I just want to thank you all for your support and encouragement. It amazes me that I didn't really enter the "online" world of scrapping until a few months ago (at least actively), and boy, was I missing out! In just a few months, I feel like I have made so many wonderful, supportive friends, and it has been so cool getting to know a lot of you through blogging, message boards, design teams, etc. And if any of you are lurking around, I'd love for you to leave me a comment some time so I can try to get to know you, too! :-)

Hope everyone is having a fantastic week!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Do you live in Maryland (or nearby)?

If you do, you'll be very excited to read about this: Scrap Happy KT's Big Sale. Katie, of the online store, Scrap Happy KT, is having her first ever Warehouse Sale to make room for new stuff. The sale will be on Saturday August 2nd from 10am-8pm in Eldersburg, MD. Everything will be up to 50% off and maybe even more! Check out the above link, and maybe I'll see you there :-)

Not much else to report here... I have been scrapping away, but i'm still unsure as to whether or not I'm going to enter the Memory Makers Masters contest. I have never entered before, and I think it would be really cool to give it a try (although I'm not holding out for anything - I know the competition is steep!!), so at this point it's a matter of whether or not I have the time to finish. The deadline is July 31st, and I have (almost) 3 layouts that I could enter that are never before seen, which leaves 2 more to do. So.... we'll see!

Yesterday was a nice relaxed day - we don't have those very often! We hit B&N and just read books and played at the train table for hours. I treated us to a Chocolate Chip Frap (I let the kids split one with me) before we left, and they each got to pick out a book... fun time.

Today is a work day for me, so I guess I should get off the computer now and get moving, lol. Hope everyone is having a great week!

Monday, July 21, 2008

More new Luxe!

I'm having so much fun with my new Luxe goodies! For this layout, I used a new transparency from the Transparently Yours series. I cut a flower out from the transparency, painted it and added microbeads. PP's and transparency are Luxe, paper frill is doodlebug, ribbon is MM and chip letters are Maya Road (made to go with Luxe letter stickers) - I glittered these up. I used a sketch from Triple the Sketch, which is an awesome sketch site... check it out if you haven't already! I scrapped these photos of Chloe from last summer when she was only 7 months old - what a difference a year makes!!
Going out tonight for a girl's night out dinner with my mom, two of my good friends and their moms. We don't get to see each other very often, and all of our moms are friends, so it should be fun. Of course, planning this thing was almost as hard as planning my wedding, lol. It took us weeks to come up with a date, time and location since some of us had to juggle babysitter coverage, traveling, etc. I'm sure it will all be worth it :-) Happy Monday to everyone!

Sunday, July 20, 2008


This layout, "You made me a soccer mom" features the new release of the Luxe line, "Color Me" (being shown at CHA as we speak!). I cut out the black and white soccer balls from the Color Me line and heat embossed them with UTEE. I then popped them up above the black soccer ball felt.

Patterned paper, label and large letters are all Luxe. Small letters are Making Memories, black soccer ball felt is Queen & Co, black bracket brads are Around the Block, chipboard shoe is Basic Grey, transparent arrow is Fancy Pants and chipboard frame is Jenni Bowlin.

We're having a good weekend... how is yours? We went to Savanna's (Noah's girlfriend :-) 5th b-day party yesterday, and then after an afternoon of relaxing, we went outside to play in the afternoon. Today is another HOT day (supposed to be hot and humid in the mid-90's with a heat index up to 100 degrees!), so we're either going to go to the splash park or play out front in the sprinklers. Hope everyone is having a good one!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

And the winner is......

Well, you girls will not believe how many layouts were in my stack. It seemed as though most of the guesses were in the 30's and 40's, and would you believe there were 91 layouts in that stack??? Which makes the winner the awesome Doris Sander!! So, Doris, please e-mail me with your address, and I'll mail the creepy, scary doll handled Martha Stewart punch right over to you ;-) Doris actually had the very first guess, and her guess of 82 was closest, no one even guessed over. I guess looks can be deceiving! After counting the pile the first time, I went back and counted a second time because I couldn't believe how many had accumulated there. And don't worry everyone, I DO have albums - I'm apparantly just too lazy to put them in there, lol. But I will soon - afterall, I need to clear off my printer so another stack can start piling up, hehea.

We had a fun playdate today with one of Noah's friends. The kids played outside in the sprinkler since it was hot, hot, hot. Later on we got together with Lisa and the kids next door. Noah's girlfriend Savanna is a whopping 5 years old today (he's in love with an older woman, lol), so we got to hang over there for a bit.

Tomorrow is a work day for me and my mom will be here to watch the kids. Can't believe another week is almost over - I feel like this summer is flying!! Hope everyone is having a good one, and for those going to CHA... don't have TOO much fun while i'm stuck here at home ;-) I suggested to Tony that we take a mini-vacation in January to Anaheim. We've always wanted to take the kids to Legoland since Noah is really into legos now. What better time to go then when I can also hit up CHA?? He actually didn't think it was such a bad idea, so we shall see. We're also trying to go on a cruise next summer, so I don't know if our budget will allow us two trips! Fingers crossed though :-)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New LUXE and a mini for CMK

Happy Tuesday everyone! We went berry picking today at a local farm with the next door neighbors which was a lot of fun! Did you all do anything fun in your neck of the woods?

I did a Luxe layout yesterday using the new calendar line:

I love this line and can't wait to get more of it! Here's a sneek - it's debuting at CHA:

Speaking of CHA, I'm so jealous of all of you lucky ones who are going! Sigh. Maybe next year (a girl can hope, right?)

I also did another DT project for Create My Keepsake using the Daisy D's. I made a mini-album and had so much fun! It had been so long - the last one I made was a mother's day book for my mom last year! Anyway, I can't wait to do another one! I've got a special project in the works that involves a mini, but I don't think I can let the cat out of the bag just yet, so i'll keep you all posted :-)

Don't forget to take your guess on how many layouts are in my stack (previous post) for a RAK if you haven't already done so!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Doing a RAK (and lots of other fun stuff)

Happy Monday morning everyone! I'm going to start this blog post off with a new layout... This is another Daisy D's layout done for my DT work for Create My Keepsake. Have I mentioned how much I am diggin' this Daisy D's?? :-) Next, since some of you were wondering what the new 'do looks like, I'm taking my dear friend Renee's lead and posting a picture of the new hair :-) I took several inches off and went with the messy/choppy layered look that I often go for.

Lastly, the part I know you are all waiting for (because, after all, who doesn't like free stuff??) I am stealing the awesomely talented Doris's idea for a RAK. I have a rather large stack of layouts that are piled up on my printer in my scrap room. I'm sick of looking at them and want to finally get them into albums. I have no idea how many are there.

Sooo, leave me a comment on this post and tell me how many layouts you think are in my stack. The person who comes closest to guessing the correct number of layouts gets this lovely brand new border punch by Martha Stewart. So, guess away, people! I'll announce a winner on Thursday :-)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

My daughter says a new word...

So, at 18 months, Chloe is adding new words to her repertoire every day. Well, the most recent is oatmeal, however, it sounds suspiciously like "eat me"! Given her temperament, it's quite possible that the phrasing is intentional, hehhea! It is the funniest thing! So, of course, it's become my favorite thing to turn into her latest party trick. "Chloe... say oatmeal!" Poor kid.

Since I'm on the subject of funny things my kids say, I have to share this one. The other night, Noah was playing his Star Wars Lego video game (his latest obsession). He asked me to help him get through this one part of the game. I told him I had never played the game before, so I wasn't really sure what I was doing, but that I would try my best to help him. So, he's coaching me along the way, telling me what buttons to push to make the little star wars guy jump, run, etc (nice that i'm taking lessons from a 3 1/2 year old, huh?). Well, I'm getting very proud of myself, as it seemed as though I was taking down the bad guys and moving through the one part of the game rather well. All of a sudden, Noah looks at me and says, "mommy, I think this game is too hard for you" and then takes the controller from my hand! Niiiiiice, kiddo, way to make your mommy feel totally incompetent, lol!

We're having a good weekend. We had a birthday party for one of the kids in the neighborhood yesterday morning and then another birthday party for my step-grandfather last night at a restaurant. Afterwards, all 19 of us came back to my house. The kids had a blast running around all over the place, and it was so nice to see my family that came in from out of town. Today we have a birthday party out by my parents, so we're going to make a day of it.

I have another Daisy D's layout to share that I did for my DT work for Create My Keepsake. I'm almost done with another one, too, which I'll hopefully finish up tonight. It's so cool that this "Chloe Marie" line can be used for scrapping girls and boys.

I used the Daisy D's letter stickers as masks. Journaling talks about my son's happy, loving, goofy nature. He has always been such a fun, upbeat kid... I hope he always stays that way!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I'm up!

The Luxe blog is taking turns spotlighting each member of the DT, and today is my turn :-) If you're interested, you can check it out here. And since they shared one of my DT layouts from last month, I am now allowed to share it here! I used almost all Luxe products for this layout, "My girl" with the exception of the microbeads, the bling arrow, the buttons, the paper flowers and the "I love you" ribbon. I'm loving their stamps (I used them for the labels) - they give a wonderful crisp image!

We had a nice playdate today with my mom and my mom's friend who is watching her 3 y.o. granddaughter. I even got to treat myself to a haircut while my mom watched the kids back at my house. Having an hour to myself - pure bliss, lol!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I'm loving my new Daisy D's!

Ok, so this is a quickie post to drop off a LO I did for my Create My Keepsake DT work. Our manufacturer sponsor this month is Daisy D's (Chloe Marie line), and let me tell you - this line is GORGEOUS! Thanks so much to CMK and Daisy D's for my awesome package! I tore right into that box when I got it yesterday! Something about the colors made me think of these photos I had of Chloe from last summer, so I scrapped some older photos :-) I know no one is surprised that I cut into that paper, lol, as that seems to be my favorite thing to do lately!
Patterned paper, Die-cut flowers, Die-cut tag, Cardstock letter stickers, and rub-ons are all Daisy D's; Mini-glitter letter stickers and brad: Making Memories; Bling: Heidi Swapp, and I also added micro-beads and stitching.

A good friend of mine who I don't get to see that often is on her way over for a playdate, so I've got to get off of this computer!
:-) Hope everyone is having a great week!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy 4th of July!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! Ours was fantastic! I think this was my favorite 4th of July yet :-) Our day started with a bike parade that our cul-de-sac put together. We decorated the kids bikes and then took them on a little parade around part of the neighborhood. Afterwards, they had snacks and played outside for a couple of hours.
Noah and his girlfriend, Savannah:
I made the mistake of challenging my neighbor LaTanya to a scooter race on the kids' scooters. Bad idea - she kicked my butt, lol!
After we came home and refreshed (i.e. napped!), we went to another neighbor's house for a late afternoon/evening party. The kids had a blast, and so did us adults! My husband had a little too much fun, but that is a whole nother story, lol. Once it got dark, we walked across the street to the big hill in our neighborhood - you can see the fireworks that they shoot off in the center of town (without fighting the traffic and dealing with parking!) The kids went to sleep waaaay past their bedtime, and Chloe was a bit on the cranky side today, but it was well worth it! We made up for our active day yesterday by having a low-key one today. We did go fishing with Chip and Lisa and the girls (next door) at the pond near our house, so that was fun. Noah had never been before (nor had I!).
Noah with his girlfriend Savannah and soon to be sister-in-law, Kaylee, lol:
I'll leave you all with my newest layout. The journaling lists all of Noah's friends and mentions how amazing it is that at 3 1/2, he has almost as many friends as I do, heheah!
I also want to tell you guys about this awesome RAK that Emily from Luxe is doing this weekend - you can win: 10 sheets of red & Blue Simply Luxe, 2 sheets of Color Me...Strarstruck, 2 12 x 12 sheets of alpha stickers, 1 red & 1 blue sheet of die-cut journaling jotters, 1 set of red label stickers, 1 white dot border rub, 1 white alpha rub & 1 set of blue epoxy stickers. The winner will be posted on Monday morning, so go check it out before it ends!
Hope everyone had a safe and wonderful holiday!!