Tuesday, December 31, 2013

3rd Quarter is in the books!!!

I did it! I did it! I really really did it! (kid history, anyone?)

I've been using every spare moment of free time to work on my 3rd quarter Project Life album, and finally today I finished it!! It is done & ordered. Now I just have to wait for it to get here!!

Wanna see?? You can check it out...

Turn your favorite photos into a photo book at

Now to finish 2nd & 4th quarters (*gasp*cough*sigh*) and TRY my very best to KEEP UP with 2014!! 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

almost half way there!!

Here we are, just one week away from the end of the year. And here I am, still 29 weeks away from completing my 2013 Project Life. *siiiiiigh*  I've not given up. Not yet. But I do know myself well enough to know that if I am too far away from DONE too far into 2014, this project will never get done. I've seen it happen - with 2010, and 2011, and 2012... I'm sensing a pattern, no?

So yesterday I sat down and made a list of the weeks that I still need to finish. I'm not sure if you remember, so I'll tell you again, that I am printing (okay, let's assume  I get done) 4 books for the year... one for each quarter. I've actually finished and printed the first quarter. And when I wrote out my list, I only had 6 weeks of the 3rd quarter left to do. So I figured third quarter would be a good place to start up again. At least MAYBE I can get one more book printed before the end of the year. That might actually be doable!!

After I made my list and formulated my plan, I set to work, and actually managed to knock out 2 weeks yesterday evening!! This is looking good folks! If I can get a week an hour done, I might have a shot here!! True, that's still 30 hours of scrapping, but hey! One bite at a time, right?!

Okay. So here's week 29. Just LOOOOOK how tiny she was!! Man, time flies!! This was the week that we went to the lake to go swimming, Jane came to stay for a day or two, and the kids left for vacation with Grandma & Grandpa H. This week the puppies continued getting used to each other, as it had only been a few days of being a 2-dog family at this point. Also this week, our good friend came into town to interview for a position at the plant here. It was exciting to even consider the possibility of living close to our friends and getting to hang out again like we used to!

page 1

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both pages together
(Click to view credits)

Week 30... This week Lucas and I were kidless. He took a few days off of work, and we painted like crazy people. We got both Isaac's and Meagan's rooms totally gutted, repainted, reorganized, and put back together. Also, we got Sebastian's closet cleaned out and organized, which was no small task (he's a pack rat). Lucas and I had a few dates while the kids were gone... Uptown Cafe (see week's that yuuummy breakfast sandwich), YogoLand (see below....yum as well!), and walks in the park. We stopped at one park in town we had never been to and checked out the covered bridge. We had only ever canoed under it (last year while the kids were on vacation), so we decided to see it from the top side.

Page 1

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both pages together
(Click to view credits)

And just a note, here I am half-way (almost) through the year and finally I've worked out a format that works best for me for Project Life. I like the big photo on one page, and blocked photos and cards for the rest. I like simple, not cluttered. Just tell the story and show the pictures...nothing fancy. So I'm planning to carry this format through the rest of 2013, and probably continue with it in 2014.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

It's almost Christmas! For as very little decorating as I've done (so far consisting entirely of the Christmas tree and the 2 strings of lights outside), I am excited about Christmas! I love this holiday and all that it really is.
Right now I'm confined to the main floor of the house while Lucas and the kids wrap my gifts that they just hauled in from the store. He's been working LOOOOONG hours and has had zero time to go so far. So, today was the day. I love that all four of them went together. I love that all four of them are wrapping them together. I love that they will remember this kind of stuff when they think back on childhood Christmases.

I figured since I'm confined to quarters, I would take the chance to sit down and share a few photos. These are actually from a few weekends ago, but I haven't had time to post them yet. This year is the first time ever that any of us has ever had a real tree for Christmas. We've always had a beautiful artificial tree (really, it WAS very pretty), but it finally met its match this year, and it is no more. Rest in peace, tree. It was a part of our first 12 years of marriage and Christmases as a family.

So anyway, this year we headed to a farm that is local to us and picked out a tree. To be honest I still really hate the idea of cutting down perfectly good trees for the sake of decorating our living room. And maybe I'll look into planting a beautiful spruce right in the center of our living room windows just outside so we can decorate that each year. But it was still fun to have the experience together. And I have to say, the tree smells wonderful. And it's so soft, and actually not sappy like I thought it would be.

So, how about some pictures? I have a few.

The owners' dogs were roaming the farm while we were there. It only took our kids about 30 seconds to make friends with the dogs. They played with them, running through the trees and snow while Lucas and I took care of paying for the tree. 

Ultimately, this was the tree we chose. It fits perfectly in our living room... after we cut the tip off of the spire at the top.  

We hauled it home in the truck bed, and Sebastian helped Lucas carry it inside, where it sat for at least a week before getting its first light or ornament. Decorating has been minimal and slow-going this year. But to us, it's not at all about the fancy lights and a house that looks like the North Pole exploded in it. Around here, simple is good. I like simple. I'm good with simple.

Monday, December 16, 2013

first meet under his belt

Yesterday was the first meet of the 2013-2014 season. Leading up to it, Sebastian had been rather tired and worn down all week, even missing practice on Friday and sleeping for hours Friday night to Saturday morning. And now today (Monday... the day after) he is home from school with a stomach bug. Not fun. Still, he showed up yesterday in Champaign, IL excited to compete.

As usual, warm ups were a bit rough, but he seems to be able to pull himself together when it's time to impress the judges. Even still, he would be the first to tell you he could have done better. I think his biggest disappointment was on p-bars. Don't get me wrong... WE weren't disappointed in his p-bars. With my mom goggles on, I thought he looked good! But HE told me that he had not done his best, and he could have done more. We watched the videos of his routines this morning, and he immediately started making plans for what he will focus on in practice this week. That's just who he is - an "I can always get better" kind of kid.

For all of that, his meet results weren't too shabby! He made podium 4 times: 3rd on floor, 1st on pommel horse, 3rd on high bar, and 3rd all around! Great job Bas!

I am seriously SO very proud of how hard this kid works and how much dedication he has to this sport. Justin Spring said yesterday at the meet, "It takes a certain kind of person to make it in gymnastics." Every day that goes by, Sebastian shows more and more of those qualities of that 'certain kind of person.'

So, here's video of his mushroom and pommel routines. WARNING: Turn the volume down!! You can hear me yelling at the end, and let's just say I've never been accused of being quiet!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I love these kids

I seriously love these kids I'm raising. Yes, they each have the ability to push that mom button that only a kid can push. And no, they are not perfect... far from it. But they are pretty amazing.

The other day, Isaac & Meagan were out in the snow playing with each other, so, like any photo-addict would do, I grabbed my camera. Snow pictures are always fun, right? But what I got was so much more. I captured them. Really captured them... who they are and how they are together. I am so beyond blessed that these two are such great friends. They have moments (like the other day at Sebastian's orchestra concert when Meagan had had enough of it all and just kidney punched Isaac for no reason... yes, those kind of moments), but all in all they are true friends. They give willingly. They sacrifice on behalf of the other. They find ways to add kindness and love to each others' day. Seriously. Meagan will write a random note or make a gift for Isaac, and Isaac will help her clean her room when not a single bit of it was his mess to begin with. It's pretty awesome.

So I can't begin to tell you how much I loved these photos the second I saw them! Love! These make a mamma's heart happy.  Plus, like I said, snow pictures are always fun anyway, right?!

Ha ha, by the way... notice how they're on the OTHER side of the fence? Yes, well that's because it snowed on our dog poop before we could clean the yard, so now it's 'walk at your own risk' in the back yard. They're like little (or big is probably more accurate) hidden mines just waiting to explode as soon as they're stepped on... We need a melt-down so that we can clean our yard. Otherwise, our kids will have to play all winter on the outside of the fence. ;)


And since I'm TRYING to keep relatively current on my 2013 Document Your December project, these pictures did  make it onto a layout and into my 2013 album. Here's the page...
(Click here to view credits)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday, Lazy Sunday

This is the scene around here today... the kids played Minecraft for a while. Lucas found a movie to watch on Amazon Prime. And I have been knocking out a few weeks in Project Life.  Somewhere in there, I got some Otis Spunkmeyer cookies out of the freezer and baked them up. I pretend like I slaved away to make the delicious cookies, and I bask in the joy of a 2-minute clean-up. Good stuff right there. 

Minecraft world. The kids are playing together, making a village of some sort on our server. They could spend DAYS doing this. Sadly for them, we eventually kicked them off of the computer and sent them outside to play. It's cold, but it's a beautiful day. No reason they can't be running around out there for a bit. 

And who doesn't love warm cookies, fresh from the oven??

I think this is Meagan's cookie crazed face.... not sure?

White chocolate macadamia. Apparently, these are Lucas' favorite? How have I been married to this man for this long and not known that?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

On Probation

This is Arya's world right now. She's on probation.

At puppy class on Thursday, I told our trainer that she had peed on our bed the night before (yes, on my times to wake up to that). He said most of the time, when dogs pee on anything, it's their way of attempting to claim that thing as their own. Well, guess what fellas?! She doesn't get to claim our bed. Not happening!

So, for now, she is on-leash at all times, with her pinch collar for corrections when necessary. She is not allowed on the furniture, and most CERTAINLY not allowed on the bed. Lesson to be learned here - the furniture is OURS, not YOURS.

Dublin, has not, however, lost furniture privileges, as he has NOT peed on anything of the sort. I think he sort of likes being allowed to climb up and sit on a lap or stretch out on the couch, looking down on her while she sprawls out on the only thing available to her at present...the floor. Can dogs gloat? I think he might be. :)

Always playing catch-up

No surprise to myself whatsoever, I am seriously behind on my Project Life for 2013. I started the year out (like I do every year) with hopes that this year would be different - that I would keep up and stay on track. I should just know better. But I keep trying. I've still not given up. I'm plugging along... just much more slowly than I should. 

It's been a small eternity since I've shared my PL with you. So, I figured, since I'm playing catch-up in real life, I could play blog catch-up as well. I DID manage to finish and print my Project Life for the 1st quarter of 2013, and for that I am severely proud of myself! I did start book 2 (April - June), but sure didn't get very far! Wanna see?  I did the first week in the book... week 14... and that's where it ended. 


At the time, it was well into the 3rd quarter, so I decided to switch up and try to get current and stay current on those 3 months instead. Did I succeed? No. Did I do better? Yes. Better. So here's what I have to show for Q3 so far...

Week 27: July 1-7

Week 28: July 8-14

And lots of 'New Puppy' add-ons for the week!!

Then, still in the third quarter, but skipping ahead to the END of the quarter (and working backwards...because sometimes I just do weird things), I have these 2 weeks...

And week 39 (which will be the last week in my book)...

 I know I say this often, but I'm going to say it again... I am NOT giving up on finishing this project!! I think I just need to simplify and get it DONE. I really like the format of my weeks 27 and 28. I'm thinking I might stick with something like that. Maybe, just maybe, if I'm not reinventing the wheel every week, I will save myself some time. Novel idea!!  We'll see how it goes!