Saturday, May 29, 2010

Layout Musings

I plan to do a bigger update over the holiday weekend on what we've been up to but in the meantime I thought I'd post a few of my recent layouts since they do give some sense of what we've been up to ..

LYLAS by Designs by Sarah Bennett
Template by WM [Squared] (freebie for Template Tuesday at SM)

My Buddy by Designs by Sarah Bennett
Template by Sahlin Studio

EVERYTHING AT Funky Playground Designs - items from May's Funky Playgroup!!
Toadstool Sandwich {Glitter Sprinkles} by girl boy girl designs, Lush Elements by Siamese Studio, Lush Papers by Siamese Studio, Just Breathe by Daybreak Scraps, Dots-n-Doodles Borders by Michelle Batton, Bloom Patterned by Shanmomto4 Designs, Bloom Solids by Shanmomto4 Designs, Bloom Elements by Shanmomto4 Designs, May Bouquet by Geek Chic


New Goodies from WM [Squared] Designs!!! (and a layout!)

Wendy has been busy cranking out some incredible goodies and I've been busy scrapping with them!

First up is this INCREDIBLE beach/ocean kit ... it is packed full of elements for a variety of pages and the colors are so diverse that you'll get LOTS of use out of it! So, check it out ... Tropical Paradise! (all available separately as well as in the bundle!)

And here is a page I did using this awesome kit ... using photos from when Grandma treated us to a weekend at the beach when the kiddos were just one! I love the photos and Wendy's kit was perfect for them!

Credits: Everything by WM [Squared] Designs - Tropical Paradise bundle & Elements Included Template set Vol. 1

Some other new items over in Wendy's shop are below - I've been a bit of a blogging slacker so I'm showing you a bunch of stuff (not all of them released THIS week but all fairly new)!

Note: these also are available separately in Wendy's store!

That's it for me right now. Why are you still here??? Head over to Scrap Matters and check out all these goodies - lol!  

Friday, May 28, 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Layout Musings

I wrote on Mother's Day about my mother, grandmother and step-mother and how much they meant to me. Today I did the first of 3 layouts for our family scrapbooks using the words that I shared here on the blog. This one is about my mom and I love love love how it turned out! By the way, that photo was taken in 1974, 2 days after I was born!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Speed Scrap at Scrap Matters- on Tuesday, May 18!

 And the participation prize for this one is so cool ...

SS's at SM are always fun so I hope to see you there ...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Designs by Sarah Bennett CT Template Blog Train

Welcome to the Designs by Sarah Bennett CT Template Blog Train!  

I am Amy and you should have arrived here from Jamie's blog. I appreciate your stopping by my blog. Here is the template I have created for you:

Links to the template:
PSD & TIF files
PNG files

Now you will be off to Kendall's blog to pick up the next amazing template! In case you get a little lost on the train, here is the list of all the blog train stops ...

CT Blog
And just a reminder to be sure to check out Sarah's shop at ScrapMatters - she's got some amazing goodies over there!

Thanks for stopping by and have fun on the rest of the blog train!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Open Book Challenge!!

As most of you know, two of my ALL time favorite things are scrapbooking and reading. I spend almost all of my free time doing one or the other. When I saw that Audrey Neal (one of my favorite scrappers and digi designers) was going to be starting a challenge involving books and scrapbooking, I was ecstatic! Even better, she asked me to join in and help with teh challenge so you'll be hearing a lot about it here because I think its my favorite new challenge! What's not to love ... books, scrapbooking, creating pages to document your stories while also getting excellent book recommendations from a variety of readers & scrapbookers! Can you tell that I'm excited!?!?!

Do you love to read? Do you love to scrap? Does the idea of combining those two things make you giddy with excitement? If so, then you're in luck! Head over to Audrey Neal's blog to learn about a wonderful new challenge series she's got posted over there!!! 

The Open Book Challenges are a series of bi-monthly scrapbooking challenges based on the books we've read and loved. Each challenge will have multiple prompts, both design- and content-based. The great thing is that you can use each challenge in any way YOU want - use one, two or all the prompts! Whatever works best for you!  You can read more about the series and the scrappers (including ME!) that are bringing these challenges your way by heading HERE!

And the very first challenge has been posted HERE! And its based on one of my all-time favorite books (and one that I highly recommend that you run out and buy immediately) - The Help by Kathryn Stockett!

I loved the book and always thought it has such beautiful cover art so I was so glad that Audrey picked this for our first official challenge!And here is my layout using a few of the prompts (use the attached color scheme, use birds on your layout, and use a scalloped-edge element to hold your journaling or title) ... I also decided to go with a heritage photo of me and my cousins form the early 1970s because the photo always makes me smil and I thought it would be perfect with this color scheme!
Credits: From Anotha Mista by Simply Scraps, Solid Paper Pack by Sarah Bennett, 
Scratch by Secret Garden Creations, Dreaming of You by Shanmomto4 Designs, 
Mother Nature – A FPD collab kit, Softly Spoken by Joyce Paul and 
Singled Out Template by Shanmomto4 Designs

Every other week, we'll be bringing you a new book recommendation AND new challenges to inspire you to create more beautiful scrapbook pages! I hope you'll come join in! I'd love to see what you can do with these unique and interesting challenge prompts!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mother's Day Musings

I feel especially lucky to have had a lot of wonderful women in my life. As I grow older, I've come to appreciate that all the more. As a mother myself, I now understand the level of commitment that these women gave to me and the sacrifices they made on my behalf. I was lucky. So many of us do not have the very thing that I had ... a variety of wonderful women to love me throughout my life. All of them serving such a huge part in my growth and development. Helping me, teaching me, believing in me. I thought I'd take a moment to honor some of them today ... to say thank you, to honor the relationships that made such a difference to me as a person and as a mother. I decided not to honor all of them today but to focus on the three that I've been thinking a lot about this Mother's Day. I'll be sure to come back to tell you about some of the others later.

This is me and my mother on my wedding day in 2001. If only all children could have mothers who were as wonderful as mine, the world would be a very different place. She has always, without a doubt, been behind me 100%, no matter what. Even when I didn't deserve it. She loved me unconditionally and has NEVER (not even once) let me down in any way whatsoever. She was there for every single important moment of my life, as excited about it as I was in every way. I never doubted for even a moment that she'd always show up and cheer me on. She believed in me and told me to believe in myself. She sacrificed in every possible way to give me the best life she could. She held my hand and cried with me when my heart was broken. She was the only person who I felt like understood how difficult it was for me to not get pregnant month after month during those 2 years we were trying. She was at the hospital EVERY SINGLE DAY of my time on hospital bedrest. She made that dreary hospital room into a home for me. If I can be even half the mother to Meighan and Alex that she's been to me, I will be doing great. She loved Samantha from the moment she laid eyes on her and has loved her as if she were her own grandchild for the past 12 years. She never for one moment gave me a hard time for moving our family to St. Louis, despite the fact that I know it broke her heart. And she never says anything about the move except how proud she is of me for making it. There is something special about growing up, knowing that you are loved, that you are appreciated, that you are someone's joy. I always knew that I was her joy. I still know that I am her joy. I am so thankful for all of the sacrifices she made for me. For all the love and time she gave to me. For the commitment she made to be a good mother. For following through and always showing up. For telling me I could do it. For telling me that she believes in me. When I'm feeling down, all I have to do is think of her and I am able to immediately feel better, to know that I can do it. That she's behind me. That she loves me. Happy Mother's Day, Mom. You have been an amazing mother and grandmother. We are truly lucky to have you in our lives.

In addition to having an amazing mother, I was fortunate to have what may be the best grandmother in existence. No really. She was that great. My Mimi was such a powerful part of my life that I am worried that I won't be able to put into words how critical she was to me as a child and as an adult. She was an amazing woman. Family was everything to her. And, I, her first grandchild, knew without a doubt that I was everything to her. She was a wonderful person to grow up with. She was very loving and affectionate - she gave me A LOT of hugs and kisses. She told me all the time how much she loved me and how much I meant to her. She played with me. She laughed with me. She sang to me. She made my daily life fun. I reveled in every moment that I spent with her. I was never afraid if she was there. She could calm my fears and help me to see things in a new light. She encouraged me to have fun, to enjoy life. She spoke to me as if I were an equal, I never felt that she spoke to me like a child. She reinforced my love of reading ... heck, she encouraged it. She always had a stack of books at the end of the couch, waiting for her to dive into when she was done getting all the day's chores done. Trips to the library with her are some of my favorite memories. The librarians always knew her and she was at home there as I was. She taught me the value of giving your time by volunteering countless hours at a local hospital. She loved my grandfather and I learned so much about marriage and commitment by observing their relationship. She told me that I could do anything. She told me that I was amazing. She sheltered me from any storm. When I was frustrated, she was there to listen and offer advice. She always saw the best in me, even when I didn't deserve it. I hope that I told her enough when she was alive just how important she was to me. I think she knew but I worry that I didn't say it enough. It's been almost three years since she passed away. I miss her EVERY SINGLE DAY. I wish she was here. I wish that I could talk to her again. That I could hear her laugh. That I could see her beautiful smile. She was an amazing woman, wife, mother and grandmother. I'm so glad that I was able to know her so well. That I was able to spend countless hours with her as a child and as an adult. She gave me so much. And I try every day to be a legacy to her love of life and family. To keep our family history alive. To honor her and all she gave to me. I miss you, Mimi.

This is my step-mother, Nina, who I am so grateful to know. I don't tell her nearly enough how important she's been to me and my life. When I look back, I'm amazed at how little I appreciated her and her place in my life for so many years. I wish I'd understood the gift I had in her. She loved my father and, despite my not making it easy for her for a long time, she loved me. The step-mother/step-daughter relationship can be difficult. I know that I didn't make it easy for her. In fact, I tried hard for a long time to make it difficult for her. I wish that I could go back and change that. But, I cannot. I was an adult before I came to understand how fortunate I was to have Nina in my life. How I had created this monster in my mind that defined our relationship. How what I created in my mind wasn't real. It was silly, childish and disrespectful. I'm sorry that I spent too much time not appreciating her place in my life. Since that time, I've tried really hard to make up for those years through getting to know her and appreciating all that she brings into my life. When I saw her with my sister for the first time, I was amazed at how I felt our relationship had transformed. It wasn't my sister, it was me who changed. I am thankful for how much she gave up to love me. That she never tried too hard or too little. How much bad behavior she overlooked. How she never made me feel like I was unimportant. How she always tried to make me feel a part of their family. It was a long road until I was able to feel like we were in a good place. But, we are. Which is amazing. She loves my children as if they were her own. In my mind, they are her grandchildren and I hope she agrees. I want them to know her and appreciate her for the wonderful person she is. I am thankful that she's my family. That I've been able to know her. She's talented. She's strong. She's interesting. I'm glad she didn't give up on me and that she doesn't hold my past behavior against me. And, I'm thankful to have her - my other mother.

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Saturday, May 08, 2010

WM [Squared] Designs - New Releases!

Wendy has a GREAT template set out this week! Check it out HERE! It's so much fun to play with - I just love all the curves on each template and they make it so easy to make beautiful and eye-catching layouts!

And here is a layout that I did with one of the templates. I'll be using this set over and over! So cute!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Scrap Matters [inter]National Scrapbooking Day BLOG TRAIN!

Hi everyone! Welcome to the next stop on the ScrapMatters [inter]National Scrapbooking Day blog train. You will get to meet some great scrappers AND designers during your journey around the world on the SM blog train! You have probably just arrived from Suzanne's blog! I hope you're having fun checking out all these freebie goodies!

Our iNSD mega-collab at Scrap Matters this weekend is called "Moments that Matter" and the whole theme of our celebration is all about those moments in our lives that really matter. At each stop you'll find a story about a Moment that Matters along with a freebie!! There are TONS of stops on this blog train, so you can pick up a LOT of goodies!! You don't want to miss this train!

OK, so the 'moment that matters' which I've chosen to share with all of you is . . . the journey that we took on the day we brought our sweet babies home from the hospital.

In 2004, after a couple of years of unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant, we found out that we were having TWINS! We were so excited (and scared to death) at the prospect of having TWO infants to care for! Those early days of my pregnancy were like a dream. I was so excited and we were busy getting prepared for the twins to arrive. Unfortunately, I had a very difficult and high risk pregnancy. I ended up being put onto hospital bed rest at just under 28 weeks due to eclampsia. That was the most difficult thing I've ever been through - all I could think was that my body was failing these sweet little babies. And there was nothing I could do. I was so scared that these babies that I had waited on for so long were going to come too early. Fortunately, the doctors were able to keep me and the babies stable for forty-one LONG days after my being hospitalized. In that time, our sweet babies were able to grow stronger and healthier.

Eventually, however, our good luck came to an end and my eclampsia began to rear its ugly head again. Yes, it was time for the twins to arrive. I was scared to death. It was still very very early. They weren't even 33 weeks yet! I'd read tons of medical stuff about premature babies so I was full of scary information as to what could go wrong for our babies. Yet, I put on a brave face and just tried to focus on meeting my two little babies. Telling myself over and over that they were ready, that it was going to be fine. That we were all going to be fine.

During one of the most incredible afternoons of my life, Meighan Rose and Alexander Thomas were born - Meighan weighed just 3 lbs 11 ounces & Alex weighed in at 3 lbs. 8 ounces. The miracle was that they were both completely healthy, breathing on their own, each with a fairly high apgar score. The doctor said they'd need to be in the NICU for a while, until they'd gained more weight. But, that overall, they were doing extremely well and should be home in a month or so. Paul and I spent almost all of our time in the NICU with Meighan and Alex, wishing that we could just take the babies home but trying to remind ourselves that they were where they needed to be right now. It was the most difficult time of my life. Trekking back and forth to the hospital every day, dealing with the NICU regulations, trying to bond with our babies in the most artificial environment imaginable and, worst of all, having to leave them at the hospital every night when we went home.

And, then one day, just two weeks after their birth, the NICU doctors told us what we'd been waiting for, hoping for, wishing for ... that we could take them home, that they were no longer in incubators and that they were ready to leave the hospital. You cannot imagine how that felt. We were so giddy with anticipation at this new journey.  We couldn't wait for our journey to start ... by going home. With our babies, our miracles, our family. It was a moment that I'll never forget ... when we walked into our house together, the next phase for our little family, a new beginning for this family I love so much. This is a photo that we took as soon as we came home and showed the babies their new home. I will cherish that moment forever. It was the best feeling - pure joy, exhilaration and excitement. Our family was healthy, happy and HOME. After everything that we'd been through to make, grow and love these babies, it was truly a miracle to have them home with us. Finally. It was a moment that I will remember for the rest of my life - looking down into their crib and seeing their sweet faces, knowing that our babies were healthy and at home. And we were finally complete ... as a family.

And that's my "Moment That Matters" story!! Thank you so much for sharing this special moment in our life with me today!

And now, your freebie!! Which you've been so patiently waiting for! And, ta da,  I have a beautiful layered paper for you!!

You can download the layered paper that I created for you HERE!

Please note: link above will be active until midnight Thursday night, May 6th. After that, all of these incredible blog train goodies are getting gathered up and put into the Scrap Matters store! So grab them before they go into the store and grabbing them costs you something!

I hope you are having a fantastic iNSD today!

And now you're off to the next stop on the blog train . . .

Chelle's Blog!!!!

Have fun shopping and chatting and joining in all the NSD fun!