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Around Here: April 2014

I didn’t think that life could actually get fuller.  And then it did.  April has flown by and I’m trying to catch my breath and replace moments of overwhelm with confident faith that everything that needs to get done will.  This month I have been:

… finishing projects.

… planning surprises.

Glittered Champagne

… reading this article: I’m Done Making My Kid’s Childhood Magical and reflecting.  A friend sent this and it struck a nerve, especially since I place so much effort and emphasis on crafting beautiful events for the people I care about in my own life.  I both agree and disagree with this eloquent writer.  Childhood is truly a magical time.  I can almost see light bulbs illuminating for Olivia on a daily basis as she learns new skills or simply delights in activities like watching the puppies or walking around the neighborhood.  However, I also firmly believe that parents can create meaningful moments of engagement… there is a place for crafts, party planning, and beautiful decorations within the sphere of fostering beautiful memories.  It all goes back to intention- are you going through the motions simply for the sake of appearances?  Or, are you building a memory?

… visiting a precious newborn!

Baby-Barrett

… celebrating Easter with our little bunny!

Easter2014-2

Photo Credit: TH Photography & Design

Easter2014

Photo Credit: TH Photography & Design

… crying after finding this article: Time & Inspiration. LOVE, love, love Kami’s encouragement to embrace “moments of wholeness and tender growth.”  All the overwhelm/stress/anxiety melts away when you read something like this– suddenly your perspective widens and you are able to appreciate the here and now.

… running my silhouette nonstop in preparation for a special bachelorette weekend.

… listening to the magic of these four voices: (and checking off at least one item on my 30 During 30 list!)

Il-Divo

… managing temper tantrums.  My, oh my, yes… we have entered a new phase where running away in a fit of anger and then dropping to the floor in disgust (complete with tears and flailing arms/legs) is a common reaction to a simple redirection.

Walking-with-Dad

… starting a new project.  Based on this inspiration, James is building me an “L” shaped desk in our living room.

Living Room Desk

… searching for delicious protein packed meals that are easy to make.  Cooking motivation is still eluding me!

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day

St.-Pat's-Day-2014

Wishing you a charming and magical St. Patrick’s Day!

(Photo taken last year and this year- my oh my, what a difference 12 months makes!)

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One Little Word: January and February

Loving the process of making my word visible this year by participating in Ali Edward’s One Little Word Class.  Here’s a peak at January:

One Litte Word January

One of the writing prompts included finding a quote reflective of your word.  I had a hard time choosing just one so I created a full page of “Light” quotes.  In between several blocks of text, I scattered various sizes of silver, aqua, and vellum stars.

OLW Light Quotes

OLW Light Quote Detail

Download a copy if this visual resonates with you: Light Quotes Printable

Action cards for February are prepped and awaiting my text for specific measurable goals.  For the monthly reflections layout, I used pieces of a transparency printed with patterned clouds in 3 of the squares.

OLW February

In the process of preparing these pages, I realized that I wanted to create something that captured the word GROW for the prior year.  I wasn’t able to keep up with any of the monthly prompts in terms of creatively documenting our time.  To honor our big year, I created these pages:

OLW Grow 2013

I enclosed my word within a text frame documenting all the ways we were constantly required to GROW.  Thicker number letters, a delicate leaf die-cut, and flower punches embellished the layout.

On the backside, I created a text block of song lyrics that were particularly meaningful to me.  A few of my favorite pictures, polka dot washi tape, and a simple journaling card completed the look.  (Note: I used the weld function on my silhouette to make the “Grow” text appear more scripted.)

OLW Grow Song

A few favorite details:

OLW Grow Details

As February draws to a close, I’m really excited to see what March and the rest of the year brings!

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Happy Valentine’s Day

Wishing you a delicious day filled with love!

Olivia-Valentines-Day

*Photo Credit: Tiffany Henning of TH Photography & Design

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Charting Progress

Our Parents as Teachers Coordinator stopped by this past week to check on Olivia’s progress and administer her 12 month ASQ Screening.  As I expected, Olivia passed with flying colors and even obtained perfect scores in the gross and fine motor skills categories.  Part of my homework from this session including filling out Year 1 of a multi-year medical record.

Medical-HistoryThe questionnaire started with the normal rundown of documenting birth and medical complications.  On the next page, I found a box labeled “General Development.”  Such simple questions… that left me with tears streaking down my face.

I’m not sure what it was… perhaps the act of writing it down or seeing it so neatly condensed on 2 sheets of paper served as a trigger… but the juxtaposition of Olivia’s early start compared to her vibrant and healthy current reality has never felt so palpable.  I am just so grateful.

My beautiful, feisty, independent girl is thriving.  These days, she is literally running to embrace life.  I struggled to contain all of my answers to the first question {What can your child do well?} on a single line and felt my heart swell with all the memories of Olivia’s milestones.  I didn’t even know what to write for the second line.  Yes, she has trouble sometimes focusing on listening to an entire storybook BUT that is usually because she is ready to practice a new motor skill.  Perfectly normal at this stage.

Not to say that there aren’t difficult moments and darn right challenging days.  Sometimes, it’s minute by minute!  Despite demanding learning tasks (for both mom and baby!), watching Olivia awaken to all the wonderful possibilities of this world is such a special gift.

I am so grateful.

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Gratitude for 2013

As I welcome all the LIGHT of 2014, I decided to pause for just a moment and reflect on the prior year.  Last night, I went through my planner and intentionally looked for milestones, celebrations, and other memories filled with gratitude.

For all the fearful, uncertain, and darn right unpleasant days, 2013 brought us great joy.

Top 10 of 20131.  Watching Olivia grow.

Olivia Growing Collage webOlivia Year 1-2 webOlivia Year 1-web2.  Celebrating our baby girl!

Little Miss Sunshine Party

Winter ONEderland First Birthday

3.  Toasting Newlyweds throughout the Year.

Weddings-in-2013We attended five wonderful wedding celebrations this year and I planned one LUCKY in LOVE themed party.

4. Enjoying many trips to the lake with family and friends.

5. Discovering the world of essential oils.Essential-Oils-and-Burns

6. Increasing my own skills as a photographer and finding an awesome professional photographer to document Olivia’s milestones.

7. Traveling— DC x2: Washington DC and Door County with Olivia.

Travel-in-20138.  Attending music class and watching Olivia’s love of rhythm and song blossom.

Gratitude-189.  Finding outlets to share my creative talents.

In case you missed them, my favorite posts from last year at The Dating Divas included: The Grinch Date, Love You SNOW Much Date, Bewitching Cupcakes, All Star Love Date Extravaganza, and It’s a Love Match.  In the Fall, I also had the opportunity to join Jessica Sprague’s Create Inspiration Design Team.  So far, I’ve enjoyed making a “Keep Calm” Art Print, a DIY Gratitude List, and a collection of Santa Cheer Decor and Gifts.

10. Exploring new adventures: flying lessons and remodeling the kitchen.

Loved the process of reflecting back on these happy memories and adventures.  I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2014 has in store for our family!

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…and she is ONE.

A sneak peak of a precious milestone for our family.

Winter ONEderland First Birthday

Winter ONEderland First Birthday 2

Olivia’s beautiful spirit, feisty independence, and incredible strength continues to amaze us on a daily basis.

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World Prematurity Awareness Day

November 17th is World Prematurity Awareness Day.  The March of Dimes currently states that 1 out of 9 women will deliver prematurely in the United States.  I am now part of that statistic.

World Prematurity Awareness Day

Today, I’m thinking of all the sweet babies that are literally fighting to breathe and grow as quickly as they can.  I’m humbled by their strength and beautiful spirits.  I am thinking of all the mamas that have had to wait to hold their sweet blessings for days or weeks all the while trying to manage a complex constellation of feelings ranging from fear to grief to amazement.

I am feeling especially grateful today for all the prayers from dear family and friends about Olivia’s health.  We are so blessed.

To read more about our journey, visit the Preemie Archives.

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In the Workshop: Halloween Scrapbooking

As I mentioned in this post, I created 2 scrapbooks to savor the season and preserve some of our first Halloween memories with Olivia.

Halloween Memory Books

I just love how these turned out!  I followed Kathy Orta’s instructions from her Interactive Mini-Scrapbooks guide to transform a mixture of photos, papers, and embellishments into a treasured keepsake.  I also tried to leave a bit of “empty” space in various places so I could add journaling text documenting funny stories.  Here’s a peak at the overall layout of the book on the left:

Halloween Memory Book

And, here’s a glimpse at some of my favorite design elements:

Halloween Memory Book Details

For this book, I used lots of punches, patterned paper, letter & number stickers, glitter, and die-cuts.  I am really looking forward to adding more pics to cascading pages in the center section over the next few years.  I think it will be so fun to look back at our baby’s different Halloween costumes.

I decided to make the second book for my sister-in-law.  Here’s a peak:

Halloween Memory Book Details 2

The last page was intentionally left blank for her to add a picture from this year’s Halloween.  The little pocket with the bat contains a collection of fun Halloween jokes from Kristen Duke… I knew my little nieces would get a kick out of reading these!

Looking forward to next year’s “spooktacular” memories!

 

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A Message from Cinderella…

Happy Halloween!

Photo Credit: TH Photography & Design

Our photographer posted the perfect caption to accompany the bottom photo: “Pretty sure she is thinking, Don’t make me turn you into a frog!”

 

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