Thursday, May 23, 2013

A blast from my past.

I found this picture of myself today while I was looking for another picture to complete my LOAD layout for today. I took it out because it struck me that I had a lot of memories tied to that snowsuit.  I sat down while the kids were napping to write it down, and nearly a thousand words just spilled out.  I'm sure I'll turn it into a scrapbook page before too long, but for now, this is a good place for the stories to reside.

My Snowsuit
   Could my mother have found an uglier snowsuit?  I do not think so.  To be fair, I suppose that there wouldn’t have been anything wrong with the snowsuit if I had been a boy, but from a feminine point of view it’s pretty bad.  Never mind that, I don’t think there is another article of clothing that I got more use out of during the first year we were in Missouri. We had moved from California in August, and the heat was something I had never experienced before.  How can that be?  How is it possible that a 7 year-old from Southern California could go to the middle of the country and be shocked by the heat?  I’ll tell you.  It was a little thing we Midwesterners (and Easterners as I later found out) like to call humidity.  It was so hot, that during the first few weeks of school, all the students had to bring in cups so that we could keep water at our desks to prevent dehydration. The period of time that I lived in California was one of the driest in history.  I barely remember rain before Missouri, and I had certainly never seen a thunderstorm.  Boy, was I in for a set of meteorological experiences over that next year! 
   From August to early October, it was warm (read: HOT!), but after that the weather took a definite turn.  I had my heart set on being a mermaid for Halloween, and since my mother was in the habit of trying to keep me happy, she put together a mermaid costume complete with bikini top and a netted fin.  It was very sporting of her, but not very…sensible.  That first Halloween, it snowed.  One more time just to let it sink in: it SNOWED! On Halloween!  I made a few mad dashes from the car to various front doors to get the minimum required candy in my mermaid outfit, which had been altered to include a thermal underwear shirt under the bikini top, but was still woefully inadequate for keeping me warm.  That’s one time that I wished that I had been wearing the snowsuit: ugly or not. 
   Halloween was not the first time I had seen snow.  As a matter of fact, I had seen quite a bit of snow in California.  We would drive up to the mountains, jump out of the car, play in the snow until our hands got cold, and drive back down to the warm weather.  I knew about snow machines that make sure that the powdery stuff is available for skiers, but one thing I hadn’t seen before Missouri was snow falling from the sky.  I was sitting in Mrs. M’s third grade classroom.  She didn’t like me much.  She had no experience with well-traveled children from other places.  She was one of those people who were Missouri born, bred, and raised. She had never been further than Arkansas, and she couldn’t imagine that a 7 year-old had been to Europe, so she assumed that I was making up stories to make the other children envy me.  The day that it started snowing, it was after lunch, and she was having trouble keeping my attention as usual. When the snow started to fall, there was no chance of her getting me to focus.  Out of sheer frustration, she shouted, “Come on!  It’s not like you’ve never seen snow before!” Being the clueless child that I was,  I answered her honestly, “Well, not falling from the sky!  In California, they made it with machines!”  That was not what she wanted to hear.  In fact, she would have preferred that I said nothing, but as far as she was concerned, I said the worst thing that I could have said…a lie.  Ahh, ignorance thy name is redneck!  That day we got out of school early, and little did I know, it was going to be an extended break. 
   We broke out the snowsuit again that day, and I wore it over and over again that season.  It was the coldest, snowiest winter Southwest Missouri experienced in 100 years.  As Californians, we were again, woefully unprepared. We learned that winter about parking our cars at the top of the ¼ mile long driveway, so that we didn’t have to shovel the entire hill to get out.  We learned that it is immensely important to stock up before a storm because you never know how long you might be stuck in the house.  We learned that it’s really a good idea to leave the light bulb in the well house on when it’s cold, and that burst pipes are not cheap to fix.  I learned that as long as you don’t need to go anywhere, it is awesome when it gets just warm enough to melt the top layer of snow before it freezes again because then you don’t need a sled to hurdle at light speeds down the hill in the back yard.  There were so many snow days that winter that Chris thought that his birthday had been declared a school holiday like Christmas, and come may I was introduced to another phenomenon that Californians are unfamiliar with…Saturday school. 
  Might think that over the harsh winter my blood would have thickened, and I would have been used to the cold, but you would be wrong.  Come spring, it couldn’t get warm enough for me, and I kept right on wearing that snowsuit long after everyone else had put away their winter clothes.  My arms and legs stretched 6 inches past the end of the suit before I was willing to put the thing away.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Catching up on monthly portrait layouts.

 Par`t of what I did during LOAD was to catch up on some of the pages I've been meaning to do over the last few months.  These are Michaela's monthly portrait layouts.  The first one was already done, but the rest had been put off until now.  You'll notice that month 3 is conspicuously absent.  I was one of the many people caught up in the disastrous bankruptcy situation that happened at Picture Me Portrait studios.  They were the company that leased space in Walmart and Sears all over the country.   I had my senior pictures done there and all of Lilah's monthly first year photos, but I guess I was one of the few people who used them very regularly.  In any case, they are gone now along with Michaela's 3 month pictures and Lilah's two year ones.  It really is a shame that they were so disorganized about their wind down that so many people lost their pictures forever. They are offering refunds, but that's not really the point, is it? But I digress. I'm loving these layouts of my littlest girl.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Our Maui Vacation Album

I'm really enjoying doing Layout A Day (LOAD).  The prompts have me thinking about a ton of things I wouldn't have normally scrapbooked about.  I'll post pictures of those layouts soon, but I thought that I'd post our Maui Vacation album.  I've been working on it in fits and spurts since we got back, but as an offshoot of LOAD I got it done.

I used the Amy Tangerine Sketchbook 6 x 6 paper pad throughout the album.  This is the cover page.  I may  add some journaling here later about how it smelled like gorgeous flowers when we stepped off the plane.

 The next two pages are from the journey.  It was about 13 hours of travel time, and I was surprised how well our girls took it.  I loved that I got some really great pictures that showed some of their personalities.

We really liked our hotel.  It was a condo that came packaged with our car from Costco.  We had a really great view, not to mention a group of turtles living right down on the little beach by the pool.   As we were exploring the island on our first day, we found a great little restaurant called Da Kitchen.  We loved it so much we were talking about it all week.

The second day was pretty lazy, just hanging out around the hotel, followed by a dinner cruise for Alfred and I.
 Alfred took a day trip to Pearl Harbor, and had a fabulous time.  He brought back a few great stories and he recorded them in the little book on the second page of the spread.

While he was on Oahu, the girls, Jane, and I wandered around the island again.  We had another plate lunch and our first (and only) shaved ice of the trip.

After Crystal and Cliff came in, we had a Sunday family beach day.  We all had a good time, but Lilah fell in love with Clifford.

The next morning before the wedding, Jane and I took a snorkel trip, and it was the best snorkel trip I've ever been on.  It wasn't that I saw more than any other trip (although it was close); it was that I got so many great pictures of all the things we saw.  Jane brought her water proof camera, and I swam all over the place with it. I've taken underwater cameras to snorkel before, but this was the first time I could see what I was getting on a view screen.  That made all the difference.  I had a nearly unlimited number of pictures to take, and I could see right away if I caught my fish or not.  It was totally awesome.  Not only did I have proof of what I saw, but it's also easier to remember for myself.

After the snorkel trip was the wedding. I interspersed some marriage quotes between all the adorable wedding pictures.

I love the quote on the page with our family picture.  I had never heard it before I started this project, but it seemed quite apropos for us.

Our first attempt to drive the Road to Hana wasn't a complete success but we had a good time anyway.

We had a great time at our first Luau.  The Kahlua pork was amazing.

Lilah and I made a second attempt at the Road to Hana after Jane, Alfred, and Michaela had left. We made it to the end, and got to see a ton of beautiful sites along the way.  I'd still like to be able to go back someday and do it nice and leisurely.

That's the end of the album.  We had a really great vacation.  Maui was the first place in a really long time that surpassed my expectations for it.  It's the kind of place that I could see myself coming back to over and over again.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

LOAD 513

I have been drooling over Lain Ehmann's classes for a long time, and I even picked up a few of the ones that went on sale for practically nothing over the holidays.  The one that I really wanted to try was Layout A Day.  Lain sends you prompts every day, and there is a flickr group where everybody shares their layouts.  Along the road there are give-aways, discussion board conversations, and all sorts of fun stuff.  But, until now, I haven't had a month that I felt like I could commit to that kind of a project.  Since I'm graduating this month and spending time thinking about what is next for me and our little family, I figure that it's a great time to do the LOAD challenge.  It gives me an opportunity to have something to drive me to write about what is going on in my head, which always helps me to crystallize a plan. 

The LOAD 5/13 challenge has a Clue theme, and it's all about finding and solving the little mysteries in your life.  Let's face it, is there really a bigger mystery in my life right now than what I'm going to be doing in 7 months?  I think not!  In general, I think I'm going to try to keep to pages about where we've been and where we're headed, but I thought I'd start the month out with something a little light-hearted (April was really heavy :-( let's just say that I'm  not ready to talk about it, but I survived...and I'm graduating).

The first prompt was about Mrs. White, so it made me think of how much I could use a servant right now (even if it's only for a couple of days).  No such luck.  I asked so many favors from friends and family over the last couple of months that I'm just glad that I didn't end up being someone else's servant...Yet. So here is my layout for day 1 of LOAD513.

Seriously, though, you know who you are, if you need anything call.  I wouldn't be graduating without you.