hello, it’s me…

long time no blog.

i’m still here.

as always, i have missed this space.

it’s a place that, for just short of 10 years, i have calledmy very own.

sure, i share it with you (if there are any of you left out there that might check back in occasionally), but it’s a place that i come to when i need a place to call my own.

it’s a place to come to share the story of my life.

the ups.

the downs.

the in-betweens.

the projects i’ve worked on.

the things my kids do.

the things i enjoy.

the things i create.

the adventures we go on.

i’ve missed sharing in this space.

this space i call my own.

coming back here to type these words feels like home.

for many years, i would spend naptime, time when the kids were at preschool, and nights after they went to bed editing photos and typing blog posts on my laptop.

i would also sit outside while my kids played, while we watched a movie together, or other times when i could grab a few minutes on my laptop.

part of the reason i haven’t been here as much is because i got a new computer two years ago. it is awesome, but it sits at a desk in a corner.

it’s in a main room in our house, but it’s not portable.

see, home is kind of like that.

home doesn’t have to be one place that you come back to over and over again.

it CAN be that place, but it can also be something that you carry with you.

home is what you make it.

this space is one of the places that i call home.

i like to bring it along with me wherever i go.

i may have to take back my laptop from the roblox and minecraft world and turn it back into my portable home.

hopefully, you will stick around to join me.

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easy christmas card photo books

I have been getting a lot of questions about an Instagram story I posted a couple weeks ago about what I do with all of the Christmas cards that we receive. I wrote this blog post 5 years ago and figured it might be a good time to repost it.

Don’t throw out all those cards, easily turn them into little photo books that you can pull out each year! We now have 9 years of books collected and I love to pull out the books in late November and look through them the entire month of December. 


One of my favorite parts about Christmas is receiving the cards from all of our friends and relatives. I especially like the photos.

They make me smile from the day I receive my first card until the day I finally take them down from their display…which is usually one of the last things to come down.

Over the years I have saved the photos in a drawer in my desk. You see, my aunt had albums full of christmas card photos and every year I loved to sit down on Christmas day and look through them. Although I didn’t know all the people, I learned to recognize the familiar faces year after year and enjoyed seeing how families had grown, adult children had gotten married, etc. My plan was to eventually start some albums of my own.

As I was trying to find space in the drawer in my desk for our cards from Christmas 2012 I finally decided to just put the darn books together. I mean, for goodness sake, all I needed was a hole punch (I used a 3 hole punch and a single hole punch), some chipboard, some rings, and a glue stick!

easy christmas card photo books

All of my cards were organized by year, so I started punching holes.

easy christmas card photo books 6

{That’s my mom and dad in Italy}

easy christmas card photo books 7

easy christmas card photo books 8

I used two holes of a three hole punch so that I would eventually be able to line up the cards that were differing sizes and shapes.

easy christmas card photo books 2

Then I cut some chipboard that I had from the back of some thrifted frames that I won’t be using. I cut the chipboard a little larger than the largest card…three of the books ended up being 9″ x 6″ and one is 8″ x 6″.

easy christmas card photo books 5

easy christmas card photo books 3

I punched holes in the chipboard and glued our christmas card to the front.

easy christmas card photo books 4

I also made back covers for the books so the cards are protected on both sides of the book.

easy christmas card photo books 9

This year our card was a post card and I wanted to include the back of the card, so I put it on the inside of the back cover.

easy christmas card photo books 1

In less than an hour (it actually took 2 days, but I had to start and stop multiple times for various reasons…kids, dogs, cats, husbands, etc.) I had books from the last 4 years put together!

easy christmas card photo books 10

For now, they are in our basket of photo books in the family room. I think, eventually, I will put them in the attic with the rest of the Christmas decor so they will be a fun tradition to pull out of the bins each year.

easy christmas card photo books 11

Notice a change to the bookshelves? I’ll fill you in on that quick project this week!

Stay tuned…


I hope this inspires you to keep those cards! It’s a super simple project and feels so good once you have it done!

learn something new

i received a new camera body a couple of years ago.

just like my blog posts have become fewer and far between since i loaded instagram on my iphone, my photography with my big camera(s) has also lessened.

it’s just so easy to snap a photo with my iphone, which is usually in my pocket.

last year, i had hoped to learn to use my big camera in manual mode as i have always just used automatic mode. it just didn’t happen.

again, so easy to pull my iphone out of my pocket to snap a photo.

however, i REALLY want to learn how to take better photos and use my big camera(s) to capture more of our life!

so, my first stop is back at ashley’s snapshop!

i actually signed up for her basics of DSLR course the first time she offered it online.

the bad news…i never really kept up with the content as it was being presented and never took the time to go back and learn it.

the good news…now, i use a monthly subscription to her snapshop online to view the DSLR course…and the iphone course…and all of the additional lessons that she (and others) add!

so, i’m going to start today and try to spend 30 minutes a day learning my big camera(s)!

i hope post some of my photos here along with notes from my journey…stay tuned.

{this post contains affiliate links}

rainbows

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations:  I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between you and me and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.”

-Genesis 9:12-15

The covenant between God and the earth.

S.


If you know me, you know I love rainbows.

I’ve always loved color, but only in the last few years have rainbows been an obsession.

The day I sat down and read through Genesis, I was overwhelmed with understanding when I read those verses.

Signs.

Over and over.

Everywhere in my house.

For years, the signs were there, but I just didn’t understand.

R A I N B O W S.


November 2014, we surprised the kids with a new puppy.

We told them that they could pick out a name for her.

They chose Rainbow.

No arguments.

R A I N B O W S.


The day after I read through Genesis, my 98 year old grandfather passed away.

That day I saw a rainbow in the clouds.

And, the next day.

And, the next.

Everywhere I looked, for days, there were rainbows in the clouds.

R A I N B O W S.


On March 23rd, our dog Rainbow had puppies.

When we moved out to Oregon, one of our dreams was to raise dogs.

It had been put on the back burner for lots of reasons, but when we got Rainbow we knew that we would be having at least one litter with her.

She gave birth to EIGHT puppies.

It was amazing.

The kids were on spring break, and my in-laws were visiting and got to take part in the excitement.

Eight puppies.

Red.

Orange.

Yellow.

Green.

Blue.

Indigo.

Violet.

And, Pink.

R A I N B O W S.


When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on earth.

-Genesis 9:16

easy christmas card photo books

I just finished putting our Christmas card photo book for 2015 together. We now have SEVEN years of Christmas cards collected into little flip books! I looked through the archives and found my original post about how I put them together.


One of my favorite parts about Christmas is receiving the cards from all of our friends and relatives. I especially like the photos.

They make me smile from the day I receive my first card until the day I finally take them down from their display…which is usually one of the last things to come down.

Over the years I have been saving the photos in a drawer in my desk. You see, my aunt had albums full of christmas card photos and every year I loved to sit down on Christmas day and look through them. Although I didn’t know all the people, I learned to recognize the familiar faces year after year and enjoyed seeing how families had grown, adult children had gotten married, etc. My plan was to eventually start some albums of my own.

As I was trying to find space in the drawer in my desk for our cards from Christmas 2012 I finally decided to just put the books together. I mean, for goodness sake, all I needed was a hole punch (I used a 3 hole punch and a single hole punch), some chipboard, some rings, and a glue stick!

easy christmas card photo books

All of my cards were organized by year, so I started punching holes.

easy christmas card photo books 6

{That’s my mom and dad in Italy}

easy christmas card photo books 7

easy christmas card photo books 8

I used two holes of a three hole punch so that I would eventually be able to line up the cards that were differing sizes and shapes.

easy christmas card photo books 2

Then I cut some chipboard that I had from the back of some thrifted frames that I won’t be using. I cut the chipboard a little larger than the largest card…three of the books ended up being 9″ x 6″ and one is 8″ x 6″.

easy christmas card photo books 5

easy christmas card photo books 3

I punched holes in the chipboard and glued our christmas card to the front.

easy christmas card photo books 4

I also made back covers for the books so the cards are protected on both sides of the book.

easy christmas card photo books 9

This year our card was a post card and I wanted to include the back of the card, so I put it on the inside of the back cover.

easy christmas card photo books 1

In less than an hour (it actually took 2 days, but I had to start and stop multiple times for various reasons…kids, dogs, cats, husbands, etc.) I had books from the last 4 years put together!

easy christmas card photo books 10

For now, they are in our basket of photo books in the family room. I think, eventually, I will put them in the attic with the rest of the Christmas decor so they will be a fun tradition to pull out of the bins each year.

easy christmas card photo books 11

 

feel the fear and do it anyway

i’ve been dealing with some anxiety lately.

most of it is just general.

fear

its usually because i am tired, or wake up in the middle of the night and feel like i can’t breathe. then it just spirals. i get more anxious because i feel like i can’t breathe {allergies and colds are not good}.

lately, there’s a lot going on in my brain that makes it tough to get a handle on the anxiety.

on sunday morning, i was up from 2 am until almost 5 am feeling so anxious.

the little guy got sunburned {which, of course, i had mom guilt about} and woke up hurting at about 1:50 am on sunday morning. i went upstairs because i heard him crying. ryan was in bed with him, and we tried to settle him so he could get back to sleep. he wakes up with dry feet and hands often, so he needed lotion, which i didn’t think to pack. he didn’t want the lotion with aloe that we just bought, so ryan and i both tracked some down. eventually, the little guy got back to sleep.

i, however, did not. i have weaned myself off of my general anxiety medication, but when i get tired or stuffed up, anxiety creeps in. its weird, but it all started when i was pregnant. i had trouble breathing because i got so stuffed up and the babies were pushing into my lungs. i really only get the attacks at bedtime or if i wake up in the middle of the night. i was up until 4:45 am…the thought of lacing up my running shoes and going for a run outside with odyssey finally calmed me enough to get to sleep for a while.

last week was a hard week of dealing with it…ryan was gone, i was tired, and it was just a vicious cycle of not enough sleep and then having the anxiety at night.

life is so good, but sometimes it gets really hard.


i really don’t want to go back on medication, but the nighttime anxiety is really tough. i mean, really tough. and, so many thoughts run through my head that just make it harder.

we’ve got a trip coming up later this month.

we are flying across the country.

in my 20’s i became less and less a fan of flying. cannot pinpoint a trigger, but i would rather not fly if i can drive. since kids, there is another dynamic involved. at least when i was flying alone, i could just focus on MY feelings and sometimes sleep or get engrossed in a book. now, so much of the flight involves taking care f what others need, that it just becomes tiring…which adds anxiety in my case.

not to mention, the last time we flew home from new york, i blacked out on the plane. we were, luckily, flying first class and in the front row. i started to feel hot, nauseated, and sweaty, so i got up to go to the bathroom. as i was coming out of the bathroom, i blacked out. a flight attendant was right there to “catch’ me. apparently, we hit the cockpit door. i woke up on the floor with the flight attendant talking on the phone to the pilot telling him that everything was ok, and there was just a medical issue.

yep, on that flight, i was there person who the announcement came over the intercom that said, “is there a doctor on the plane?” thankfully, there were three doctors. they took my pulse and BP, which was VERY low. they gave me oxygen. i felt very weak.

ryan and the kids were sleeping. eventually, ryan woke up and figured out what was going on. i made it back to my seat after assuring the flight attendant that we did not need to land early. we were about 1-1/2 hours from portland, and i figured it was best to just get home.

before we landed, they asked if i needed an ambulance to meet the plane. no way.

ryan kept asking how much wine i had to drink. he thought i just had too much of the free wine in first class, but when we got home i was sick with the stomach flu all the following day.

since that trip, i have flown to colorado by myself once.

right now, thought of getting on an airplane to fly across the country causes a lot of anxious feelings.

i really don’t want to do it…for a lot of reasons. the thing is, i have to. my kids want to go. we will be there for the little guy’s birthday, and i don’t want to be away from him for his birthday. ryan wants to see his grandfather. the kids want to see their grandparents and cousins. ryan has never flown or driven long distances with both kids. i am sure he could handle it, but i need to be with them.

its a terrible feeling. i wish it would go away.


the other night when i had the anxiety it started because i felt like i was a terrible mom for letting my kids get sunburned. then i felt terrible that in my last minute packing, i forgot to pack lotion. then i started thinking about the other trips we have planned for the summer and what if i mess something up with those trips.

what if i don’t pack everything we need?

how am i going to handle the long flight?

how am i going to handle the long drive?

is everybody going to get along?

what if they don’t?

what if i need some quiet time for myself?

what if i mess something up?

what if i let somebody down?

i know i was tired after a long week of single parenting. packing, driving, and taking care of the kids {and both dog} on my own the first day and a half in sunriver left me drained.

the truth is, i am so concerned about doing everything well. i don’t want to mess up for fear of being judged or criticized. i walk on egg shells worried about what others will think.

am i doing everything right?

am i meeting everyones expectations?

i pretty much go though life these days feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

there’s nothing wrong with that, right?


i was so happy to be in sunriver with the kids. i was so happy to be doing all the fun things i did with them. the dogs were happy, the kids were happy, i was happy. i was glad that i decided to go instead of staying home.

it was all worth it, but the anxiety is real. and it is hard.

life is so good, but sometimes it gets really hard.

home is…feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

less loud

my fuse was short last night.

super short.

i ignited like a bomb.

yelling.

sending kids to rooms.

answering the phone when ryan called to check in {when i should have just let it go to voicemail} and choosing to be rude and vent.

silence over everything.

then, it turned into a rescue effort.

tears.

hugs.

apologies.

today is a new day, but i still feel guilty for turning into a “mean mommy”.


friday: field day at the elementary school (with baby girl, too), a trip to the pool afterwards, and a return to a home full of repairmen.

saturday: early baseball game, trip to grocery store to get food to prepare for the afternoon end of season party.

sunday: the first day of a 5 day stint of single parenting

monday: first grade field trip…a walk to a local park (with baby girl, too)

not a lot of quiet for this introvert.

being an introvert is not an excuse for a short fuse because, truthfully, i am the only person responsible for my behavior, and i need to make the choice to not raise my voice and be rude.

however, being a parent who really wants to be involved in their children’s activities and being an introvert is really tough sometimes. {check out this post that sums it up pretty well}

today, i get a break.

no school volunteering today.

no baseball or lacrosse.

baby girl is home with me, so it won’t be quiet, but it will be quieter.

less loud.


one and a half days of school left for the little guy and then we are on full-fledged summer break.

both kids will be home with me all day…all summer long.

other than some travel…central oregon, new york, idaho, the oregon coast…we don’t have plans {although we are working on our summer list}.

it won’t be quiet, but it will be quieter.

less loud.

i am really looking forward to less loud.

home is…quieter. less loud.