Sunday, May 22, 2016

'This Tough Time' | Scrapbook Layout

Hi everyone! I'm back today to share a scrapbook layout I made using a mixture of the Ali Edwards 'Tough' and 'Wild' Story Kits. It documents the tough couple of days surrounding our son JJ's birth. To sum things up quickly, I had a very normal and healthy pregnancy, and was a week overdue, so was sent for a fetal assessment. Things didn't go well at the assessment - we found out that the baby's head was full of fluid. They dealt us the worst possible news, telling us it was unlikely the baby would make it though childbirth, or if it did, it wouldn't survive long after that. Heartbreaking news. By far the toughest day of my life, to date. Skipping ahead, JJ was born about 18 hours later, and things seemed pretty normal. He made it though childbirth - then they said maybe he would be alive hours, or maybe days, or even weeks. But the prognosis still wasn't great. It was a very tough couple of days, but finally about 3 days later (after an MRI) we got the great news that things were not what they thought, and that JJ would definitely be with us for the long haul. And now 4 years later, he is still proving everyone wrong with how amazing he is doing. This is definitely the condensed version of the story - so much went on in that time between the fetal assessment and his birth, and then between his birth and when we found out things would be ok. So many thoughts and emotions. And even since then - we've still had to go through a lot with him.

This was always a story I wanted to document, and wasn't quite sure how, but this Tough Story Kit was perfect. The sentiments noting that sometimes, life is just hard - but also the encouraging sentiments, telling us we can do hard things. There are still more stories surrounding this whole situation that I'd like to tell, but this is the jist of it. I did a baby album for JJ (a 12x12 Project Life album documenting the first year of his life), and obviously touched on a lot of this stuff, but I'm glad I could finally get it all out in a little more detail with this page.

So, let's finally take a look at the spread!

The colours of the Tough and Wild Story Kits went so well together, that I used pieces of both, and created some of my own patterned paper with some of the digital brushes from the kits.

I obviously had a lot of journaling I wanted to do for this story, and wasn't sure how to include it all, plus add a few pictures and some products, to pretty it up. I ended up making a little flip-up page.

Since I had about 2 pages of writing, I then needed something to go on the back of the top page (or I could have just left it white), but I decided to make my own patterned paper out of a bunch of the digital brushes included in the Digital Story Kit. I just attached the two journaling pages together with a strip of washi, as a 'hinge'.

I added a little tab, with the "I am:strong" stamps from the Tough Story Stamp, to act as a little page lifter.

I just love that "I can do hard things" stamp. More than anything, this situation made me realize how true that sentiment is. Granted... I know how lucky we are that this situation has turned out as well as it has. What we are dealing with now is nowhere near what we were originally told, so I always feel like we got off so easy. But there was a time we didn't know things would turn out like this, and those days were hard. I am still incredibly proud of how well we handled the situation, even when we were expecting the worst.

Since I didn't include a picture of it, this is what the second page of journaling says:

"Not long after that they moved me up to a labour room on the high-risk ward. Our families and a few close friends came to visit before they induced me. As expected, it was a quiet and sad affair. Not only due to the total shock of such unexpected news - but there was SO much excitement for this baby. It was the first baby for both sides of the families. Everyone felt robbed I think. Everything really started sinking in - this was the lowest point of the whole ordeal for me. I felt no hope. I was mentally detaching myself from this baby. I felt like I didn’t want to know anything about it if it didn’t survive birth. I didn’t want to become attached to something that I wouldn’t be able to keep.

They induced me around 8PM, and at 7:41am on April 21, 2012, our precious JJ was born. My labour and delivery were actually relatively ‘easy’. My nurses were all so amazing, and Dr. Boroditsky ended up delivering JJ. From that perspective, at least, everything had gone exactly as well as I could have hoped for. My baby was born alive, and he was actually doing well. The talk of him living turned from hours, to maybe days, to maybe months. The next few hours and days were filled with worry, and tears, and questions, but as we know now, almost 4 years later, everything has turned out the best it possibly could. What exactly happened is still unclear, but what we do know is that JJ has congenital hydrocephalus (which is a buildup of excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain at birth). When he was a month old, he had surgery to have a shunt put in, which now treats his hydrocephalus. Due to some damage that happened to his brain, the right side of his body is weaker than his left (mostly his arm/hand) and he has some vision issues. But all in all, he has turned out amazingly. We call him our miracle baby. I mean, I know all babies are kind of miracles, but he feels even more so, just because according to what they told us in that fetal assessment, he wasn’t even supposed to be here. And he is a healthy, thriving little boy, that brings joy to so many people. His therapists and doctors are always amazed by how well he is doing. They say his ‘story’ on paper (in hospital records and notes) doesn’t match up to how awesome he is doing. Maybe that is why it is easy for me to look back on this horrible day, and not feel that horrible about it anymore. Because I know that everything, somehow, turned out wonderfully. I mean, I know that’s definitely part of it - it’s easy to move past it when all’s well that ends well. But I am still very impressed with how well Jason and I handled the situation, before we knew that things would be OK. We were as positive as we could be, and were really there for each other. I don’t think I ever would have imagined that I would’ve dealt with it as well as I did. This was the toughest thing that life had thrown at me (and still is, to date). It taught me that I can do hard things."

Once again, I'm so thankful to Ali, and the wonderful product and education she provides, so we can get these stories told. As you can probably tell from this blog (I almost exclusively use Ali Edwards product), I am a huge fan, and after years of 'thinking about' scrapbooking, taking a few classes from her has finally got me actually doing it. I'm so glad to be getting these things documented.

Until next time, thanks for stopping by :) 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Around Here | April 2016

A week late once again, but better late than never! Here are some of our highlights from April.

Around here we have been waiting for warmer weather to show up! Instead of April showers, we've been having April snow flurries. Ugh.

Around here the boys have been really loving their Kindermusik classes. JJ is constantly singing songs, and Austen is still loving all the attention of being the only kid on the move in class.

Around here both boys had a week or so of being out of commission - Austen had a chest infection and JJ had some sort of viral infection. Considering that was really their only sickness all winter, I thought we did pretty well.

Around here we took the boys to their first movie in the theatre - Zootopia! Austen did really well, and JJ wasn't really interested at all, and probably watched like 5 minutes of the movie, total. Despite that, it was a really great movie!

Around here we celebrated JJ's 4th birthday! He chose to go to the park, and get subs for supper for his special day! (Very high expectations...! Haha!) So hard to believe he is already 4!! He is such a sweet, and loving and caring little guy. Our little sweetheart.

Around here JJ has acquired a few new trucks in his fleet. The truck obsession continues. Although he has nights where he hasn't slept with any trucks - a very big deal for him! He has been sleeping with a truck in his bed with him nightly for almost a year!

Around here Austen has finally started showing an interest in books and reading. Previous to this his only interest was tearing them apart.

Around here Austen has been going through a terrible phase with his carseat. It is absolute torture trying to get him sitting in it, and buckled in. I remember JJ somewhat going through a phase like this, but not nearly as bad. Can't wait for this to be over!

Around here we got JJ an "OK to Wake" clock, hoping to get him to sleep in a little longer in the mornings. Both for our benefit, and his. He doesn't nap during the day, and could use a little more sleep in the mornings.

Around here we are busy getting ready for our upcoming trip. JJ is very excited to go to 'his other house'! And we are looking forward to the warm weather in Florida :) 

How was your April? I'd love for you to share a highlight in the comments!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Week in the Life 2016 | SUNDAY

Alright! Back to sharing the last day of my Week in the Life documentation! And as much fun as it's been, I'm looking forward to a little time apart from my camera - or at least not having it attached to my hip 24/7. And my husband is looking very forward to Week in the Life being over! Haha! He was actually better about it than I thought he would be. Don't get me wrong, still a fair amount of grumbling, and looks of exasperation as I was taking photos... but I was expecting worse. 

Onto Sunday!

We had a relatively relaxing morning. Both kids had slept over at Jason's parents, so it was wonderful to have an uninterrupted sleep for once, and to be able to sleep-in! We didn't wake up until about 9:30, and even then, were able to just lay in bed and relax for like an hour, before finally rolling out of bed. Man... the simple things that you don't realize are such a luxury before you have kids...

Ahhhh... such a leisurely morning. I feel relaxed just looking at this picture. :)

A peek into Austen's closet. Soooo many clothes. Most of these were JJ's and have been handed down. And most have been bought by either family or friends (for birthdays, Christmases, etc.) We have bought very little clothing for either boys. As Austen has been outgrowing things, we either take them to Once Upon a Child, to sell them, or donate them.

Jason's parents dropped the boys off, saving us a trip out to Stonewall. Both boys were very upset to have to say goodbye. :(

 A quick bite of the last of the leftover pizza for lunch before we go out. Three scavengers hanging around for any crumbs to drop, as usual.

Big smiles from this little dude :) Daddy is in the bank, depositing money for another side job he does, and we are just waiting in the car.

As is usually the case when the boys have a sleepover... they are both zonked. Quick naps in the car while we are out and about. It is pretty common for Austen to fall asleep in the car, especially if it is around his naptime, or if he didn't nap at home. However, JJ is our little non-napper. Even in the car he rarely falls asleep. I was glad he did today though, he really needed it.

Crazy nap hair! He's getting his hair cut in just over a week when are in Disney World. I'm actually getting really sad about it! I love his little curls, and his crazy hair just seems to suit him! I'm thinking we'll just do a little trim to 'clean it up' a little bit...

We went to Toys R Us to get a new bike helmet for JJ. As soon as Austen saw the line-up of these cars, he hopped right in. Something like this is right up his alley.

JJ was looking for a 'truck with a cover', whatever that means. He didn't find one, and was very mad/upset. He is generally a very easy-going little guy, but certain things set him off, and put him into moods. This was one of those things.

The mood continues. A lot of pouting, and silence and no getting through to him. I have to say... I am kind of the same way when I am upset - not the pouting, but the silence and 'no getting though'. I kind of just shut down, and either have a hard time expressing myself, or don't want to, or am 'scared' to. And JJ is totally the same way. I find it funny, because he never sees me that way (my husband is probably the only one who has seen me in full 'shutdown' mode), but yet he is the exact same way when he is upset. On one hand, I now realize how frustrating it is for someone (aka, Jason) to have to deal with me when I am like that, but on the other hand, I also totally know how JJ feels and what he is going through when he is like that, so I feel like I can deal with it - and him - a little better. Definitely the trait I dislike about myself the most, though. Trying to consciously work on it.

The S'mores frappuccino is back! I'm not really big on frappuccinos, but these are my weakness. I see quite a few of these in my future this summer :)

Ahhhh, again with these curls! *heart eyes*

It was a beautiful day here today! (Finally!) Once we got home from our errands, we ended up spending most of the rest of the day outside. Both boys love being outside, so it's nice that the weather is finally warming up. We'll be spending a lot of time out here this summer, I'm sure.

Lots of fun stuff to play with around here.

The trees are just starting to bud. I'm sure by the time we get back from our vacation, they will be full of leaves. :)

JJ loves throwing the ball for the dogs, and then chasing them around the yard. Jason usually holds him in his arms and 'zooms' him around. He just has laughing fits over it!

Ahhhh... finally, sandal weather! Another quick trip to Wal-mart to pick up some more odds and ends.

One of my odds and ends (pretty much the reason I went to Wal-mart) I bought. Some reading material for the plane ride (if I get a chance!), or sitting around the pool. I used to buy tons of magazines (various - the trashy celeb ones, National Geographic, health or fitness ones), but have pretty much stopped in recent years. I had to buy this one though - I love Yellowstone, and this whole edition is dedicated to it. :)

This has been a week of leftovers. For various reasons. Leftover food from JJ's birthday party, leftovers for ease when Jason was working evenings, leftovers because we had extra pizza left for dinner, and then leftovers to use up food before we leave on vacation.

Although it looks like Austen is about to chow down, he ended up only licking some of the tzasiki off the pita, then eating almost nothing for the rest of dinner. Ugh. I'm hoping this not-eating phase comes to an end soon!

Eating outside. We may as well enjoy it while it is nice, and before the swarms of mosquitos come and being outside is unbearable. Plus, we didn't have much choice... it would have been torture to try to get the boys in the house.

Monkey-see, monkey-do. JJ is always pretty typically a 'daddy's boy', and wants to do anything Jason is doing, but he has been copying Jason in anything and everything he has been doing lately. It is pretty cute.

Being a goofball

Finishing up packing.

Taking breaks here and there to text a close friend (who, I am embarrassed to admit, I haven't talked to or seen in almost a year....). We both are going to be away for chunks of May, but made a date for the end of the month to get together. I gotta get better about making plans with people...

More than the packing, I was worried about making sure the house was clean and in good shape. We are having someone stay at our house to take care of the dogs (and the house!) while we are gone.

More clean-up.

Last shot of the week!

Well, it's been a full and somewhat hectic week around here. At times I was kind of kicking myself for deciding to document this week, when I knew it would already be so busy. I'm sure looking back at it, I'll appreciate it though. I'm looking forward to distancing myself from these photos for a few days, then starting to go through and start planning my album a bit. We're currently away on vacation, but it's going to be a fairly relaxing vacation, so I'm hoping to make a bit of progress on my album while we are here, so that when we get home I print my photos and start putting everything together!

Thanks so much for following along with me this week! If you are participating in Week in the Life, I'd love to follow along with you as well, so feel free to leave a comment with your blog or Instagram!

Thanks for stopping by!

Week in the Life 2016 | SATURDAY

Hi everyone! I'm back today to finish up sharing my Week in the Life documentation. Saturday and Sunday were super busy days for us, with a friend's 40th birthday party Saturday evening, and packing and getting ready for our vacation/cleaning the house on Sunday, plus last minute running around (plus a lot of other daily and weekly things we have to get done on the weekend.) We then were travelling all day Monday (with some mechanical delays, then bad weather, which tacked on about 5 extra hours - which when travelling with a rambunctious 1.5 year-old, feels like 10 extra hours!) Anyways... It's felt like a total whirlwind the last few days, but I wanted to get these pictures and thoughts down in this space, as I found it so useful to refer back to blogposts last year when I was putting my album together.

So here is our Saturday!

JJ slept in his Crosby jersey last night. He was on the phone bright and early this morning talking to Grammies and Papa about the sleepover they would be having there that night.

Austen is in our closet, getting into stuff he's not supposed to be. (Our fault, it was on the ground, not very well hidden). It was a toy we had bought for JJ's birthday, but then decided to just put away and give to Austen at his birthday, because we had bought other stuff for JJ, and it was going to be too much.

Not very happy that the toy got taken away from him. But still brushing his teeth through the tears.

Shaving again. Daddy had just had a shower and had shaved, so JJ had to get in on the action.

Horsing around on the bed. Poor JJ, he usually gets the brunt of things. He is so gentle and passive.... and Austen is not.

Reading the Thomas book again. This is one we borrowed from the library - we are going to have to look into getting our own copy!

Someone else has to get in on the shaving action too. This step stool has been awesome for JJ - gives him much more independence. However... it is a little too much independence for Austen. He is constantly running in there, climbing up on the counter and playing with the water. (We typically close the bathroom door, and it has a child safety handle so he can't get in... but sometimes it gets left open accidentally).

Shower time for me too! I don't have a 'routine' time that I shower. Sometimes it's the morning, sometimes before bed, sometimes the middle of the day! I either have to do it when Austen is still sleeping/napping, or Jason's around.

Toast for breakfast this morning.

Minor meltdown over a bottle of nail polish being taken away from him. He also refused to sit in his highchair for breakfast again, so he is sitting on Jason's lap and eating his toast.

Both Jason and I felt lazy last night and didn't do the dishes (plus, it was mostly just cups and bottles, since we ordered pizza in). So they are being done first thing this morning, to tidy up the counter.

I'm putting some Liquid Sunshine in my diffuser. Love this citrus-y scent, and it really does cheer me up!

Taking a quick phone break while the boys are watching some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on TV.

Making a list and jotting down stuff we need to pack for our trip. Seeing as how we leave in 2 days, I better start packing! Ha! We are pretty minimalist packers, and have travelled multiple times with the kids, so we have everything down pretty well.

The boys laundry. It's been washed, and needs to be folded, and either put away, or packed.

Some leftover pizza for lunch.

We are on our way to go drop the boys off for their sleepover. For the past week or so, it has been absolute torture getting Austen buckled into his carseat. It is amazing the strength that a 1.5 year-old has. Sometimes I can barely physically contain him. How is that even possible. Ugh. Can't wait for this phase to be over.

Jason being funny, because he is sick of all the pictures.

And a more normal one. :)

On our way out to Stonewall.

Excited. He ran up all the way up the stairs and just welcomed himself in. He loves going to "Mies and Papa's". (Our kids call Jason's mom Grammies, and before JJ could say Grammies, he would just say 'mies', so that is what he still often refers to her as).

Setting up toys in the foyer. That hot wheels track is one of Austen's faves. There is no shortage of toys at Grammies and Papa's house. They probably have just as much toys as us, and bigger and better ones than us, at that. (Which is fine by me!)

Hugs goodbye.

Now we spend the next couple hours cleaning. Jason and I have a weekend cleaning job, cleaning a small business office. It's an easy way for us to earn a bit of extra money (which we usually put towards travelling and fun stuff). We usually grumble about having to do it every weekend, but all in all, it is easy money and allows us to do fun stuff. The office is empty on the weekends, so we usually just put on our headphones and get to work.

Slaving away. Haha.

While I clean I usually listen to podcasts - sometimes music if there is nothing I feel like listening to, or my favourite podcasts don't have new episodes out. My current favourites are The Girl Next Door Podcast (two next-door neighbours and friends discussing life in general - kids, marriage, work, goals, etc. I highly recommend it!), The Paper Clipping Roundtable (all about scrapbooking), and Martimoney (a husband and wife who talk about marriage and their money - budgeting, etc.). Others I occasionally listen to are Nerdist and the Sam Jones podcasts - both are interviews with celebrities.

Beautiful afternoon! I have to run out to Wal-Mart quickly to pick up a few odds and ends.

Some beautiful weather, finally!

My contribution to Sara's birthday party - lemon Jell-O shots!

My close friend Jen and I at our friend Sara's 40th birthday party. Now that we both have young kids, we don't get a chance to hang out much period, nevermind get out childless on a Saturday evening for some drinks! We had a lot of fun Saturday night, though!

The birthday girl, blowing out her candles!

They also bought a cake for my husband, so we could celebrate his birthday a few days early. His nickname is the Red Dragon, haha. That nickname has been along for longer than I've known him, so I don't know exactly who came up with it, or why, but all I know is it comes from his more party-ish days, and because his hair has a red tinge to it. We laughed so hard when we saw this cake!


And that is it for Saturday.  My Sunday post should be coming up in the next day or so! Thanks for stopping by!