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December 2009

November 2009

2009 Thankful Album.


Finished this over Thanksgiving weekend,  our Thankful Album, that was inspired by Cathy Z.  Again, I love albums with "dialogue".  Nothing better than my own families thoughts and memories stored in a keepsake album just for us. (Granted I would've opted for "deeper" more intense journaling, but their teenagers and kids in general.  So they are gonna be Thankful for McDonalds vs. Mom's hugs and kisses... Here are some of my faves:

After all the "silly" thankful notes, it was nice to get a more deeper/emotional Thankful Note.

I ended the book with this one... leave it to my oldest to write something like this:IMG_1250

Isabel was always excited to fill one each day:

You can see the rest HERE. (and on a thumbnail to your left)

I went to Target (just like Cathy Z did) and bought the same album she did, but in a different color. It's a quick simple & cheap project. I printed the Thankful cards on Kraft Cardstock, used photos that I had laying around, used a couple sheets of patterened paper, and a $4 album from Target.  It's never to late to do one of these, there is always something to be Thankful for.

Thanksgiving 2009


It was a nice, relaxing, and a sweat pants & T-Shirt kinda day... No fuss, just me and the kids enjoying a quiet day at home. This year we decided to just hang out at home and not go to anyone's home or have anyone over. I was bummed that hubby had to work today... but I can't remember a Thanksgiving he was home... I was just happy that he is on a day shift so he would be home by 8 pm.  This year, I started cooking the night before... and I would totally do this again next year.  I got all my cooking done by 6 am.  (I took a cat-nap in between!)  I ended up cooking a 20lb Turkey, two 18lb hams, and a bunch of sides. (One ham went to work with my hubby).  My sides included ones that I've done year after year.  My hubby loves the stuffing that we make with a combination of apples, sausages, & cranberries.  Ethan's favorite is the Green Bean Casserole, and Izzy could just veg out on the Ham alone, which turned out amazing this year, tried soaking it in Coke this year as oppose to just cooking it in it. This year I tried a new recipe, Sweet Potato Casserole that I ended up devouring!  As far as the pie, I ended up getting it at Village Inn and buying one there the day before... and it was AH-MAZING!! 

I have to say I didn't stuff myself with the Turkey and all the fixings as much as I did that Sweet Potato Casserole alone.  I'm not a big Turkey fan.. still wondering why I bought such a huge Turkey!  But I do love it as a sandwich between a Kaiser roll topped with Alfa Sprouts and jellied cranberries!  YUM!  Now we are left with so much food!

While everyone was in their kitchen cooking, Izzy and I ventured out and played in the snow all day!  I pulled her in the sled while I ran around the blocks and went to the big hill along the road. (What I really wanted to do was to go for a run and test out my studs, but I didn't want to leave her with her brother's today and she was looking forward just being with me).  So we spent most of our day outside, which was really nice.


It had snowed quite a bit the night before Thanksgving... (Nothing like the day after though! We got another 6 or so!)


This is Izzy by the end of the day!  She was just exhausted.

We went in to get some hot cocoa for her, Gingerbread coffee for me, and the oh so delicious Pumpkin Pie!
We lounged around after watching movies.  Little Rascals was on and she enjoyed it, "O-tay!" Soon enough, hubby was on his way home, and we ate another round of Turkey/Ham and all the fixings. It was a nice and relaxing day/evening.



Thankful For:

  • My Family.
  • Three Sweet, Loving, Entertaining, Humorous, Caring Children (most of the time) that may drive me up the wall some days, make me grin from ear to ear the next, teach me the value of patience, show me that love has no limits and is unconditional. 
  • A man that continues to love & cherish me, A man who laughs with me (and at me), A man who works hard for his family, A man devoted to placing a smile on my face~everyday, A man that always asks "What do YOU want to do today?" on our days off, A man that supports me, my scrappin habits, my passion for all things photography, my "must-have-latest-gadgets" habit, my vampire-reading fetishes, and my non-stop blah, blah, blabber mouth :) That's a lot to put up with.
  • Internet. What can I say, I'm a tech-junkie.
  • Passion, Hobby & Work, Combined. It's a beautiful thing combined with hard work to have your passion become your work.
  • Alaska. Yup... and all it's negative temps, lengthy winter, darkness and all... It's a place we call home, a place my kids will remember the most, and a place that I will always have a special place in my heart.
  • "Ah-woo" Team Jacob... (Had to throw that in.. just had to)  Saw New Moon this weekend.. and let's just say, I can't wait to see it again.
  • My iPhone.  Didn't I just say, I'm a tech-junkie.  Everyone I know, has one, is going to have one, or plain and simple, always had one.. Not really sure how you guys do without it!
  • American Eagle Sweaters... Comfort and Warmth, a great combo.
  • Girlfriends. Not sure what I would do without them...
  • My Health. I've never been so content with the outside of me like I am these days. (It's always a work in progress, still don't have those 6-pack abs) but I continue to challenge myself physically and loving the journey.
  • My Uggs. Uggs at first sight, were not the prettiest, but at first wear, I am in LOVE!  I just need NEW ones.. "Dear Santa.. I just really want the same pair I have now, it's hard to find for some reason, but came across them at Journey's the other day, it's the "Ultra Short" pair, they have a more rugged bottom, and I totally understand they start at $180... but I need them!
  • Music. It's a great escape for me. I appreciate a good beat that I can run to for 8+ miles, or sing my heart out to in the car on that 15 minute drive to work, to ponder with, to pretend I'm in front of thousands of raving fans with... From the latest hip hop to good ol' country, smooth rock, R&B, or Hawaiian.. I love them all.
  • Books. I love to read.  And it doesn't have to all be about vampires!  I enjoy a good drama, love story, or biographies. Some of my all time faves were Kite Runner & A Thousand Splendid Suns.
  • TV & DVR's.   Yup.. we are spoiled like that, aren't we?  I love the comedy in The Office, Glee, and the super powers of Heroes, The Vampire Diaries, or Supernatural, and don't forget the suspense of all the CSI's.. and our new faves, Lie To Me and Fringe! 
  • Coffee + Tea.  Most mornings start with one or the other, either way, something warm.
  • Simplicity. I'm simple minded, tasks are kept simple, designs are always simple... simply stated, things don't have to be complicated. 
  • Auto-Start.  For obvious reasons, we live in the land of the Chosen Frozen. Its nice to sit in a warmed up car.
  • Sushi.  And all Asian Cuisine really, but sushi is something I could eat all the time!
  • Sleeping in. Yes, I'm a night owl, so sleeping in is always a plus for me. I savor any extra hour or two I get.
  • Running.  I never thought I'd say that. If you asked me to run even half a mile, or heck for 5 minutes a year ago, I'd say, yeah, right... But now it's like a drug.. I crave it, long for it, and when I'm in it, that is the real me with every stride, and I am in my element. It is by far, the most intense/insane sport combined. It keeps me fit, my muffin top tamed, and most of all, feeling a sense of accomplishment and another day seized.
And just all around Thankful for each day.. although there are days when things don't go my way, I am grateful for unexpected moments, because I'm a true believer that things happen for a reason.

Project, Thankful.


I bought Cathy Z's latest Thankful Project the other day. You can find it on Designer Digitals, HERE.

The end result she has on her website is just "simply" right up my alley:
Picture 7

So what I did was print several on Kraft Cardstock (my fave color, btw) and handed one to each of the kids and hubby.. we all filled one out and I'm gonna incorporate the Nook & Pantry Line from Basic Grey and complete a little album by Thanksgiving day, in between the cooking, eating, and resting ;)

This is turning out to be a fun project for our family.  Too bad I just started this past Monday, but that does give us a few days to write what we are Thankful for. It was quite entertaining to see what my kids had to say.. at first, they thought this was some sort of test where I had all the right answers.. They kept looking at me before they wrote.. and I kept telling them, there is no right or wrong answer.. just whatever you are "Thankful" for.. for example, I'm Thankful for "Candles".. I enjoy the different scents..  I was hoping for something a little more "deep" but Ethan chose his X-Box game, Call of Duty, as his first choice. Whereas, my oldest was trying to be innovative by calculating how many more days till Thanksgiving, and writing all his reasons on one card so he didn't have to write one each day til Thursday! LOL!  Well I can't wait to see what they are "Thankful For" in the upcoming days.. I have a feeling it will say "... for no school till Monday!" 

Scrappin' MODE...

With the house being over run by teenagers, pre-teens, and just kids in general... I found some time to escape into my creative zone.. and just scrap.  I finished that Week In My Life Album, which was fun to do and complete.  But it got me itichin to work on older photos (since I finally placed all my photos from 2005 in an album) so I really wanted to finish it... and I am almost there, I'm on December of 2005, just a few more to go!  Here's just a few I did over the weekend.






I can finally say, 2005 is officially scrapped (with just a couple more photos left)...
2006 is done.
2007/2008  is almost done.
And 2009, I went the smarter-route by mixing digital and paper, that helped a lot!

To add to my Scrappin Mode, I am making my mom (and MIL) mini albums from a collection of photos throughout the year. Here's some pages that I have done (won't show it all here, obviously, it's a gift :)




And Izzy is helping to put pages together:




And of course, Izzy loves to illustrate herself, which my mom just loves to see:

Week In Life, Concluded.


That little project that I led me to capturing the week in my "Not-So-Normal" Life is done. 

Click HERE to see it in it's entirety.

It's definitely a great project for reflecting and has to be one of my favorites. I love the idea of capturing our everyday lives in a series of photos and most importantly stories.  I am going to add a few more days into it as sort of a Part Deux, because I continued taking photos the following week, since we got back into our regular routine and I really wanted to capture the little glimpses in our everyday lives. 

I kept the project simple.. I just grabbed materials that were in front of me. I did not buy anything new, used what I had, and focused on the photos and words.



My baby turns 14 today... (wow, where does time go?) What can I say... it's been an amazing, complicated, emotional, joyful, most rewarding journey thus far.  I have (and still am) learning so much about life, parenting, and the art of picking your battles. 


I don't have many friends with children that are teenagers, most of their kids are barely 5.  (Could probably explain why I am so in awe of a fellow scrapbooker, Staci, whose got 5 kids, 3 of which are boys!)  So a lot of these "motions" we are going through can be difficult to deal with. I know how to deal with crying babies, a fussy toddler, or a even pre-teens... but a teenager, that is an entirely new level.  It's that age, where they struggle to find their identity and you want so much to steer them in the right path, well the path you know (because you've been there kind of thing) they should go in.. but they won't listen, cause as with most teenagers, being stubborn is a part of being 14, and you just have to sit back and watch them head down that road, crossing your fingers, hard lessons will be learned.


Lately, we've hit a couple of rough patches, and this is all just the beginning of changes that are headed our way and being in a situation we just don't have control over.  He's had a hard time dealing with the thought that by the end of this school year, his life, as he knows it will change.  But it's hard to tell a teenager, that sometimes "Life just sucks.. and it's not fair!"  They can't accept that simple statement. They just don't see the brighter side to a tough situation. But we can just be there for him and let him know that I will always be there...



I have to say, aside from his teenage antics, we've done an amazing job raising this guy. I know because it shows when he's around new people, parents of other teens, his teachers, and his siblings (well sometimes)..  For example, today, his sissy, spent hours drawing him and making him a birthday card while he was at practice... and he hugged her and hung it up on his room. She just about floated on cloud 9, knowing her big brother loved her work. Then you find something like this hanging in Ethan's class:


"Who wants to be like his big brother, Caelan..."
If he only knew, just how much this will mean to him one day... His little brother, who he may think is a pest at times, just adores him to pieces..




So I get it... (somedays I do) this teenage thing, it's hard to remember that I was once there too.  And there are days, I have to remember I am THE PARENT and we aren't just BFF's... There are times, I have to enforce and remind him of the rules and importance of school and good grades and he may roll his eyes then shut the door to his room. But that's a teenager for you.  I'm still learning as I go, we both are, just like that one defining moment, where I hung on to him sitting on the kitchen floor, in our first home in California, barely 19, crying my eyes out in sheer frustration at being a teenager, with an almost 2 year old, living hundreds of miles away from home without mom's help, as he clung on to me, wiping my tears away, "mommy, you kay?" 


Caelan @ fourteen.
Freshmen at Bartlett.
Loves Symphonic Band, sitting at the highest chair as a Freshmen.
Amazing at playing the Clarinet.
Sweet-Onion Chicken Teriyaki from Subway, is his fave.
Wide-eyed and curious.
Texting-King with his Blackberry Curve.
Devours, Haagen Daazs, Chocolate Ice cream and often wonders why they are so small.
Adores his parents (that's the way I see it).
Helpful (when need be, or asked to, several times)  :)
Enjoys Highschool.
Confident. (not so much in school work, though,hmm.)
Can be quite cocky, Mr. Know It All.
Thinks Lebron James is "da bomb".
Loves Basketball, with some pretty good plays too.
Has a shoe fetish.
An American Eagle Shopper.
Could eat Cocoa Crispies as a late night snack everynight.
Short, but sweet.
Creative. Loves to draw and is good at it.
Musically inclined. (guitar, clarinet, drums, a piece of sticks.. he will make music out of nothing).


His game last night, was (as the teenagers would say) "Off da hook!"  *Note to self, invest in a HD Video Camera... But he found this pretty entertaining, not that he needed that boost for his already blown up ego!

Highlights of my Day...


Alarm is set to go on at 5:30 am but it was one of those days where I managed to turn off the alarm before it went off.  I guess that's a good start. Hubby rolls out of bed to get ready for work, I am quite content that he is on day shift at the moment.  I stumbled out of bed, shivering to the thermostat to turn it up, way up, grabbed the remote control and switched the tv on to the morning news. Right away, they are already talking about this unusual frigid morning in November. It was a chilly -10 degree in Elmendorf, but shows that some people in the Valley had made it to -16. It's dark out, there's not enough insulation in this house to keep all the cold air out, so I'm practically hugging myself walking into the kitchen, to get my day started.

I had already planned to make "Egg McMuffins" for breakfast. A simple English Muffin filled with egg and Canadian bacon. The hubby enjoyed it, the kids devoured it, and I enjoyed my plain ol' one slice of English Muffin.  (Old habits never die, I guess. I always cook massive breakfast meals, but I never eat them, I prefer Oatmeal at Snow City).  

Despite that massive drop in temperature, I'm not one to complain, not today.  I think it's that saying, "You never know what you got till it's gone, or gonna be gone..."  I just took it all in, the moment, the day, and freezing temps.. and just truly felt blessed today. Blessed to have my family, my friends, food on the table, a truck that starts in -10, a job, you name it, it put a smile on my face. Then I started thinking of all the highlights of my life at the end of the day, driving home from basketball.  Little clips ran through my head as I smiled to myself.


  • "Hearing my oldest say "Good-bye" as he rushed out the door. We've had a rough couple weeks together. Growing pains, I guess.. but just going through the motions (or emotions) of life.  We had a "moment" last week, that left us in silence over the weekend. We are close my son and I, he knows me, and there are times, he may not realize (nor do I) that I am the adult and mother... and sometimes there are consequences for your actions. I'm a softie, so it's hard for me to enforce it sometimes... but it has to be done. And when it is done, it's always with a heavy heart.
  • Seeing Ethan still glowing from his game the night before. He made an awesome play, he charged through 2 defenders and did a reversal layup.  Someone video taped it for us, so I can't wait to see it. But he went to bed feeling like the next Kobe.  That's what it's all about isn't it, as a child, To Dream, and Dream Big... Never let anyone tell you otherwise. 
  • Watching Izzy shake her booty, while brushing her teeth.  We listen, rather blast the radio in the mornings. We have a "Morning CD" that we pop in and it always gets us going. There's nothing better than to see your tired kids, willingly get up and get her day started without having to push them the entire morning.
  • Driving on the Alaska streets.  You gotta love how everyone just kind of picks their own lane when driving through downtown as you yell out "dummy, stupid, moron" and realize, oh crap, I'm the one that can't find the stinkin lane, but everyone behind me is following you anyway.
  • The pole. There is this light pole in the parking lot where I work and everytime I see it, I crack myself up, today was one of those days, I laughed so hard.. One fine morning, while doing a reverse park, I totally rammed my truck into that pole, hit it so hard, my coffee flew out of the cup holder, and then my dashboard cover came flying out, I immediately thought it was my air bag coming out and took a deep breath in and shut my eyes, only to realize, I was fine, the car was not imploding in front of my eyes. Heidi was there to hug me and laugh at me at the same time.. (Love that girl). Ahh.. what a memory.
  • Country Music + Working + New Projects.  I always enjoy being at work, even if for only a few hours. It's my time with Kenny Chesney or Brad Paisley, in this case, Lady Antebellum. I have already created yet another weekly project.
  • Basketball. I love that my kids enjoy staying active. I'm right along there with them, they learn from example. In this case, they helped me get to where I've always wanted to be. They have been supportive of my time sneaking away for a run or to the gym. 
  • Singing my heart away with Izzy.  We love Taylor Swift!  We simply cannot get enough and so can our lungs.. we sang our heart away on our drive home tonight.. I love how she tries to snap her fingers like me, pretend to have a mic, and points and sings as if she was in a concert surrounded by thousands of people. (not sure where she'd get an idea like that).
  • An ordinary moment with my soon to be 14 year old in a few days.  Hes been working hard on trying to get some of those grades up. I guess he's missing certain privileges. But he just sat with me and chatted with me. Nothing important, just sat with me, talking about his "friend" Ms. Hailey.. wondering why girls get jealous and stuff. It was nice, I enjoyed every minute of our ordinary moment.
  • Ethan's decided to give all his money saved up to his brother for his birthday. That's just the kind of kid he is and has always been. He put it all in an envelope and put his name on it.  Then I said, "Ethan, keep your money, I will get him something.." So then he took the envelope back, scratched his brother's name and put my name on it.. and said, okay you go get him something with this.  Sweet!
  • Hubby home tomorrow! And the best part, he will be awake during the day. That's all I could ask for. 
It was just another Tuesday from my week.  (I got up, kids to school, went to work, basketball, dinner, etc..) But I guess it's how you make the most of your day, no matter how average of a day it is... it's the little things that seem to matter the most. And I wrote them down to remember...

Right Now...

Haven't done one of these "bullet styled" posts in a while... they make for great journaling when scrapping!


Right Now...

  • I am totally in a Country Funk right now... On replay: Lady Antebellum "Need You Now"  My fave line, for now rhyme or reason, " It's a quarter after one, I'm a little drunk and I need you now.."  LOL!  They just make that line sound good :)
  • "How low can we go? Can we go down low?"  In temperature that is.. this is really the land of the Chosen Frozen and it's only November.
  • Going through some "mommy-moments" with my teenager. He's like me in so many ways, I swear it's payback for the all the rotten things I've done as a teenager.
  • Hubby is finally back on days, I'd like him to be on a Mon-Fri schedule, but I'd also like million dollars to fall from the sky.. it ain't gonna happen.
  • Quote for the past couple of weeks, "It is what it is..."
  • 3:33am Alien Abduction?  Freaky...
  • "I'm your biggest fan I'll follow you until you love me Papa-Paparazzi"  When I first heard this song, I thought, that is so weird.. now, it's like a strange addiction, I likey :) 
  • So very blessed, just so Thankful, ya know...
  • I am in Scrap-Mode.  Been catching up on all sorts of good stuff and working on several classes for the store.
  • Haven't ran outside in weeks...  :(  The gym will have to do.  Can someone turn up the heat outside, I'd even take 20's.. okay closer to 30's, say 26-28 degrees.. at least..
  • YES, I do have tickets to New Moon..  NO, we did not get the midnight showing. It just happened to fall on my son's birthday, who happened to have a Basketball game, but must bring him out to his birthday dinner instead of waiting in line for the premier of New Moon :( We are gonna see it on Friday instead. Still  EXCITED as ever!! I can't wait to hear what you all think!
  • I'm totally digging purple at the moment..  more like a plum hue.
  • Haven't really watched much TV shows lately... just The Office, Glee, and Supernatural... Must catch up on all the others!! 
  • Gearing up for my son's 14th birthday this weekend, (along with Mason, Keri, Jazzy, and my Mommy!)
  • I have lots of Christmas Ideas as gifts.. I want to make that happen, this year, hopefully, seriously!
  • I have found the inspiration to our next family shoot (hint, hint Ms. Paula.. and yes, we will like down in that snow/-20 degrees if need be for this shot!!  We are hardcore Alaskans!
    Picture 2 
  • Latest crave: Kaladi Brother's Red Goat Coffee...
Have a great Tuesday!  It's been crazy busy on this end, but loving every minute of it :) 
Happy BIRTHAY to my girl, Keri and a boy I love to call my own, Mason! 

Baby It's Cold Outside...

Picture 1

(side note: I just have to say, Paula & Erica I bought my first pair of Skinny Jeans.. LOL!  I know how much they appeal to you guys! LOL!  But I had to (so you can forever make fun of me). In my defense, it looks great tucked into my Uggs... and the fact that my son's highschool teachers thought I was a student..more reason to keep up my "teenage-esque")

We are already in the negatives... All I can say, Thank Goodness for Auto Start. I really don't know how I made it this long without one, it only took us 5 years in Alaska to get one :)

Despite such a drastic dip in temperature, I am still out and about.  I've been been out of this house everyday this week.. I'm kinda looking forward to some "Home-Time" and catching up on some Photography work. Although no posts from my week (last week) I have taken photos everyday that I have yet to share.  From lunch with the hubby, to hanging with Paula, a photoshoot at our (already set up) studio, hanging with my girl Keri, having a blast scrapping till 12:30 am with the ladies at MTAM

Aside from a busy week, it has been a roller coaster ride of emotions for my family. (And more to come on that subject). Which could be the very reason why I've been out and about... so that I am not sitting here dwelling on things that I simply don't have control over.

After being here, there, and everywhere during the week.. I enjoyed a nice evening with the family and watched Up for the first time.  I have to say, I really enjoyed it and yes, I did cry!  And we cannot stop saying, "Squirrel"  or "Point".. LOL! 

Tonight (Sunday) hubby and I sneaked away to a movie with a bunch of his guy friends at work, I was just honored that he wanted me to hang out with him and his crew.. :)  And we watched, The 4th Kind...

Have you guys seen this?  Oh my word... Scary combination: the movie, The 4th Kind + Living in Alaska ! I admit I have my qualms about the events that lead to this movie, but it's the real (raw) footage that gets to me, if you have a logical explanation about the real events with the real footage that we see in the film, then I would take this all as hoax and not think about it again... But, they seem quite convincing to me.

Looking forward to a new week. I've already started X-Mas shopping. (I shopped/splurged for myself today at Paula's Purse Party) Now I have to wait 3-4 weeks for my Custom Made Purse. Off to bed before midnight, this house will be awake at 5 am!!!