Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A quick layout

I normally scrap two-page layouts, so when I need to do a one page one I find it difficult sometimes.  I like to do something special for the title page of the album, but for the last page I don't feel the need to do anything special, just get it done.  Anyway, this layout is for the last page of Bella's most recent album.  The shirt that she was wearing in the pics was pink with an owl on it, so I went with that.  It came together in nothing flat.  'Course I haven't done any journaling yet! 

Now I have to think of another title page for the next album!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A beautiful reminder

These are the flowers that Jim gave me on Sunday in honor of our anniversary.  They are a beautiful reminder of how we expressed our love to one another with our vows all those years ago.  Jim is so special and he has been such a blessing in my life that I wanted to share a little about him with all of you.  While I don't have time to enumerate all of his wonderful qualities, here are just a few reasons why I love him:
1.) He has a great sense of humor-This is actually one of the first things that attracted me to him.  He made me laugh then and he continues to make me laugh today.
2.) His eyes-His eyes are a pretty shade of hazel, but what I love about them is that they just light up!
3.) His heart- He has such a warm, compassionate heart.
4.) He supports me in everything I do-everything!
5.) He knows his mind-and isn't afraid to share his opinion with you!
6.) He is a wonderful father and grandfather-I knew he would be a great dad, but he has gone beyond my expectations.  When I see him with Bella-he melts my heart! 
7.) He is committed-a rare quality these days
8.) His laugh-his laugh makes me laugh!
9.) His  patience-he is extremely patient and he balances me out well!
10.) His love for me is unconditional-even when I make it hard.
Here's to many more good years together!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays

No, I'm not down, but it is a rainy Monday!  The winter weather that we were expecting kinda fizzled out.  We got some sleet but for the most part it was rain.  Now more.  Just what I want!  I'll never be able to get my carpets cleaned and keep them clean with 2 dogs and a swampy backyard.  Ugh! :(
Anyway, had a busy weekend again.  Friday night Jim and I went to dinner and then on to the Weinberg to see 1964 The Tribute. 

It was a wonderful show!  These guys are really great.  It was the third time that we have seen the show and they do not disapoint.  They have been doing the show for 26 years now, three of the four of them are original members-I believe.  I would highly reccomend seeing it for anyone who has the opportunity.
Saturday I cleaned the house.  I just love to be able to dedicate some time to just really doing a good cleaning.  Afterwards, I took a nap and played with Bella a bit and then in the evening Jim and I joined our friends Bobby and Kathy for dinner.  It was so good to catch up with them!  Though we live just a few miles apart, out hectic schedules keep us from seeing each other as much as we would like.  The meal was delicious too! 
Sunday I overslept and didn't make it to church.  I had woken  early and was able to work on a little felt project I have going on but then I got sleepy and laid down on the couch and was out!  It is remarkable to me how quickly I can fall asleep now.  I never used to take naps nor need them, but now if I have plans for the evening I know that I had better take a nap or at least a rest or I'll spend the night fighting off sleep!
Sunday was rainy and miserable out, so we pretty much stayed in all day.  Then in the evening Michelle and Bella treated the family to dinner at Outback to celebrate mine & Jim's anniversary.  When we got home from dinner they surprised us with an ice cream cake.  (Well, they tried to surprise us but Bella was too excited to keep it to herself!)  Jim and I don't exchange gifts for our anniversaries, but he did give me some beautiful roses!  He used to give me one for each year we were married, but with the cost of roses rising and the number of years rising, he's scaled back!  We've been married for 29 years now.  Wow!  That is so hard to believe sometimes.    But I'd do it again. 
Anyway, I hope to share some pictures with you tomorrow. 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Winter Weather on the Way

So the weather man says.  We are expecting a 'wintry mix' tonight and into tomorrow.  Accumulating to only an inch or so, but who knows what we will wind up with. 
Yesterday I went to work feeling pretty good about what I was wearing.  I had on a blue corduroy dress that came down past my knees, black hose and black shoes.  The shoes are the Naturalizers or something similar, but they are just plain black with a small stacked heel and a 2" band of elastic or something that goes across the top of the foot.  Got the picture?  Anyway, when I left for work it was still dark out and Bella was enjoying yet another day off of school so she and her Granddaddy slept in.  I walk in the door from work last night and Bella yells "Hi Gaga!", she then looks up at me and says "Oh, you look just like a Pilgrim."  So, won't be wearing that dress again, the shoes weren't that comfortable anyway, so they can go to!  And I made an appointment to get my hair done, though she can't get me in until the 31st.  Nothing quite like the honesty of a 5 year old to hit you where it hurts!  Ha!
Got another layout nearly completed, just need to add the journaling.

The pictures were taken this past summer at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg.  Jim and the girls went into the aviary and the birds are quite accustomed to people, but they flocked to Jim.  They were licking the perspiration from his neck! 
The paper is from Basic Grey's new Origins line.  I just love Basic Grey!  It is the paper that I consistently go to for scrapbooking and cardmaking.  Can't beat it!  I generally use a lot of pictures on each layout and I tend to keep the layouts pretty linear to keep them from looking too messy.  So nothing too special about my layouts, just getting them done.  I love the process though!  Love to sit in my Scrapatorium, with all my stuff around me and just create.  But it is often too easy to loose track of time.  I've been known to go in there at 7 or 8 in the evening and emerge only to find that it is now 12:30 or 1:00 and everyone else has gone to bed for the night!  Does that happen to anyone else?  I have DVD's that I pop into "watch" while I'm working, Boston Legal, The Golden Girls, Soap, Becker and The Pretender to name a few.  Things that I have seen over and over and don't have to pay too much attention to.  Still enjoy them though.  So, tell me how you work, do you have a routine?  Special music, shows or snacks that you like to have while working?  I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday

At the zoo!  When I commented to Jim that the hills were tough for me Bella told me not to worry, she would carry me.  That's what we all want isn't it?  To know that we're not alone and someone is there to carry us through our darkest and most difficult of lifes moments.  We  need not worry, we are all carried by His gracious love.

I just laughed when I saw this.  The dolls are sorted, brown eyes, brown eyes, blue eyes, blue eyes!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Don't you love Mondays?

When it is really Tuesday!  Gotta love a three day weekend.  So, what did you do?  I didn't do too much, but it sure felt good.  Saturday morning was spent running errands that included taking Bella to dance class, the scrapbook store and Gymboree.  (Gotta spend those Gymbucks!)  Michelle fixed my printer so that I am now able to once again print my photos.  Yeah!  So, I spent lots of time printing pictures to use and was even able to cram a little time in my Scrapatorium.  Of course, when I realized that I needed to reprint one of the pictures I went to my computer only to find that it had crashed.  Now I have to re-install everything.  Have I mentioned that I hate c omputers?!  This one is brand new too, so it may be headed back to the store.   Anyway, I did manage to get a layout completed.  Here it is:

It is difficult to see, but in the title I put a little gem in each one of the little holes.  It took me about an hour! Ha!
Sunday morning we went to church and listened to our paster give a great sermon.  It was a wonderful service.  Bella has really begun to take an interest in the inner workings of things at church.  Michelle was asked to collect the offering on one side of the church and Bella asked her if she could do it.  Michelle told her what to do and before I knew it, Bella was at the end of our pew with the offering plate!  She also had the interest of many of our church members, a lot of whom took the time afterwards to tell her what a good job she did.  It was so cute!  Later on in the day we (me, Jim, Michelle and Bella) headed downtown and had a drink and an appetizer at the Green Turtle before heading over to the Weinburg Center to see Neilo Berg's 100 Years of Hollywood.  It was a tremendous show!  And I have to say that Isabella was way better behaved than the people behind us who choose to speak in their normal voice throughout the show.
Then on Monday Michelle worked so Jim and I had Bella for the day, so we went to the National Zoo.  It was in the low 50's so it was a perfect day to see the animals.  Too bad that zoo has so many hills! 

The orangutan in the second picture is 45 feet above the ground with no net.  They have 2 houses, one on each side of the zoo and the orangutans are free to move from one to the next via a system of ropes and these large tower like structures.  Pretty cool!
Anyway, by the time that we got home from the zoo, I was beat!  Not to mention sore.  So I turned in early and got some much needed rest!  Today, I got the day off-by going to work!  Five years olds can be a lot of work and a ton of energy!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Safe and Warm

That is what I am experiencing as I type these words.  I am safe, warm, clothed, fed, and in the company of my loving family.  How Blessed I am!  But my heart is heavy.
The people of Haiti need our prayers and they need our help.  Their world has been turned upside down by an earthquake the likes of which we cannot fathom.  The pictures are haunting.  The devestation unimaginable. 

 Mothers with empty arms...
Children alone and scared, searching for their parents....
Food and clean water not readily availble...
Sadness all around...

We cannot begin to imagine the pain and loss.  At times it is too much to bear.  We have seen the pictures, heard of the devestation, the catastrophic loss of life and yet we are safe.  We sit in our homes and watch the news on the television, or we see it at work or in the newspaper.  And we can turn it off.  When it does becoe too much to bear, too much to think about any more, we can turn it off.  Try to get those images from our minds.  But I can't.  Can you?  The images they haunt me. 
I'd like to help.  But I am only one.  What can I do?  How can I help?  Google Haiti on your web browser and countless web sites will come up.  Offering ways to hel.  You can text Haiti on your phone and make a donation, it will appear on your next bill.  The Red Cross needs help and needs money.  Compassion International is a wonderful charity dedicated to helping impoverished children. 
Find a way that you can help.  And pray!  Take a moment to pray!  It is free but the benefits are boundless.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Loosing something that was never really mine.

Strange title?  I'm in a bit of a strange mood.  Let me tell you why.
Lately I have noticed certain physical changes to my body.  Asside from the normal 40 something rapidly approaching 50 stuff that women go through.  Things are harder for me than they used to be.  Not everything, but some things.  Like what?  Well, walking distances is a tough one, stairs I can do but only in moderation, squatting down-not so bad, getting back up-BAD.  You get the idea.  Normal everyday things that a person does in the course of a day have become a challenge.  Most of you who know me know that I don't shy away from challenges.  I try to meet a challenge head on and go on from there.  Often times that is enough after all, it is all that I can do.  But on a rare occasion it is more difficult to deal with.  Case in point:  I can no longer sing.  Let me try to explain what that means to me. 
I have always loved to sing.  From the time that I was little music has meant a lot to me.  I have been inspired by lyrics, soothed by music, pumped up by music and generally, I just love music.  Singing is my way of getting in touch with my emotions and expressing myself.  I can remember back to when my parents were married-to each other.  I think that my Mom would turn the music on to cover the sounds of her and my Dad arguing, that may be in my imagination, but I don't think so.  Anyway, I remember listening to the lyrics of some of the songs and crying because they made me sad.  To this day when I hear the song "Strangers in the Night", I get choked up.  The point is, I love music and I love to sing.
Now, I was never a great singer.  I can carry a tune, I can sing with emotion, I can sing, but I was never great.  Truth be told, I was probably only slightly better than the average Joe.  I was in Chorus in Middle School and High School and I took voice in college.  I sang in a few weddings and a few events here and there, but mostly I sang beause I like it.  I sang for the Glory of God with my church choir for at least 20 years.  But about a year ago, I had to give it up.  First it was because I was too tired.  Working full time and taking care of a house and home it became just too much for me.  That was my excuse anyway.  The truth of the matter is, I can no longer get enough breath to sing.  In that capacity anyway.  My muscles are no longer strong enough to sustain breath, a definite effect of the muscular dystrophy.  I can sing along with the radio and in the shower and such and that will be enough for me, but it is a somewhat bitter pill to swallow none the less.  Raising my voice up in song was one way for me to not only worship, but it also was an outlet that I used to give back to my church from which I have so greatly benefitted. 
Don't get me wrong, I know that I am incredibly lucky.  All I need to do is look around to see how abundant my blessings are.  Although I am well aware of that and know that in the grand scheme of things, this is but a small price to pay.  Infinitesimal, truly.  Still, it is something that has been a big part of my life.  Something that I have used to differentiate myself.  Right or wrong it is the truth. 
The question that keeps seeping its way into my consciousness though is this, was my voice ever really mine to begin with?  Was I, am I worthy?  Again, I don't mean to come off as a Beverly Sills or Julie Andrews, I know that there is no comparrison.   It was a gift, one that I was not boastful of -at least I hope not.  Maybe my voice was just on loan to me, given to me for a purpose.  It must have had a purpose as everything does.  And in that same vain, maybe that is why it has been taken away.  Purpose.  Now, it is up to me to learn from this experience.  To grow in my faith and in my purpose here on earth.  To be thankful that something that gave me such pleasure was mine, if only for a while.  To be grateful for the life that I have been given, and to appreciate more the bigger things that life has to offer me.  And I do. 

Monday, January 11, 2010

Weekend Recap!

Saturday I went with my church to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.  It was the first time that I had been there and it was quite an experience.  The museum itself is really an architectural masterpiece.  The architect  used a lot of symbolism throughout the museum to represent different features that he saw when he visited the concentration camps in Germany, and from photos of the ghettos and the effect is really amazing.  Our group had almost 80 people in it and we were broken up into 7 or eight different groups each with a tour guide.  My group was lucky enough to have a survivor as a tour guide and her insight into the museum was priceless.  She gave us a first hand account of her experience during "The Night of the Broken Glass" or "Kristallnacht" which was facinating.  Built on four floors, you go through the museum like walking around in a circle with very few steps.  (There are a lot of steps from the auditorium to the main floor, but not in the museum itself.)  As we were getting deeper into the museum, I began to realize that the rooms themselves seemed to get smaller.  It is a very moving experience.  After our tour, we were treated to a first hand account by a survivor volunteer.  He spoke to us for over an hour and his account was truly heartbreaking.  He was a teenager in Poland during the war and he had to evacuate the town he lived in, walk with his family and their belongings to a relatives house, then they were moved to a ghetto and from there he was seperated from his family and moved to a concentration camp via the cattle car.  He was eventually liberated from the concentration camp only to find out that the ghetto where his family had been had been "liquidated'.  He made his way to the US and has been here for 60 years.  His story has been video taped by Stephen Spielburg when he was working on "Schindler's List". 
After such an emotionally and physically draining day, I was exhausted on Sunday and didn't even make it out of my pajamas!  I took a nap in the morning and another one in the evening!  Ha!  I'm like a child again, napping all day.  I did manage to get some work in my Scrapatorium done.  A couple of quick layouts and a little card set.  But that was about it!

I just love Papertrey Ink's button bit stamps!  So easy and fun to play with! 
Oh, and I had several messages on my Facebook account because I rarely go in there and while I was on it, I noticed that I had never put in my marital status.  So while I  was there, I changed my status to 'married'.  Now I am getting lots of Congratulations from old friends and classmates!  As well as a few 'finallys' from family.  Ha!  After nearly 29 years of married life.  Too funny. 

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow Day!

Yes, it is another snow day here in my neck of the woods!  It is amazing to me sometimes to wake up and look out the window to see everything covered in a blanket of white.  It looks so beautiful, but as we all know it can be so dangerous too.  Especially for drivers.  Luckily today our road crews were prepared and as I left for work at 6:30 the roads had been cleaned and clear.  Isabella is home with her Grandad today and was snuggling with a warm blanket and cartoons on the tele when I left.  What a life!  Each time that I look at her I am reminded of what a blessing she is to our lives and I am so grateful.  And I think about Michelle and the choice that she made in carrying Bella.  It was the  hard road no doubt, but we have all grown and been enormously blessed by this gift! 
Tomorrow I am going to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. with a group from church.  I have never been, believe it or not.   We have seen quite a lot in Washington as we live so close, but there are still things that I have not seen and this museum is one of them.  Jim and both of the kids have been and have been incredibly moved by it, but because they all went with school or Youth Group, I was not able to go with them.  I am really looking forward to the trip but I know too, that it will be difficult.  We will see a brief movie and then listen to the words of a survivor as he or she speaks to our group.  Say a prayer for me that I don't make a fool out of myself blubbering like an idiot!  Jim told me to bring lots of tissues.    I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes. 
Have a safe and happy weekend!  (And stay warm.)
P.S.  Bella did try out for her play on Wednesday.  Jim was able to go and watch, though he was not able to tape it like he thought he might.  The kids had to go on stage, introduce themselves and sing a song.  Jim said she spoke loud and clear and was able to project her voice with no problem.  (No surprise there!)  She choose to sing "You are My Sunshine" and he said that she did a great job!  I am certain too, that his opinion is not at all biased.  Ha!  Eighty children tried out, so they will have a full cast for "The Little Mermaid". 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Less Words Wednesday

This sweet little girl is going to try out for her school play today.  Break a leg Bella!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!

Hope that you all had a safe celebration!  We went to Miyako for an early dinner for Michelle's birthday.  It was so delicious!  Afterwards we went home for ice cream cake and a quiet evening at home.

  Friday was Jim's birthday and although he thought we'd stay home for dinner, Bella thought that wasn't very 'festive', so we wound up at Carraba's.  The rest of the weekend was spent primarily on taking down all the Christmas decorations and getting the house back in order.  I am always anxious to get the house decorated for Christmas, but once Christmas is over, I want the decorations down!  Jim however, is never ready to see the decorations go down.  We did manage to get most everything done, with the exception of the outside lights and wreaths.  It was far too cold and too windy to go outside or to open the windows to pull the wreaths in.

It has been bitter cold and WINDY!  We had wind gusts of 40 MPH.  At times it felt like the roof of our  house was going to be ripped right off.  Bella thought that there was a ghost in her room.  So, yesterday was a day to stay home and stay warm!  Bella spent a good part of the day like this:

Yes, Roxie gets right in bed with her and she tucks her in under the covers!  That is my bed by the way!
And, the big news of the weekend was t hat I actually got into my scraproom and was able to get a two-page layout done!  Here's the proof:

Sorry for the poor quality of the pictures, but it is difficult to photograph .  Now lest you think that I am that caught up, I must confess that the pictures are from last Christmas! Ha!  But in my defense, I don't scrap chronologically.  I have layouts done from Easter and June of '09, but I just got around to Christmas '08.  Hopefully I'll be able to get back into a regular routine of scrapping and  card making now that the holidays are over. 
Hope everyone has a Blessed New Year!