Hi there.
This is me...a happy wife, mom to three awesome boys, teacher to two of the aforementioned boys (we homeschool), chauffeur to karate, archery and all sorts of other activities, former scrapbooker and founder of the 
Good Grief Blog.
Life is good.



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Gwen Taylor, come on down! You name is the one I pulled for the drawing. Just sent you an email. :)

To everyone else who emailed me and posted here, thank you. Sincerely. I've been trying to reply to all the emails but have also been busy scanning photos so that I can bring the originals back to my mom at Thanksgiving...and my computer doesn't go so well for both emailing and scanning at the same time. *laugh* In any case, thank you for sharing your stories and taking the time to let me know what you think. I truly appreciate it.

Really, if I may go all mushy here for a moment, we're all winners if we take up these challenges. That's how I feel, anyhow. :)

Okay, off topic, but just had to also share this little series of photos I took the other day. I was trying to be sneaky and capture how well all three boys were playing together in the toy area. (I really love when they do that...not only because, obviously, harmony in the house is nicer than fighting...but because it just makes me so happy to see them getting along so well...such brotherhood.) Anyhoo, our floor plan is pretty open, such that I can take pictures from the banisters one floor up. Noah, there in the bottom right of the first frame, was the first to spot me and quickly tried to hide using that blue piece of foam. Micah continued playing. Then he, of course, realized the need to copy Noah and try to hide...using a wooden truck to hide himself! He totally thought he was hidden. :) I just thought it was funny.


It helps to remember moments like this...particularly when the little bugger is totally not listening to me and screaming his way through Target. Like today. Oy. Oh well. He's only two once. Right?! :) 


Out on a limb...

Okay. I’m going to start something new. I’ve had these ideas mulling around in my head for awhile now and I’m thinking just before Thanksgiving is as good a time to start as any. Actually, last week might have been better…what with Thanksgiving prep and all. :)

So, here’s the deal. I feel compelled to start a weekly challenge of sorts…for myself and anyone who wants to join me (and I hope you will!). Each Thursday (because I just like Thursdays), I’m going to post two challenges. One will focus on remembering a loved one who is no longer with us. One will focus on taking advantage of the time we *do* have with our loved ones now.

I’m calling it “Out on a limb”…a couple different reasons behind this. First, it takes courage to actively live the life we imagine. Through these challenges, I hope to motivate myself to do just that. Second, since this idea stems from the loss of my dad this past August, I wanted to include something of him in it…he was a farmer and I’ll always think of him when I see fruit orchards, and of how he’d “scold” us for climbing his trees if they were laden with fruit. ;)

The challenges may be layout ideas, journaling prompts, photo opportunities, projects or anything else. Mostly, I’ve just found that my own scrapbooking focus since losing my dad has shifted. I can feel it particularly in my journaling. Yes, I want to document that silly thing the boys did the other day. But I don’t just want to tell them what they did. I want to tell them how I felt about it and how much I love them. You can just never say that enough, and you don’t always get the opportunities you think you’ll have. Plus, I feel more compelled than ever to scrapbook my family history...to get the stories down for future generations. I’m thinking right now that I may even start a separate album just for this and put any layouts that result together in it.

So. This week’s challenges:

  1. An often overlooked aspect of our loved ones is their handwriting. It’s something that, once they’re gone, you can never recreate. If you can, find a sample of your loved one’s handwriting and include it on a layout. Here’s one I finished today:


    Unfinished by Amanda Probst. Supplies Cardstock: Prism Papers; Patterned paper & cardstock tag: Luxe Designs; Labels: Paper Source (larger white with green trim), 7 Gypsies (smaller white with green trim); Clear tag: Making Memories; Letter stickers: American Crafts; Pen: Zig Writer; Spiral punch: Stampin' Up!; Computer font: Century Gothic, Microsoft Word; Other: Ledger paper.

  2. This Thanksgiving, if you’re gathering with family, why not have each person fill out a little card with a favorite Thanksgiving tradition or memory? (Even a plain 3x5 notecard will do.) Not only will you capture some beautiful sentiments, but you’ll have a little piece of handwriting for each person as well.

  3. BONUS: (I couldn’t help myself. This one is just so important and I want to remind people of it, especially just before the holidays.) One of my biggest regrets is that I don’t have any recent photos of myself with my dad. I somehow just didn’t get around to that, always thinking there would be more time. Thanksgiving is an opportune time to capture your relationships in photographs. Pester people if you have to, but take some pictures this Thanksgiving with the people you love. Trust me. You’ll be glad you did.

Ultimately, the point of the challenges is simply to inspire. I’d love, though, if you’d post here or email me each week if you do tackle one or both challenges…there’s power (and motivation) in numbers, right? (And please, please feel free to pass the word!)

And, since I’m feeling rather on my soap box about the importance of documenting your family (both past and present), I’m offering up a free copy of the new CK Family History book. Email me and tell me what you think of this whole challenge idea. (You can just click on that “contact me” link over to the left.) On Sunday, I’ll draw a name from emails received.


Big news!

Woohoo! Did you see over at the Creating Keepsakes website?! Two things really. First, CK is redesigning and reorganizing for the 2008 year and it's all very exciting. In the reorganization, they've established their first ever creative team...the CK Dream Team (scroll down toward the bottom)...and I'm part of it! Honored to be among these awesome ladies and looking very forward to the coming year!

Second, and this one is harder to tell from the website (the type is small)...but on that new Table of Contents (same webpage, just above the Dream Team announcement) they're showing for January is a listing for my new monthly column!  It's called Album in a Year...just a small column, but mine. ;) I so hope you'll enjoy it (and the additional info each month that will be on the website).

Whew. Okay. I've been busting to tell everyone for months. I feel better now. :) 

And, check back later today or tomorrow (depending on how on top of things I manage to stay today *laugh*) for a little challenge...prizes will be involved... 


More than meets the eye...

Couldn't help myself? :) Are you familiar with the Transformers? I have fond memories of watching the shows after school growing up...and not so fond memories of stepping on my brother's Optimus Prime and cutting my foot open on the smoke stack thingie. I digress.

We recently watched the new Transformers movie with the boys, having waited for the dvd release rather than taking them to the theater. At first they were reluctantly enthralled...now they're full out crazy with it. This afternoon, for example, we were having a bit of pretend play. Here's how it went...

Apparently, they informed me, Noah and Asher are the "goods" but are not Autobots; they prefer to be called the Sabertooths. Nathan (when he gets home) and I are the Decepticons. My name (which I chose myself) is "The Big Mean." Nathan gets to be "Megatron" when he gets home. Micah is "CutiePuss" and transforms into "TiggerPuss" when dressed...we're not sure whose side he's on. Noah chose the name of "StarStrike" and is, of course, the leader of the Sabertooths...being able to transform into any number of things and having an invisible shield to protect him from me (however, he didn't count on my secret weapon of tickling). He's presently looking for the clue to find the AllSpark amid his spelling list (which I'm giving him as I type).

Asher's chosen name? This is the one that just busts me up (as he usually does). I honestly don't know where this came from...


Yes. Really. :) How can you not just spend the day laughing with boys like this?! 

ETA: By the way, got lots more to say so be sure to check back tonight and/or tomorrow!



Hee hee. Went to get a drink the other day and this is what I found:


Turns out Micah put it there (it's his anyhow). When asked, though, Asher informed me that it was there to keep the bad guys from getting his special drink. Yup. 'Cause there's an abundance of bad guys out there after strawberry Boost. Really. ;)