Saturday, April 30, 2016

Scrapbook Saturday: Digital and Paper

This week has been a busy one where I have spent much of my creative time working on other responsibilities. I didn't scrap with physical product as much as I wanted to. This is why I love the Project Life app so much because when time and energy are short, I can still make pages I am happy to look at.

Here are a few of my projects this week.

Paper Projects

First, I made this page of my adorable niece, Baby V, who lives too far away from me. I got some really sweet pictures of her when I visited my sister in Kentucky in March. I thought these pictures showed Baby V's softness and cuddliness. The papers and embellishments came from Simple Stories' Baby Collection.


I haven't been able to get out the image of Do Ho Suh's thread art canvas out of my head. He sewed an image of a person with several selves superimposed upon the one. I relate to this idea so much as I feel that I am SO many people. I tried to convey my many layers and selves with a list.


 This is one of my favorite photos of my daughter in her pinafore and standing by one of our forsythia bushes. I love the pop of the pink and yellow and wanted to accent that with matching embellishments. Again, I kept the patterns soft and gentle so the photo would stand out.


This last page showcases a funny and favorite picture I took of my children a couple of weeks ago when we visited a Buddhist monastery near our home. I really couldn't say more than the title did so I left it at that. Again, I kept the patterns and colors soft.


Project Life App Everyday Life Pages 

I made quite a few fun everyday life pages using the Project Life App. They came together quickly and helped me document some of the little moments that happen on a daily basis. 



I love the pictures in this layout because of the light and the movement and energy of my children as they play together at dusk.

This last page is a favorite because it shares a story from a unique perspective about my oldest son, who doesn't like me to take his picture.

(@ 16)


It has taken me nine years to finally tackle my Israel scrapbook, mostly because I really didn't know how to incorporate the large amounts of text from my blog post into a scrapbook in an organic way. I will probably print these out into 8x8 pages. I think the smaller size is a good fit for this project. It will probably cover two volumes. 

I don't particularly love the card kits I have on my app for this project. I just haven't found the one that makes my heart sing. So sometimes I experiment with different cards. This is one layout I made two times with different cards. 

On a side note, after getting prints from the app, I have decided I don't really care for the large 12x12 size. I prefer the 8x8 size. It frustrates me because finding the binders and page protectors for the smaller size is a challenge and will cost me more money. Maybe if I just make the commitment and purchase as I can, it will all work out. The prints themselves, do cost less and if there is a sale on Persnickety, I can get more pages for my money. 

Pic Collage

This is a really fun app I downloaded while working the polls a couple of weeks ago. The app has some really cute templates for thank you cards. The collages have more of a scrappy feel.

This layout is of my newest little nephew, who was just born in San Francisco. His mama sends me pictures that just melt my heart.


Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Favorites: The Danger of Comparison

Today I want to share a powerful article written by James Clear recounting an exchange between Martha Graham and Agnes De Mille. Martha said the following to her friend, Agnes,

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”"

Ever since reading those words a year ago, I have been much more open to expressing my creativity through writing and scrapbooking and sharing my work openly with others.

Please read the article, it is wonderful!


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Israel Flashbacks, Pt. 3

This is the third part in a series of posts recounting our family's adventures living in Israel in 2007. 
You can find Part 1 and Part 2 on my blog. 

The BYU Jerusalem Center

Our second stop of the day was just over the next mountain on Mount Scopus to go to BYU Jerusalem Center. We enjoyed our informal tour. It’s so nice when the guides understand and tailor the tour to the needs of small, active boys.

The Jerusalem Center is beautiful. I shall not go into great detail because many of you have seen pictures, visited it or heard of it. Basically it is an 8-floor building that is built into the mountain. Five of the floors are for the students who live and study there.

We enjoyed the organ recital from the missionary: Elder Michael Moody. (Carol, I think you may know him.) He played three pieces and we looked out on the amazing view of the Old City while he played. My heart was really touched by the stirring and powerful strains of Come, Come Ye Saints. And then he played Prelude on Deliverance, a piece I had learned while studying organ with Carol. I was so excited and mentioned that I had learned the piece. Then Elder and Sister Moody asked if I would like to play the organ. Of course I did. So with a little help with the stops, I played a beautiful and peaceful rendition of Jesus, Once of Humble Birth.

I’m having trouble uploading my pictures, but we did take pictures of me playing the organ. It was really an experience.
After the brief organ recital, we went outside and viewed the city. They had different models of how the city appeared at different periods. That was really helpful for understanding the layout of the city. Then we toured the biblical garden, saw plants from biblical times, learned how an olive press worked and saw a few different types of olive presses, learned how wine was made, (well, I don’t think our guide ever used the word wine, but that’s what it would have been made into eventually after everyone squashed the grapes with their feet) and finally learned about the 1000- year- old (I think) olive tree that was transplanted from Galilee. It unfortunately, didn’t survive the transplant very well, but it has many new shoots that are coming from its branches. Yes, there are all sorts of Biblical allusions there and I’ll leave that to you to ponder.


Tweaking My Habits

Ever since reading the book, Better Than Before, I have worked hard to implement healthy and sustainable habits into my life. And it really is working. I'm creating more consistently with my scrapbooks and this blog. I'm getting more exercise than before, and I have developed a lovely scripture study routine. I'm studying my Swedish daily and seeing wonderful results from that!

However, I think I need to tweak my routines and habits a bit. I need to talk this out, so bear with me. Originally, I was getting up at 5:30 a.m. to read my scriptures and then exercise. Then I eat with my boys at 6:30 a.m. while I practice my Swedish quickly. By 7 a.m., I am done with those three things and feel ready to tackle the day.

Here's the hiccup.  My youngest daughter is having a really hard time at night right now. She sobs and cries for me. It can go on all night so I have started to bring her into bed with me. Then she plasters herself to my side and stays that way all night. Which means I get very little sleep. When 5:30 a.m. comes along, I can hardly drag myself out of bed and then I just stutter through the morning routine. The other challenge is that inadequate sleep is one of my triggers for lupus flares and headaches. If I don't get enough sleep, I pay for it the whole day with pain in my joints and a throbbing headache. I go to bed by 10 p.m. at the latest and stick to that religiously.

I have to separate the habit of getting up early from the habits of scripture study, exercise, and Swedish practice. It was working so beautifully for me--and it was so peaceful. But at this point, until I figure out how to help my daughter so she sleeps peacefully alone in her bed, I cannot sacrifice my sleep to this morning routine. This is a temporary glitch. My little girl will grow up and won't need me at night in the same way, so I'm going to just let this one go. My goal is to prioritize scripture study, exercise, and Swedish as soon as I can during the day. I can do those things while Winter sleeps or while she is occupied.

I am also going to count my outdoor work on my yard and garden as exercise. I work hard and my health monitor is showing that I am actively burning a good number of calories as I work.

Statement of Intention:

I will continue to maintain my habits of scripture study, exercise, and language practice but without sacrificing the sleep I need to function as a parent and person. I will meet the needs of my little one without feeling guilty or upset. It will all work out.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wondering Wednesday: Stonecrop Gardens

I'm a bit tired today and not really up to a deep post. Winter and I visited Stonecrop Gardens, one of the most beautiful and romantic places I have seen in a long time. I will share some pictures from our adventure today.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Travel Tuesday: Israel Flashbacks Pt. 2

This is a continuation of blog posts about living in Israel in 2007. This post was originally published on my blog, A Stranger Here, in January 2007. I was unable at the time to upload many photos because we had a bad internet connection. This post contains pictures from that post. You can read Part 1 here.

The Mount of Olives was on my must-see list. Our guide took us there first in the morning. I later read in the three different guidebooks that I have, that the morning is the best time to go to the Mount of Olives.
The Mount of Olives is significant to me for three reasons.
1. It figures heavily in prophecy.  (Zechariah 14:4-5; D&C 45:48: 133:20) Christ is to come to the Mount and stand upon it and the mount shall split in two.
2. On the western side of the mount lies the Garden of Gethsemane where Christ prayed and began the atonement.
3. It commands an incredibly impressive view of Jerusalem.
We drove there–leaving the comfortable highway and turned onto winding roads that took us through a Palestinian area. While in the Palestinian section, we saw a young teenage boy riding a donkey. I felt like Amelia Peabody. (see Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters)

We parked by the viewpoint and saw a beautiful camel and a gorgeous white donkey. Of course, for a fee, you could sit on the camel or donkey and get a picture taken. You could even take a ride. Various vendors were walking around, selling jewelry (for the pretty lady) pictures of Jerusalem and books. The boys were interested in the animals and Brent and I were awestruck by the view.

Directly below the viewpoint, lies a Jewish cemetery. It is solemn–the gravestones almost seem to fade into the earth.
When you look out from the mountain, you see the dominating Dome of the Rock–the Muslim Shrine which sits on Temple mount. Temple mount is sacred to both the Jews and the Muslims.

And yes, we fell  victim to the animals. We bargained with the man who was tending the white donkey. We have a great family picture with it.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Mothering Monday: Toddlers and Teenagers

Because of the age span of my children, and the number of children I have, I am parenting two very groups of children: toddlers and teenagers (really three--but we'll talk about just two today). I am helping my teenagers navigate puberty, prepare for SAT and AP exams, tracking driving hours, dealing with after-school sports, and starting to look at colleges. With my toddler, I am navigating tantrums, potty-training, and naps. With all the differences there are also many similarities that I have learned from being in the trenches. I will be sharing pictures of my toddler. My three oldest boys dislike it when I take pictures of them and strongly object to my sharing their pictures online. The toddler doesn't know enough to care or object, and she's cute, so you'll have to make do with pictures of her.

1) Both toddlers and teenagers need to be fed often. They are always hungry. And if they aren't hungry, they are thinking about food or are being cranky because they are hungry, but haven't figured it out yet.

2) Both groups want to be independent and insist on doing things themselves--as you look on with wary concern, ready to jump in to help them-whether that be trying to help cook or learning how to drive.

3) Both need frequent naps are often tired and cranky.

4) Both can throw fits and get really angry, especially when they can't make themselves understood.

5) Both are growing at an alarming rate and are learning to do new, exciting, and terrifying things like climbing and exploring or driving.

6) They both need you desperately and crave your love and affection. The toddler shows it by clinging on your legs and crying. Sometimes the teenager shows it by throwing a fit at you and then hanging out in your room at 10 p.m., ready to talk for the whole night.

7) Your heart bursts with pride when you see them do something darling or amazing.

8) As a parent, sometimes you feel overwhelmed with both age groups as you figure out how to meet their needs.

I recently read two articles about these two age groups that I think every parent should read and remember as they parent toddlers and teenagers.

The first, It's Hard for Them too, is a gentle reminder that toddlers have a lot to struggle with as they grow and develop. The second, 3 Simple Phrases Your Teenager Longs to Hear You Say, is excellent guide for things to say to your teenager in a supportive loving matter.

Now, what advice do you have for me? What have you learned? How are toddlers and teenagers similar? Any great parenting articles you have read that you want to share?