Hello 2012.

On February 7, 2011 we welcomed our son, Samuel, and have been captivated by his huge brown eyes and gorgeous smile ever since.  We celebrated many firsts – first successful diaper change (where we didn’t end up getting sprayed), first bath, first smile, first laugh, first roll, first time eating solids, and first clap.  We clap at everything – who knew that even the littlest things deserve a clap!  Samuel is almost eleven months old and is pulling himself up, cruising along the furniture, and loves to get into Autumn’s scrapbooking stuff. Samuel is an energetic, spunky, cute, adorable, strong, happy, funny little man – we love seeing his personality emerging.  He is also very observant – studies everything with intense curiosity before taking any action.  We think we may have a scientist or mathematician in the making!

We are excited for 2012!  We are excited to celebrate more firsts — first steps, first birthday, first ice cream sundae at Leatherby’s, first taste of whole milk — and have more family adventures.

Hello Project Life 2012.  I am excited to continue documenting our daily lives and celebrate the small (normal, and mundane) moments that will be awesome to look back on years from now.

Project Life 2011 continues to be a work in progress for me — I have three volumes.  Yes, that’s correct.  THREE We R Memory Keepers binder albums worth of photos, notes, and tidbits of our everyday lives.  I have some holes to fill in but am so glad I took a year worth of photos of our little family.

Project Life has been a great place to store bits of papers that would otherwise go into a file folder and drawer.

Project Life has been a great place to store gas receipts (for the entire year — so cool to see it fluctuate over the course of the year), student artwork, and party invites.

Project Life has been a great way to document Samuel’s first year of life.

I am thrilled to be doing Project Life again this year.

Hello 2012 resolutions.

I am keeping the list short this year.  Sticking with five main goals.

  1. Simplify.  Reduce the clutter.  Seriously.
  2. Read more.  (Started Hunger Games last night.)
  3. Move more.  Eat less.  (This includes signing up for Sac Fit, running a marathon and completing a triathlon).
  4. Learn the ins and outs of my camera.  Play with light.
  5. Be the best mom and partner that I can be (and still do the things I love).

Project Life 2011 :: Weeks 23 + 24

Week 23 : Left Page : Samuel loves being read to.  Dr. Seuss’ Hop on Pop is currently one of his favorites.  Took more self portraits of me and the boy.

Week 23 : Right Page : Samuel turned four months on the 7th!   I can not believe how big he is (and how richer my life is with him in it).  We took him to a children’s boutique in town to get his silhouette done by artist Karl Johnson (the man is truly amazing — his father was a silhouette artist and Karl picked it up at the age of 10).  We found out on Thursday that Jim was scheduled for hip surgery on Monday so we spent the rest of the week cleaning and making the house walker friendly.  Samuel and Jim also had a lot of daddy-son bonding time this week.

Week 24 : Left Page : Our June tradition — Pops in the Park.  We went to see the Q-Balls on Saturday and Tom Rigney & Flambeau on Sunday.  Samuel enjoyed the outdoor concert once we plugged his ears with paper towel ear plugs.

Jim was scheduled for hip surgery on Monday evening.  I stitched an extra 4×6 pocket here so that I could add several photos here to show a time-sequence of the day.

Week 24 : Insert #1 : More photos from our evening at the Pops in the Park concert series.  (It was nice to be together — sit, relax, eat and enjoy the music.  At this time next year, we will probably be chasing after Samuel at the park.)

Week 24 : Insert #2 : My mom and sister babysat Samuel on Tuesday while I visited with Jim at the hospital.  I loved receiving text updates of their adventures together.

Week 24 : Right Page : According to his doctors, Jim’s surgery went really well.  He started physical therapy the morning after surgery and came home within 48 hours of surgery.  We are going to have a low-key summer as Jim needs time to recover and heal.

Project Life 2011 :: Weeks 21 + 22

Week 21 : Left Page

Week 21 : Insert : Julie, Jim, Karen, Samuel and I drove to Oakdale for the Chocolate Festival and Fun Run.  This was my first 5K since having Samuel.  We ran a slow 5K — I didn’t really care — just glad to be outdoors and moving.

Week 21 : Back of Insert : fun photos of Samuel in a hand knit sweater.  This was a gift from my sister Thao.

Week 21 : Right Page : A huge “sitting up” week for Samuel.  The world looks a lot different when you can sit up — and he loves the new view.

Week 22 : Left Page : Had to get myself some new jeans — even if it’s in a bigger size.  By this time next year, I will be back to my smaller, pre-Samuel size.

Week 22 : Insert #1 : Around here blog post.

Week 22 : Insert #2 : A quick layout about the Mommy & Me group that Samuel and I go to.

Week 22 : Insert #3 : Layout inspired by a series of photos I took of the boys “playing” together.

Week 22 : Right Page : I don’t normally include vertical photos (bottom right) but decided that it’s okay to put them in sideways.

Still loving this project.  Love looking back and seeing how our lives have changed with the addition of our little one.  Also love comparing this year’s book with last year’s.  Project Life is pretty awesome.

Some of my new mommy friends are asking about the Project Life kits so here’s the scoop.  I just noticed that the kits are completely sold out online — there is one available for $185 but that’s totally ridiculous!  However, if you are interested in documenting your everyday life and do not have the kit, you can simply make your own kit by purchasing the page protectors, a 3-ring binder from American Crafts or We R Memory Keepers, a date stamp, and a collection of papers you love or scraps from your stash.

I know that Becky Higgins is changing the concept of Project Life a bit for next year.  Instead of buying the entire kit, I think you can do it a la carte — you can choose to buy bits and pieces of the kit.  Personally, unless there is a new Project Life design that I love, I’m thinking of buying the page protectors and using my own stash of papers/journaling cards in next year’s book.

Have fun documenting the everyday.

Project Life :: Update

Warning : this is a photo heavy post.

My life has changed since February 7.  With the arrival of my sweet boy came less freedom, less outings with the girls, less spontaneous trips and activities with friends, less sleep and less me time.  It took me awhile to realize that my life is now less about me and more about him.  It is less about me + Jim and more about us as a family.

The addition of this precious boy has opened my heart and introduced me to life through a different lens.  There is more love, noise and laughter in our home.  There are more messes, toys, and laundry.  Things are crazier and wilder but also sweeter and funner.  And with the celebration of so many firsts, life is delightful and things are all new again.

So despite the loss in my personal freedom to do whatever I wish anytime I wish, I would not trade the last several months for anything.  Life has been somewhat challenging but there is strength in knowing that many women have done this before me — and that I, too, can survive these difficult times and grow as a momma.

Here’s a look at the ups and downs of life with my little love.

Week 14 Highlights :: Samuel at two months.  Layoff hearings — Samuel was a trooper at the hearings.  Celebrated Samuel’s 2 month birthday with red velvet cupcakes.

Week 15 Highlights :: Ate two pounds of See’s candy in a week — not helping my weight loss plan at all!  Samuel got his first set of shots — I think it was harder for me than him.  He’s getting good at imitating our facial expressions.  He’s taking the bottle and sleeping in the crib for the first time this week!

Week 16 Highlights :: Spring break.

Visited Sutter’s Fort.  Samuel did not enjoy being in the Ergo baby carrier so much.

Went on a Local Food tour with Auntie Cheryll and Uncle Marco.

My pink slip was rescinded!

Samuel’s first visit to Grandma’s house.  The picture on the upper right hand corner shows him with Grandma paying respect to Grandpa.

Week 17 Highlights ::  Samuel’s first Easter — we don’t celebrate Easter but it was fun dressing him up for photos.

Keeping track of major events happening in 2011.  This week — the marriage of Will and Kate + the tornadoes in Alabama and Georgia.

Week 18 Highlights :: Samuel 12 weeks old.  We were out cheering Auntie Julie as she ran another great race.

Sunday insert.  Fun facts to include in Samuel’s baby book.

Week 19 Highlights ::  Samuel 3 months old.  Celebrating my first Mother’s day.  Walked the Race for the Cure.  Enjoyed the Davis Farmer’s Market + Whole Earth Festival.

Sweet letter from my favorite peeps.

An activity at a faculty meeting.  I didn’t go to the meeting but someone put my name in the star and passed it around for kind words.

Awards night.  Met Auntie Debbie for the first time.  And Save Our Schools rally at the state capital.

Week 20 Highlights :: Visited with Auntie Thao and Uncle Marsh.  Attended a high school graduation.

I returned to work for four days and Samuel went to daycare for the first time.  I hate being away from him.

I really enjoy this project — love looking back at the weeks and seeing how my boy has grown.  I look forward to keeping up with it this summer.  And in the fall when I return to work full time.

Because I have so many extra pages and inserts, I’m going to have to split this year into two volumes.  Is anyone else experiencing the same problem?

Project Life 2011 :: Week 10

A closer look at the left side.

I received a pink slip this week.  Our school district is a little bit over the top and issued over 800 pink slips.  Considering where I am on the seniority list and credentials, I don’t think I’ll be laid off … but who knows.  Not something I’m happy about but I did include the pink slip (which isn’t really pink) in my album.

The insert on the right outlines a day in my life right now.

A closer look at the right side.

Project Life 2011 : Jan 1-7

Loving the Project Life turquoise kit.

I included a letter I received from a former student and her mom (who I also refer to as mom).

I’m taking Ali’s One Little Word class and plan to incorporate work from that class in my Project Life book.

A flyer I picked up at our Fallon house.  Our Fallon house has been on the market since August and there has been many showings.  We’re hoping it gets sold soon.

Loving the journaling cards in this year’s Project Life kit.  But I still like the look of incorporating bits and pieces from my scrapbooking stash.

JOURNALING 1/6/2011

Dear Samuel,

You were a bit agitated with me this afternoon.  At 2:15 pm, I tripped on a glue stick walking back to my classroom.  As I went down, all I could think about was you – what would happen if I fell on top of you.  I quickly turned my body to the right and tried to break my fall with my arms and legs.  I was afraid that I would break my arms doing that but it would be worth it to keep you safe.  The right side of my tummy hit the concrete and I became hysterical.  I was afraid that my clumsiness might have harmed you.  I cried and cried and a few minutes later, dad was beside me doing what he does best – calming the both of us.  He and Auntie Julie took me to Kaiser to make sure that you were alright.  The attending nurse said that we would have to be observed from four to twenty-four hours.  They were afraid that I had a ruptured membrane which could cause you harm.  The nurses, who were very kind and gentle, hooked me up to a machine to detect your heart rate, monitor your movements and my contractions.  Annie, one of the midwives, set up the ultrasound so that we could detect your position and ensure that you were ok.  While I rested in the uncomfortable hospital bed, dad and Auntie Julie texted a gazillion people who were worried about us.  At one point, the nurse who had been monitoring my uterus told me that the contractions were too close together and that I may not be discharged at 7:05 pm (four hours after they hooked me up to all of the monitors).  It was obvious that my uterus was under a bit of stress.  I remained calm, continued to breathe deeply and waited for dad to arrive with dinner.  He and I ate orange chicken and eggplant & tofu from Panda Express and waited for news from the nurse or midwife regarding my discharge.  At 7:00 pm, Annie came in to inform us that you were definitely ok and gave me orders to go home and rest.

It wasn’t until this evening that it hit me — you would be arriving soon … very soon.  I am excited about your arrival but am nervous and scared because we have nothing – yet.  I am also not prepared yet.  I will spend some time this weekend getting ready — buying diapers, setting up your room, and packing my hospital bag.  It’s not much but it’s a start.

Love, Mama