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The Joy and Love of Family is Unlike Any Other

Here’s a layout I made for My Mind’s Eye for September.

Journaling reads:
My sweet boys,

As it worked out, both Daddy and I live away from our parents. After we moved to California and started to grow into a family, traveling long hours with two little kids felt overwhelming so we let others visit us instead. We did this for so long that it got comfortable and I never felt like I was ready to take you on these long trips.

In 2012, my sister’s boys had their Bar-Mitzvah and the occasion forced my hand to take a leap. After much fretting and planning, the four of us took the long trip to Istanbul.

And, of course, you guys were wonderful the whole time.

You watched movies, read, and slept pretty much the whole way. When we arrived, you didn’t even suffer from jetlag. The whole time we were there was joyful but I especially liked watching you with your cousins, whom you hadn’t seen in person in over ten years. You guys bonded as if you were already friends.

At the beginning of 2013, my family asked me if I would be willing to come over again. My dad was turning sixty and and he wanted all of his grandkids together. So I decided to take the plunge once more. I got braver this time and we went just the three of us. Once more, it was a blast.

When we came back from Bodrum, I felt the calmest I’d had in a long time. I loved processing all the photos we took while we were there and seeing the joy in your faces. I loved seeing my family together and happy. I decided there and then that we would make this a tradition for as long as we could. I also decided we needed to show up for your dad’s family, too.

So, this year, we went to Bodrum to see my family and to Martha’s Vineyard to be with Daddy’s family. Both trips were long and complicated. I did not enjoy the travel and both times, I craved alone time and quiet. I had some tough moments.

But I also had the best moments of my life watching the whole family come together. I loved seeing you play football with your cousins. I loved watching you talk about videogames and books. I loved hearing all the laughter.

But, most of all, I loved how easy it was for you to all love each other.

Remember This - Week 33

My July My Mind’s Eye assignment is also May’s One Little Word assignment. I decided to take the wonderful little MME cards and then use their embellishment packs to add a layer and then I painted a bunch on each and then I stamped a bunch.

And a little more paint.

And finally I wrote my journaling and this is what I ended up with.

All the journaling is about what I am thinking about and trying at this moment.

Still can’t get enough of that Gold.

Remember This is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

I love you and I am so proud of You

My sweet David,

Over the last few years, I’ve seen you change and grow so much in so many ways. You’ve developed a very distinct taste in music and you’ve started playing sports. You’ve become a more confident writer and an avid reader. So much of your personality has changed and grown in just two years. And I’ve loved watching all of it. I’ve been so proud of the person you’re growing into and so impressed with your courage and individuality.

But, more than anything, I’ve been blown away by your love of science.

Ever since first grade, I’ve watched you grow from a boy who knew nothing about science to a boy who is deeply knowledgeable and insatiably curious. You have devoured all the Richard Feynman books in our house and even encouraged us to buy a few new ones.

You’ve checked out books from the library, looked up facts in wikipedia and other websites. You’ve listened to lectures, science shows and even read articles in magazines to satiate your thirst for learning science. The amount of information you’ve accumulated in third grade surpasses what I know in my 30s.

When we visited your third grade class a few weeks ago, I read your nonfiction paper on quantum physics with awe and pride. It was well put-together, accurate, and interesting. Most importantly, I was clear that this was the product of a kid who loves science and is interested in going above and beyond to expand his knowledge any way he can. I felt so proud of you and so honored to be your mother.

David, I’ve always loved learning and have shared so much of it with you. I’ve taught you how to read. We did a lot of math together. And now, we’re learning languages together. But, science has never been my forte. I’ve never done much to encourage you in that direction. At best, I just got out of your way.

This one is all on you, my son.

You managed to find something you love and embraced it wholeheartedly. And while I can’t promise you that I will teach you things about physics, here’s what I can promise you, my son:

I promise you that I will forever support your passions in every way I can. I will take you to any exhibit, place, or show I can. I will buy you any books we can find. I will take you to the library each week if you’d like. I will tape whatever science shows we can find that you might like and I will sit with you and try to learn alongside you if it will help. I want you to know that I adore you and will be your number one supporter in the world. I love you with all my heart my son and I am so proud of you.

Remember This - Week 31

Life Book week twenty-one was taught by JenniBellie. As it seems to be the trend lately, my art has nothing to do with what Jenni taught. I loved her lesson but I didn’t want to do it.

So I decided to couple it with my August My Mind’s Eye Assignment. I used the awesome wood paper they have in the Essentials line and I took the girl and journaling idea from Jenni’s lesson.

I painted my girl with acrylics. Painted the edges brown and then the whole background gold. A few lovely MMe embellishments and I was done with what I wanted.

The last touches were adding lines to the background so I could journal all over my page. It’s about remembering that today, this very day, is the most important day.

Something I know but have a hard time remembering.

Yes, still in love with the gold. Look at all that shimmer, how could I not be?

Remember This is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Remember This – Week 29

Another break from Life Book to show you a page I made for My Mind’s Eye. I really liked all their new cards and wanted to just have fun with the beautiful colors and all the gold. I can’t get enough of gold these days. I want to use it more and more.

This page says: you and me, we are perfect together.

This page is about my husband and how wonderful he is. How he’s always patient with me. And how deeply he loves me and how right he is for me. Of course, we have our tough moments but again and again, he reminds me that I got so very, incredibly lucky when I met this man.

I love you my wonderful husband.

Remember This is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Mix and Match - July

Here’s my Mix and Match page for My Mind’s Eye for July.

My sweet boys,

Today, you two decided it would be fun to do some sidewalk chalk. You two grabbed the box and I took a chair, my camera, and my ipad so I could sit outside and watch you while I read. You two started out by playing individually at first. David wrote some formulas and Nathaniel drew some sheep.

Then David had this idea of tracing his footsteps from the house to the sidewalk. And when he was done, Nathaniel wanted to do it, too. So then he made his footsteps from the other side so they could meet in the middle. And then where they met, you drew a little rainbow with a heart on it.

And then you were so happy that you hugged each other and asked me to take pictures.

And I did. I so did.

As I snapped each photo, my heart grew bigger and bigger.

My sons, I have many, many wishes for each of you, but one of my biggest wishes for both of you is that you love each other deeply and support each other throughout your whole lives.

Having a sibling means there’s this other person who has shared all of your childhood memories with you. It means there’s a person who will be there for you no matter what. It means this person will love you unconditionally. You will have many different friends in your lifetime. Some will come and some will go, but you get to have this one sibling and he will be there forever. He will be the one consistent person in your life.

And my wish for you is that the two of you never take that for granted.

I hope that years from now, you still turn to each other in times of joy and sorrow. That you are not only siblings but also friends. That you spend time together and that your kids play with each other. I hope that you never stop playing together or hugging each other.

When I look back upon my life, some of my fondest memories include my sister. Today, she is the person I trust above all and the person I can turn to for honesty, kindness, and support. She is the person who loves me unconditionally. The person with whom I belong forever.

And that’s what I want for the two of you. I hope that you will always remember that you belong with each other and that I love you both with all my heart.

Remember This – Week 26

We take a little break from Life Book this week, to look at a page I made for My Mind’s Eye. I liked their new flairs and decided to just have fun with them. It’s a simple, quick page. But It was fun. Sometimes doing art is just about having fun. Sometimes it’s quick and fun.

The text on the sticker says: It’s the Little Things that Make Life Worth Living

Isn’t that true? We forget that so often. But it’s really the deepest truth there is. Life is all about the tiny little moments. The ones that are full of joy.

so here we are.

Remember This is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Mix and Match - June

Here’s my Mix and Match for My Mind’s Eye for June:

Journaling Reads:

My little boy,

I remember when your Daddy and I were discussing how David needed a sibling. I remember when we decided to see if we could expand our family so we could be four and not three. I remember when I carried you for nine months in my belly and I was so sick for so many months. I remember when you came to this world right on time and so very quickly.

I remember what a sweet baby you were the whole time. You loved your brother so much and adored all the attention he gave you. All the times he read to you or put on puppet shows for you. I remember the big, huge smiles you gave to all of us all day, every day. The funny way you crawled with you legs not bent at all.

I remember the big blanket you wouldn’t sleep without (it’s become so tiny now but you still won’t go to sleep without it!) and I remember the first day you walked. The first words. Your laughter. Your first birthday and all the ones after that.

When I look back on the five years since you’ve joined our family, I remember so many joyful moments. You have brought so much laughter and love into our lives. You never hesitate to give hugs and kisses to any of us. You are always generous and sweet.

Nathaniel, on this fifth year of your life, here are some facts:,you love playing with magnets and legos. You really enjoy the Pigeon books and the Elephant and Piggie ones. Since the beginning of this year, you’ve been reading a book a week to me and your reading has improved tremendously. You don’t like to wear socks and take them off the minute you get home from school. You don’t like veggies or oatmeal but eat them anyway. You’re a pretty picky eater. You like to have backwards day where you’re wearing your clothes backwards (not inside out but front to back.)

You are excellent at math and ask Daddy to give you some multiplication and division questions each night. Your favorite movies are the Lego movie and the Iron Giant. Your favorite book is The Pigeon needs a Bath, you like to read it again and again. You snuggle up with me and like the brown covers and let me hug and kiss you as much as I like (I love that!) Your favorite games to play are Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare and Minecraft, which you love to play with your brother. You have a few good friends at school: Kyle, Aiden, Jordan, Tejas, Daniel and Esan. You are very friendly and also love being funny.

My sweet boy, the last five years with you has been truly wonderful and I cannot imagine our family without you. All of us love you so very much and are so very thankful to you.

Happy, happy birthday my son, here’s to many more. I love you madly.

Remember This - Week 22

This week’s simple remember this was done for My Mind’s Eye. It was a page where I wrote never ever give up with washi tape. Then I painted the page, and then I stripped the washi and added some black marker. and ta-da!

and here it is without the black marker:

which do you like more?

a lot more about this can be found on the My Mind’s Eye blog.

Remember This is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

The Desires in my Core

This is a layout I made for My Mind’s Eye.

I have decided to continue my attempts at telling the longer stories and combining the two 6x12s to create something that’s interesting to me.

For this month, I decided to take the journaling from this blog post on my core desired feelings. Something I want to remember all throughout 2014 and hence a great layout subject. Like last month, the journaling took up an entire page, and here’s what I ended up with:

This page brings together several lines that I love: I cut out the hearts from the Cupid’s Arrow – Chevron paper and I also used the back of the Love You Foiled paper from the same line. I added some bright pink from Find Your Wings and Fly’s Up and Away Big Top and the bright green of Krafty Floral’s back side from the same line. The final paper comes from Kate&Co’s Cambridge Court “Striking” paper. Who knew you could mix all those colors and end up with something lovely?

I also added little tidbits here and there, including these chipboard arrows I love and adore.

Since this page is about me and how I want to feel, I decided these photos of me with my kids would be perfect since I look so happy in them. I am feeling how I want to feel for all of 2014. I added some word stickers on the photos. Word stickers make me happy, too.

On the left side, I only put a few little embellishments since it’s so text heavy and there isn’t a lot of room. The colors and shapes of these allow the left page to tie in with the right page, making the layout come together. I also wanted a little more green on this side so I decided to add a strip of tape, simple, easy, and exactly what I wanted.

A full frame of tape brought the whole thing together and I was done. In case you’re wondering how this goes inside a page protector, I can show you that the two sides fit together really nicely to create a 12×12:

So I can just slip it into a normal 12×12 protector. If the looseness will bother you, you can also tape them together in the back, but I like it better this way.

Mix and Match - May

This is a layout I made for My Mind’s Eye.

Here’s the journaling on this one:

My boys,

I was sitting at my desk this morning, doing some art and drinking warm tea when I felt a deep rush of gratitude. I am not the most optimistic person I know. Most days, I worry too much and wish I could change some things. But then there are days, like today, when I manage to take a step back and see my life for the gift that it is.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how life is just a collection of moments. Some really big ones, some medium-sized ones, and a million little moments. Even though we seem to focus on the big ones, the bigger impact comes from the millions of little day-to-day moments. A warm hug, a joke, chuckling, warm tea, new paints. These are what life is made up of. It’s not about the big, huge moments we chase after with such conviction. It’s about the journey we take getting there. The path and not the final destination.

The million little moments that make up a whole life.

And I looked a my little moments. Daddy’s enveloping hugs. David’s love of books and physics. Nathaniel’s willingness to snuggle up and kiss me anytime I want. Our adventures when we go hiking. Watching you learn to bike. Learn to read, write and do math. Sitting on the couch together and watching science. Learning languages with David. Nathaniel trying to read to me. Watching movies with Daddy. Countless conversations on the way to and back from school.

Watching each of you succeed and fail and keep trying.

Going to new places together for the first time. And then going to old places. Places of my childhood. Reliving years of memories once again, but with you this time. Hearing you laugh. And cry. Sharing the tougher moments where we hold on that much tighter. Having ice cream together. Hearing you beg to skip vegetables again and again. Reading the articles Daddy sends me over email. Looking everywhere when Nathaniel loses his blankie once again.

I love all of these minutes.

They are reminders of how incredibly lucky I am. How wonderfully ordinary my life is. I have come to believe that I am not seeking the extraordinary. I want my life to be simple and full of these joyfully ordinary moments. And I have you to thank for them.

You have added so much richness and joy into these little moments. You made my life more colorful, deeper, and so much more worthwhile.

Here’s to spending millions and millions of more ordinary moments together. I am deeply grateful to you and I love you with all my heart.

Words to Live By

This is a layout I made for My Mind’s Eye.

I wanted to tell you a little bit about how I came to make this page. In the middle of last year, I started making 6×12 pages just so try something new. I wasn’t sure if I would love it or loathe it, but I wanted to be willing to stretch.

As it turned out, I loved it. I loved it so much that I continued to make only 6x12s for the rest of the year.

After a few months, I had this idea of making two side by side 6×12 pages where one side would just be long journaling. I sat on this idea for months. I even mentioned it during one of the Paperclipping Roundtable episodes but even saying it out loud wasn’t enough to get me to do it. I just kept thinking about it.

So when I sat down to make my first layout for 2014, I decided it was time. I wanted to try it out and see how it would look. I look a long blog post I wrote a while ago about how I would like to treat people and the kind of person I want to be. After I wrote it all out, I bought myself a ring with the words kind, present, listen. So I took photos of my ring and coupled it with my journaling.

And here’s what I ended up with:

Even though it’s made to go together, these are two separate 6×12 layout pages. I plan to store them in a 12×12 page protector and the fact that they will move in there doesn’t bother me. If it bothers you, you can tape them together or to a 12×12 piece of paper.

The nice thing about using a 6×12 page of journaling is that you can put it through a normal printer and do not need an oversized one. If you want to read the whole journaling, you can read it here

I mixed the beautiful new shimmering Lost and Found lines with the bold blacks of the Chalk Studio line and some enamel dots from Cupid’s Arrow.
If you haven’t seen the Lost and Found record it! lines in person, I cannot tell you how beautiful all the glittered papers are:

I created my layout such that the right side is a full layout that could stand on its own, so I gave it a title and all the finishing touches of a complete 6×12 layout.

but then to make sure the two pages did work together, I made it so the photos spilled over a bit, I added the decorative tape border around the 12×12 area, and I added a glittered piece with a black chipboard piece and enamel dot on opposing ends of each page to frame it even more. A full round of stitching and my page was done.

I am so glad that after months of pondering it, I finally sat down and made this page. I love the asymmetry of the words on one side and the embellishments on the other. I love that I got to tell a long story and didn’t feel any pressure to write less. I would like to take the time and space to tell some longer stories and I love that this format allows me to do that without worrying about how I can make the design and journaling work together. It feels like I am not compromising on anything.