celebrate {coleman @ 3}

last weekend, we celebrated three years of our coleman! i thought it'd be fun to document this special day with 36 tidbits of who he is right now (one for each month of his life):

  1. you love your play kitchen (christmas gift) but make a huge mess with the fake food. and aren't quite as good at picking it all up. 
  2. after your birthday, you started playing with your food and saying stuff like "it's my birthday, i'm going to eat my sandwich". 
  3. you still think your piggie bank is awesome. and you call it your "bankie"
  4. every night at bedtime we read the same two books: "the ball game" and "froggy plays t-ball"
  5. you have completely memorized "the ball game" and read it to us with enthusiasm. it's the most adorable thing. ever. i'm pretty sure you are a genius.
  6. you are learning more and more of "froggy plays t-ball" and will let us read it to you while you fill in some of the blanks yourself.
  7. for a while, all meals were called "breakfast". then sometimes "lunch". but never "dinner" or "supper". 
  8. at bedtime, it's common for you to proclaim that you want to finish your breakfast or lunch before heading upstairs.
  9. but that's only after you drink more milk as a stall tactic.
  10. you and i like to crawl upstairs for bedtime. we do a combination of fast crawl and slow crawl. you find this to be quite funny.
  11. you continue to be completely obsessed with baseball
  12. hiding with me under a blanket is very amusing
  13. with daddy you like him to flip you upside down and carry you upstairs for some "fighting" on our bed
  14. your favorite foods include hot dogs, chicken nuggets, grapes, bananas and cheese
  15. you call your pajamas "jays" instead of "PJs"
  16. one of your most preferred "calm" activities is to watch baseball videos on youtube (on one of the iphones)
  17. the names you call us are always amusing. you've gone through a phase of "mom" and "dad" (rather than mommy and daddy) and sometimes i am "maw maw" which is kind of odd. and daddy is sometimes just "matt". then of course, the good ole fashioned "mama"
  18. when i get you out of your crib in the mornings, you will tell me if i'm dressed or not. this is quite helpful so that i don't go to work in my "jays"
  19. toboggans are often found on your head. indoors. a lot. it's hilarious. gloves too.
  20. you love, love, love your rainboots (you have two pair). you wear them every single day. 
  21. legos are one of the few non-baseball toys that you enjoy. you typically just build tall stacks of blocks and call them a "tower" or "castle". you don't like to be helped with your creations but often want me to sit with you while you build.
  22. play-doh is also entertaining for you but you tend to see this as a group activity and not something you enjoy solo. for some reason you like for me to make 'cars' (though in reality, the things i come up with don't ever resemble a vehicle). 
  23. your favorite tv shows include: fresh beat band, dora, diego, blues clues, team umizoomi, max & ruby...despite that long list, you watch less tv that you used to
  24. you say "tanks" instead of "thanks" or "thank you". you also say that things are "cool" a lot. 
  25. due to swiper on dora, you have started saying "aw man".  you often say cute things like "i'm missing something" and "be very careful".
  26. daddy is your favorite when he's around. 
  27. bathtime is something you fight every night. you enjoy it once you're in there, but you typically do not go in willingly. 
  28. "my" is a new favorite word. you've gotten pretty possessive.
  29. you still love, love, love being outdoors.
  30. anything spencer does, you imitate. 
  31. you love to have your back (or legs or arms) scratched
  32. your skin is still in rough shape :(
  33. when i say "i love you", you typically respond with "thanks" or "ok"
  34. you have started picking your nose. 
  35. you are all about picking out your own clothes. (which is better than picking your nose)
  36. randomly, you will tell me that you like my hair or clothes. often it's not justified...but always appreciated! a ladies man in the making. 

 we love you little guy!!!


project life | weeks 3 & 4

i've decided that i like the idea of sharing project life here, but i honestly don't have the time to take good photographs, edit them and post. so, most of these PL updates will probably be light on images but will recap what i'm doing in hopes that it helps someone else. or entertains me while i type. or whatever. 

another two weeks of project life...with my first inserts - can i get a "holla"??? 

one major difference with these two weeks is that i incorporated more digital elements. i think, long-term, some weeks will be heavy on digital and others will be light. it will vary depending on what's easiest that week. 

:: collage of three photos to capture our "sick week" - coleman lounging in front of the TV, a mid-day snack, and our collection of medicine. 
:: self-portrait of me with coleman eating a popsicle
:: photo of coleman making and then eating a popsicle
:: traffic
:: various "everyday" shots of coleman (wearing my glasses, climbing on stuff, playing with my iphone, playing drums, helping let dogs out)
:: coleman playing with a friend
:: pictures of coleman sent from daycare
:: iphone screenshot of a text message from spencer (telling me he made the baseball team) paired with a photo of the baseball field and a text area with his school logo. 
:: iphone screenshot of daily e-mails we get from spencer's school with his grades
:: lobby where i have a lot of meetings at work
:: cleaning project (fridge)
:: collage of pictures from super bowl party with some text
:: picture message sent to coleman from my sister while on vacation 

:: under armour clothing tag
:: a sticker coleman got at daycare, added to a journaling card with an explanation
:: part of a prescription label 
:: alphabet art (paired with a photo of coleman working on it)
:: piece of a speeding ticket and the story of going to court
:: party invitation 
:: tag from new baseball pants

:: being home with a sick toddler, and how we were able to do more fun (low key) stuff than usual 
:: week in review for each week (what each of us was doing, errands, friends, etc). this is something i want to continue, to really capture the minute everyday details. 
:: funny quotes
:: meals from the week 
:: listed music that spencer had downloaded onto his iphone recently 

design notes: 
:: i used free 4x6 journaling card downloads to create a "week in review" for each week. 
:: i used free 3x4 journaling card downloads to create a few of the elements. one was a list of tv shows we watched that week. 
:: two related photos - used photoshop to put a smaller photo on top of a larger photo 
:: on some photos, i added journaling in photoshop before printing
:: still using lots of small white labels to add brief journaling on a picture. 

:: the inserts::

in photoshop, i took this post and turned it into an 8.5x11 insert (just used a regular page protector). i love this!! i love that it captures a tiny piece of our reality. i love that it uses a bunch of random (horrible quality) photos. i love that i have a place to include these things! 

on the back of this insert, i printed a newsletter that spencer's science teacher had e-mailed. it was two pages, so i printed it on both sides of one sheet. i have page two showing in the album because the top right photo includes spencer.

i used a baseball card page protector for this insert. on saturday of week four, we attended a friend's 3rd birthday party. i chose eight photos from the event and printed them to fit these small pockets, along with a 'title' spot. after taking the photo, i found a cute embellishment from his goody bag and added that straight on the page protector.  as of right now, i don't have anything on the back side of this and i'm contemplating what to do with that. i'll keep you posted! 


missed the first three weeks? find them here

reminder: i am using leftover product from becky's very first project 365 kit (no longer available). 

interested in downloads that can be used in project life? follow my project life board on pinterest.

confused about project life? start here 


project life: weeks 1 thru 3

so, you may (or may not) remember that i decided to tackle project life this year. despite that i'm posting these layouts a few weeks late, i've actually done a pretty decent job of keeping up to date with this. and i'm truly loving it! 

i don't know if i will post all of my completed layouts here on the blog, but i really enjoy inspiration and getting ideas from others, so i thought i'd pay it forward, so to speak. (photo quality is horrible. my only excuse is laziness.)

instead of walking you through each layout bit-by-bit, i'm just including some photographs and then listing out information that might be helpful. 

:: three weeks of project life ::

Photos I included
:: special events
:: all of us in the car
:: restaurant
:: wrapped birthday gifts
:: friends hanging out in our home
:: pieces of home d├ęcor
:: self-portraits
:: art from daycare
:: picture messages sent to me from daycare
:: spencer at school (stolen from facebook)
:: spencer with his current “girlfriend” (taken on his iphone)
:: lots of everyday pictures around the house
:: our feet/shoes
:: the dogs
:: work calendar on laptop
:: journal
:: medicine
:: work project
:: pile of campaign mail

Stuff I included
:: game ticket
:: stickers from bowl game
:: coleman’s handwriting and art from daycare (cut to fit in pockets)
:: clothing tag
:: piece of airline ticket
:: itunes gift card
:: part of ibuprofen box
:: print out from doctor’s office

Design notes
:: everything seen is from the original project 365 kit (weekday stickers, overlay, "week of" cards, journaling cards, tri-fold journaling cards)
:: for photos that don’t really have much of a story, i just jotted notes with a black sharpie directly onto the picture.
:: in a lot of cases, i printed two vertical photos side-by-side on a 4x6 canvas.
:: i used my (new to me) vintage typewriter to do a week in review card and a couple of labels. the ribbon needs to be replaced but i foresee using this a lot in the future.
:: i like using small labels to just add a quick line to a photo 

reminder: i am using leftover product from becky's very first project 365 kit (no longer available). 

confused about project life? start here 



time: 7:15 p.m. on thursday evening

feeling: frustrated that coleman just broke his fireman hat (that he loves) because he was acting psycho and hitting it with a plastic bat. and that i didn't have the umph to stop him.

watching: olivia

listening: coleman singing "the itsy bitsy spider" 

wondering: how he can rationalize that he can't take his medicine while he's pooping, yet he manages to play baseball while pooping??? 

hoping: that he does OK at daycare tomorrow. pretty sure he's feeling well and will be fine, but there's always that fear. 

wishing: tomorrow's weather was forecasted to be better than it is.

eating: nothing. ate a spaghetti taco for supper though.

drinking: a glass of wine. white zin. which i don't normally drink. but the bottle was open and it's light. and i'm pretty sure a dry wine would wreak havoc on my recently-healed sinuses. 

waiting: for coleman's bedtime. don't judge, i've been stuck inside with my little munchkin for 2 1/2 days. no help. no break. no daylight. if i want bedtime, i think i'm justified. 

planning: for a busy day tomorrow. mentally preparing. 

laughing: because i thought i could do this post spontaneously. coleman had other ideas...the post had to wait until after bedtime, but we had this awesome webcam photo shoot, so it's all good...


the silver lining

today, i am on round three of cabin fever and figured it would be a good time to focus on my blessings.

today i am thankful that...

:: coleman's meds are kicking in

:: we have good health insurance and didn't have to think twice about two dr visits within a few days of each other

:: my boss has a family and is understanding of my having to be home (again)

:: despite the cabin fever, we have a home that is cozy and i love being here. even when feeling yucky.

:: we have a DVR. and iPhones. sick day entertainment at its laziest.

:: the three bouts of sickness have been separated by a few days so I could at least make an appearance at the office.

:: i can do some work from home as coleman allows or after he's in bed.

:: his illness and mood could be a lot worse. he has handled it all relatively well.

:: matt was able to take him to both of his dr appointments


project life

cultivate a good life by Becky Higgins 

i feel a little cliche, but i've jumped on the bulging bandwagon...i'm tackling project life

on the off-chance that you've been hanging around here for several years, you may recall some similar attempts. 

back in 2008, i tried taking a photo a day. i added digital journaling and printed the snapshots, adding them to a regular photo album. i didn't finish. 

in 2009, i purchased becky higgins' project 365 kit and tried it that way. i didn't finish. i made it to august, if i recall correctly.

though it was disappointing that neither project lasted the full 365...i don't regret tackling them. i was able to capture everyday memories in a unique fashion. and that's worth something, regardless of how long it lasted. 

so where does that leave me for 2012? 

my key word for this project is *realistic*. my expectations have to be just that. here is where i am with this project...

:: i have not purchased any new products. despite the temptation of becky's awesome assortment, i'm working with what i have leftover from the 2009 kit. if i'm still going strong by the time these are gone, then i will "reward" myself with new stuff. and believe it or not, i'm totally ok knowing that the pages won't match. 

:: i'm keeping it simple, simple, simple. my focus is on completing the documentation. no frills. no fuss. 

:: i'm not worrying about taking a photo a day. i'm concentrating on documenting the week. i will use whatever photos are available (whether a lot or a few). i will add in pieces of life and varying levels of journaling. 

:: i must be flexible. if things go spiraling out of control, i may do a two-page spread that captures two weeks or a month. and that will be okay.

:: i vow to offer myself grace and forgiveness in this project. this is supposed to be fun. 

from this project, i hope to gain a few things. the obvious one is the finished project of having our family's life well-documented. i am also hoping it will help me to slow down a bit and better capture the little things. and maybe, as a result, better appreciate those little blessings. i also hope that it will help force me to prioritize a little creative time each week. a piece that's been lacking in my life for quite a while now. 

here's to a third time's a charm. cheers.


one little word: grace

despite not feeling the drive to reflect on last year's goals and set out a list of specific resolutions, i do feel compelled to choose a word for 2012. i'm not sure why, but i do.

i've mulled over it a few times these past few weeks. i've made lists and was pretty sure i had a word. and then it hit me...two weeks into the new year. i was totally off-base and the word just showed up. which is kind of what i would expect it to do. so when it did, i didn't really question it. 

my word is grace

strangely enough, i always thought of this word as a characteristic of a person ("graceful"). it wasn't until the last year that i started to understand it in a biblical sense. the act of grace. 

other words that i considered for this were adequate...but they were either action words ("balance") or implied searching for something ("contentment"). but grace...grace has already been given to me. everyday. by Him. 

my struggle is granting myself grace. (and accepting grace of others.)

i read something this week that really hit home for me. it was about subtracting things from our lives at the new year, rather than focusing on what we can add*. the last thing i need in my life right now is more. 

but i do need more grace...given to me, from me. 

yes, i have struggles and things to work out. but in the grand scheme of things...my life is good. and i need to remember that. one reason i can't see it is because i can't get past the flaws and the faults and the mistakes of everyday life. 

so in 2012, i will grant myself grace.


"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:8-9


in case you are curious...
last year's word was focus
in 2010, i began my year with the word strive
but then changed it mid-year to balance


if you are unfamiliar with the concept of *one little word* i recommend checking out ali edwards' blog here: one little word


*oddly enough, what i read that inspired me was also written by ali edwards. appropriate. it was part of her newsletter series. highly recommend signing up (it's free). 


moving forward...

i started writing a post reflecting back through 2011 and how i did with the goals i set a year ago. but in reality, my heart wasn't in it. i've also contemplated a long post of goals for 2012...and again, my heart is not there. it's not that i don't care about my past or my future. but i'm busy, and have been for awhile. and i'm pushing along in survival mode. 

i wish i was able to blog more, but when i do blog... i want my heart to be there. so, i didn't do a recap of my goals or favorite photos or highlights of 2011. i'm just rolling on...

i do have some things for 2011 that are top of mind and i'd consider "goals". i don't have a formal list, but they are in my mind and my heart. oh, what the hay, i'll go ahead and throw out a quick list...

organize. purge. home projects. balance. project life. pinch pennies. cut calories. move more. communicate. love. kindness. intentional. grace

really, it's not much different than any other year. 

here's to a (late) start to the new year. cheers.


merry christmas

from our family, to yours...


tis the season: santa - round three

round three with santa clause...and in this case, mrs. clause as well (isn't that precious???)...

this time we didn't even try to get coleman to play along (i totally would've, but matt's a wimp and wasn't willing to test c's patience in a fancy smancy room full of respectable adults!). 

so...what's a girl to do when there is a santa, mrs. clause, and no willing child? well, she's to force her teenage stepson to pose with her of course! he's such a good sport!

111210 Chip's breakfast 02 - Holly & Spencer copy