PL 2016 – Week 19 (WITL)

I’ve tried a couple of times to participate in Ali Edwards’ Week in the Life project. I feel like I am not usually all that successful at it.  At least not at the time it is actually happening. It’s only after I go back and review the photos from the week in question that I discover I do actually have enough material to complete the project. This year was no different. 

I’d wanted to document and post my pages each day, but quickly realized it was not meant to be. I did try to keep up, but the week just got away from me. I did the best I could taking pics and crossed my fingers it would all work out. 

I am happy to say it did. I had to get creative with what I had, which meant a healthy amount of repetition in the pics and not a lot of words, but I got it done and am thrilled with the final result. 

WITL – Sunday 

WITL – Monday

WITL – Tuesday

WITL – Wednesday

WITL – Thursday

WITL – Friday

WITL – Saturday

Page Construction Notes

I am once again using a kit Ali Edwards designed specifically for this project. I have to say that while she has absolutely been knocking it out of the ball park with her DITL kits, this kit for WITL is my all time favorite. I just love everything about it, from the rainbow colored title cards to the daily chipboard pieces. It made what could have been boring repetition into a beautiful and visually exciting project. 


PL 2016 – Weeks 17 & 18

It always seems to get busier as the school year winds down. Conferences, band/choir concerts and social activities begin to take up most of our time. We added a new activity to the list when we attended an award ceremony for Ella this week. She received a Silver Renaissance award for maintaining above a 3.5 GPA for the first 3 quarters of the school year. It was a lot of fun watching her walk across the stage to accept her award. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of super fun activities was the needle biopsy of my thyroid I had done. Nothing quite like having seven (!!!) needles shoved into your thyroid and jiggled around to get a good sample. Good news: no malignancy. Bad news: I get to keep my goiter ridden thyroid. 

We also had family in for one final birthday party for Sophie and she finally got to celebrate with her favorite cousin. 

PL 2016 – Week 17Week 18 was all about taking it easy. Sophie came down with a fever she just couldn’t beat and missed a few days of school. She even fell asleep in the middle of the day in Saturday right on the living room floor. Poor thing. 

The first of our roses bloomed this week as well. 

PL 2016 – Week 18

Page Construction Notes

  • Becky Higgins Picturesque Core Kit designed by Heidi Swapp
  • Becky Higgins Design A Page Protectors

OLW 2016 – May

For OLW this month, we were to use our camera to connect with our word. 

As I have been focusing heavily on the written word of late, it’s no surprise that most of my pics this time around are of pens, ink, and paper. And that brought about an epiphany of sorts.

You see, I am a writer. I have been as long as I can remember and I always will be. Words are magic and man, I loved being a conduit with which that magic was shared with the world. I think I forgot that for a really long time. I let life and apathy and fear steal the joy I found in writing. 

Well, no more, I say. The time has come to once again embrace that joy. 

Now, I have untold stories within me – many, many stories that need to be unleashed upon the world and I’ll get there. But right now, my attention is on the physical act of writing. There is something so amazingly therapeutic about the disciplines of handwriting, lettering, and calligraphy. My writer’s soul – the one that’s been curled up in a little ball deep down inside – is basking in this healing power and I can feel it slowly coming back to life. 

So I’ll feed it with pens and ink and paper and quotes and soon we’ll be ready to tell those untold stories – to be conduit to the magic once again. 

OLW 2016 – May

PL 2016 – Week 16 & Prince

Sophie’s birthday falls in the middle of April and this year we ended up celebrating three different times, each with a different group of people. We started with dinner at Hu-Hot, her favorite restaurant, with Jason’s family, then had a sleepover with friends, and finally we celebrated with my family. Lots of cake, lots of presents, and a very loved Sophie. 

PL 2016 – Week 16

Also this week, 2016 claimed another musician far too soon. 

PL 2016 – Prince
It seems I’ve listened to Prince my entire life and his passing was unexpected. He was such an amazing talent, a phenomenal guitar player (how did I not understand what a gifted guitarist he was?!?), and so very much more. The world is a little less audacious without him. 

I wanted to honor Prince in my PL album as I’ve done with many of those we’ve lost in 2016, but I struggled to find a way to truly capture how I felt. Until I found these amazing words from Christina Garner, who was kind enough to let me borrow them for my tribute.

“My grief over Prince is surprising me. Not that I’m grieving, but the depth and breadth of it.

I’m listening to his music non-stop, reveling more in his lesser-known work than I’d have thought possible. I’m gobbling up anecdotes and stories as a lifeline to a man I never met, but now more than ever wish I had.

Rock stars carry a heavy load: the collective dreams, most of them unexpressed, of all of humanity. When one dies, especially one as genius, talented, and prolific as Prince, we begin to question not only our own mortality but our impact and legacy. Are we living life to the fullest? Are we expressing our gifts? We see an example of someone who most certainly was and begin to question our life choices.

And then there’s just the pain of it. The abject, raw pain of losing such a talent. And our personal pain—the knowledge that whether we never got around to seeing him in concert or saw him a hundred times, the opportunity of just one more is lost forever.

And we hope he knew. How loved, how talented, how appreciated and needed he was and will continue to be. Because what all of us want in our deepest souls is to be seen. To be understood. And that’s why we project so much of ourselves onto musicians. Because they sing our pain and our dreams and our love. They hold it and express it in a way that few others can.

Life is this fragile, resilient, unknowable mystery. No one embodied that more than Prince, with his small frame and large presence. His need to be seen and yet hide.

Words fail me but it’s just as well. There’s nothing I could say that Prince didn’t say himself, and better. I don’t know if I believe in an afterlife, but Prince did. And if ever there were anyone who could will something into existence—someone who, if the rumors are true, would never accept “no” or “impossible” for an answer—it would be him. So I trust that right now he is in a world of never ending happiness where he can always see the sun, day or night.

Thank you, Prince, for giving your life to us so that we might know ourselves a little better, and for keeping so much of it for yourself, so that there was always more to give.”

Page Construction Notes

  • Becky Higgins Picturesque Core Kit designed by Heidi Swapp
  • Becky Higgins Design A Page Protectors 
  • Heidi Swapp Wood Veneer and Stickers
  • Acrylic stars from Color Cast Designs
  • Purple and metallic copper card stock
  • Vellum photo mat and border from Creative Memories
  • Stamp from Studio Calico by CD Muckosky

PL – Week 15 & Tough

This week was a study in the highs and lows of life. 

The High: Ella had an absolute blast playing clarinet with Dallas Brass who visited both Hoover and West to workshop with the band students. Dallas Brass performed a concert Tuesday night and the Junior High bands were invited to play a Star Wars medley with them. I was impressed with how much time Dallas Brass spent with all of the kids, how amazing everyone sounded and absolutely loved how excited Ella got about her instrument and performing. Yay! 

The Low: Exactly 24 hours after the Dallas Brass show, Ella broke her wrist skating on her dad’s too-fast roller blades. We now have an orthopedic surgeon on speed dial as this is the second time Ella fractured a bone near the growth plate (the first being her finger back in October 2015) which requires specialized care to ensure the bone heals correctly. Ella ended up in a cast for a month and thus no clarinet. Boo! 

PL 2016 – Week 15

A final note: I subscribe to Ali Edwards’ Story Kits/Story Stamps and have since their inception. While I have used some of the elements from random kits here and there, I’ve never created a whole layout from one of them. So I can’t decide if it was ominous or fortuitous that this month’s theme just happened to be ‘Tough.’ On the one hand, Ella broke her wrist and was in pain  and it sucked, but on the other hand, the experience turned into a pretty cool tradional scrapbook layout. 

PL 2016 – Tough

Here’s the text:

Ella is a strong girl. She is tough. We’ve taught her to be that way. Is it gonna fall off? No? Then suck it up and deal. It will be okay, so move on. Sometimes I wonder if we took it too far. Ella broke her wrist yesterday. She thought she was going to throw up when it happened, but did not cry even though it hurt. Badly. She would not give into the pain. So much so that her chest hurt from holding in the sobs. So much so that when the pain woke her up in the middle of the night, she refused to bother any one for more pain meds. So much so that she refused help to do anything she is used to doing by herself. So much so that she refused to even consider the possibility of taking the day off school or calling to come home early if the pain got to be too much. So much so that she refused to let us send pain meds to school for her to take later in the day if needed. So much so that she refused to let her dad or me see her finally give into the pain and let a few tears fall. No, she just quickly wiped them away and said she was fine. She’s not weak and will not let anything keep her from what needs done. Because she is strong. Tough. And she won’t let anyone convince her otherwise. 

Page Construction Notes

  • Becky Higgins Picturesque Core Kit designed by Heidi Swapp
  • Becky Higgins Design A Page Protectors 
  • Ali Edwards ‘Tough’ Story Kit and Story Stamp

PL 2016 – Week 14 & Wizard World Comic Con-Madison

First things first.

I met the Doctor. Yes, for real. Ten himself – David Tennant. Here’s proof. 

Me with David Tennant

Yes, he was charming. Yes, his smile was dazzling. Yes, he smelled divine. Yes, that is his arm around me (and though you can’t see it, mine is around him as well). Yes, that sweater is glorious. Yes, surprisingly, he is taller than he looks on TV. And yes, it was amazeballs ! 

Here’s the back story…

My sister, Melanie, decided she wanted to go on an adventure and asked if I wanted to tag along. She searched high and low for just the right opportunity – Scotland being the frontrunner for a time – but when it was announced that Ten would be appearing at Wizard World Comic Con in Madison, well there really was no other option. We’d found our adventure. 

But it seemed it was not meant to be. You see, obtaining tickets turned out to be a little more difficult than anticipated as the first batch of David Tennant VIP packages sold out before we even had a chance to buy ours. And this was five months before the event! Oh well, back to the drawing board, we thought. But our hearts weren’t really in it. Our hopes had been dashed. Or so we thought. 

It was a lovely day in mid February when I saw the post on Facebook: 

We did not pass GO, we did not collect $200 dollars, we went directly to the Wizard World Comic Con website and purchased two David Tennant VIP packages for Madison, WI! Our adventure was back on! 

Roughly a month and a half later, I spent much of the 14th week of 2016 preparing for our visit to Madison. 

PL 2016 – Week 14

Now, my sister and I, while we can be obsessive, are not your typical fan girls. Neither one of us had any intention of wailing or gnashing our teeth when we met David Tennant. But we did want to separate ourselves from everyone else. And that required t-shirts and a good story. 

The t-shirts were easy. Mandie Manzano does the most amazing stained glass inspired artwork and just happens to have done one of David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor. We had shirts made with the image (from an authorized seller, of course) and were good to go. T-shirts – check. 

The story? Well, that took some time to refine. Mel and I went ’round trying to come up with a unique story that was equal parts funny and memorable. This is what we settled on: When we were younger our dad watched a lot of Benny Hill and Monty Python on late night IPTV and really didn’t much bother with making sure his children weren’t exposed to the classic, raunchy British humor. It also meant that we were exposed to Doctor Who at a young age and thus, we were both beyond thrilled to see Doctor Who make a triumphant return after so many years away. That was it, our story in a nutshell. Establish bonafides- check. Praise new version of classic show – check. 

So finally, it was time. We both made our way to Madsion – Mel from the Twin Cities and me from Waterloo. We had a late lunch, checked into our hotel for the weekend, and then hit the Con. 

What can I say about a Comic Con? Well to start, it is equal parts comics, super heroes, goth, gaming, monsters, pop culture, cosplay, and kitsch all rolled into one. And just fantastic!  If you haven’t ever gone to one, I strongly recommend you make plans to do so. You won’t regret it. 

Friday night, Mel and I spent a few hours walking the convention floor and checking out all the vendor booths. We picked up gifts for our families and ourselves. We ran into the Girl in the Fireplace and a Dalek (Exterminate!) from Doctor Who as well as Joy, Disgust, and Sadness from Inside Out and got our picture taken with Iron Man. We discovered some phenomenal artists and too many amazing t-shirts! We had so much fun!

PL 2016 – Wizard World Comic Con 1

And Saturday was even better. It began with a lovely session with Billy Boyd, who taught us much about octopuses. River Song herself – Alex Kingston was also in attendance and we very much enjoyed her session. Jewel Staite – Firefly’s Kaylee – discussed her love of cheese, which was quite fitting in Wisconsin. 

PL 2016 – Wizard World Comic Con 2

But, by far, the best part of the day was our encounter, however brief, with David Tennant. The amount of time spent in the queue for the photo op was not at all proportional to the time spent in David Tennant’s presence. I think it was almost an hour to 45 seconds, a minute at the most and the autograph line was not much better. However, just those few short moments were magical. The man is funny and charming and just an absolutely lovely person. And I am happy to report that both the t-shirts (“I’ve not seen stained glass ones before,” said he) and the story (quite the wince at the mention of exposure to Benny Hill at such a young age as well as what seemed a heartfelt thank you at the praise for Doctor Who and his other work) played well.

David Tennant’s Autograph

And his session, which was also part of the VIP experience!! I can’t think of any other time in my life where I’ve simultaneously laughed and melted as much as I did listening to him talk. The man is intelligent, humble, and sexy as hell. I am so very glad I got the chance to meet him. 

PL 2016 – David Tennant

And what better way to follow up meeting David Tennant than finding a soulmate. 

We met Amber as we were shuffling seats before David Tennant’s session and became fast friends. No, seriously, Melanie and I adopted her in to the family within hours of meeting her. She just gets us. We all went to dinner and then dancing after the Con and had a blast! 

After a late start on Sunday, we still had plenty of time to meet up again with Amber and sneak in a one last photo op with Alex Kingston. 

Mel and me with Alex Kingston

And then, just like that, our adventure came to an end. Until next time… 

Page Construction Notes

  • Becky Higgins Picturesque Core Kit designed by Heidi Swapp
  • Becky Higgins Design A Page Protectors 

OLW 2016 – April

April’s One Little Word prompt was a simple question – what does it really mean to [your OLW]?  We were to spend the month exploring our word and what it means in our life right now. 

So, what does it really mean to FOCUS? 

Here’s what I discovered:

  • FOCUS is having a vision and the belief that vision will become a reality. Dream big and believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that those dreams will come true. 
  • FOCUS is having a plan and following it. Figure out what you need to do to make your dreams reality and then DO THE WORK.
  • FOCUS is setting clear guidelines about what is and what is not okay. Boundaries must be set – both with yourself and those you interact with. 
  • FOCUS is recognizing when you’ve seen a squirrel and pulling yourself back to task. Distractions happen, just don’t let them drag you off course. 
  • FOCUS is understanding that there are times when playing with the squirrel is totally needed. Sometimes distractions are a must. They relieve self imposed pressure and encourage creative thinking. 
  • FOCUS is allowing mistakes and learning from them. Everyone makes mistakes – EVERYONE! Rather than playing it safe, allow yourself the grace to royally jack something up and then learn from it. 
  • FOCUS is letting go of the constant need for perfection. No one is perfect – NOT ONE PERSON. Embrace your flaws. It’s where your creativity comes from. 
  • FOCUS means sometimes you just have to say NO! Say no to things you don’t want to do so you can say yes to the things that make you happy. 

That’s FOCUS for me right now. 

OLW 2016 – April