Thursday, February 28, 2013

thankful thursday {link up}

{Link up your own Thankful Thursday post below...}

This Thursday I am thankful for...

1) Adoption progress!!!  We have our second meeting with our homestudy agency today and I'm super excited to be handing over a pile of paperwork.  We have also recently settled on our adoption country (Uganda!!)... And you have no idea how awesome it was to see how much shorter (and less overwhelming) the Uganda paperwork lists are than our previous Haiti paperwork lists... so, so, awesome.

2) Supper Club.   We have recently started having a monthly supper club with a few friends of ours... Well... this last week we had more of a breakfast club... or brunch, rather.  And I am all about some breakfast food... mimosas and all.  So grateful for good food and great friends.

3) Visiting friends.  Speaking of good food and great friends... I was so excited to have one of my favorite co-worker/friend in town for a quick dinner and one of my favorite local dives.  So fun catching up Stacie!!!

What are you thankful for this week? Grab the Thankful Thursday button from the right sidebar and link up your own post below. Be sure to visit the other Thankful Thursday participants and share the love!!

Also linking up with:

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

february goal recap

Focusing on // the home study process.
I am happy to report that we made some MAJOR progress on this goal... mostly in the last week or so.  We both finished our 70 question self study and overnighted them to our home study agency (which was task #1)... we scheduled our second meeting with our home study agency for tomorrow (wouldn't you know that we'd squeeze this in on the very last day of the month... this was task #2)... and we have started kid-proofing our home (task #3).  So, yep... I'd consider this goal a major check-plus:)

Finishing up // old projects.
This was just so-so.  I'm definitely going to have to try this one again in later months.  I'm thinking it might be a good idea to just give myself 1-2 very specific projects that I want to finish.  Sadly, I have plenty of unfinished projects.  I could save one unfinished project for every month and probably never run out... hmmm...

Finding time // for myself.
Eh... this one was just okay.  I definitely did a better job of protecting some of my evenings and have cut-down on a few commitments.  This allowed me to work on a few crafty projects and even catch up on a couple of Pretty Little Liars episodes.  But honestly, I expected my time alone with myself to look a little different... I was thinking more along the lines of quiet coffee shops and bookstores... journaling and reading.  I still want to cultivate more of this... I think it's a good practice for me.

Figuring out // our budget.
I think we are on the right track with this one.   I was able to create a budget binder and organize it in a way that makes the most sense for us.  We are still navigating the triumphs and trials of living within a budget, and we definitely have a few life circumstances that will dictate much of this process for us... but we are up for the challenge.

There you have it... my February goal recap... which I'm sure is excruciatingly boring, but I'm all about some accountability, therefore I apologize... but not really.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

project organization :: all those holiday cards

I had big plans this weekend to complete yet another project... my Christmas card montage.  For both 2011 and 2012... Yeah.  I'm a little behind.  I even took all of the 2012 holiday cards off the display wall finally (insert sad face here)...

I even went out and purchased a new 3.5" square punch (my other one is totally MIA).  Then... I sat down... got all of my cards out...  ready to punch away... and I was able to punch one.meesley.card.  Yep.  You heard right... one card... one teeny, tiny square.... then my square punch broke.  Straight up stopped working.  I'm hoping to return it soon and still knock this project out in the next couple of days.

In the meantime, I thought I'd re-post my thoughts on the Christmas card montage from a few years ago...
I wish I could take credit for this... but I can't. This is another genius idea from Ali Edwards

Ali basically takes all of the Christmas cards and photos she receives for the year and creates a simple photo montage with all of them. I love it. I have always been one of those people that keeps cards (Christmas, birthday, thank yous, valentines... you name it, I keep it), but really they just sit in a box somewhere stored away. I am in love with this idea. At first, I was a little tentative about cutting and cropping my family and friends with a square paper punch... but I must say, it was kind of liberating. Nice to let my Type A personality live on the wild side a little. I just put the photo or card in my square punch, found my favorite part, and punched away. Here's the basic process...

I ordered this awesome square punch, the Marvy Uchida. I totally copied Ali again here, and purchased the same square punch she recommended on her blog. This punch was the perfect size, and for the most part allowed me to crop everyone inside the square. There were a few families who apparently don't like to stand very close to one another during Christmas photos... and for them, I'm sad to say I had to either separate them into two squares, or cut off some ears...

After punching out all the cards, I had to decide on some type of layout. I tried not to be too OCD about this, and really just tried to mix up the colors. You'll notice that I tried to select a good mix of both pictures and good old fashioned Christmas cards. I like the variation of it all.

Then I just used my favorite adhesive to paste the squares on some red 8x11 paper. I knew I would be using 8x11 sheets, so I let that determine how many squares would go on each page. I changed my layout ever-so-slightly (I guess the OCD did get the best of me) and called it finished. I ended up with 4 pages with 12 squares each.

A few years ago, I put these in the back of my December Daily book... but seeing how I'm super behind on those too... I'm just aiming to getting my cards on paper.  What about you?  How do you organize your holiday cards?

Monday, February 25, 2013

project organization :: january cards

Last  week I shared about how I organize my card-hoarding collection... all of those zillions of cards you receive each year.  But what about the cards that you send out every year??  For you, this might be your family's annual Christmas card... for us, it's the infamous January card:)

We have been mailing out January cards for 7 years now... and for 7 years now I've been trying to figure out the best way to preserve these fun cards.  Then it hit me.  An album.  I've had this beautiful blank Kolo album sitting on my desk for months now...  just waiting for the perfect project.  And since I deemed February my "finish-all-those-unfinished-projects-month" I figured there was no time like the present...

This was by far the easiest project I've ever done.  The hardest part was managing to find all of our year's past January cards... 2010 and 2011 are completely MIA.  But once I was able to scrounge up most of our January cards, all I did was slap some acid-free tape on the card itself and stick them right to my album.  Technically I needed 2 copies of each year... one for the front and one for the back... which yeah... wasn't really a big deal until I realized I couldn't find 2 copies for the very fist year...
Welcome to 2007.  The birth of the January cards.  I hadn't quite perfected the font on the front yet.  This is also the year that I was obsessed with putting ribbon on everything.

2008.  We fixed the font and went all out with color photos on the front and the back... big time.

2009.  We scaled back this year and went solid black & white. 

 2010. And 2011.  Use your imagination... Hoping these bad boys surface very soon.

2012. We finally upgraded to professional photos.  2011 and 2012 cover photos are compliments of the talented Shaelyne Meadows.

2013.  My favorite year for sure... but I say this every year once I get my January card shipment in.  2013 cover photo compliments of Firm Anchor Photography.

So, there you have it.  My somewhat-completed January card album.  This should be a fairly simple project to keep up with over the coming years.  And I love seeing the "snapshot" of our year-to-year life with each turn of the page.  Even more excited to see our January cards fill up with children in the coming years:)  

If your family sends out holiday cards every year, this would be such an easy way to corral them all together.  Do you already do something similar?  I'd love to hear.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

crew family {louisville children's photographer}  

John and Allie were some of our very first people we met when moved to Louisville (thanks to the recommendation of this gal) and we have been fast friends ever since. Sweet John Marshall captured everyone's hearts right from the beginning... and then again here... and most recently here... Well, back in October they added sweet little brother Nolan to the family (told you I was waaaaayyyy behind in posting photo sessions), so in November the Crew's had their first photo shoot as a family of four.  It was a quick one (we didn't want to keep Nolan outside too long) but fun, as always.  Here are a few of my favorites...









Which one is your favorite??

Thursday, February 21, 2013

thankful thursday {link up}

{Link up your own Thankful Thursday post below...}

This Thursday I am thankful for...
1) Day out with my man.  I had a meeting in Cincinnati, OH on Tuesday and Lance was able to ride with me and spend the afternoon with me there.  We hit up the Newport Aquarium and had sushi for lunch... and I even was able to grab some Chipotle to bring back for dinner:)  It was really nice to get out of Louisville for the day and enjoy some quality time together.  So thankful for my husband.

2) Sticker-infested snail mail.  I always know exactly who my sticker-covered snail mail is from... she doesn't even need to put her name in the return address.  I smile the moment I see the stickers and think of this dear friend.  We now have several miles between us, but nothing a few stickers (and postage) can't fix;)  Miss you Lauren!!

3) Painting with the girls.  Last night I went to a "Spirits & Bodega" painting class with some girlfriends of mine.  It's similar to a Sips 'n' Strokes type of class... basically, you bring your own wine and paint a canvas with the help of an instructor.  I've done several of these back in Atlanta, but this is the first one I've tried in the Louisville area... it was a blast!  Just what I needed.

What are you thankful for this week? Grab the Thankful Thursday button from the right sidebar and link up your own post below. Be sure to visit the other Thankful Thursday participants and share the love!!

Also linking up with:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

dear diary :: i hate change {or the shoebox theory}

Dear Diary,

Change.  It's been this recurring theme in our lives for quite some time now.  Some big changes... and some small changes.  Some that I've shared about on this blog (here and here)... and some that I have not.  Some exciting changes... and some scary changes.  Some that were expected.... and some, not-so-much.

And just when it seems that the dust is beginning to settle from one change or another, something else... well, changes.

I'm calling it the shoebox theory.  Imagine life in a cute little shoebox... with all of your things just like you want them... everything in its place... all tucked away, safe and sound.  Then someone picks up that shoebox and turns it one way... and then another... shakes it around a bit and then puts it back... upside down.  And just when you thought you had picked up most of the pieces and rearranged your little shoebox back to normal... wouldn't you know it, someone picked up that damn shoebox again.

That's the thing about change... you can never really prepare for it.  Which is probably why I hate it so much.  I prefer to be prepared. 

But it doesn't always work that way.  Our most recent bout with change has left me feeling anything but prepared.  It's as if the entire lid to our shoebox is missing.  Well, shit.  Now what?

And that's when He does it again.  That small gentle reminder.  Trust me.  

Then I hear my sad, pitiful replies... Well, I would if I still had the lid to my shoebox... I would if you would just do ____... I would if you would just give me ____... I would if you just didn't take ____... would, would, would... if, if, if...

Why is my trust so conditional... when God's love is so unconditional?

Welp... maybe God didn't design me to live in a shoebox?  Maybe He was the one that took the lid to my shoebox?  Simply trying to show me that He is offering me so.much.more. than that stupid shoebox will ever be able to provide.  And sure... it will be scary outside the confines of that little shoebox... but the truth is, I am much safer in His hands than I will ever be in that damn shoebox.  But why is it so hard to remember that? 

"The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.  May the name of the Lord be blessed!"
     -Job 1:21

Monday, February 18, 2013

for all the card hoarders out there...

One of my resolutions for February was to actually finish some projects.  My card-hoarding project was first on the list.  A long, long time ago I blogged about my card-hoarding issues and my simple solution.  You can read the original post here.

You see, I have a slight card hoarding problem.  I can't seem to throw away my snail mail... it doesn't matter if it's a thank you card, a birthday card, a graduation announcement, baby announcement, wedding invitation... whatever it is, I keep it.  Told you.  Problems.

So.  What to do about this little problem of mine??  Well, before anyone calls the Hoarders show on me... I figured I would attempt to bring some order to my card collecting obsession.

It's a pretty simple solution.  I just decided to punch a couple of holes in all of my cards and put some rings in the top of them all.  I gathered up all of my materials first: a gigantor hole punch (I use the We R Memory Keepers Crop-a-Dile), some fun tags for the front of your cards, laminating sheets (optional), some rings to corral everything together, and then of course, a shit ton of cards.

I used my awesome vintage-looking number stamp set to stamp the year on the back of some fun die-cuts.  I love the simple look of these.

After I stamped my die-cut tags, I ran them through my laminating machine.  This is probably not necessary, but I think it will make sure everything holds up for years and years of card hoarding... ahem, I mean memory keeping.

After all of my tags were laminated, I trimmed them down and punched holes in each top corner.  I went ahead and stamped 2 tags for each year that I was catching up on.  I learned early on that there is no way I can fit a year's worth of cards on one set of rings.  I told you guys... I have a crap-ton of cards.  Stop judging me. 

My favorite rings are these mesh cable rings from 7gypsies.  They seem to fit the most cards without getting too bulky.

Here's the finished product.  I love the simple tag with the year stamped on it.  And I love that you can see all of the different cards peeking out from behind.

I love that I can flip through the billions of cards like a book.  For the most part, the cards are in chronological order... so it's almost like a little snapshot of our year... birthday cards... anniversary cards... thank you notes... graduation announcements... wedding invitations... I love it.

And like I said... my card hoarding problem is so out of control that we needed 2 sets per year.  Issues people, I know.

My stack for 2013 is pretty small so far, but I'm adding cards to the pile as they come in.  I'll probably take a day to punch holes in them in a month or so.  I love how accomplished this simple project makes me feel.  While yes, my card hoarding issues continue (and show no signs of early recovery)... this little project makes me feel like the most organized hoarder out there;)

What about you?  Do you keep your snail mail?  What do you do with it?  Are you in the card-hoarders-anonymous group too?  

Saturday, February 16, 2013

barrow family {louisville children's photographer}

Meet the Barrow family.  Aka... our old landlords.  When Lance and I first moved to Louisville we lived in the guest house of the Barrow's main home.  We absolutely loved living there and the Barrow family were awesome landlords... but even better neighbors.  A few years ago, I took some photos of their oldest, Hudson, (you can see those here)... who at the time was an only child... Add little Cooper to the mix, and we were sure to have an exciting photo shoot:)  Nothing beats chasing two little guys around for some fun photos!

Here are a few of my faves...







Hands down, my favorite is the last photo... #7.  To me, a great family photo is one that captures the truest form of your family... not the super-posed-stiff-smiled images... those are for the birds.  The pictures that remind you of what life was really like in that moment of time... those are the photos that will make you smile for years to come.  Promise.  

Which one is your favorite?