Monday, February 28, 2011

Cloudy days

Good morning!  Today is gray, rainy with mixes of ice and is forecasted to be all day.  Right after I post this, I am going to make my second pot of coffee....that's my treat to myself on days like today and I plan to thoroughly enjoy it.  

Wanted to let you know that I have a coupon code for Blog2Print.  I get the impression that they are given out infrequently, so if you have been putting off making your blog book, now might be a good time... 
Save 15% when you use code: readysetb2p
Don't miss out!
This code is valid through March 9th.

Here's some sunshine on a cloudy day...enjoy your warm drink today!

From now on if you listen obediently to the commandments that I am commanding you today, love God, your God, and serve him with everything you have within you, he'll take charge of sending the rain at the right time, both autumn and spring rains, so that you'll be able to harvest your grain, your grapes, your olives.
Dueteronomy 11:13

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Project 365, Week 9

We had a good week and went from freezing cold to not TOO cold.  You have to have lots of measurements of cold when you live here. :)  Its so fun to see what the weather is in other places and what people think of it.  People had such varying reactions to Amanda playing outside barefoot in the snow, based on where they are located geographically.  Yes, its all relative, for sure.

Here are some of the words to a song I was liking today.  Today IS all we've got now. 

This is your life and today is all you've got now
And today is all you'll ever have
Don't close your eyes
Don't close your eyes

This is your life
Are you who you want to be
This is your life
Are you who you want to be
This is your life
Is it everything you've dreamed it would be
When the world was younger
and you had everything to lose


February 20
The girls were playing in Daddy's coat. :)

 We've been working through the junior version of Anne of Green Gables...just trying to start them out right. :)
 February 21
Amanda put her "workout clothes" on and did a routine for us in the kitchen.
 February 22
We predict these two will cause quite a bit of trouble together in the coming years.
 Even though she's usually scruffed up, Amanda has a deep beauty to her.   Love this girl.
My blog book arrived early.  Here's the review, in case you missed it.
February 23
Had a fun lunch meeting with a couple other Christian photographers.  With those two things in common, we were instant friends.
 February 24
Warm enough, so we went out for some fresh air.

 February 25
Now that Shaun's pace has slowed down a bit, he is digging into some projects around here.  He ought to be able to accomplish quite a bit with all the help he has.
 February 26
Amanda and Aiden working on a craft project together at the library.  She got her first one done and said, Mom, may I please have another one?  This is for Aiden.  Later in the car we were talking about it and she said, Oh!  I should have made one for the teacher!  She has such a generous heart and is always thinking about other people....after she was done with her project she struck up conversations with several different Chinese-speaking moms.  She's a special one, this girl.

How was your week?  Linking up with Sara today...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fresh Air

Yesterday the weather was warm-ish (kinda) so I took the kids out for some fresh air.  I was itching to use my camera so I grabbed that too.

Our driveway has been more ice than pavement since December and Aiden's not too sure about it.  He knows there is ice, he's just not sure where it is, so he walks very gingerly everywhere and really likes to hold someone's hand.  His big sister is happy to oblige and she thinks its "so cute".
There's not a whole lot to do outside because there is wet snow everywhere, so we hung out in the driveway and sidewalk.

 I'm posting these of Amanda especially for my sister Amy who thinks its hilarious when people sneeze. I have to admit, these make me laugh out long as you are not too dignified, maybe they'll make you smile, too. :)

“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Matthew 22:37-39

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Blog Book

Its quite possible I say it too often, but I'm so thankful for the gift that blogging has been to me.  It serves so many purposes, but my first priority with it has always been to journal and record our lives where we are at right now.   Well before I began blogging, it was important to me to record our lives as the years slip by.  When the children came along I stepped up my efforts considerably, knowing that this time would be gone in an instant.  For some people, its not as much of a priority, which is fine, but for me it is essential.  Maybe its because my memory is not as keen as I'd like.

At any rate, the process of recording everything has changed through the years...Here are some examples

2004.  The first year I documented by month.  Somehow that is/was a system that just made sense to me.  As you can see, nothing too fancy...

I never got very accomplished at the scrapbooking thing and lost patience with it very easily.  The materials, the mess, the time.

Then at the end, I would tuck in a write-up of the year, using my calendar/planner, my memory and the scattered journal entries I had.  It worked.

Then in 2007, I decided to stop trying to pretend I was a scrapbooker and I went digital,  My love for 
Shutterfly books was born.  
Again, a spread for each month.  It worked.

And THEN, in the spring of 2008, I began blogging.  At the end of the year, I used Blurb to create a book from my blog.  Its pretty takes all your blog posts and "slurps" them into their system.  I was so incredibly excited when my book arrived and I had 155 pages of pictures and stories of our every day lives documented and bound into a hardcover book.

 It worked.

And THEN in 2009 I started doing Project 365 (as you are all aware...thanks so much for your support, btw...I love doing it, but it really is harder than it looks, so its nice to occasionally hear that others are enjoying it too) and with P365, I found the Blurb format just did not work how I was hoping it would.  I got discouraged and so 2010 came and went without my 2009 book getting printed.  And so, it got thrown on the 2011 resolution list to figure it out, bite the bullet and get it done.

When I revisited it, I realized I would basically have to format every single page...all 388.  I took a deep breath, made the cross sign and started in, knowing, in the end, it would be totally worth it, but still wondering where the 30? 40? hours would come from.  At one point I thought there has GOT to be a better way...its not like I'm the only one who has a blog and would like to keep it for posterity OR that they are a new invention.

So, I asked my friend Google what he thought and I found Blog2Print.  In roughly 3 minutes (yes, minutes, not days!!) it spit out a book for me.   Really.  I had quite a few cover choices, had the option to add a title page and a couple other decisions and that was it.  My 2009 had to be split into two books because there were too many pages for one book.  I was a little skeptical of the quality, so I only ordered one.  It arrived today, ahead of schedule and I'm very happy with it!  This is January-July, 266 pages:

 I really like the way it handles my Project 365 posts.  Its not perfect, works.

 Side by side...
I am a believer in Blog2Print now, at least for the way my blog is set up.  Again, its not perfect, but for doing NO formatting, I think its great.  If anyone is looking for a business venture, I think there is a big hole in the market for turning blogs into books (and a high demand, I would assume).

If recording your life is important to you, I would encourage you to find a way that works for you.  It doesn't need to be complicated or fancy or 500 pages, just find something that works.  I am very thankful for my 25 pages 2007 book.  I know its not for everyone, and thats ok!  But if it is a priority to you, in the words of Nike, Just Do It!  :)

I would love to hear what method works for you?  Are you an accomplished old-school scrapbooker (I know several who are aMAZing)?  Do you print photos and add them to an album (or stick them in a shoebox)?  Do you keep a hand-written journal or typed on the computer?  Have you gone digital?  Which blog book company do you use?  Please share!  I know my system has a lot of room for improvement.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Aiden is Nineteen Months

Every month it is impossible to me that Aiden is another month older but he just keeps right on growing and learning and getting ever more charming.

He says lots and lots of words and makes an attempt to repeat what we say, but his most common words are
Daddy, Mommy (often Mom), A-yee, and E...oh yes, and Choch, Choch
Bash (bath)

He has been into hats beginning this month.  Every time we walk out the door, he gets excited to see Daddy's hats hung up.  At, at!  Daddy at!!  He has a Boston knit one that he loves to wear.

He has the BEST giggle.

Likes to make us laugh by being goofy

So, so picky!  He turns his nose up at things he's never tried or will choose to not eat something that he's eaten in the past.  He eats no meat, no vegetables, except to lick the carrot that he is dipping in hummus.  Very picky about fruit and can't have peanut butter.  Protein is an issue!  He does eat cereal with milk by himself now, often for more than one meal a day.

He adores his sisters and thankfully they are happy to include him....he'll go into Avery's room and say A-ye, eyes.  A-ye, eyes.  And she'll put down whatever she is doing, get out her make-up kit and put eyeshadow on him.  Makes me tear up. :)

Talk about precious.  This is him blowing to kisses to Daddy as he is on his way to work...

He is loved and adored...guess you can kind of see that though. :)