Sunday, December 12, 2010

Baby Journal - Page One

Considering the fact that the baby isn't born yet, there isn't too much that we can scrapbook yet. But we can at least do a little background work for the little guy. We have decided to dedicate  two pages to this subject, leaving lots of growing room for the future. Drum-roll please......

Page One (click for full size)

So what we've got here is the first (title page) of the journal. Using the color laser printer at work and our Hamermill Color Laser paper (acid-free, 32 weight, 94 brightness), we printed some wedding pictures, a nice little heart, and a picture of one of the ultrasound pictures from October. I could certainly tell that the printer at work is built for printing graphs and charts because the colors in the photos wasn't quite right and overall I was slightly disappointed. However, the paper weight was nice and strong and considering the cost and the fact that I could print any size that I want, the flexibility is worth it. Plus, if we ever decide in the future to switch out the pictures, we've using double-sided acid-free tape so that should be do-able.

On the left-hand side is a strip that we cut from one of our full-size pages of visually-textured $0.99 paper. I think the colors go well with the album cover and we added two billowing cutouts from construction paper for the "dedication" passages written by Erika and I. We linked everything together with simple lines from our acid-free (get the theme here?) pen and wrote our wedding dates in the middle of the heart. Erika added some aging effects to the construction paper using our set of color pencils. We added one our our stickers to the upper-left corner of the ultrasound picture just to add some color (and so Erika could break out the sticker packets and put them to use ;o)

J. Riley, craft blogger (as Summer eloquently put it)... 

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Joys of Journals journals. I don't really know how to make one, but Erika
actually has (and uses) the creative side of the brain and made a
shopping list for us on Saturday. We splurged for the Kolo scrapbook,
one that is worthy of gracing shelves of some SoHo boutique
scrapbooking store, but of the up-most quality. I mean, this thing
needs to last several lifetimes, right? And then there were the clear
plastic sleeves, the extra pages, the tape, the acid-free pen, etc.
etc. The idea of buying a $29 journal at Barnes and Noble was sounding
better and better every minute.

And then off to the paper store. We had to have the baby stickers,
right? And the animal pictures. And the lettering stickers. And the
cute patterned sheets to decorate and border the pages. I was not in a
good mood when the pile of sticker packages were getting rung up and I
saw $5 per package. Luckily, Erika likes the clearance stuff as much
as I do and we did find some deals towards the bottom of the pile.

The biggest problem was when we got home and actually opened the
packages and looked at the mess we were creating. Where the hell do we
start??? First, we need to come up with a list of "facts" and
information that we want to put in the book. We decided that a title
page wasn't really an option (considering the cost of page real
estate) and we'd start with a little background. Extended family,
wedding pictures and hearts (add acid-free color laser printing paper
to the list), and memos to the baby from mom and dad (add color
pencils and construction paper to the list). Naturally, it needs a
cute border so we came up with a stinjenius way to not have to buy a
designer exacto knife and god-knows-what accessory to cut paper in
straight lines: a box cutting knife (from my urban tool-kit), a ruler
with a metal edge (thanks PWC), a flattened cardboard box (thanks
Amazon), and two pairs of hands. It works much better than trying to
cut straight lines with a pair of scissors, though it remains to be
seen if we have all of our appendages by the end of the project....

J. Riley, maybe I'll consider making a guide for this project on the
ol' blog...

Friday, December 03, 2010

Circles of Life

I'm hoping that this post will help me fall off the wagon when it comes to not writing, and with the events recently I think it's time!  The last two weeks have been pretty bi-polar around here. The phrase circle of life is very cliche (thanks, Lion King), but it really has hit me like a capoeira roundhouse recently.

Two weeks ago today, I attended the first funeral visitation in my life. I've been pretty lucky up to this point in dealing with the ends of life, i.e. I have not had to deal with it! My co-worker's wife passed away after about five years of battling lung and brain cancer, and although I didn't ever have the chance to meet her, just attending the visitation was fairly traumatic to me. I was confronted with feelings that hadn't really hit me before, but I put on a brave face and got through the visitation unscathed. But I felt like I had totally disrespected the experience by trying to be wooden with my emotions and dwelled on it for the rest of the evening, trying to understand the pain and loneliness that my coworker would be going through, knowing that they had no children and by his stories in the past how much he had loved her. I had a really hard time with it all night and actually lost quite a lot of sleep over it. I attended the funeral mass the next morning and felt like I was able to connect a lot more to my emotions and, thankfully, that awarded me with a sense of closure that was missing the day before. It made me think a lot about my relationship with my wife and how lucky I am to have someone that I can talk to and experience life with, although she was out of the country for the past month!

Fast forward just two days later, and the point hit home when I was told that my own grandmother had passed away after years of battling her cancer while waiting for Erika at the airport. I don't know if it was better or worse that I had gone through so much in the previous few days, but I definitely felt farther away from my family than I had for a long time. I yearned to be back in California and since I had moved to New York I knew that this day would come, especially recently as hospice had been coming to her house to let her go painlessly and peacefully. No matter how prepared you think you are for this event, and knowing that it's going to happen soon, knowing that you won't be able to have a conversation about their life with them again is hard, obviously. I definitely feel like I missed out on being there at the end, but I hope to find some closure for this event at Christmas time when I can be with my family and visit my grandma for the last time. I won't forget her voice and my memory of her will always be of her healthy years when she swing danced with me on the family ranch so many years ago!

As chapters end, so chapters begin. After six weeks of talking to my in utero "daughter" and wife over Skype, we found out that "she" was actually a he. If the ultrasound technician can't really tell the gender of your child, isn't it better that they say "we don't know yet" rather than "we think it's a girl, but we can't guarantee it yet"? It's going to take a while for me to come around to him being around in the belly, but like the doctor said, of course I'm happy it's a boy :o) . It's fun to think about all of the permutations that our child could have, but of course I assume that he will have olive skin, be handsome (i.e. look more like his mother), blue eyes, and thick blonde hair, but I have a feeling that I'm going to be his biggest fan even if he looks like a little cholito from South America :o).

We're in fully baby prep-mode around here and are beginning to think about baby journals. We looked at some at Barnes & Noble but they just seem to artificial and lack the personal touch, so we are thinking about going the creative route with making our own. Having done some research, I think it's going to be a lot of work, but if I'm going to be documenting it on paper and in pictures, I think I can at least do it online via my blog as well! Maybe I need a new blog :-$??? We'll see about that. In any case, if anyone has experience with scrapbooking baby journals, by all means let me know!  

In other news, there is a lot going on with our friends. Alan and Andrea just had baby boy number two!  Melissa and Jonathan have begun planning their wedding for next summer - in Aruba! Priya and Manny are engaged and are planning their wedding for next summer - in Jamaica (rumors)! Yinety and David are engaged and I can only assume that they are planning their wedding for next summer as well - in the Dominican Republic! Thanks a lot folks, couldn't you at least space your weddings out a year, or are we going to have to move down to the Caribbean for the summer? Not to mention Sean and Roberta's potential "wedding" in Italy - next summer. When else??

Season's greetings to everyone, stay in touch!

J. Riley, send in those baby journal ideas all of you Martha Stewarts out there!