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11 posts from August 2012

August 30, 2012

Project Life, Week Thirty-Four

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OBSERVATIONS: I want to go back and live last week. Can I say that? Last week we had so many things going for it. Deliciously cool weather, fun, and a few days with no deadlines or laundry.

Summer is truly winding down (though you'd never know it by the hellatiously hot weather we've had this week.) Still, school starts next Tuesday, and so it will be back to business as usual for the kids (though not so usual for Cole, who begins middle school and a whole new chapter of his life.)

As I plow through work this week (lots of cool stuff on the horizon, class-wise this fall), slowing down to do my Project Life pages really does remind me to be grateful and as present as I possibly can be.

Here are my pages from the past week:

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Aside from being up at our family cabin for Sunday and Monday, the other highlight of the week was The Walking Dead night at the Saint Paul Saints' baseball park. I wrote a separate journal card about Cole and his preparations for the big night.

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Sigh. I hope he never loses that chutzpah.

Here's my journal card for the week:

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And now it's back to work for me. Deadlines are looming.

SUPPLIES:

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Project Life, created by Becky Higgins, is a flexible, easy-to-use, highly customizable way to save your memories in a fun, stress-free way. Learn more about getting started with Project Life by clicking here.

August 24, 2012

Project Life, Week Thirty-Three

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OBSERVATIONS: Week Thirty-Three? I've been doing Project Life for Thirty-Three consecutive weeks? Get out! I know there are many of you out there who are considering jumping in for 2013 and I say, by all means do! Especially considering Becky's annoucement of new kits, new designs (Olive and Seafoam) and new themes, including Baby themes! I'm leaning towards using Seafoam as my base kit for next year. 

All I know is that this has been my favorite project undertaking as a whole. I've recorded so much of our everyday life in this thing. And that makes me really happy. 

Shall we?

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This week, I did a lot dropping text onto photos. Because I print my photos at home, it's easy to do this on the fly and get the results I'm looking for.

I should mention that my HP Photosmart 8750 is being really temperamental these days when it comes to printing on 4 x 6 photo paper. As in, it's not. So I've been printing two 4 x 6 photos on one sheet of 8.5 x 11 and trimming them. While it's frustrating, because I've got this great stash of 4 x 6 paper, it does allow me to get exactly what I've designed to fit onto that 4 x 6 image. Why? Because by placing a 4 x 6 photo into a larger document, the document doesn't have to accommodate for the borderless printing. Ergo, nothing gets cut off. 

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That's how I print my week in review cards every week. I drag all the layers from the digital file onto a new 8.5 x 11 document, then add some of my other things—card files and such—and print them all out on one sheet. (I did a video on this process. Watch it here.)

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We've definitely been having fun with the whole McKayla is not impressed meme as well.

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And another week is in the album. 

SUPPLIES:

Project Life, created by Becky Higgins, is a flexible, easy-to-use, highly customizable way to save your memories in a fun, stress-free way. Learn more about getting started with Project Life by clicking here.

August 23, 2012

Listening to… Cloud Cult

While I work to try and knock out my Project Life post for this week, I thought I'd share a video from an album that's been in non-stop rotatation at my house. The album is Light Chasers by Cloud Cult.

Cloud Cult are a Minnesota band who've been around since 1995. I've been vaguely familiar with them, but never really claimed myself to be a fan until Light Chasers came out. It came out in 2010, and Dan got hooked on it much sooner than I did. In fact, when he'd play it, I'd conveniently leave the room because I'll be honest with you: I didn't get it.

You know how sometimes a vocalist's style doesn't hit you right? Or the music just doesn't suck you in at first listen? That's been my story with this band.

Until about two months ago when I finally heard it.

I'm quite certain it's due in part to the therapy I've been involved in for the past few years. I've been working on changing so many parts of what makes me me. This process isn't easy and it's definitely not fun. If there is one thing I am learning, anyone who says they love to grow and change but isn't simulataneously experiencing a great deal of pain… well, maybe they aren't growing and changing as much as they'd like to. That's definitely been my experience.

But this process for me is definitely needed.

Light Chasers feels like a therapy session. Some of the song lyrics have ripped my heart right out of my chest, and then tossed it back in there, haphazardly and ill-placed, but they've given yet another perspective on my own inadequacies. Songs like this one:

 

I am a wrecking ball / I've run the guillotine /  I blame everything just to keep my hands clean.

But there are moments of such beauty and joy on the record as well. 

This song represents one of the epic, joyous moments. 

 

And we were running / for a reason / left our cubicles in little flaming piles
We were running / for a reason / I need to feel something different for just a little while. 

And this one:

 

Love your mother / yeah she's a good one / She'll build you armor; keep you warm as a hen / The stars may fall and the rains may pour / but I will love you evermore / cuz you were born.

Just wanted to share some music that's moving me right now.

Music is awesome.

August 22, 2012

Just keep paddling

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I am feeling overwhelmed right now in my work life.

Now let me be clear:  this ain't no woe-is-me, I-can't-do-this kind of overwhelmed. This is simply having too many deadlines in too short of a time span and wishing like hell that I could have spread this work out over the summer.

But I can't. I have to git er done, as they say.

I used to like to curl up in a ball and feel sorry for myself when major deadlines loomed, or when it seemed I'd bitten off more than I could chew.

I don't like that old behavior much at all.

Today, I'm plodding through. Doing what needs to be done and knowing there is an end in sight.

Afterall, that's what a deadline is for.

It's funny, because we took a few days off to go up and relax up at our family's cabin over the weekend. Very much needed for both me and Dan even though we knew it'd put us both back this week.

Part of me wants to be back in that kayak right about now.

And part of me knows it's just life.

What do you do when the tasks at hand threaten to overwhelm?

Here's one thing I do: read blog comments wherein people tell me how they like to cope with stress.

Amen.

 

August 16, 2012

Project Life, Week Thirty-Two

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OBSERVATIONS: Week Thirty Two was all about two things: LeakyCon 2012 in Chicago, and new Project Life plastics. Most of last week was spent in the glorious city of Chicago where the kids attended this amazing four-day event for the fandom community of Harry Potter, teen lit, Nerdfighters and Starkids, just to name a few things you may or may not be familiar with.

We've had a pretty tight schedule this year, and planning any sort of vacation has been tricky from both a time and financial standpoint. Some years you've got the time and money, and some years you don't. But we were determined to get away for at least one weekend this year, and when the kids pitched the idea, we thought, "Why  not?"

I didn't take as many photos as one would think. Cole provided me with as many photos as I took, and you'll see that reflected in the shots this week. It was really fun to use some of the new Project Life page protectors (see my supplies links below.) Let's take a look at the pages.

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We spent one night in Madison, Wisconsin, on our way to Chi Town. I love Madison. Such a cool downtown area. 

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And now for the extra plastics.

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I love how they all layer into the spread. I pulled them out to show you what they look like.

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Yes, Glee fans, that is Darren Criss in the top center photo. Read more about that here.

These pages from both the Small Variety Packs 1 and 2. (Note: there is a defect in one of the page protectors in Variety Pack 1. It has been discounted for now, and new pages will be coming soon!)

If you look at the photo that says "COOL," that is me hanging with the graphic designers of all the Harry Potter film print materials. Think Daily Prophet or the Marauder's Map… that's what these two created. Talk about a dream job for print designers. You can learn more about their amazing work at their website or visit their newly launched Printorium site to buy amazing artwork culled from the movies.

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I really love having the 5 x 7 size available, among others, just to highlight those favorite snapshots. 

Here's the journaling recap for the week.

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And that is all I wrote for Week Thirty-Two.

SUPPLIES:

Project Life, created by Becky Higgins, is a flexible, easy-to-use, highly customizable way to save your memories in a fun, stress-free way. Learn more about getting started with Project Life by clicking here.

August 14, 2012

My Favorite Photo Bomb

Last week, we went to Chicago for a getaway. Specifically, we went so the kids could attend LeakyCon, a four-day conference dedicated to all things Harry Potter, StarKids, Nerdfighters and Teen Lit. There were over 4,000-plus attendees. It was like a CKU on steroids. Times ten. On Meth. And while I plan to share more images from our trip, I had to share one shot in particular.

Glee fans know Darren Criss who plays Blaine on the series, but you may not know that he got his start with StarKids and by writing and starring in A Very Potter Musical (which I totally plan to watch some day). He was in town to make an appearance with StarKids, and Cole managed to snag a shot of him as he was moving through the lobby.

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And who is that in just the right open space between Darren and fellow StarKid Joe Moses?

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Yeah. That'd be my old man. 

Never let it be said he doesn't know where the action is.

However, not everyone is going to be impressed.

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August 08, 2012

Project Life, Week Thirty-One

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OBSERVATIONS: This week is the week of Coleman. It would make sense. He turned 13 on the 30th. His last day of elementary school coincided with his birthday. That, and he had some fun times at the ball park with the Saint Paul Saints, including a special 20-plus year season ticket holder meet the players picnic. (Granted, Cole has only been around for 13 of those 20 seasons; Dan picks up the slack on the rest.)

Aidan hardly showed up in any photos. Maybe it's because she's been working 40 hours a week at her nanny job and she's just not here as much. I have a hunch she'll work her way back in soon enough.

Here are the pages for the week:

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One thing that struck me this week was on Sunday morning, realizing that we now have kids that sleep until you wake them up. I know some of you out there are thinking, "Whaaaaat? What is THAT?" 

That, my friends, is the passing of time.

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Sigh. At least Cole still loves his Legos.

This week also features the annual Farm Party at my inlaws, held every August in Southern Minnesota. Each year my sisters-in-law and me try to get a foursome shot. We look pretty good here I'd say.

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And this photo reminds me to raid Cole's media cards every now and then. He had this one tucked away and it might have never seen the light of day were it not for my snooping.

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Note to self and others: raid your children's cameras. You never know what treasures you'll find!

Here's the weekly recap:

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I'm really looking forward to putting together my post for next week, because I get to play with the new plastics from Amazon.com for Project Life.

Be sure to check back here tomorrow for a sweet Project Life giveaway related to said awesome new plastics.

And that is all I wrote for Week Thirty-One.

SUPPLIES:

Project Life, created by Becky Higgins, is a flexible, easy-to-use, highly customizable way to save your memories in a fun, stress-free way. Learn more about getting started with Project Life by clicking here.

August 06, 2012

The Three Little Bears

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At the table in the kitchen, there were three bowls of porridge. Goldilocks was hungry. She tasted the porridge from the first bowl.

"This porridge is too hot!" she exclaimed.

So, she tasted the porridge from the second bowl.

"This porridge is too cold," she said

So, she tasted the last bowl of porridge.

"Ahhh, this porridge is just right," she said happily and she ate it all up.

If you're a human, you're probably familiar with this classic tale. The whole idea of one being too something, another being too something, and the third one being just right.

As I created this little photo display, I couldn't help thinking of Goldilocks and the idea of just right.

Granted, what is just right for me?

That svelt 141 pound shot might seem like the obvious choice. Of course that would be just right! Who doesn't want to be the fittest version of themselves?

After 2 years and 8 months of Moving More and Eating Well, I find myself quite literally splitting the difference between chubby and thin.

And here's a secret: that hasn't exactly been my goal. Still, I can't help but have some observations.

1. Even with a 40-pound swing, my butt will never be flat. It sticks out. It always has. Granted, many a man (okay, specifically Dan Zielske) likes a baby with a little back. I can deal with this one.

2. I can almost feel how hungry I was in October 2010 just by looking at that photo.

3. I was sucking in my stomach in January 2010 and you would not have known that had I not just told you.

4. I have a much better sports bra than when I started.

5. I have made changes in my life that far exceed simply meeting the requirements of fitting into a pair of size 8 jeans.

6. Even after nearly three years, I haven't thrown the towel in on trying to make the best choices for me, my life and my body.

Even though the weight gain might point to the contrary.

As many of you know, I lead a monthly workshop at Big Picture Classes called Move More, Eat Well. I was toying with the idea of not doing it again for 2013, mostly for fear of being the big old loser who apparently stopped losing weight. Who wants to take a class with someone like that? 

But I realized that was just my fear talking; the fear that gives me the permission to throw in the towel; the fear that looks an awful like like a child who isn't willing to step up and do what is needed; the fear that tells me 'give it UP, already. You know you can't do this."

But I'm losing patience for that voice these days. 

I'm losing patience for the so-called inner critic. I'm trying to make more room for reality to move into my life.

Yes. I'm chubbier than I want to be. Yes, I know how to make the changes that are both needed and desired. No, I'm not ever going to be a tiny little thing.

But I sure as hell am not done trying to live a healthier life, one that isn't a slave to my whims and cravings.

I'm still plugging away.

How are you doing on your journey to better health and fitness? All stories welcome and encouraged.

August 03, 2012

Project Life, Week Thirty

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OBSERVATIONS: Three big things happened last week—actually, make that four—the Olympics, Cole graduating from 6th grade, Aidan getting her ears pierced for a second time and Aidan buying a new MacBook Pro with her hard-earned nannying money. I realized that most of my images this week are multiples from the same events. I didn't take a variety of photos last week. Nope. Just a very focused and select few. Shall we take a peek?

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Cole's 13th birthday party featured a Super Hero kickball game, which was nothing if not totally awesome. I should mention the temperature hovered around 87, and yet there he was, fully decked out in black. That young man knows the meaning of commitment to an idea.

I took all sorts of shots of Aidan getting her computer. It's a big deal, considering she paid for half of it with her summer job earnings. I'm lucky that Aidan likes her photo taken. She had no problem with me lugging my big DSLR into the store and snapping some shots. 

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Here's the recap for the week:

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And my favorite photo of the week:

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Might just have to blow that one up. 

And that is all I wrote for Week Thirty. I have to go now. Greco Roman wrestling is on, baby!

SUPPLIES:

Project Life, created by Becky Higgins, is a flexible, easy-to-use, highly customizable way to save your memories in a fun, stress-free way. Learn more about getting started with Project Life by clicking here.

August 02, 2012

In the spirit of things

Share in the Glory from Cathy Zielske on Vimeo.

If you love the Olympics, leave a comment today. Who knew beach volleyball could be that good?