2 Timid

Supplies : Paper by My Minds Eye; Transparency by Creative Imaginations; Thickers, Flair Button, and Big Brads by American Crafts;

This was the second layout I did for the sketch, flipping it horizontally. These are last year pics of Audrey. It still shocks me each day how big she's getting. With Caitlyn it just seemed so regular, I was expecting her to get bigger, but I guess since Audrey is my 'baby' I still have a hard time with her growing taller and becoming more like her big sister. She's in Cait's clothes from last year and it was so bittersweet that she fit in some of them perfectly. I think it's interesting that with Caitlyn I enjoy each stage yet am excited to see how she grows into a little girl. Even now I get excited for each new birthday for Caitlyn and can't wait to see what talents she developes, what kinds of clothes she'll pick out, books she'll want to read, etc. With Audrey I wish more I could stop time and keep her as my small snuggly little tot. The other day she snuck out and fell asleep in the hall. When I picked her up I actually thought she was Caitlyn and it wasn't until I got to Caitie's bed that I realized it was Audrey. It made me think about how similar they are and that I need to let her spread her wings too. I encourage so much independence with Caitlyn. Everything with her is 'you can do it' or at the very least 'keep trying'. With Audrey I instantly do things for her instead of letting her try them for herself and I need to let her be more independent just like I did with Cait. Anyway, that was my own little insightful mommy moment this last week, lol. Enjoy the layout and have a great weekend!


Inspired Blueprints Guest Designer!

Supplies : Paper by Cosmo Cricket, Sassafras, and Scenic Route; Flowers from Forest Friends Glitter Acetate Shapes by Colorbok; Thickers by American Crafts; Big Brads in Holiday Red by CTMH;

I'm a guest designer for Inspired Blueprints this week for sketch #22 which is so exciting for me since IB is one of my favorite sketch sites! When they asked me last month I jumped at the chance though while waiting for the sketch I would be using to be emailed I started getting really nervous. I kept thinking 'what if they give me one of those sketches that I have a hard time with?' and 'what if I don't have any mojo?' lol. Luckily the sketch I got was totally awesome and I actually had a hard time narrowing down which pictures to use since I had so many that would have worked. I even made 2 layouts (almost did a third and might still do later, lol). Here's the link to the blog - Inspired Blueprints. I've also had their blinkie on my side bar for a while :D Go on and visit, it's a very fun sketch site and the designers have so many different styles so you're bound to be inspired!

Speaking of exciting, these are actually current photos! I finally printed out some of my 2009 pictures, lol. I kept thinking as soon as I get further along with the 2008 photos I'll start printing the 2009 ones and that is definitely not happening. Since my card was getting a bit crowded I succumbed to printing all the ones up to the point of these pictures, which are our bubble shoot last month. I took a ton, mostly of Caitlyn since she was being the more willing model. Audrey kept giggling and running off, lol, but I did manage to get a couple nice shots of her too. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the layout and new fun pics ^_~ Have a fabulous Friday!!


Lil Stinker

Supplies : Sultry paper and Urban Pairie glazed brad by Basic Grey; CS from LSS; Journal prompt by MME; Thickers and Brads by American Crafts; Skunk from Forest Friends glitter acetate shapes by Colorbok

Even though I made this layout after the Hang Out one, I had to save it for last since it's my favorite! It uses the sultry papers from Basic Grey which I have adored ever since I got them and have had them sitting pretty in my stash, lol. Plus these are some just darling pics of Audrey. I also happen to have a soft spot for layouts that have a distinct row of photos, usually in trios. The quartet was something I really had to work with as I didn't want to cut my pics quite as much as the sketch suggested, but I knew I wanted to use the very focal pictures of Audrey making faces. The skunk inspired the title, which is totally fitting since I'm always calling her my little stinker. Tomorrow I can share my surprise with you :D It's been a good thing that I was so busy during April because that took all of my focus and I didn't need to force down any of those 'I need to share these now' cravings while having to wait until I could post, lol. Have a great Thursday and enjoy the layout!


Bubbly War

Supplies : Paper by Making Memories, MME, Creative Imaginations; Flowers and CS by CTMH; Mushroom Glitter Acetate by Colorbok; Puffy Thickers by American Crafts (also used for flower centers)

Sketch #20 was a fun but very challenging sketch to work with. The great thing though is that it got me to use one of the pretty circle papers I've bought. I have quite a few of these pretty shaped papers that I rarely use because I'm not sure what to do with them, lol. These photos are so much fun and guess what, they are actually recent!! Most of the pages I've been scrapping are from last year spring and summer, but these pictures are from just last month! They aren't the best ones that I got as I was experimenting with my very limited and wimpy photography skills, but they were some of the more fun. It was ball for me to watch Cait and Audrey blow bubbles at each other like crazy while giggling like little maniacs, lol. The colors were picked to coordinate with Audrey's dress, which I'm so sad that she's growing out of! More layouts to come as well as a surprise on the 15th :D Have a happy Wednesday!


Lil' Bug

Supplies : Paper by Scenic Route, October Afternoon, and Sassyfrass; Transparency by Making Memories; Journaling element and circle by MME; Thickers and acrylic flowers by American Crafts; Buttons by PTI; Forest Friends Glitter Acetate Shapes by Colorbok

This was so not my usual style but I love how fun it turned out. I wanted to try and embrace that collage type look with the #19 sketch from Inspired Blueprints and I took on a fresh and funky (at least for me :D) approach to my choice of papers and patterns. I love the mix of bold flowers and small prints, plus putting it all on the grid paper made it feel more like play time after school to me, which is exactly when this picture was taken. Some very popping embellies and this page is one of those that instantly makes me smile, both because the picture is so darling as well as the page. There's something about participating in every sketch, much like a weekly challenge. It gets me using products I might not use together, trying styles I normally would shy away from, and above all it gets me to be more brave. After all, art is more than just pleasing the eye. It's a creative adventure! Thanks for stopping by and have a terrific Tuesday!



Supplies : Paper by Basic Grey; Jouranling paper by Creative Imaginations; CS and brads by CTMH; Flowers by Prima; Thickers Letter Stickers by American Crafts; Forest Friends Acetate Glitter Shapes by Colorbok

Here is a layout I did a little about Cait's therapy. It's about how even though we didn't know Caitlyn had this type of sensory difficulty, we were already doing a lot of play type things that qualify as the 'heavy work' she needs to keep herself regulated. I was really amazed at some of the findings from the occupational therapist, there was a lot of new information to take in and it was both fascinating to me and a little frightening to think of what Caitie is having to deal with. This is of her last year playing at the playground. Read on for more details on Cait's SPD if you're interested.

I thought we were going in just to figure out what to do with Cait's Auditory Processing difficulties, but the therapist did a bunch of different tests and found out that Caitie also has proprioceptive dysfunction. Proprioceptive sense refers to the sensory input and feedback that tells us about movement and body position. It's receptors are located within our muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, and connective tissues. It is one of the "deep senses" and could be considered the "position sense". Sensory Processing Disorders commonly go along side with Autism Spectrum Disorders so at this point it doesn't change her diagnosis of Pervasive Development Disorder, it is just another facet to it.

During the testing, the therapist pointed out to me the signs of how Caitlyn couldn't tell where he body was in space relative to the equipment she was working on. He had me also watch Audrey to see the difference which was slight enough in Caitlyn that I wouldn't be able to just tell on my own that there was any problem, but a little more obvious when I knew what I was looking for and able to compare with Audrey who is at the normal level for her age. The good thing though is that Caitlyn adapts and learns well. Once her body puts in memory where her feet, hands, head, and body should be in a certain place - say on a rock wall or on the playground - she adapts quickly and can better 'sense' where she needs to be and do the motor planning needed to accomplish an activity.

She also is sensory craving, her proprioceptive sense needs more input than normal to help it regulate. As I understood it, below our brain is the brain stem and that is were our proprioceptive and vestibular (balance, movement speed, relation to gravity) functions are run. Above that in the brain is where we analyze and organize our senses. All the input from our senses goes through the brainstem then up through to the brain. Our brainstem acts as a buffer, filtering out unneeded sense information. If we were to take in all our senses at full we would be in overload all the time. Think about when you are stressed and noises seem louder, lights are brighter - that's a type of sensory overload. Caitlyn's proprioceptive sense needs more activity to help it regulate the other senses, I view it as that her filter is too thin and she goes into overload quickly, more often, and perhaps more dynamically because of this. She needs that 'heavy work' to help thicken her filter so that her body can regulate her senses on a more normal level.

What does playing on the playground have to do with this? Well that along with many other regular play activities are actually types of heavy work. I found out that even having Cait carry some of the groceries inside are heavy work and the really neat thing is that there are plenty of activities that we already do every day that fit into that therapy as well. The biggest challenge is school, where they can't just let Cait run off to the playground or push around a laundry basket of clothes when she starts getting close to being in sensory overload. It's a challenge that we are more equipped to address now that we know she has sensory difficulties and one that the school seems very apt to help with. While that doesn't make 'heavy work' light work for us or the teachers, it certainly helps ease the heavy weight of not knowing what's going on with her off our shoulders.


2 Seconds

Supplies : Paper and Sticker Elements by Pebbles Inc.; journaling paper by Collage Press; Thickers Letters and Flair Button by American Crafts

For Inspired Blueprints sketch #16 I made this layout. Instead of using the one big picture I used two smaller ones of Cait. The journaling is about how she can go from sweetheart to super sassy in less than 2 seconds! In fact I think the pictures were taken about that far a part time wise as well, lol. These pebbles papers are so darling but I noticed I'm still trying to find my groove with them. You know how some papers you just know how you want to use them and others you love but aren't sure what do with them yet? That's where I'm at with these still. Here I am again loving everything but am not sure about the base paper, lol.

Our poor car is okay. The fuel pump went out and I'm really glad that it happened while it was parked and in a safe place. Apparently we were extremely lucky it didn't set the car on fire while we were driving. The mechanic said the way it went out usually sets engines on fire some parts in the pump were completely melted even, which is really scary since I started up the car about 4 more times after it went out before even calling Paul and he started it a couple times after that to try and figure out what was wrong. God really watched out for us. I didn't even have my cell with me. I remember thinking, I'm just picking up Cait, I'll be right back. I'm so thankful everything is okay and we were safe. Plus the tab isn't too horrible, lol. The only bad part is no one has our pump in town so we won't have the car back until Sat, Mon at the latest. Thanks for all the support, it's so wonderful to know others care about what's going on ^_~ and have a happy Thursday!


New Friends

Supplies : Paper, Elements, and Crochet Flowers by My Minds Eye; Brads and CS by CTMH; Remarks letter stickers by American Crafts

This was my page for sketch #15. The paper did pretty much all the talking. I've adored this paper from the moment I got it. Using it on a layout has been difficult though since I wanted a layout that would let the paper shine, but not take away so much from the photos either. This sketch provided both and the page came together in less than 10 minutes! Yay for speedy scrapping! The journaling in the little square tag is blank for now. I still need to find out which friend of my Sis-in-law's this is, lol. I think it's B but even if I'm right I'm not sure how she spells her name since there are a few ways I've seen! Hopefully we'll know what's up with the car by this afternoon. I'm actually doing great even though the car is in the shop, lol. I should probably be freaking since our 'rough' months when Paul is out of school are coming up and we don't have a big chunk of our income. I save up for this so that we are okay, but a big problem with the car could wipe out what I have stored. I guess even if God won't give me financial security he'll give me peace of mind at least, lol. Thanks for visiting and have a happy Wednesday!


Hang Out

Sorry for being such an absent blogger this past month, April has been crazy for us here! Inspired Blueprints was having a sketch bonanza for April so there were 8 sketches released! I got 2 of them done before things got hectic and here's the first one. The girls on our neighbor's swing last year. It's been Caitlyn and Audrey's hang out spot since she got it a couple years ago. They love to just sit there swinging or pretend it's a hammock or eat snacks outside. Our neighbor is such a sweetheart that she lets us use it so much. It's even been home to me as I read outside while the girls play in the yard. I used the #13 sketch for this one. I'm still not sure I'm loving the brown base but everything else I adore. Uses some old MME papers and accents, Colorbok clear sparkle butterflys, and American Crafts thickers and flair button. If you want to know what's been happening, read on.

We've had a lot of doctors apppointments between Paul and Caitlyn, mostly Caitlyn this past month, one of them we had to travel for over 300 miles away (that one was for Paul). We found out Caitie also has SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) and she had to have some occupational therapy in addition to her speech for a couple weeks. We were also getting her registered for Kindergarten which was a nightmare since we needed to opt out of the bilingual school here and then they changed the boundaries for the families that opt out the week of our preschool transition meeting. So that was a roller coaster ride all on it's on, not including the traumatizing well-child check-up, lol.

We also found out that Paul having all these relapses is fairly normal for people with R/R MS. The neurologist said if he was doing well before the relapses he has a good chance of doing well after they stop. He also said Paul could have relapses like this for a couple years at a time, but the good news is that the meds that he's on help make his stable time longer and can help reduce the time he spends having relapses. With his first episode it was 3 years before he reached a stable level and he only got 4 stable years before this last year of relapses hit, but he hadn't been able to stay on any of the medications. Patients in the clinical trials for the same genre of meds usually have close to 10 stable years inbetween flare ups. So now that he's on a medication that works for him we're hoping that he'll recover sooner from this stint of flare ups and have more stable years after :D

Just typing it makes it seem like this past month wasn't too bad but I think it's always that way in retrospect! I felt like everyday there was new drama and I am so not used to that, lol. Audrey has testing this Thursday for delays and Caitie's kindergarten open house is on Thursday as well which wouldn't be a problem exept that our car broke down today! We don't know what's wrong yet. I went to pick up Cait from school and then when we got in to go home it started then died. Luckily the insurance is picking up the tow tab, but until we know what's up we won't know what else they might cover for us. Caitie and I are fine. She was so funny trying to make sense of why we couldn't get the car to work and told her teacher that our car was stopped when she came out into the lobby to see what was up, lol. Anyway, thanks for stopping by! Hopefully, we'll be getting some lazy summer days soon so that I can recharge after all this and maybe create more, lol.