Thursday, September 23, 2010

Surprise Package

We received a very special package yesterday from our son and daughter-in-law to announce that they are going to hopefully make us Grandparents in May of next year.  I opened the package and cried when I saw it.  Stephanie has had to go through some fertility treatments this summer in hopes that they would be able to conceive and it looks like it worked.  For as long as I've known her, she's told us all that this is her goal in become a Mom.  I had the same goal and it was the most important thing I wanted to accomplish with my life.  I cried for her because it is a dream coming true for her and I cried for my son because he's going to be an awesome Daddy.  I am so very happy for them and will continue to pray that the pregnancy goes smoothly and our new baby will be healthy.  I'm still smiling today as I anticipate becoming a grandma.  I've been thinking about Grandma names because I really want something cooler than just grandma.  I'm thinking of Nana or MeMe or Nonnie.  I think I'm liking Nana the best though.  It seems to flow with my name.  If Russ decides to follow the Barnhart men tradition of "pop pop" then that will sound nice together....Nana and PopPop.  I'm ordering the "What to Expect When Expecting" book for Steph today and hope it will be as valuable to her as it was to me.  My prayers will be constant in the next 9 months for this little one to join our family in May.  I hope I can be a cool and fun nana for all my grandkids.  So happy for them and looking forward to being a Nana too.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Class Musings

Online classes are one of the ways that I am surviving the empty nest adjustments.  Currently I'm enrolled in four and am challenging myself to keep up with them as much as possible.  Basically at this point I am semi- keeping up with two of them and the other two I'm saving for later.  The first two are classes I've done before.  Shimelle's "learn something new everyday" has been quite a fun class when I've taken the time to do the assignments.  I have one book from several years ago done but I thought I would try to do it again this year.  So far it's not happening so I'm still hopeful for catching up later.  The second is Jessica Sprague's "Now we're Rockin" class which I also took several years ago.  She gave us the opportunity to sign up for the revised class for a lower rate so I did.  I've started my first layout but am finding it hard to find solid time to sit and work on it so far so it, too, is sitting in my to do later list.  The two NEW classes I'm taking that I'm attempting to stay up with are "Book of Stories" by Karen Grunberg and "Me-The Abridged Version" by Cathy Zielske.  In Karen's class I'm making a list of stories that I'd like to record or do pages on eventually.  She's given us several exercises to get us thinking so that we will have a huge list to work with once we start the organizing stage of the class.  I'm really excited about this class because I'm constantly dreaming up other ideas to do pages on and I write them down here and there but they are all mixed in various places from notebooks to pieces of paper, to index cards to receipts.  It will be nice to finally get them organized into one place.  In Cathy's class we are starting to write our entries for our pages.  I've decided to change the plan on her class just a bit.  Her class focuses on doing a book about ourselves and since I have several of those ongoing already, I decided to change it to a book of WE and focus on Russ and I together.  I'm hoping I can adapt all the writing to include both of us and at the end of the project I will have a good overview of "us".  Now the challenging thing is to find quiet time to just sit and write.  I have to be in a certain frame of mind to write well and once I'm there, I can let the words flow to the page.  If I try to write when I'm not in that mode, I struggle more.  So I'm trying to take a little bit of writing time each day to keep caught up.  I'm soooo enjoying this class.  I love a class where I feel like I'm inspired to do the project and Cathy is definitely good at doing that.  She has put in a lot of time on her class from the videos to the handouts to the time she spends on the message boards.  It's obvious why she IS so successful at what she does.  She puts out quality classes and work.  She inspires me.  I'm not sure if I'll finish everything by the end of these classes (they are six weeks) but I will certainly have made a dent in the homework and will challenge myself to finish within a reasonable time afterwards.  To end, I will share a few more of my digital layouts from some of my Jessica Sprague classes.  I've got enough catching up to do on her classes to keep me busy all winter long.  I think that will definitely be one of my goals for winter.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

What's Really Important?

 I enjoy listening to the Paperclipping Roundtable podcasts when I go on my daily walks.  It always feels like I'm right there in the room discussing my favorite topic with them.  One particular discussion has made me stop to think.  A lady wrote in saying that her husband and kids have no interest in her scrapbooks and so she scrapbooks for herself without the intention of them ever being preserved for future generations.  That made me sad to hear but it also got me thinking.  Which of my layouts will be the important ones to my family.  Will they fight over who gets my books in a good way or a bad way (like who gets stuck with them)  I think I probably changed my focus about five or so years ago with my scrapping.  I no longer feel a need to scrap every picture and every event.  I think it was Rebecca Sower's "Life's Little Treasures" book that started to change my thinking and then Stacy Julian with "The Big Picture" and "Photo Freedom", and I then started to evaluate "What's really important?"  I know how to scrapbook artsy and perfectly designed scrapbooks.  I keep up with the latest trends of papers and tools.  I read the blogs and the message boards and educate myself on all things scrapbook related, but when you get right down to it?  Will they ever look at my layouts and say..."I love the embellishments she used on this" or "That's last year's Basic Grey line."  They look at them now and have no clue if I have a visual triangle or odd numbers of elements on the page.  What they care about is the memory.  The pictures and the story are what are important in the big scheme of things.  So lately, I've been taking a new approach and not trying to see how many volumes of beautiful pages I can create about our lives because, let's face it, would I like to have to store 40+ scrapbooks from my Mom plus my own pictures and memories?  Probably not.  What would mean more to me than anything is to have a few books that tell me about her life and the pictures and stories from our lives with her that meant the most.  I would love to hear about my grandparents and what they loved and how they spent their days and how much things cost for them in comparison to what we pay now.  It's really kind of freeing to let go of the guilt of how far behind I am with scrapping every story.  So I'm taking Stacy's approach from Photo Freedom and have rearranged my layouts into themes of "What we Love to Do",  People we love,  Places We Go, etc etc.  I have an album for each kid with all the highlights from their lives and an album or two on Russ and I and things we do together.  My focus at this point is on my heritage book so my kids can identify who my aunts and uncles and grandparents were when they receive the older pictures.  I'm also focused on my "me at 50" album and plan to do another one in ten years and will continue to work on my overall Book of Me and tell my stories from childhood that my kids won't know unless I record them.  I will always have little projects to keep me busy but I no longer feel the need to see how many pages I can kick out in a year.  I'm just taking my time, enjoying my hobby and keeping my focus on what really matters.