Monday, July 29, 2013

Scrapbooking Disney

It's one of my favorite things to scrapbook.  In fact, Disneyland pictures were the first photos that I ever scrapbooked.  The first idea book I ever bought was The Big Idea Book of Disney Memories.  I have so many albums full of the pages of the trips we've taken.  They are Roslyn's very favorite scrapbooks to look through.

I belong to an amazing group online, disneyscrappers, that keeps me inspired with daily doses of Disney themed creativity, challenges and chatter.  I absolutely love stoping by there each day to browse the gallery and read and post on the boards.  If I am in a Disney scrapping rut, I can always count on a visit there to inspire me again.

I recently finished the cover of the album I am using for our latest trips memories.  I am trying something different and using the Project Life approach for this album.  Drew keeps meticulous notes of everything we do each day in the park and this will allow us to document our days as we experienced them.

I also spent some time looking through my personal archives of layouts about Disney tonight and had so much fun... seeing each of them brought back the memories and feelings of those trips and made me miss it and want to go back.  Homesick for one of my favorite places on earth, even though I was there only 6 days ago!

Here are some of the favorites that I came across...

Thanks for strolling through my memory lane of Disney layouts... now I want to go make more NOW.  It's only 1:25 in the morning... who needs sleep, right? ;)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

According to plan... yet not yet ready to stand.

Ask anyone who has ever had a child and they will tell you.  From the minute that second line appears on the pregnancy test, your life has new element added to it.  That of developmental stages, progress and milestones.  Each one meticulously researched, excitedly checked off and each early step forward spoken of with pride.  And in those moments where things aren't reflecting that chart to perfection or beyond are simply hushed.  And worse, often dismissed or looked at with disdain or questioning.

"Isn't she walking yet?" -the stranger you see at the grocery store or the park as you hold your 25 pound child, sweat pouring and arms shaking. 
"Oh! Just you wait!  She'll be walking by this time next year!" -the well meaning friend who thinks they are giving you hope or assurance when you've told them again,  that no, she's not walking yet. 
"Just you wait- the second child does EVERYTHING faster!" -every person you encounter during your second pregnancy. 
"This time next month- before you know it, she'll be running around everywhere and you will wish for these days again!" -the frazzled friend with the baby wonder who walks at 11 months and just wishes their baby would sit still so they can pee.

We've all seen them.  We've read and memorized them so that we can know... that question that we live with every day especially in those earliest weeks, months and year;

Is my baby okay? Are they where they are SUPPOSED to be?

And according to this plan, and every other I have ever seen.  No.  My sweet, beautiful and amazing little joy Vivi is not.  And we've been through the emotional wringer with it.

Starting at her one year checkup, we suddenly went from the parents with the baby who met or exceeded all expectations and milestones to suddenly there was a problem.  She was behind.  We were getting referred to Early Intervention for her physical delays.

Something about that 12 month mark left no wiggle room for individual development and the adages of "some babies just don't crawl- we don't really consider it a developmental milestone" to the implication of "She's not crawling at all?  This could be a problem!"

So we started the process.  We had preliminary evaluations where we told that she was not only behind in the gross motor skills we were referred to, but also in fine motor skills and social skills.  This was determined after a half hour of a stranger sitting with Vivi telling and asking her to do things.  Vivi was confused, Vivi was scared and she didn't understand why daddy was being silent and strong and mama kept blinking back the tears from her eyes.

Then the next evaluation.  Thankfully one that was actually with a physical therapist and a speech therapist.  They took more time, they reassured us.  They allowed us to answer more than a yes or no.  And thankfully, at the end of that evaluation, we had a clearer vision of where our Vivi was truly at where she was going.  She was declared right where she "should be" with social and fine motor skills, but that she was being recommended for services for her gross motor skills.

We scheduled the first physical therapy appointment.

And suddenly, it was all real.  My perfect, beautiful, musical, joyful and sweet baby girl needed physical therapy.  And I cried out within myself... "What did I do wrong?" Did I baby her too much?  Did I pick her up too fast and not push her hard enough?  Did I not nourish her enough when I was pregnant?  Is this because I didn't breast feed?  Is this because I was too stressed and sick in the earliest stages of pregnancy? Did I not put her with other kids enough?

The questions, the self shame and the despair lingered for days and honestly seemed endless.  I struggled daily to not pick up the phone and cancel the appointments because I wanted to pick her up, never let her go and just hide.  Because to me, even if I had to carry her around at 10, 15 or 20 years old, she is perfection.

But I kept thinking about my baby girl.  And our goals for her.  We want her to be happy.  We want her to know above all else in this world that she is always loved and we will walk to the ends of the earth to help her thrive and grow. So we kept moving forward.  Because that is simply what the Hall family does.  Keep moving forward.

We quietly started physical therapy in May with the support and love of my father, my mother and step-father in law and our friend (our family) Kristin by our side both physically emotionally. We were scared, we were hopeful and we were determined.  Determined to do whatever it takes for Vivi to be the happiest she can be.

Fast forward a little over two months...

Vivi has gone from scooting backwards like a crawfish to try to get where she wants and crying in frustration to being able to full-on crawl with her body off of the floor.

Vivi has gone from shaking fear at the idea of bearing weight on her legs to willfully doing so while exclaiming "Yay!"

And Vivi has gone from sitting on the floor in despair that something she wanted was above her on the coffee table to pulling herself up on to her knees to get what she wants and smiling with pride and accomplishment every single time.

On the 6th of August she will be 19 months old.  According the chart above, she should be walking alone.

What I know right now, is that on the 6th of August, she will at least be standing on her knees, crawling around and generally so happy.  And I am so, so proud of her.  She's worked hard.  She's been through a lot.

She's not ready to stand yet, but in my mind, she's soaring.  Keep moving forward baby girl.  We got this.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Grief is a Mistress...

One of the many things that I have learned in the past months is how very much like a mistress grief is. Something that I wish to delve into unabashedly but I try to keep locked away out of view from everyone around me, hoping and praying that my family, my friends, and the stranger I pass by in the street do not know that I spend my every solitary moment lying with my mistress, my grief. 

"Why do you come here, when you know I've got troubles enough? Why do you call me, when you know I can't answer the phone? And make me lie when I don't want to, And make someone else some kind of an unknowing fool? You make me stay when I should not? If you're so strong or is all the weakness in me." 

Honestly, there is not enough time in each day to spend a moment with my grief mistress. I'm a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. I spend my days changing diapers, picking up, getting snacks, helping the girls, managing the finances, helping with various creative endeavors of family and friends... It fills each and everyday to the point where I give little conscious thought to grieving when I am in it. 

But at night, when the house is quiet; my love and my treasures asleep- in she sneaks for her time with me. Time to delve into the depths of my secretive reality. I'm still grieving, grief has become my mistress, always there no matter how far I push away from her. She comes calling. Even when I have no intention of time for her, she keeps coming in. And the next morning, like a guilty lover I say that I am okay. I'm doing good even. Everything's fine.

Grief is natural and necessary. But still I am ashamed and hesitant to experience it. Afraid of what will happen if I delve into it fully. So I flirt with it. I play around with it... And then clean up the evidence again before morning comes and people will notice. I'm too weak and scared to fully admit and feel my grief. I'm too weak to tell her to leave or come back when I feel strong enough to be honest about her. 

"Feeling guilty, Worried, waking from a tormented sleep 'Cause this old love, has me bound, But this new love cuts deep. If I choose now, I lose out; One of you has to fall... And I need you, and you..."
(Quotes are from the Joan Armatrading song 'The Weakness In Me') 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sharing some Scrapbook Layouts! :)

I'm really excited to be able to say that in the last week I have found the time and motivation to work on some scrapbook pages.  I've been working on purging and organizing my supplies more than actually creating with them the last month or so.  I do have to say that while I still have a ways to go, I am finding it much easier to actually create with less stuff, and what I have more organized!

Oh, To Have a Sister!
This page came together very easily using the Echo Park Sister mini collection.  I added some cardstock, the wood grain patterned paper, vintage sheet music from a Girl Scout song book, lace trim, resin flowers, washii tape, sequins and thickers.

You're the Love of my Life & I'll Never Leave Your Side
I used Glitz papers, garland trim and letter stickers on this one.  I created the title using my cameo.  After I cut it out and placed it on contrasting paper, I misted over it with Studio Calico's Shine mist to give it shimmer and tone down the super bright white.  I also added Studio Calico wood veneer letters and an arrow and enamel dots, along with washii tape, wood veneer and a die cut from Freckled Fawn.  The title of this layout are lyrics from the song "The Gambler" by Fun.

The Things You SayAnd last but not least, this layout was created using a cit from Citrus Twist Kits.  I added a Heidi Swapp folder, and some Studio Calico and Pink Paislee wood veneer letters.  I highlighted some of Vivi's most used words on the speech bubbles and included a full list in the glassine envelope on the page.

I will happily be having more scrapbooking time this weekend as Saturday is the day for the monthly crop my friend Aimee hosts.  I am excited to spend the full day scrapbooking with friends.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, July 8, 2013

they're my fireworks

I had the chance to take the girls to Sharlot Hall museum the other day and snap some quick pictures of them in their 4th of July best.

They're growing up so fast, right before my very eyes... and into the most amazing little people I could ever hope they would be.

I am the luckiest.

Long time gone.

I haven't technically blogged since September 27th.  I've added in two pieces of writing that I did to keep my writing in one place, but I haven't sat down and opened blogger to create a blog entry since September 27th, 2012.

Today is July 7th, 2013.

My life is divided into two sections now.  Before October 9th, 2012 and after.

Grief is scary.  It changes you.  It scars you.  It scares you.  In so many ways, I don't know who I am anymore, and I miss desperately who I was.

It's hard to wrap your mind around the fact that you can wake up one morning one person, and in a split second, your world can shatter, change and never be the same again.  That a part of you, who you are and who you will and can be can die with the person you lose.  Your life becomes intertwined forever with pain and mourning and desperate longing.

And it doesn't get better.  I'd like to sing a triumphant song of it gets better, but that's a lie.  It never gets better.  You just get used to it.  It becomes so much a part of who you are that it is simply your new normal.

This has lead in me, a tendency to shut down.  Be quiet.  Be still.  Because when I open my mind, my mouth or my heart to speak... it's inevitably a broken record of missing my mother, missing who I was, missing everything we would have had and experienced and knowing that I can't have her back.  She is gone.  And that is never going to change.  And while I can honor my own grief internally, I sit down to write and know that at some point, people just don't want to hear it anymore.  And that's okay.  I understand that.  Who hops around the internet hoping to read about someones grief, pain and loss?

Life does go on.  Joy is still had.  Moments of laughter, love and peace happen.  But at the end of the day, my heart is heavy for what isn't and will never be again.

I miss my mom.
My heart is broken.
I live in grief.

It's all a part of who I am; good, bad and ugly.