Sunday, April 13, 2014

Aspire and Dream

Yesterday I shared my love for Ronda Palazzari's monthly One Little Word's. Today I want to share two more layouts, one for January 2014 word #79 Aspire & one for March 2014 word #81 Dream.

For Aspire, I wanted to share how proud I am of my big boys and the amazing people they are becoming. I am the first to admonish them when they make mistakes, but I am also their biggest champion. My mother heard a speaker on American Family Radio speak about raising children and shared some of the wisdom with me. The biggest thing I took away from our conversation is that many parents spend their time trying to raise great children, when in fact parents should be trying to raise their children to be great adults.

That really resonated with me & it is exactly what Jess and I try to do on a daily basis. We want our boys to be able to leave our home and be responsible, Christian young men. I don't always feel like we are accomplishing it, but I am always willing to get up the next day and try it all over again.

Jeremiah 29:11 is a verse that we use often in our house to remind our boys that God has even bigger plans for them than we do & that his plans are more important than any we can make for them or that they can make for themselves. They just have to be willing to be patient and listen to the Lord.

This verse was my jumping off point for my Aspire layout, along with sharing with the boys what I hope they aspire to do in their lives now & in the future. 

For this layout I used the January 2014 Cocoa Daisy Kit- Blueprint along with stamps from Technique Tuesday and some labels from My Mind's Eye. 

My second layout was for the word Dream and I knew immediately that I wanted to scrap pictures of all three boys sleeping. The biggest obstacle for this layout was picking a single picture of each boy to use from the 4,580 sleeping boy images I have saved. That number might be a slight exaggeration, but not by much, because I love catching the innocence of them as they are sleeping. 

There are not enough words to describe how much I love this layout. I am thinking that this one may end up hanging in a shadow box in the house somewhere. Such a calming layout and beautiful pictures of my little boys. Such a brutally, sweet reminder at how quickly time passes. 

For this layout I used the January 2013 Cocoa Daisy Kit- Pemberley, some older Heidi Swapp ghost shape stars covered in Slate and Silver Alcohol Inks, a Technique Tuesday stamp, and some small wood veneer stars from Studio Calico.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Magic & Calm

Hello All,
It's been a while! February and the first part of March are always super busy with all the high school basketball that we watch. We won our State Basketball Championship again this year. It so amazing and a stressful journey to win in back to back years. I feel this journey deserves a post all its own, so I will leave the details to another day with maybe a layout or two :).

Today I want to share a couple of layouts I have made based on Ronda Palazzari's One Little Word. Ronda puts up a new word each month on the fifteenth and I have been playing along here and there for the past few month's. She has the uncanny ability to pick words that touch a cord in me and usually makes me immediately think of a photo and story I want to tell. I can honestly say that many of the words she has picked have led to really heartfelt journaling on my pages. It is amazing how a simple word can pull such emotions from within you, such as this one I did in September 2012 based on her word Unlock.

The two words/layouts I want to share were from December 2013 #78 Magic & from March 2014 #80 Calm.

When I saw the word Magic I knew immediately that I wanted to right about the Magic of the Christmas Season as seen through the eyes of Jude, who had just turned a year old. There is nothing better than watching a young child taking in all the wonder and sparkle of Christmas.

I love this picture of Jude, you can definitely see how magical this Christmas season was for him. These are the moments I treasure and I am so glad I scrapbook them for the boys when the are older. They may not remember these times, but they will have the memories from my thoughts and stories. 

I made this layout using a Page Maps sketch & the February 2013 Cocoa Daisy Kit Double Feature. Calm is so very overrated at our house. The boys are very busy, all the time, and unless they are sleeping or entranced by technology there is always some sort of activity going on. Luckily all three of them get along really well & I usually find them playing altogether or at least playing in the same room. I am also very glad that we have a basement playroom that houses the video game systems, a pool table, and the majority of their toys. It is great to send rowdy, big boys downstairs to play on days that it is too cold or wet to play outside. 

I have two more layouts to share using some of Ronda's wonderful words, so please check back tomorrow to see Aspire and Dream.

Until tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wordless-ish Wednesday

Snow days are very rare in Arkansas, even more rare is a Martin family photo. Thanks to my mom for taking this picture of all 5 of us together.

Twelve things on the Twelfth-- the Love Edition

Last month I posted a "Twelve Things on the Twelfth" list for each one of the five of us. I then simply took the pictures and lists I blogged and made them into a layout using the January 2014 scrapbook kit- "Blueprint" from Cocoa Daisy.  Here is the end result. (Please pardon the less than stellar photos, winter is not a great time to photo layouts.)

I rarely do two page layouts anymore so this layout was nice change for me. It was also came together very easy since the journaling was already complete and all I had to do was print and add it to my layout. 

On to this month's "Twelve Things on the Twelfth" blog post. Since it is February each list will include things that we love right now. I plan to use this month's Cocoa Daisy kit "Color Swatch" to scrap this layout as well & make it a two page layout similar to January's. 

He loves:
  1.  reading the paper everyday. He always reads the sports first.
  2.  basketball this time of year, lots of games, preparing the team for district, regional, and state tournaments.
  3. reading basketball blogs to see what people are saying about our team & other teams throughout the state. It's a big bonus when bloggers post links to games he can watch online of possible opponents in the state tournament.
  4. Sportscenter. I go to bed earlier and when I turn on the TV the next evening it is usually on ESPN from the night before.
  5. watching the boys play basketball, but gets easily frustrated with their playing, the coaching, or the officiating.
  6. cherry cokes from Sonic.
  7. coconut popsicles.
  8. lazy days/evenings in front of a roaring fire.
  9. rocking Jude to sleep.
  10. watching sports with the boys and talking about the games and plays.
  11. visiting with people. He is very social and approachable and enjoys talking with others.
  12. his family more than anything else in the world.

She loves:
  1. reading, mostly middle grade/YA fiction, but trying to get back into reading adult fiction as well. 
  2. her job as a middle grade librarian.
  3. watching her big boys play sports & watching them grow as players from game to game & year to year.
  4. watching Jude try, say, & learn new things.   
  5. the time she has carved out of her schedule each week to blog & scrapbook. The creativity is a stress reliever & very enjoyable.
  6. the fact that she is lightening up and making friends. She tends to be more reserved and family driven, so friendships are few and far between.
  7. heels and boots, but right now her right foot is hurting because of them (stress fracture maybe?).
  8. cooking, but doesn't have a chance to do as much as she'd like to because of the busy schedules.
  9. to cross stitch & has a number of patterns waiting for her.
  10. a clean house, but it is hard to keep up with. Too many mess makers, not enough cleaners!
  11. Pinterest for creative & decorating ideas & Instagram for photo sharing with friends.
  12. her family of crazy guys!

He loves:
  1. acting silly and having an audience to watch his antics.
  2. playing sports & is good at most things he attempts to play.
  3. to play ball outside, even when it is cold.
  4. being a water boy for Dad's ball team because he gets to sit on the bench.
  5. wrestling around on the floor with Jude and letting him jump all over him.
  6. to argue. Not his parents favorite activity.
  7. to read, but prefers a lower level book instead of one that challenges him.
  8. play ball with Ethan, but gets irritated when Ethan won't play by his rules.
  9. snow and is upset we haven't had more snow days this year.
  10. playing games on the Wii, Xbox, and Kindle.
  11. math. It is his favorite subject and he is capable of doing lots of problem-solving in his head.
  12. his family even though his little brothers can irritate him and he thinks his parents aren't fair sometimes. 

 He loves:

  1. to play outside in the leaves.
  2. to irritate others and thrives on watching their reactions. 
  3. to work puzzles, crossword and word finds, and read What do you see, hidden picture books. 
  4. playing ball with Jude.
  5. to read and snuggle up with his Mama.
  6. sneaking into the living room to have his Daddy rock him, even though he knows we know that it is only a ploy to stay up later.
  7. technology.
  8. leave his clothes on his bedroom or the bathroom floor.
  9. show others what a good big brother he is.
  10. to be the water boy on his Dad's team, but his real favorite is being on the court with the girls during the pregame shoot around.
  11. that he is 31 days away from being 8 years old.
  12. his family and is glad he is the middle brother.

He loves:
  1. being the center of attention.
  2. going to ballgames, but is over it all by halftime & lets everyone know he is ready to go.
  3. playing with Carter and Ethan & following them around when they are playing without him.
  4. climbing. This is going to be a problem.
  5. anything round, because in his mind it is a ball.
  6. rocking on the rocking horse that I had as a little girl.
  7. to dance.
  8. taking a bottle at night even though his brothers were not allowed to have bottles at this age. 
  9. flipping through board books and chattering as he does it. Another reader in the making.
  10. throwing almost all the balls out of his ball pit and leaving them out for someone else to pick up.
  11. to eat, almost anything. He also loves to pat his fat belly afterwards.
  12. his family and is happiest when everyone is home with him. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wordless Wednesday


Four out of five Martin's are loving basketball right now. The other Martin loves all the basketball, but needs a nap, a maid, a driver, and a massage. Some days I can't keep up with all the crazy!

Friday, January 31, 2014

What I’ve Read this Month- the January 2014 Edition

As a middle grade/intermediate school librarian, I am constantly reading. I spotted this post over on Stephanie Howell’s blog and it caused me to think about what I read. 

Before I became a librarian I read a lot of adult fiction, but these days I tend to read more of what my student’s (5th and 6th graders) are reading. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE middle grade books, but as I read Stephanie’s post I realized how much I miss adult books.  So this month I challenged myself to read at least one adult book.  Thanks Stephanie, I needed someone to get me back to the adult fiction world! I forgot how much I loved it!

In the past years I have kept track of what I am reading using the Good Reads website. This is a wonderful website that I find very user friendly and full of good reviews of books for all ages. I haven’t always been the best at keeping up with what I am reading, but with Good Reads help I have been making a better effort going into 2014.

This month I have read:



Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo (Just won the Newbery Award, Yay!)

The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale  by Carmen Arga Deedy

39 Clues Series books #2-#9

2. One False Note by Gordon Korman
3. The Sword Thief by Peter Lerangis
4. Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson
5. The Black Circle by Patrick Carman
6. In Too Deep by Jude Watson
7. The Viper’s Nest by Peter Lerangis
8. The Emperor's Code by Gordon Korman
9. Storm Warning by Linda Sue Park

Bear Feels Sick by Karma Wilson

Henry and Mudge: The First Book by Cynthia Rylant

Dear Mrs. Larue by Mark Teague

I also started Touch & Go by Lisa Gardner & planned to finish it, but it just didn't happen.

What I’ve noticed this month about what I’ve read is that..

 1) Once I start a series it is very difficult for me to stop reading it or read anything else until I finish the whole series.  That’s why I get so frustrated when I finish a book in a series and realize the next one has not been published yet… MAKES. ME. CRAZY!!

2) I know I’m not reading enough with the boys. This month Ethan only read me three books, which is not enough for a second grader! Carter reads every night, but not usually to me. He reads every night as part of his reading requirements for his literacy class at school. I began the year having him read to me from his book, but that has dwindled since we are in the middle of basketball season, Jess is gone so much & I spend the majority of my evening cooking/cleaning and maintaining the chaos that is three little boys.

3) I have read a lot more this month than I have in a while. I’m not sure if it is because I am keeping up with it better & holding myself accountable, or if I am just enjoying reading a series… Who knows, but I am really enjoying it. I notice I am spending less time in front of the t.v. at night & more time in the bed reading myself to sleep. I am more rested and happier.  

4) My taste in adult fiction tends to be more of the James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell, Lisa Gardner, Michael Conelly variety, full of murders, mysteries, detectives, and lawyers.  I also tend to gravitate towards the books that are part of a series, usually with a main character  you see in all the books. Alex Cross… Kay Scarpetta… Harry Bosch… D.D. Warren.  Because of this fascination with characters I now have a long list of adult books I want to read or reread. I’m not usually a re-reader, but I know I’ve missed or forgotten some things about my favorite characters and I need to go back and make myself familiar with them again.

4) I need to actually review the books I’m reading using the Good Reads site, but I’m a little timid to do so. I know that sounds crazy, but as a librarian I feel like I should review a book using all kinds of good literary terms. In reality, I tend to go with my gut feeling about a book when I read it and that makes it harder for me to write a review. 

Thinking about books for February, these are on my current to read list:

Middle Grade:

The Rest of the 39 clues series
The Boy on the Wooden Box
Prisoner B-3087
The Real Boy
Breaking Stalin's Nose
Half Brother

I also want to read as many of the books on this list as I can before School Library Journal Battle of the Books begins. This is something I will share with my students and I want to have read as many as I can to promote and share them with the students.

D.D. Warren series by Lisa Gardner  

For My Own Boys:
To encourage their own interests in reading, to just listen to Carter read from his assigned book, to sit and let Jude just flip through his board books and attempt to read books to him from his book shelf, it he will sit and let me.  I did recently run across an email from Scholastic that has lists of books that are good for students depending on what grade they are in. I’ve marked the ones we have or have access to and Ethan and I are reading through some of them as well.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wordless-ish Wednesday

Jude is very interested in climbing. Last week I turned around to find him sitting in his toy box. Evidently he could not reach the ball he wanted, so he climbed in and made himself comfortable. Climbers...Ughhh! Hide the breakables!