January 19, 2014

1,000 words and/or picture(book)

If I could go back, I'd do them ALL like I've done the last two- "picture wrapped" covers instead of dust jackets...

Tabitha turned one. Im woefully behind in book-writing. My phone got so overloaded with pictures that I couldn't download the new operating system....and then my computer, ummm yeah basically MAXED OUT because of all the pictures stored on its harddrive.  All these things came together to give me my New Year's Goal ( resolutions are so 2005).

This year I'm staying more on top of my pictures and memory capturing.  This of course is much harder right now because not only do I need to stay on top of "January" but I also need to some how make up for the waaaay behindness that the last few years have garnered.

So my goal consists of several parts, which I'll cover in a couple of posts:
Photo storage
Photo printing.

And since I just  finished up "2012: Part two" photo book yesterday, I'll start with my photobooks.  Now that I've gotten 2012 well and truly documented ( almost 500 pictures, and 110 pages in just the last six months?! Whaaaaat?!? )  That will then leave me with 4 books* to make this year, not to mention the book for this actual year! So, yeah, luckily they aren't TOO hard to make!

(My favorite is the  "Standard Landscape" 10x8 in/24x20cm)

I find that making "photo books" is way "cleaner" and actually more cost affective than printing out pictures and doing either photo albums ( hey, last decade called they want your albums back!) OOOOOOR doing a scrap book. Scrapbooking is for crafty people and people that do not have 1 year olds who eat paper. SO photobooks it is! Also, lets say the house burns down. Every last one of my photobooks is saved in my account for easy re-ordering. That would literally be a life saver!!

If you're curious, I use the company Blurb.com   ( and hey, if you decide to use Blurb because of my recommendation, though they did not ask me to, do me a solid and click on this link! If you order a book then we'll BOTH get $20 off!! WOO!!). They are really easy to use and work well with both iphotos, flickr, photobucket and several other photo sights to make your book/photo making easier. They have already set up layouts you can use, or if your a design nazi like me, you can EASILY make your own page layouts and incorporate those too. To be honest this is why I like Blurb better than say Snapfish or Shutterfly. Bottomline, I hate the thought of me having a photobook that would even REMOTELY resemble someone else's. But they have totally different pictures, Abigail.  I didn't say it was at all logical!!
I also like Blurb because they will frequently have rockin Groupon deals and so I'll make a book and wait to buy it till a time when I have a Groupon to cash in. Simple.
My last, recent fav thing, which other companies may be doing now too- is with the purchase of my book I can buy a digital copy for just 5 bucks! This means we've got kindle versions of all our photo albums! Want to walk down memory lane while out with your ipad? Easy peasy!

So there you have it! I'm SO excited to get my next book in the mail next week! EEEK!!! Ransom loves these books too and will sit for hours looking at pictures of himself. It's so great having a hard "in your hands" copy to enjoy together! And since the books are so easy to re-order I don't worry too much about grimy hands or accidental tears. Our books are to be enjoyed!

*I still need to make a photo book of the year that Brett was deployed. I've procrastinated because in my mind it's "two years" worth of pictures! But after putting some thought into it, I think I'm now just going to go month by month and have "Brett's January/Abigail's January" then "Brett's February/Abigail's February"....it'll hopefully be fun for us and the kids to see just how DIFFERENT our lives were!

I also have Tabitha's First Year book which I will be making just like I did Ransom's. Instead of just pictures of the year it will also include her birthstory plus a letter that I wrote to here each month that first year.    

And since there are a lot of other pictures from 2013 that aren't just Tabitha oriented, I can't seem to figure out a way to just not have a 2013 book as well. And, let's be honest, there will probably be TWO books for 2013. Because I take far too many picture and I have no ability to cut any pictures, THEY ARE ALL IMPORTANT GOSH DARN IT!

THEN if I get all that done, I've been really itching to make a photobook of my years at the University of Otago, or just a book of my time in New Zealand period! My kids have no IDEA about that part of my life, and I doubt they'll care for a few more years yet, but hopefully ONE day they'll enjoy a look into a different culture and the beautiful country and people that was so influential in my life...Plus, it'll be 10 years since I left this coming December (!!!!!!!) and that seems like a fun way to mark the occasion!

So, there you have it! My photobook goals for the year! We'll see how much I get done! Ha. ha. ha.

January 15, 2014

love language

It's coming up on February the month of "red things". I've never been super huge on valentine's day, but I'm not gonna lie. I do love me some RED. So all those V-day decorations that are out in Target right now? Be still my heart.

That being said,  its the 15th of the month and I've already hit the max on my monthly "Abigail" budget so I'm trying to stay strong and not buy a super cute heart garland.

How'd you spend your Abigail money so quickly, you ask? Weeeeellllllll....it had to do with the out of control toy situation in our living room and some much needed cheap bookcases. Did you know that you can buy a small( will probably fall on you and you will die if you are in an earthquake) bookcase for under $20?!?! Wal-Mart, Target, Ikea. They've all got them...and while I'd made a vow to never buy "cheap furniture again"...I'm going to make an exception because of all the shelving needs we've got in our house. Plus I don't think there are any active fault lines in San Antonio...that I know of.

Friends, I'm not gonna lie. Shelving is one of my love languages. That and calendars. If Brett wants to show me some serious lovin' and get me all warm and fuzzy he just has to pull out his work calendar and give me the "what to expect in the coming weeks/months" rundown and I'm basically at his mercy. I love me some organization.

Incidentally I take full and complete responsibility for Ransom's multiple/thousands of time a day question of "What are we going to do next?" questions. He gets it straight from this here DNA.

So, when we put together two new bookcases, one in our living area/kids play area and one in the master bedroom ( for like the 50 MILLION new books Brett has gotten from his brother in the last few months), I was positively gitty with happiness.
And you know what?

Now that all the toys and our house, once again have a specific spot all their own and not just one giant over flowing toy bin. More toys are being played with, the clutter is nonexistent after the end of the day clean up and I think we are all happier.

"It's beauty" as Ransom would say.

So,  don't be afraid to buy some bookcases, get your toys organized and have your kids put them all away at the end of EVER SINGLE DAY.  Beginning and ending the day clean and organized is also one of my love languages.... But just in case you're confused...or house looks like this all the time in between:

Because that's life. 

January 12, 2014

Prayers that get underlined.

So, I told you all about my prayer card during my last post and tonight I will share one of my prayers with you.

Smack dab in the middle of my card I have written "A friend for Ransom" it is circled. For artistic reasons. But tonight, I wish I had UNDERLINED IT IN BOLD.

This prayer has been on the table since we moved to San Antonio almost a year ago ( I can't believe it'll be a year in March!!), and while some days it has seemed more pressing than others ( like when Ransom talks about the little boy he met at the park for DAYS after being there or when he stands back and watches a large group of kids at the sandbox)...but having him attend school twice a week has helped, and having almost monthly visits to our home town where he has cousins to play with has also helped. But it has stayed on my mind. I can not let it go.

Yesterday we were outside riding bikes when Ransom noticed a little girl on a scooter down the street...and he HIGH TAILS IT DOWN THE BLOCK, yelling "Let's go meet the other children!"

And so, I swept up Tabitha, barefoot and sippy cup in hand and we trekked down the street looking like total loonies. But we met a very friendly little girl named "Abby" who was 9 and her brother Caleb who was almost 6 and in the 20 minutes I stood talking to their mom, Ransom got in trouble for riding his bike further than he is allowed and got invited to watch Abby's new bedroom TV. ( um. no). He also got to play "baseball" with them in the front yard which was almost impossible to tear him away from when I remembered that we had literally left dinner in the middle of preparation to meet our new neighbors. And so, while I was thinking how difficult it is that all the children we currently know are so much older than he is.....it was established in Ransom's mind that we would be playing baseball with them the very next day!! FOR EVER AND ALWAYS
He talked about it all evening, asking me when we could go over to their house again.
I told him that we could walk down to visit soon...

So, today came. Ransom's first thought was about playing baseball with his new friends. We took a morning walk to see if they were around. No luck. It was cloudy and raining anyway....I promised him we'd go "see if they were home" after his nap.

Well as you can imagine after his nap his FIRST WORDS were: "Do you think our friends are awake too?!"
He then sat with Tabitha's baby monitor waiting for her to wake so we could go.
Now, honestly, Ransom gets excited about just about MOST THINGS. Going to the store? He's excited. Going for a walk? He's excited. Going to the dentist? He's excited. He's like a labrador puppy. So really I wasn't paying too much attention to his excitement until he gathered up all his baseball gear.
His hat.
His glove.
His baseball bat.


I started to prepare him for disappointment.

"If our friends aren't home, we'll play baseball together, ok?!"

But the damage was done. He could not hear me through his expectations.

So you can imagine the fallout when our neighbors were actually gone.

And you will hopefully not fault me that I dropped everything and piled Tabitha and Ransom into the car to drive to a park. ANY PARK. At that point I didn't care. I figured God would at least give us SOMEONE who likes to attend parks in the evening on a beautiful 70 degree Sunday night....SURELY GOD WOULD DO THAT!!!

Annnnnnnd the car wouldn't start.

So, dear friends, here we are....later in the evening, my son was pretty easily soothed with Toy Story 2 ( he rarely gets to watch movies, score.) and pasta for dinner. We ended the night playing "bad guys" with his drill and screw driver. And now I lie here in bed, asking God for a friend.
I guess I need to pray that I  will make a friend, because let's be honest, at 3 years old....its the mom's who are making the play dates. I need a friend with a little boy who knows all about obeying their parents ( we don't need bad habits just quite yet), who likes to play cars and super heros and firetrucks and who doesn't mind that pants are optional.

 I'm realizing as my little dude gets older that some things are harder than I thought they'd be. Toy Story 2 and pasta did not ease my heart the same way it did his. I hurt for his little heart and I pray that we both find friends soon.

The positive here is that God knows my prayers. And He knows how long I've been praying for this. He also has perfect timing. So I look forward to updating my blog about this topic when we have a 3 year old little friend to play baseball with.