Project Life Feb26-March 3

This week’s Project Life had a lot going on since we visited the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.  I decided on using page protector G, A and an 8 1/2×11 to get everything in.  I used some papers, stickers, washi tape, and ephemra that I had in my stash.  I also used some stamps for decorations.  It took me about 2 hours to get this whole week completed.  I really like how it turned out.  I can definitely tell that I am getting better at this type of scrapbooking.  My style has evolved from my first layout the first week of January.

Rodeo Queen

Down here in the south, and anywhere else that is rich with the rodeo culture, there is this little right of passage for children called Muttin’ Bustin.  Basically a child between the ages of 3-7 can hang on to the back of a sheep while it runs to the other side of a rodeo arena.  Whoever hangs on the longest wins.  It’s just too cute and most kids enjoy it and come back year after year to ride the sheep until they are either too heavy or too old.  When that happens, if they loved it enough, they go into bronco or bull riding and for the girls barrel racing.

I love watching the little kids hanging on with all of their might.  It’s one of my favorite things to do when the rodeos start coming to town.  I never imagined though that Catherine would one day want to join in on the action.  She’s fearless.  And as soon as she saw the sheep she begged to do it.  And as soon as she started begging, I started thinking over 1000 excuses I could tell my Mom on why we let her ride a sheep.  My Mom is a fan of watching but not so much on letting her granddaughter participate.  Totally understandable, but I couldn’t let the opportunity pass us up.  We explained to her what she would need to do, and that the sheep might run fast, and that she could possibly fall off, however we did brief her extensively on how to hold on tight.

She was pretty excited to get all gussied up with a helmet and a special leather jacket with the number 8.  And I thought she looked so stinking cute lined up with all of the other boys and girls.

She was number 6 in line out of 18 kids and the rides were pretty short.  Before we knew it she was standing in the holding pen waiting to be placed on her sheep.  She kept practicing her sheep squeeze which was just too funny.  Finally, she was up!  The cowboys placed her on the sheep, she grabbed on for dear life and the sheep ran off.  She made it almost all the way to the other side.  In fact she did so well that she got 3rd place!  She was thrilled.

I have to admit that she cried a wee, little bit because the sheep fell on her but she was good to go and said she loved it.  We couldn’t believe how well she did!  Nah…she is Catherine!  We knew that fearless little bugger would do awesome!

After all the kids had their turn, the got in line and marched out to the middle of the arena to get their awards.  I just loved seeing all of the little girls out there!  I love a rough and tumble, get your hands dirty kind of a girl.

She couldn’t be more proud of her ribbon and t-shirt!  In fact she brought it to school the next day.  Her preschool teacher wasn’t too sure on whether she was telling the truth about riding the sheep but when I confirmed the story she got a good laugh out of it!  It was a fun experience and I think we are all glad she got the chance to do it.  She is my little rodeo queen.  Sorry Nana, hope we didn’t make your heart race too fast!

Studio Saturday- Photos, photo, photos

Tonight I am just uploaded and mildly editing photographs.  We did a ton of great thins this week and so now I have to back through those photos and purge the ones that aren’t the best and then  I decide to pull them through an editing program.  (BTW, Did you see that they are closing Picnik in the next weeks?   I am super bummed because I really liked their program!

Anyway, that is what I am doing tonight.  Photos, photos, and more photos.  I might even put the photos into the album tonight.  That would be nice to get that part down. I hope to show you my full PL layouts tomorrow!

I feel like this guy EVERY morning.


Notes on Visiting Disney with a Preschooler

I’m not a hardcore Disney fan but I grew up in the same state as Disneyland, so I frequented the park several times growing up and as a young adult.  The fluffy, fuzzy, warm memories of the park have always held a place near and dear to my heart.  When John came to California to move me out to Texas, we drove through the night for a quick visit.  He needed to see the happiest place on earth!  Now mind you, I have never been to Disney World, so Disneyland was tops on my list when it came to Disney theme parks.  I have secretly desired taking the Disney cruise at some point but I knew that as soon as we had Catherine that one day we would have to make the trek back to that little piece of Anaheim heaven.  I just didn’t realize that it would be sooner rather than later.

We usually take a trip sometime in late January or early February.  We like to try and time our trips to our tax returns…money back certainly helps the cost factor on such trips.  Most of our travel involves either something related to my work or seeing family.  I am not complaining about either of those at all, so don’t get me wrong, but John and I wanted to have some sort of family vacation that was just 3 of us and did not involve me attending a meeting, conference, class, memorial, etc.  We knew that we were going to be visiting my parents for Chinese New Year, so California was our destination for our little family vacation.  Since it happened to coincide with our anniversary and our referalversary, we decided to make the trip sentimental by going to a ski resort in South Lake Tahoe (John and I honeymooned there).    As the trip drew closer, we noticed with dismay that the ski parks did not have very much snow.  Thanks to a dry winter, the mountains at the time did not have enough snow to enjoy.  We had to think of a quick Plan B…Disneyland.  After we chose that as our next destination, I quickly cheered up.  We would have loads of fun!

One of my biggest concerns about going to Disney was how to deal with Catherine’s slight sensory issues.  I wasn’t sure how she would manage the the sensory onslaught of the park but she has done well in some other situations that involved lots of people, colors, and noise so I was hopeful.  Besides, we were hoping that since we were going during the off season, it would be better on all of us.

We purchased a package that included the hotel, meals and park hopper passes.  The park hopper passes ended up being the best part of the deal for us.  We chose to go to California Adventure on the first day and then planned on visiting Disneyland the last two days but quickly found out that California Adventure was going to be our park of choice.  I had heard so many bad things about CA that I was somewhat concerned about whether or not the park hopper would be a good choice, especially if we didn’t enjoy the park.  We ended up loving the park and Catherine had a much better time there than at Disneyland.  CA is more on the likes of a seaside carnival with all of their outdoor rides but for Catherine that was perfect.  I had forgotten how many of the rides at Disneyland were dark and had somewhat of a scary element to them, so for our anxious girl those rides tended to be too much for her.  She like the rides that were outdoors and she could see what was coming next.  CA seems to have more of those type of rides than Disneyland.  She did however love Dumbo and the boat rides.

Now Disney is quite the corporate machine.  It’s hard not to be sucked into the atmosphere without coming through on the other side with an intact wallet.  There is so much to see and do, a lot of those things comes with a price tag.  We read our books and talked to our friends who had been to get their suggestions on what we should do for souvenirs.  Of course everyone has a different opinion but we went in thinking that Catherine would like one thing and she ended up liking something else.  The one thing we did choose for her was a session at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique where she would be turned into a princess.  I am not a huge fan of the princess thing but I knew that she would enjoy it and since we were officially at the castle, I gave up my dislike to see her happy.  She loved it!  It’s expensive but it was priceless to see John’s face and watch Catherine get transformed into Jasmine.

The other thing that she absolutely loved was pin trading.  We got a free lanyard and pin to wear since we bought the vacation package.  When you are at the parks you can buy pins and then trade them with park employees who happen to be wearing lanyards.  Let me just say that Disney is a marketing genius with these things.   You can spend a small…or large fortune on pins because once you get into the groove of pin trading, it’s addicting.  Catherine found that out quickly.  We were thinking that the pin trading would be too old for her but holy moly, it made her grin from ear to ear to trade out her pins and get new ones.  She is pretty proud of those things!

Catherine did pretty well with walking all over the parks and in between the hotels and the parks, although at the end of the evening John and I did have to give her piggy back rides.  The only time we really needed a stroller would have been for that long, long walk back to the hotel at the end of the night.  We had enough little breaks with the rides, meals, and shows to give us a break with all of the walking.

Catherine also did very well staying up late.  We spent the first evening at a water show at the CA park.  It was our first official day at the parks, so she was pretty hopped on adrenaline, stimulation and pure sugar from cotton candy.  Even though she managed to get through that day without a nap, she wouldn’t crash very easily once we were at the hotel.  It definitely took her some time to unwind.  Our last day at the park was on Friday, and during the off-peak season, a night that they do fireworks.  Because the fireworks were supposed to happen later at night, we took Catherine back to the hotel during the middle of the day for a mandatory nap.  That was a big mistake.  Apparently Disneyland is notorious for not always having fireworks.  It was a HUGE disappointment and a big headache for us to get her to nap and then to keep her going well after her bedtime only to have the fireworks display cancelled.  Even though the guides say that the fireworks can be cancelled without warning and for any reason, I really wish there would have been some sort of communication set up for the park guests when these types of shows are cancelled.  For those of lugging little ones around, this is definitely useful information.  We had caught wind of the cancellation from the hotel gift shop employee, however when we called the hotel concierge, they were unaware and said that Disney usually contacted them in the event of a cancellation.  We stayed up late holding out hope only ending up with a very tired and disappointed Catherine, and very tired and disappointed mom and dad.  So my suggestion is to not keep your little ones up late at night for the fireworks unless you are there during their peak season when there is more opportunities to view the show.

All in all we had a great trip.  I was a little bit disappointed with Disneyland as it seemed old and somewhat run-down.  I can’t really pin-point in particular reason why I felt that way.  Maybe because CA is a much newer park and therefore the rides and decor are updated.  Disney definitely has that 50′s , kitschy feel to it.  I would eventually like to make our way over to Disney World to do a comparison but we will most likely wait until Catherine is at least 8 or 9 and can tolerate the walking and the late nights.   4 & 5 is a great age for the imagination end of the spectrum and I wouldn’t hesitate to tell a parent that but I am glad we started with the smaller park and went during the off season.  I definitely don’t regret that we ended up at Disneyland instead of the ski resort, although we are trying to figure out when we get to one ASAP.


Studio Saturday- Project Life Catch Up

I to apologize ahead of time for the poor quality of photos for this post.  I should have known better and taken these photos during the afternoon hours instead of when the sun is setting and the lighting in my art room is poor.  I had to use the flash and so that is why you will see the flash spot on some of the photos.

It was an exciting weekend last weekend for those of us participating in Project Life.  Amazon (the only place that sells PL) finally received the new shipment of all of the PL goodies that have been sold out over the last few months.  I don’t think that Becky Higgins could have predicted how popular her line would be but everyone and anyone was clamoring to buy this stuff once it was released.  Unfortunately, most of the core elements of the PL kit were sold out until this past weekend, and so those of us who started the project on January 1 had to make due with what we already had on hand or until those items were restocked.  Within a matter of hours after the PL kit pieces were listed on Amazon, they were sold out.  I couldn’t believe it, but I am glad I went ahead and picked up a few of her things because I would have been left high and dry had I waited.  I wasn’t completely sold about her page protectors but everyone raved about them so much, I decided to get a set.  I also bought two of the core kits.  One of those kits I will be sharing with my sister who is also doing PL.

I just got caught up with my album last night.  So far I am keeping things pretty simple. I am okay with that but I am feeling the need to up my style.  I don’t want it to look like any run of the mill photo album but I don’t want it to be complicated either.  The layout below is from the last week in February.  I realized after I uploaded all of my photos for this post that I actually don’t have a picture of the complete layout.  I was feeling so special about the little sub-page with the Chinese lions in it, that I completely forgot to take a photo of the layout.  Anyway, that was the week of Chinese New Year.  I had a newspaper from a Chinese restaurant in Houston, so I cut out one of my favorite ads, sprayed it to keep the newspaper from yellowing, and put it in a 6×12 page protector that I cut down.

The next week was when we went to California.  I didn’t want to have to worry about trying to figure out how I was going to shove a bunch of pictures into a layout, so I printed out 6 of some of my favorite photos to put in a page protector and then I used My Publisher to print out to 12×12 scrapbook pages.  I embellished the photos very simply only including a receipt, writing on a photograph, and adding a button to the last photo.

We took advantage of Disney’s PhotoPass program and purchased several photos of us taken at the character meals.  These were about the only times we could get shots of us as a family.  I included two of these photos.  I left them in their paper frames and they fit perfectly into an 8 1/2x 11 page protector.

My Publisher offers a digital scrapbooking and printing service and I took full advantage of it for these next two pages.  They are super pricey but I am happy with the quality of the prints.  They offer pre-designed layouts and I thought the one below was perfect since I wanted to showcase a lot of photographs.  All I had to do was drop and drag the photos into the spots, add some journaling, and order the page.  I like the results, although I am kicking myself because I misspelled a word and now I am totally distracted by it every time I look at the page.

One of the products that I bought from the Becky Higgins line is the pocket envelope pages.  I love, love, love to collect memorabilia (just ask John and he will roll his eyes at you.  He usually has to figure out a way to haul all of my stuff back from trips.) and so I knew that these were a must for me.  I added maps, receipts, extra photos, and some other goodies from our trip into the pocket page below.

I knew the week of Valentine’s Day would be short on photos, since I was in Ft. Lauderdale for a conference.  I ended up with a lot less photos than I thought because I didn’t get the opportunity to take as many photos on my trip as I would have hoped.  In this layout I used the new core kit, Amber, along with some various items that I had in my stash.  I also included a little valentine that Catherine made.

This last week I decided to be very simple with the layout.  I am not sure I like it this simple but I’m happy that it’s done.  I’m sure that if I keep up with this album there will be a mix of more elaborate layouts and more simple layouts depending on what’s happening at the time.  I didn’t add any extra embellishments to the photos except for the little one in the very middle where I added text to the photo itself.  I used the core kit, Clementine, as well as a list paper that I had in my stash.

Right now I am only doing one page protector worth of photos and journaling a week.  I didn’t want to get overwhelmed with having to fill two of these page protectors up, especially when I have had a week like this past week where I took so few photographs.  Again, I am sure there will be times where I have multiple page layouts.  That is the beauty of this project.  It is what it is, take it or leave it.  I already have two months worth of our year chronicled and that makes me very happy.  Catherine loves to look at photos, so I know this will be something that she enjoys over and over.  So far I am happy I jumped on the PL bandwagon!

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