Monday, March 31, 2008

My very own miracle...

Today, my baby is TEN! I cannot even believe that I've been a mom for TEN YEARS. I remember how stressful those first few weeks were! Here is my baby, only a few hours after her premature birth. Maddie was born 8 weeks early, and weighed in at a whopping 3lbs, 11oz. She spent a total of 14 days in the hospital, and came home on my birthday, April 14, 1998. My best birthday ever. When your preemie is born, nobody can tell you what you want to hear. That your baby will be fine, and that your baby will be going home from the hospital on XX date. At birth, she was breathing on her own, but during the night, she suffered an episode of apnea, which automatically meant a likely 10 day hospital stay. She needed to be off the apnea meds for 7 days before she could be released. Thankfully, there were no more apnea episodes, and each day she grew stronger, and more feisty. See how she is on her side? The NICU nurses would lay her on her back, and she would fuss, and cry, and wriggle around until she was on her side. STUBBORN. She was the talk of the NICU. OH YEAH - this was only the beginning, lol. For the 14 days in the hospital, each day, I was prepared by the staff for the many different scenarios that come with a pre-term birth. There are many, many health issues that can arise, but I am happy to report, that this girl - this 32 week preemie - has had exactly ONE visit to the doctor that was not a well child check. SERIOUSLY. ONCE in ten years. Not too shabby, Maddie! What do you think of this vintage point & shoot photography? It's actually not too bad, but I wouldn't want to try to enlarge this snapshot scan, lol. A lot has changed in 10 years, not the least of which is my camera!

Here she is in Kindergarten. Can you almost hear her giggle? OH MAN - this girl is BUBBLY! LOOK at the curls! LOL. I know this is just a standard "school portrait", but it makes me smile when I look at it. In kindergarten, everything was fresh and new and OH SO EXCITING. I remember thinking "I can't believe my baby is in KINDERGARTEN!" Isn't she cute with her little glasses on? Maddie has had glasses since pre-school, age 4. I remember feeling devastated at the time, wondering if this was my fault, for not carrying her to term, but the reality is, she is farsighted, and that actually is common in my husband's family. Her cousin's Nick and Cassi each had glasses when they were toddlers. I think she first asked for contacts at age 7, roflol.


And finally, here she is now! I know you've all seen a few pictures, as I work on my photography and digi scrapping, but this weekend, when I was practicing with the camera (and thinking about Maddie's birthday), it really struck me how much this girl has accomplished. My miracle baby. We are so blessed! Happy, happy birthday sweet girl!

I hope you all have a FABULOUS MONDAY, and maybe even your own miracle today! And I know you all are wondering where the curls went...WELL...she *hates* them, so she brushes them out each day, while complaining loudly about how she really wishes she had thin, straight hair like all her friends.

SIGH. If you look carefully, you can sort of make out the thick, natural waves...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Princess Schmoopie Sue...

Special Note: Are you here for Mishie's scavenger hunt? Please see my post from March 28 RIGHT HERE. Have fun hunting!

ROFL. Okay - *JUST* so you know...I *did not* dress her like this. That was all her daddy, lol. BUT, who am I to ignore the fabulous photo op??? And isn't she sweet? In an annoyed sort of way, lol...I also want to clarify that she usually comes running when we call her to put on her little "clothes", the only thing she doesn't like is hats, and any outfits where her rear is completely enclosed. She loves wearing her Vikings jersey on game day, and she has several sweaters and fleecy sweatshirts for when it's super duper MN cold outside. This was her Halloween costume a few years ago.

Yeppers. We are "those" people, heh heh.

This was shot in aperture priority mode, f/1.8, 1/60, iso 200. I have been working on my PP (post processing) skills in photoshop, so I wanted to share the sooc (straight out of camera) along with my photoshop "play", and then a color pop action. I think it's neat to see how the photo evolves...I seriously could play in photoshop forever! I've been working with some things I've picked up here and there, and also with Scott Kelby's book: The Photoshop CS2 Book For Digital Photographers. My SOOC image is pretty good, but see how the color seems a little faded and dull?

For my play, I created an adjustment layer and applied soft light - making sure to adjust the opacity until I had the look I wanted, then I adjusted the curves, and applied an unsharp mask. It really makes a difference I think!

For the color pop action, I used my edited version, and then applied an action I have picked up called Whitney's Wonder. I love how her little pink coat pops in this version! Her white fur, might be a smidge too bright...even though I did adjust the opacity during the action.

What do you think? I am really liking my play on this photo - I am iffy on the color pop, it seems kinda bright, but even so, it's fun. I've found that running these actions will get varied results depending on the photo. I've tinkered around with trying to achieve the "color pop" on my own in photoshop, but I'm not quite there yet, so it's nice to have the actions to play with! I will keep tinkering with it, and will share as I learn...

P.S. YES - her name is kinda strange! WE KNOW! It's an obscure Seinfeld reference...did you pick up on that? We are *huge* Seinfeld fans. Don't you think there is an episode of Seinfeld that can apply to EVERY SINGLE situation in life? LOL. See if you can guess which episode her name came from. HINT: It's just the first name, we added in the middle name Sue - but that is a whole other story! I hope you enjoy seeing my dog, sometimes, when I have a photography "lightbulb moment" she is the only one around!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Birthday Bowling!

SO. There is this DARLING NEW KIT called Bowlorama by the fabulous Dani Mogstad and Traci Reed at Sweet Shoppe Designs. Well the timing *could not be better* as we had just had Wyatt's bowling birthday party 2 weeks ago. Is this not the CUTEST BOWLING KIT you have ever seen??? Seriously. You have to check it out! Of course I had to splurge on this, to make this cute page of Wyatt's bowling buddies. I would buy this kit JUST FOR THE CUTE BOWLING SHOES that come in the kit. There is a "boy" pair AND a "girl" pair. SO FUN! (Wouldn't this kit be cute for Wii bowling pages???)

The boys had a fab time at the party, and after a round of bowling, we headed into the arcade for a finale of video gaming. I wish I had my camera ready to snap the boys' faces when they got their tokens for the games. Six boys scattered in six directions, lol. I sugared them all up with cupcakes and candy, then got them on electronic overload just in time to get picked up by mom and dad, heh heh heh. We all had a fun time!

SO. Speaking of friend Mishie (who's birthday is May 19) is having her blog birthday this week, and she is doing a little blog hoppin' scavenger hunt over on her blog. If you are peeking in here from Mishie's scavenger hunt, WELCOME to my little blog! I hope you are having fun on your hunt! For those of you who don't know Mish - WHERE have you BEEN??? (Haha - KIDDING!) But if you don't know Mish, you have to check her out! She is a FAB paper crafter with a fresh and fun style all her own. I'm so glad we're friends, because she inspires me so much AND she is just SO FUN! I am determined to get her digi scrapping, because she'd be AMAZING at it! ANYWAY...Mishie is having a little scavenger hunt with TONS of great prizes over on her blog, so you just *have* to check it out RIGHT HERE! You will be off in search of the right answers to Mishie's secret questions, and along the way you'll get to meet some more of Mishie's bloggin' friends! GOOD LUCK and HAVE A BLAST!

It's the last day of spring break here so the kids and I are going to goof off and do a little shopping today - maybe even have lunch out! I've been putting in extra work-time this week, so that I can afford to relax, and enjoy the weekend. I hope I find time to scrap!

Page Credits: Bowlorama kit by Dani Mogstad/Traci Reed of Sweet Shoppe Designs, Add a Border and Bend n Stack actions from Jen Caputo at Scrapbook Graphics, Peeled n Revealed Template/Action set from Traci Murphy/Marcie Reckinger at Funky Playground Designs, [ank]* font.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Christmas Photo Shoot...2004

Just a quickie post today - and then I have to kick it into high gear with my work day!

All of this recent snow (and YES, there is snow in the forecast YET AGAIN) makes me nostagic for Christmas, so I decided to turn back the clock and work on some Christmas pages.

This was the first year that we did a Christmas photo shoot. I needed some cute pictures of the kids to put on the Christmas card I was making. Now it has become a tradition!

I may have to go back and edit these pictures, Wyatt looks a little "green" to me. (I promise that my son is NOT green in real life, lol!) That is the beauty of digital though, I have saved all my layered layouts, so I can easily go back, and pull out his picture, re-edit the original, and put it right back on the page.

Page Credits: Quick Fill #37 from Heather Ann Designs, 'Twas the Night kit by Shabby Princess, [ank]* font.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Monday Monday...

Did you have a Happy Easter? I spent some time on the weekend working on my photography skills. When I first got my DSLR last summer (Canon 30D - I saved *forever* for it), I stopped at Barnes & Noble for a copy of Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. I was *so excited* at the thought of everything this new camera could do. Of course I would be a BRILLIANT PHOTOGRAPHER as soon as the battery was charged!

roflol. Ummm...NOT SO MUCH!

I was so overwhelmed - I wasn't prepared for how much I didn't know. A week later, frustrated, I returned the book, and put the camera on Auto mode. BLAH! I was *not* a brilliant photographer, lol. I remember feeling pretty discouraged for awhile...BUT, I hung in there (in Auto mode) and worked at getting used to swapping out lenses, and all the buttons, bells, and whistles. Ultimately, I have now realized, that it all was just too much information all at once. BUT - I was/am determined to get out of "Auto" mode! I recently RE-purchased the Understanding Exposure book, and last week, after doing some reading in my camera manual, as well as the Canon 30D field guide, I ventured into, and started tinkering in some of the creative modes - Program AE, Aperture-priority AE, and Shutter-priority AE.
Yesterday - I practiced in Manual, and these were a few of my favorites...I still have *a lot* to learn, but I feel like I am FINALLY on my way! YEA for ME! I am still practicing with my processing in photoshop, too - playing with curves, hue saturation, and contrast. Lots to learn there, too...but it all starts with properly exposed images.

iso 200, 1/250, f/2.2

iso 200; 1/160; f/1.8

iso 200; 1/160; f/1.8

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Blaze of Glory...

WOW! That's all I can say! We were at this concert last night (I found this video from another tour date) and this BROUGHT THE HOUSE DOWN! I had heard that Daughtry was performing a song with Bon Jovi, and what an excellent choice of song for this!

Concert was FAB - but now it's back to reality, and work! Here are a few of the photos I snapped at the concert. We just brought our ancient digital P&S camera, so the quality is horrid, but better than nada...if you can't remember what Jon's face looks like, you'll have to google him, roflol, because his face didn't show up in my photos very well!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Impromptu Photo Shoot...

It's spring picture day for Wyatt! Doesn't he look spiffy? He remembered all on his own, and chose this dressy button down this morning. I couldn't help but smile, and then grab the camera!

I have been tinkering in PhotoShop - trying to get a handle on processing my images - I have been picking up tips here and there, but it's definitely a learning curve, lol!

Maddie's picture day is tomorrow, so she isn't *quite* as spiffy, but I managed to snap one of the 2 of them together (y'all know how the brother/sister thang is, right???) and then a few of her by herself - these are my favorites.

We both have been growing out our bangs. UGH. I have had the scissors in my hand on more than one occasion, but we are managing so far. Mad has natural wave (gorgeous I-would-kill-for-it waves!), and the overgrown bangs have been a thorn in my side! But we bought some new barrettes, and she is actually using them, and it's looking like we may just survive the grow out! I'm looking forward to the day she can tuck them behind an ear!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Winter Funk...

BLAH! Yes - we are getting more snow! Okay - we really haven't had a *ton* of snow this winter, but with the cold temps dragging on, frankly, I am officially SICK of WINTER! Pfffftttt! Snow in March (and April) is just not nearly as pretty as it is in November or December, when you are all geared up for winter. Am I right???

Anyhow - we are on a short week this week, with Spring Break starting Friday (see SPRING Break - SPRING is in the title, lol!) so I have been BIZZY trying to cram in as much client work as I can, before I have kids home to distract and entertain. But the snow last night got me searching for some fun "snow" pictures to scrap. LOL that there isn't actually any snow in this page! This was a December morning (2004) before school, no snow on the ground yet, BUT, we had freezing rain/drizzle, and school was delayed due to icy conditions, so Maddie and Wyatt decided to grab the sleds and make the most of the 2 hour delay! I am smiling, remembering their happy little faces from that day. FUN TIMES!

Page Credits: Winter Funk kit from Melissa Bennett; Quick Fill Template #47 from Heather Ann Designs, Hand-Stitched Alpha from Dani Mogstad, [ank]* font.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


This page was a *lot* harder than I thought it would be. This picture was taken just prior to Dad's funeral, and I love the picture - it's a great portrait of Mom, my brother, and I - but it just isn't the same without dad. Our family is missing a vital part - no, he wasn't perfect. But he was ours, and we loved him.

I was surprised, after Dad died, at how few pictures there are of all of us together. There were a few family portraits over the years, and then just snapshots. And we all know how those were. Lots of faded poloroids and 35mm 3x5 prints. Soon after Dad died, we went in search of them, I guess it's part of grieving? I've scanned a lot, and would like to make an album. I think it's a part of why photography (and scrapbooking) has become such a hobby for me - I want to make sure there are good pictures to look back on, real family portraits, and quality snapshots. And I want to be IN the pictures, not just behind the camera.

Page Credits: Smell My Feet kit from Shabby Princess, Ribbon from Compassion kit, also Shabby Princess, Alphabet from Grab Bag for Boys from Studio Flergs, [ank]* font.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Grab Bag for Boys...

Edited to add: Not sure what's going on with the photo - if you are only seeing a "red x", try refreshing your's showing for me now, but when I first opened my blog, I got the red x, too. SORRY!

Just a quick post today, and I am off to client's until after lunch! Good times, good times! Ü

I was ITCHING (or maybe that was just my spring allergies, lol) to use this Grab Bag for Boys that I grabbed from Studio Flergs. See? It's not at all sparkly, like the Grab Bag for Girls is. I love the rugged color scheme, and the distressed and rusty look. It's all boy! So it was perfect for this page about my "all boy" boy. Poor little man - he has allergies and asthma both. Last summer/fall was a rough season for us, trying to keep a handle on treatments, and learning the "triggers", so we could try to prevent respiratory episodes. We're in close contact with the pediatrician, so we've managed pretty well, despite the worsening asthma symptoms. It's such a bummer when your baby is suffering with a chronic condition! For this pneumonia episode, Wyatt came home with FIVE (yes five!) prescriptions! The pharmacist actually pulled me aside and told me I have really good insurance. You know - I don't think about that too much, other than to grumble about the rising costs each year, but for September of 2007, we got our money's worth! Pneumonia is a scary diagnosis, so I'm glad we weren't further stressed worrying about treatment. We were very lucky to catch it early, and Wyatt only ended up missing 3 days of school, so that was a blessing. But in usual busy boy fashion, on about day 7 of the prescriptions, he shouted "I am SO SICK of taking medicine!" LOL. I hear ya, son! He is a trooper though!

Page Credits: Grab Bag for Boys from Studio Flergs at Scrapbook Graphics, The Quiet Scream and Sidewalk fonts.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Squirtgun Fight!

Well it wasn't *quite* warm enough for sqirtgun fights yesterday, did get up to 49 here, and that's a BIG DEAL this winter! Have I mentioned that it's been a long, cold winter??? A little taste of spring was just what I needed to get me thinking about SUMMER! And thinking of all the fun times to be had all summer!

I love these pictures! Grandma, Maddie, and Wyatt were having a blast with the squirtguns on a hot summer day, and I managed to snap a few "live action" shots. I thought these were pretty good for a point and shoot camera on a super sunny day!

Last night, we met with Larry the tax man, and put the final signatures on our 2007 tax returns! They are officially submitted baby! I am a *whole* week ahead of my last year's schedule! It feels good to put that baby to rest! Now I can focus on clients, and get caught up with work that has been piling up! I've been hitting it pretty hard so that when the weather warms up, I can relax and enjoy, and not be running around like a crazy person! PHEW!

Page Credits: Esprit Kit from Kristen Cronin-Barrow of Sweet Shoppe Designs, Frame It from Melissa Bennett of Scrapbook-Bytes, stitches f rom Spring Peeps Revamped from Melissa Bennett, Scallop template from Shapes 4 set from Jen Caputo of Scrapbook Graphics, TrashHand font.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wisconsin Paradise...

Just a quick page today, using the fabulous new freebie kit, Promise, from Shabby Princess...This is a darling little freebie!

This page is from a stamping and scrapbooking retreat I attend every year, organized by the fabulous Pinefeather - each year is better than the one before! This is an amazing group of talented gals - I wonder what I'm doing there, lol, but I soak it all in! The last two years, and again for fall of 2008, we have been at White's Wildwood Retreat Center in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Is this not a gorgeous setting? It's a weekend of girl talk, TONS OF LAUGHS, relaxing, stamping, FABULOUS FOOD (last year HB was our chef, and everything was DELICIOUS!), and classes. We catch up, share, and have a fabulous and fun weekend. I wouldn't miss it for anything! We are already planning for our 2008 retreat - I'm *SO* excited! It's a wonderful time to reconnect with friends, relax and have fun! I always return home energized, and with a giant shopping list of things I *must* have, lol.

Page Credits: Promise (freebie) kit from Shabby Princess, Old Typewriter font.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sweet Serenity...

I thought this was a good page to post for a busy Monday morning! I found some time yesterday to scrap and play with some new things.

Do you know Flergs? Do you like sparkles and glittah? Then you *HAVE* to check out her store at ScrapbookGraphics! I have had her glitter styles in my Kaboodle wish list FOREVER, and finally grabbed a few last week. Well, fast forward, I have used them, and played with them, and...ummm...I *will* own them all!

On this layout, I used the pastel glitter style to sparkle and gittahfy my title. Is that not the COOLEST THING EVER?

Right now, the *HOT* items in Flergs store has to be the Grab Bags. I grabbed them both (lol) and they are an EXCELLENT value! She has a Grab Bag for Girls and a Grab Bag for Boys each for $5, and it's easily $20 worth of products in each grab bag. And don't be worried that your going to get all sparkly for boys. It's definitely a BOYS kit, ykwim? Lost of rusty and grungy stuff in there, with a fab "boy" color scheme.

Page Credits: Background paper, glitter swirl, photo frame, and stitches from Grab Bag for Girls at Studio Flergs, Pastel Glitter Style from Studio Flergs, MaSexy font.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Shabby Princess FREEBIE!

It's UP! I've been waiting for this one since I grabbed the March desktop freebie - isn't this the sweetest li'l freebie YET? And PERFECT TIMING as we are all sick of winter and so ready for spring! (Preview is clickable, if you want to download this freebie from Shabby Princess)

I have been "spring cleaning" and purging this weekend. It feels good to get rid of some clutter! AND, my tax prep work is complete (YAHOO!) and on it's way to Larry, my trusty accountant. We should be ready to file in a week or so! I am a WHOLE WEEK earlier than last year - YEA for ME! As a reward, I think I will take some time to scrap this afternoon! I need to keep plugging away on my Disney pages, and would also *love* to put this new kit to maybe you will see me back here with a page!

Hope you all are having a FAB WEEKEND!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Seriously. It's TIME FOR SPRING!


I am so ready for a nice spring thaw! Is it
just me, or has this winter dragged ON and ON and ON? Sunday is two weeks before Easter, and the children will look so sweet hunting eggs in their spring SNOWMOBILE SUITS. roflol.

Today...-11 here in my neck of the woods. I guess I'd rather have that, than the big snowstorms they are getting in the eastern part of the U.S. *SIGH*

Isn't this photo a HOOT? I can't take credit for it, it was passed to me *ages ago* and I ran across it when I was moving files onto my new computer. It seems appropriate for this winter, yes???

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Eight about Eight

I am determined to stay focused today and burn thru a ton of client work and piles that have mysteriously formed on my desk. BLAH! I hope to have time for more scrappin' later this afternoon...(I'm bloggin' on my lunch!) is a page that I haven't shared yet from Wyatt's birthday.

I'm pretty new to digi scrapping, and still trying to figure out what my own style is, but so far, I am gravitating towards layouts with lots of "white space" and only a few elements for impact. I'm also loving the Quick Fill templates I've been using from Heather Ann Designs, especially for getting *a lot* of photos on a page (like my Disney pages).

Take a look at KSharonK's blog, Artistic Musings. She is a MASTER at creatively using "white space" on her layouts for impact. I am trying to get a feel for "white space" on my did I do with this layout?

Page Credits: Quick Fill #31 from Heather Ann Designs, Silly Boy CuddleBug kit from Shabby Princess, Handstitched Alpha from Dani Mogstad, Times New Yorker font.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Characters on Parade...

Just a quick post today...busy busy...(darn JOB!)

We are officially on our way! We booked our airfare and car this past weekend. YIPPEEEE!

SO. I am continuing on my mission to digi scrap our trip from 2005. This page is from day one at MGM Studios. I managed to snap this FAB picture of Mickey and Minnie from the character parade. I can't believe I got both faces in the frame! Amazing!

Page Credits: Quick Fill #1 from Heather Ann Designs, Happy Alpha from Marcie Reckinger, BG Paper from KaBlamo kit by Shawna Klingerman, flowers/buttons from Makayla kit by Bren Boone.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Cute Freebie!

OK. This might be old news, but just in case you missed it...I was blog hoppin' and stumbled across this darling Love Actually freebie over at mgl scraps blog. Be sure to give her some love if you download this kit!

I hope to be back later today with a page - I'm itchin' to scrap, but the weekend has been too busy so far, so hopefully today!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Hello, My name is AngFab...

And I am a FONT-A-HOLIC.
I have a PROBLEM.

My favorite fonts? The FREE ONES, lol.
No really, right now, I seem to be gravitating towards "typewriter" style fonts, and "handwriting" style fonts in my digi scrappin. Lately, Times New Yorker and Old Typewriter (both from dafont) are getting lots of play in my layouts.

SO ANYWAY. In my quest to read blogs all day long (*eyeroll*), I stumbled upon Allie's blog, and GUESS WHAT??? She designs custom handwriting fonts!!! AND GUESS WHAT??? She has a set of fonts available for FREE!


Here are some of my faves:

Which ones are your favorites? There are so many to pick from, I love them all! Be sure to give Allie some love for sharing her free fonts! If you have fabulous handwriting (I do NOT...), you can even have Allie create a font for you!