30 December 2010

[photos: No Christmas Portraits. Boo.]

Well.  You'd think that someone as trigger happy as I am, I would find the importance of a Christmas portrait.  And I do.  But, can I just say, it was just about impossible to get this year.  Katia was having NOTHING to do with it.  And I wasn't even getting a "portrait" ... just a simple photo of the three of them before leaving for Tias' school Christmas concert ... 

I only had a few minutes, but still.

First, we tried having Tias hold her ... and Siah thought his tongue was beautiful, apparently ... 

... then, she started crying, and Siah began jumping up and down on his little behind ...

... then, Katia had enough - and started crawling away ... which was a little dangerous with my camera in hand.

... then I put her back and BAM.  More tears.

... and Tias thought the whole thing was hilarious.

SO.  Today I'm might try again.  It's sunny, snowy, and I think I just might be able to get a pic of the three of them ... maybe even looking at the camera.  Wow.  THAT would be incredible.

Oh.  I got an "ok" pic ... not the greatest.  But - it's documented *grin* ... that Josiah and his tongue.  Hopefully it's just a stage *grin* ... Or.  I could just say, "this photo perfectly documents our three kids at Christmas 2010.  Tias, prim and proper ... Siah, the clown ... and Taya the peanut."

OH!  And I also have put up "Wedding: Mark and Janeen" the maaaaaaasive post on my RedHanded Photography blog.  Click the link, leave a comment - would love to know you were there!  

Have a great one!!

28 December 2010

[redhanded photography: Mark & Janeen]

I have a bazillion posts and pics that have been bouncing in my head this last week.  Christmas, Recovery church, our church's production, family traditions, digiscrap pages, an update on the book I'm collaborating on ... more ideas that I have for 2011 and dreaming biiiiig ...

But - it's been a while since I've done a RH post.  SO ... for the latest - click HERE.

(wow.  is that really all I'm going to type??  hmmm.  yup.)

Have a great one!!

23 December 2010

[cool products: Christmas Books.]

Every year, I put a little book together for my Mom and Mom-in-Law from the kiddies.  I usually do it at Costco, and it's a bit of work getting images from disks that I've burned - and choosing which ones make the cut.

This year, though, I decided to try something different and oh, oh, oh, am I glad I did!!

I used Blurb.com and created a 12x12 image-wrapped book.  I used my own 12x12 scrapbooking pages (jpegs) from this year, uploaded them and VOILA ... a perfect book for my moms.  I didn't use ALL the scrapbooking I've done this year, but there are about 60 or so pages ... and I made sure to includ events that the families were either at, or would be interested in.

It's a perfect coffee table book, and because it's scrapbooked - it has all the dates, writing, photos - done. Can I tell you how much I love digiscrapping??? It's now helping me out at Christmas time!!!

Here's a peek ... 

The Costco books I was creating, cost me about $40.00 each.  And they usually had about 30 images in them.  These new 12x12 books were more expensive, for certain - BUT, I created a lot more pages and they're almost twice the size as the Costco books.  With shipping and taxes, they were around $100.00 each. 

But they turned out so great - it was worth every penny.

I can't wait to see our moms' faces!!

 Have a great one!

16 December 2010

[shalom: Remembering Looks Different. ]

The Christmas cactus hasn't flowered this year.  And that's a very strange thing, as it is what tips me off to the time of year I'm approaching:  Shalom's birthday.  In the past, it has flowered once, even twice in the year - but it ALWAYS does the week before December 17th ... and this year? Nothing.

And every year, for the past 5 years, we have gone to see the Christmas lights in memory of the day we lost her.  It's been a family tradition - something that I clung on to each year ... making sure to document it with photos and painted word imagery.  Would you believe, that this year - the evening of December 17th is being taken up with my hubby's work Christmas Party ... there will be no time to take the family out and venture out to see the lights with camera in hand.

Which put me in a bit of a tizzy.  I'm not really sure what to make of all of it.  I was telling a friend the other night, that someone had said it well - "The hole doesn't change, but the edges get smoother."  And that's how I feel about Shalom.  My sadness for her doesn't change, but the ache kinda has.  

This leads me to a variety of thoughts.  One, I feel thankful that time seems to heal wounds to some degree.    I remember at the beginning, the thought of just being able to breathe without crumbling into a complete mess - was unimaginable.  But now - the hurt isn't nearly as jagged.  And two, I feel a little guilty ... can I really just not do anything on December 17th?  Can we just move on?  It feels almost disrespectful to the whole journey we went through ... like it didn't happen, like she didn't happen - my tiny baby girl, Shalom Hope.  What kind of mom wouldn't pay tribute??

Oh boy.  Here come the tears.

*smile*.  Wow.  Ok.   That feels good.  Maybe I just needed to type some of these things - let some of it out.  A moment of crying actually feels ... real.

I know that she will not be forgotten - but as my friend reminded me - I am not defined by our loss.  Shalom is one part of our expansive story ... a part that has it's fingerprints deep on my heart.  But I know, and live, the joy that has come since that storm.  The unimaginable blessing that God continues to shower on us, with our three children, our marriage, our families, our friends, our church, our home.

...our 2010 Christmas Card
I don't know what tomorrow will feel like ... I usually wake up to a flood of emotions - remembering the exact feeling of waking up on December 17, 2005 and not wanting to get out of bed, get dressed, head to BC Women's hospital.

But, as time would have it, instead I'll be getting up and going to Mattias' Christmas class party, and later - getting spiffed up for a yummy-food-filled-night with my hubby's work colleagues.  A far cry from 2005 - and you know, I think I'm all good with that. 

So.  The Christmas cactus didn't bloom this year.  And I think that it may be God's way of telling me that it's ok to just keep living, not forgetting, but not stopping ... to keep moving forward, keep learning, keep trusting.

Man.  I can't believe it didn't bloom ... 

15 December 2010

[talk: Saving Notes.]

When I was a little girl, my mom sold Mary Kay products.  Now - maybe that's not accurate.  I think she had some products that she planned to sell, but instead I got into them and used them to make my 10 year old skin look ... younger?  *grin*

These flamingo-pink products were neatly organized in a gold quilted briefcase ... and long after those products were gone, it became my secret place that I would keep my sacred treasures.  Not just any treasures ... handwritten notes.  I would keep any written word that I didn't want to forget ... an encouraging note - even in grade seven, it's worth millions - , funny stories, admissions to "who likes who" ... I kept a lot of them.  

When I got engaged, I told my future hubby about my gold case.  I asked if he wanted me to get rid of all of those memories ... start fresh.  But he gave me a peculiar look and was, like, "why would you need to throw away those thing that made you who you are today?"  And I was thankful for that.  I'm a sentimental fool - and throwing away bits of paper from the corner of my grade 9 science textbook may have put me into a puddle of tears.

In fact, that bulging gold case is in my home and every year or so, I open it up.  It actually gets more organized each time I open it ... and I usually have my own little laugh at some of the crazy things my friends and I wrote to each other.  I cry when I read things from friends who have passed on, and smile at the notes of upcoming sleepovers, excitement for Friday's youth group, *laughing* ... there are probably notes in there from YOU!

I realized today that I still do the same thing - except in a more 21Century sort of way.  Emails, FB messages, texts ... I save them.  And when I realized that I was saving these (what for, I'm not sure - it's not like I'm going to print them out and put them in a binder ... hmmmmmm *wait a second ... *) - I started wondering what my kids were going to do.  Would they ever write a note?   Or will it only be texting by then?  Ha.  Is it only texting NOW?  What will happen to penmanship (oh, I practiced for HOURS to make sure that my left-handed printing was perfect - despite my teachers telling me left-handed writing would always look like chicken scratch ... )?  And spelling? Is it a lost art?  Oh don't get me started on the text-language-spelling.  I'm a victim to it myself.

Well.  Even this blogging, digiscrapping, Facebooking, texting woman still puts value in the written word stuck to paper.  I love a handwritten note ... and maybe even more so now, because it's such a rare thing.  I love a great pen too.  Almost more than my Mac.  AL-most.  *wink*.  When I was in highschool I always used a teal ink, ball-point pen.  My friend, TMD, introduced it to me ... it's still my pen of choice to this day ...

So - I'm thinking that it's time again to have a chuckle over the images these gold-cased-notes spark in my mind.  I just may pour myself a chai tea and blow the dust off of that case and smile at my 11 year old printing and the rad language I used *grin* (rad.  that was a joke.).


Have a great one !!

07 December 2010

[redhanded photography: Ben & Vanessa]

... on a much lighter note *smile* - I have a post on my RedHanded Photography blog.  It's a maternity shoot with an amazing couple, Ben and Vanessa.

Stop by, leave a comment - would love to know that you were here *wink*!!

Have a good one ...

06 December 2010

[talk: Addiction]

Almost every Sunday night, our little family heads to the Recovery Service at our home church.  I've posted on it before - how much this place has touched me, how much the people have impacted me.  

Last night, little Katia wandered around the room where the service is held.  She walked up to people and waved and said, "hi" while my hubby or I watched.  It was so so beautiful to watch people melt under her little spell.  One man, covered in tattoos, piercings and rough clothes looked at me and said, "I remember when I had tea parties with my little girl."

I am so overwhelmed with how I feel about those suffering from addiction, and the incredible beauty that comes from recovery and restoration.  So many times we write them off, think they're hopeless and manipulative.  And yes - there are those who made bad choices out of rebellion, as apposed to an escape from abuse and emptiness ... I don't debate why people choose a path like that.  Every story is different.  It is true that not everyone wants help.

But this man, I imagined him with coloured beads around his neck and sitting crossed legged with his little angel sipping tea.  And I wondered how long ago that was, and what an ache that must be if she was no longer in his life.  Regardless of how he got there, how his decisions led him to where he is ... the loss must be so great as he walks through the journey of the consequences of his actions.  My heart was sad - but hopeful.  

He is in a place where he is getting the help he needs - spiritually, emotionally and physically.  I pray that he will have another tea party one day ... 

I wanted to share this video with you ... it's from "So You Think You Can Dance" last year - and the first time I watched it I wept.  And the second and the third and fourth.  The concept is Kupono (the male lead) is "addiction" and the hold he has on Kayla (the female lead).  I think it is spell binding - and shows the battle in such a raw way.  

How beautiful it would be to have a part 2 where Kayla kicks his butt - restored, full of hope and promise - through the grace, love and friendship of God.

01 December 2010

[worship: In Christ Alone.]


I've been posting a lot of digipages and recipes ... but I've been avoiding writing what's in my heart.  Hmmm ...  maybe that's not accurate.  No.  That's not accurate.  I'm not avoiding.  But maybe I'm just using wisdom (oh, now there's a thought for me *grin*...).  I am not void of faults - that's for sure - and I'm pretty sure I don't need to go into detail on the things that make my head spin.  We've all got them ... *smile*.

But, a couple of nights ago I found myself in a place that feels like home.  Worship.  I've been thinking a lot about it - and I continue to realize that worship is at the core of who I am.  It's how I commune with God, and how He speaks to me.  It's how I say "I love You," and "I'm sorry" - and how I receive His grace.  So many times, the words of other's songs say it best ...

I led at the Recovery Service this past Sunday night.  My soul came alive.  And this song - it speaks truth in every verse.  It's poetry, a twenty-first century hymn.  We've sung it for years, but on Sunday night   watching the congregation of the "untypical" church-goer sing it as one voice ... well - this isn't even close to being the same, but I wanted to share it with you today ... 

"No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man - can ever pluck me from His hand.  'Til He returns, or calls me home, here in the pow'r of Christ I stand."

I'm battling a chest infection or something - and FINALLY got a prescription.  I'm hoping for some sleep as the last few nights have been a gong show. Why is that when I lie down, my lungs fill up and my body seizes in a coughing fit??  So frustrating.  Last night was the worst ... I finally hit the sack at 1am and proceeded in coughing my face off.  Who knows when I fell asleep - only to be woken up at 4am with the power going out and the clocks beeping and our 3 year old crying because his room was now pitch black.  Gong.  Show.  That's four nights that I haven't sleep more than an hour or two at a time ... if this medicine doesn't kick in today I just may shed a few tears.

I'm leading this Sunday morning and have Christmas production practices as well this weekend ... I need my voice.  And my rest.  It's hard to be all that I need to be when I'm tired and sick.  Or is it sick and tired?  *smirk*.  Whatever.



That's it for now ... have a great one *smile*.

29 November 2010

[vacations: The Oasis of the Seas]

Well.   We've been back for over a week - and it really feels like it was a lifetime ago that we were on the Oasis of the Seas.  Why is that?  Why is it that whenever you come back from somewhere, it feels like you never even left?  Not sure - but the reality of snow and cold and power outages and the rest of it came smacking me in the face last week.  Now - I'm pretty used to things again ... although looking through these pics gave me an ache in my tummy for somewhere warm ... 

This vacation was 2 years in the planning.  When our cousins went with us on the Liberty of the Seas, we had such a fantastic time that we immediately started planning our next cruise together.  Shortly after we came home, I found out I was pregnant with Katia, and so we did the math ... when she was 14 months old we'd be ready to have a few days away.

Our cousins and us decided on the Oasis of the Seas - the most incredible ship on the water to date - and we really didn't care about where it went.   As long as it was HOT, we were going to be happy!

We started in Fort Lauderdale, and there I met up with a friend of mine who I traveled to Nicaragua, El Salvador and Belize with ... it's been over a decade since I saw her, and it was like no time had passed.  How I wish she didn't live on the other side of the continent ... or maybe, how I wish I lived closer to her - it's a lot warmer in Florida *grin*!  I hope she knows how much I love her ...

We arrived a day early so we could get used to the time change and have a bit of "down time" before we boarded the ship.  Our day in Fort Lauderdale was lazy and quiet - and we had a fantastic dinner in town ... it was warm and lovely.

We boarded the ship on Saturday morning - and we were so excited.  Can you tell??  (Oh, and I'm not in a lot of pics ... the memory card I have from my cousin's camera won't fit into my computer so I haven't seen the pics she's taken yet ... )

... checking out the back of the ship called the "Boardwalk" ... this is where the carousel is, the donut shop and candy store, some restaurants and surf shops and the amphitheatre - where the diving show takes place.

... our home away from home, on the ship.  We had adjoining rooms with MandC.

... the view from our balcony - overlooking "Central Park".

... as we were heading out to sea, we met up with the "Allure of the Seas".  Her maiden voyage is this coming weekend - and it was a media frenzy as they planned to have both ships side by side.  There was a helicopter filming the two sister ships, there were tugboats spraying water into the air ... people cheering and we got really close to the Allure.  If you go to the Oasis of the Seas website, there are some pics up there of the whole thing ... I'm the "dot" on deck 15 *grin* ... 

... the dining room.  Our table was in the lower left corner of this pic ... you can see C's shoulders *grin*.

We had three stops ... our first in Labadee, Haiti.  This is where we went ziplining last time we stopped here two years ago.  This time, we chose to just sit, read, listen to our Ipods ... and my hubby - he was happy with a cold drink and the sunshine ... 

... dinner.

The diving show was incredible.  Jumping into a pool of water on a moving ship - a little insane, I think.

We also stopped in Costa Maya, Mexico.  And we had a fantastic day sitting at the beach  ....

One of the highlights for me, was being able to work out every day - and not have to figure out how it was going to work into my day.  I did a lot of running, I have a race coming up in 4 weeks, but I also took advantage of the swanky equipment in the ship's gym ... 

... more pics around the ship ...

We also went to Cozumel, Mexico - but it was raining and so I didn't bring my good camera.  I used my cousin's - and that memory card is staring at me as I type this ... trying to figure out a way to make is fit in the slot *grin* ... 

... and than, all too fast - the last night *sob*.

... and waiting to be filed off like cattle.

As to be expected, I have about a million pics - so when I look at the 20 that I've chosen, it doesn't seem to quite cut it.  But that's a taste of what our week was like ... 

I am so thankful for both sets of our parents for moving into our home and looking after our three kids for us.  Of course, when we came home the kids were happy to see us - but there were tears when they realized their grandparents were moving out.  I love that our kids have a great relationship with both sets of grandparents ... and without them, NONE of this would've been possible.  I'm so thankful that they see the value in my hubby and having some time away, and that they also see the value in having one on one time with their grandkids.  I love you all!!

And I was talking with my cousin C and we think that going away for one week on our own each year is something worth planning.  If our parents will help us out, it may be something we can consider again for next year.  That would be incredible.  

If not, hopefully in two years we can go again ... we are so grateful for the time we've had, and the doing it again one day is definitely something we'd love to do ...  we shall see.

Have a great one!

25 November 2010

[make: Sinful Caramel Popcorn]

... ok people - gimme a sec here :-).

I posted a pic of a yummy pan of caramel popcorn in the oven about 15 min ago on Facebook and people started asking if there was a recipe to share.

Why yes, yes there is *grin*.

And I thought it would be easiest to post it on this site than have it up in a convo on Facebook. 

So here it is ... and I warn you - I've eaten about 5 handfuls in the last 10 minutes.

Caramel Popcorn

5 cups fresh air popped popcorn 
1/2 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla


1. Melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt.  Stir constantly until it begins to boil - then let it boil UNTOUCHED for 4 minutes.
2. Add the baking soda and vanilla; stir.
3. Pour over the prepared popcorn in a large baking pan (or two).
4. bake in 200F oven for 1 hour, stirring every 20minutes or so ... if you like it CHEWY, then bake less.

It's super easy ... but I will also warn you that I've been typing this with one hand as I accidentally poured the boiling sugar on my hand ... and it stuck - couldn't get it off - screaming craziness.  Yup.  I'm a classy cook with an icepack inbetween my stinging fingers *yuck*.. 


And hey ... have a good one :-).

24 November 2010

[digiscrap: Smack Back Into Reality ]

Two days ago was Sunday, November 21.   November twenty-first.  It's an important day to us as it's our anniversary date ... twelve years we've been married.  TWELVE.  Some days it feels like we've been married for moments and other times, I feel like I've never NOT been married.  *laughing*.  No?  You've never felt like that?  Oh.  *grin*.

I've been SICK since we got back ... oh - did I mention? ... 

Last week, my hubby and I joined our cousins and ventured off to the Caribbean on a cruise.  Our vacation was 9 days, including traveling days ... and it.was.wonderful - I won't lie.

We had gone away with our cousins 2 years ago - and had the most incredible time ... I'm actually now in a little bit of mourning over it.  Totally GRATEFUL for having gone, but now that it's over - it's kinda sad.  But I guess that's like anything that's over that was looked forward to ... Every good thing must come to an end.

So, I have a ton of pics and stories that I want to share with you all ... but not today (or should I say "tonight" as I type this ...).

For today ... yup - you guessed it ... MORE pages.  Flying for 7hours gave me so much time to digiscrap ... and if you know me, I like to use my time wisely, even ON vacation *grin*.

Here are a few pages that I finished up ... stay tuned for pics and stories of our cruise on the "Oasis of the Seas."  


Phewf!!  And ... yup.  There's more.

I hope I'm not boring you with all of this ...

Have a good one!

16 November 2010

[digiscrap: Ok. Last One for Now.]

Just when you thought you couldn't stand to see another set of pages ... I go and throw these at you *grin*.  

But this is the last set for a while, I promise.

My next post is going to be on the book that I've been working on with a group of women who have lost a child.  If you've submitted your story, I'll be contacting everyone shortly.  Thanks for your patience ... and if you haven't quite finished it yet, you've still got time.  More details to come ... 

But.  For now ... more pages.

Have a great one!

click images to enlarge

11 November 2010

[digiscrap: Yup.]


Are you sick of 'em yet??  Probably ... you've seen my kid's little faces for the last few posts.  And my feeble attempts at trying to make each page different ... 

If you're a digiscrapper, I hope you leave a way for me to view YOUR work.  I'm feeling so uninspired -  these pages are all becoming a blur to me ... So.  If you have pages - let me see 'em!!  PLEASE!!

And if you're not ... well.  You might want to give it a-go.  

Just sayin'.


Have a great one!