Irish Blessings: For Richard & Kelly

My not-so-little brother and his wife just moved to Ireland yesterday. They will live there for at least a year and possibly up to two years while my brother helps establish a Dublin office for the company he works for. I think it's the most wonderful opportunity and I'm so jealous! We're all looking forward to reading all about their life in Ireland on their new blog and even skyping to keep in touch.

Because they couldn't take very much with them, I created several scrapbook pages as a going away gift for Richard and Kelly (and TJ and MacKenzie too!) instead of burdening them with more "stuff" to store or pack. Each page's theme had something to do with Texas and our family, who will miss them very much.

I wanted each page to remind them of home, so the elements, photos and text on each page were chosen specifically for that purpose. I love song lyrics as poetry, so three of the four layouts quote some great Texas songs.

I took this bluebonnet photo two years ago, right here in Helotes, and added the lyrics to one of my favorite Indigo Girls song, "Southland in the Springtime." For those times when Richard and Kelly are missing spring in Texas, I think this song brings it all back.

When you're away from Austin in March, you miss so much--Texas Independence Day celebrations, UT basketball during March Madness, and of course, South by Southwest! This photo of Sixth Street was taken during SXSW two years ago, and I added the lyrics from Pat Green's "Songs About Texas." I love the colorful neon lights on Sixth at night.

Before Richard and Kelly even got on the plane to Ireland, Thalia and Carys were already missing them! Thalia has already pre-written her first "I miss you" letter to them. So of course I had to create a page for them to remember the girls, appropriately dressed as future Longhorns and cavorting among the bluebonnets. This is actually our most recent bluebonnet photo of the girls, taken in 2007, as last year yielded very few flowers on the Texas highways. A snippet about Texas girls from Lyle Lovett's song "South Texas Girl" captured this photo perfectly.

When Richard was in elementary school and I was in high school, his class put on a performance that I think was all about songs about Texas or maybe all the states, not quite sure. Anyway, one of the songs he had to sing was "Giant" which is the theme song from the 1956 larger-than-life Hollywood movie about Texas also called Giant. (I love that movie, by the way, which my Mom made us watch when we were younger.) To help my brother learn the words to "Giant," I would play the music on my 1980s "Piano Phone" while he sang the song; when I was working on these scrapbook pages, I remembered all of this and knew those lyrics would go perfectly with the pic of the Alamo. It's a very "Hollywood-ish" song but there isn't anything really understated about Texas either! (Incidentally, the photo of the Alamo was taken by our cousin, Andrea, and her husband, Ray, when they visited last year for Richard and Kelly's wedding.)

I spent the most time on this last layout, "Blessings." It features the only Tarun family photo we have from 2008, besides the one taken at Richard and Kelly's wedding! The layout incorporates visual elements that symbolize the great state of Texas, the University of Texas, the city of Austin, and our country. I trawled the Internet in search of just the right images to capture the feel of Texas and found nostalgic vintage postcards of Lake Austin and Mt. Bonnell, UT, and a field of bluebonnets in San Antonio. I also swiped the Texas Seal and leather 'Texas' patch from the state of Texas' website! The layout background is green, of course, for Ireland, but I didn't forget to add some cowboy boots, which I even digitally "scuffed" a bit for authenticity, and the good ol' Stars and Stripes.

Forty years ago this year, my parents left their native country as newlyweds and began the adventure of their lives in the United States. And so it is that Richard and Kelly are continuing the family tradition of breaking away from the comfortable and familiar and experiencing a new culture, at least for a little while.

At the bottom of the 'Blessings' layout are our wishes for Richard and Kelly as they begin their journey:

May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be ever at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And the rain fall softly on your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the hollow of his hand

We miss you already!


The Birthday Boy, Part 2

Part Deux of Dylan's birthday celebration(s). As I mentioned before, December birthday babies have it rough. Half the time people forget your birthday altogether in the holiday rush, and the rest just don't have time to celebrate with you.

This year we actually paid a babysitter to watch the kids on a school night and celebrated on Dylan's birthday, just the two of us! That is huge for us. Amazingly enough, there were no school-related or extra-curricular events that evening, and I persuaded Dylan to forgo tennis for once. haha

Before we left, Thalia, Carys and I presented Dylan with his birthday gifts. Some years I go all out for his birthday, others I don't. Kind of depends on how busy I am with holiday stuff! This year, I made the effort. Dylan's first gift was some waaay cool sheets, yes bedsheets. Check them out:
Photo from Pottery Barn Kids website

Yeah, I think I'm pretty tolerant of my hubby's geekiness! And secretly, I love these sheets too. Dylan and I both love Star Wars (Episodes 4, 5 & 6 of course) and have been known to freak out certain friends with our combined random knowledge of Star Wars trivia. Note: I did not purchase the duvet cover or shams; that would have been overkill and a little weird even for me.

The second gift was Mario Kart for the Wii. The girls were excited about that gift which Thalia had actually picked out for him. It's very cute that all three of them will play it together. I have yet to have a turn at the Kart.

Dylan's final gift was actually a gift for me too! A gift certificate to Silo Elevated Cuisine, which we have visited before. A swanky-ish place for the north side of San Antonio. We're saving that for a special treat.

We had a leisurely dinner at the restaurant of his choice, Salsalito Cantina, and it was just nice to have "grown-up" conversation without constant interruption. I love their food too, yummy Mexican! We even had time to do some holiday shopping afterwards and finished off the evening at Starbucks! It was lovely to be able to splurge on a sitter during the week and have a birthday date. Now I'm looking forward to hopefully doing the same for mine!

Digital scrapbook layout credits:
Simple Pleasures: Scrap Girls "Refresh" kit: paper, blue tape, green tape, word art; Unknown artist: black zig zag; Font: Zapf Humanist BT.
Birthday Boy: Tia Bennett for Two Peas in a Bucket: Party hat seal; Mary Ann Wise for Two Peas in a Bucket: Green candle ribbon, scalloped ribbon, papers; CS Smith: Dotted black ribbon; Unknown artist: Red knot; Two Peas in a Bucket: 2 Peas Scrapbook font.


A Valentine for You

Happy Valentine's Day! Wishing everyone lots of love and candy!

Melissa, Dylan, Thalia & Carys

I used my newest favorite line of poetry, from "Praise Song for the Day" by Elizabeth Alexander, as read at the Presidential Inauguration on 20 January 2009.

LAYOUT CREDITS: Layout based on card by Lea L. at Two Peas in a Bucket; Sande Krieger for Two Peas in a Bucket 'Rough Riders': scalloped paper; Nicole Young Designs 'Angel 2 Whispers': Mended heart, Grungy paper hearts, Glitter circle, Nicole Young Designs 'After Midnight': Confetti; Carrie Stephens: Glass dots; Cherie Mask for Two Peas in a Bucket 'All Twitterpated': Heart, Pink paper; Digital Scrapbook Place 'Art of Love': Red love paper; Tia Bennett for Two Peas in a Bucket: 'Dots paper; Fonts: Copperplate Gothic BT & uncletypewriter (from Internet); My own signature


Baby Days & New Years Past

I'm slowly working on a digital scrapbook (actually several) of Carys's babyhood. I got a good start in December and then got sick and then got too busy. But here's a completed layout of some of my favorite pics of her when she was about 8 1/2 months old. (Layout says 7 months, which is incorrect but haven't gone back and updated the text yet.)

Layout credits: Shabby Princess: Harvest Spice alphabet, Splendid Kit paper; Creative Memories Best Buds embellishments, papers & word art.

Looking at my kids' baby pics always makes me smile and laugh. Really a good pick-me-up on those days when you can't even remember why you had kids?!

Here is another layout I made of our 2007 New Year's Eve party, which I completed just a few days shy of New Year's Eve 2008! Rather appropriate in a really procrastinating way.

Layout Credits: Rhonna Farrer for Two Peas in a Bucket New Year 2006: paper, word art; Creative Memories: stitching; Shabby Princess: Splendid Kit numbers.

I have friends who scrap everything as they go, so their layouts and journaling are practically "in the moment." But I find that I actually like taking the retrospective look back at times past, and then piecing together my impressions. I don't quite capture the details this way, as they sneak away from my memory, but if I can pinpoint the who/what/where/when and why fairly well of a photo, I'm ok with that.

A few years ago, my Mom started to scrapbook family photos that were 25-30 years old. She was frustrated about not being to tell what year some of the photos were from, what the event was, etc. I don't want our pics to go unattended for too long, but a little space between the actual occasion and when I actually record our memories, either digitally or traditionally scrapbooked, may fit my crazy, haphazard life.