Friday, April 29, 2011

Our Wedding Album

In honor of our 7th anniversary tomorrow, I am finally sharing our wedding album that I completed a few years ago.
Many people have asked me if it took a long time to complete my wedding album. Or if it took a long time to decide how I wanted it to look. Or if I was worried about starting it because I wanted it to be perfect. The answer is no, no, and maybe a little. I knew I wanted to keep this scrapbook extremely simple and classic. No patterned paper and very little embellishment, if any, because I wanted us and our families and friends to be able to look at the album in 5, 10, 25 years from now and it not look too dated. And I wanted it to be done.

I wanted the focus to be on the photos - because I think they are unique. Our photographer developed our pictures at 5"x5" and I stayed with the square theme and used an 8"x8" Colorbok Perfect Scrapbook to put it all together. What also makes the photos unique is they are not of a traditional wedding. Mark and I were married on Anini Beach in Kauai, Hawaii, and on their own, tell the story of our very casual ceremony.

I laid out each page in Adobe Illustrator (my process would be a post all its own) and the only text in the album is our wedding vows, which I broke down, line by line, beneath each photo. You can read them in their entirety at the end of this post.
I did do one simple embellishment on the top outside corner of each 2-page spread. I stamped a flourish with Versamark ink and embossed the image in white, which just slightly stands out on the creamy paper. I also added black photo corners on the outside corners of each 2-page spread. My supply list is also below.

And this is my complete album:
Our vows, in full:
I, Nicole (Mark), take you Mark (Nicole),
to be my partner in life.
I will cherish our friendship and love.
I will trust and honor you.
I will love you faithfully through the best and the worst.
I will listen and be patient, trusting and open.
I will be honest, gentle and considerate.
I will laugh with you.
I will cry with you,
and share my deepest feelings with you.
As I have given you my hand to hold,
so do I give you my life to keep.

Cardstock : Bazzill (criss-cross) in Cream Puff
Stamp : Autumn Leaves Swirls V.2 by Rhonna Farrer
Other : Black photo corners, clear Versamark ink, white embossing powder
Font : Zapfino

After several years, I still love how it came together. It's simple and uniform and all of my favorite photos are in one place. And those vows still make my heart skip a beat. I love you, Mark!

For all of you ladies that are married, have you completed your wedding album? Did the layouts or design come easily to you or did you have a hard time deciding on how you wanted to record your special day? If you haven't, what's holding you back? Any thoughts on simple vs. trendy wedding albums?

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Day in Photos

See more days here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Thankful Thought | 002

I'm thankful for your very healthy appetite. Even if some of it ends up on the floor. :) I have never seen a kid eat as much as you do.

My Thankful Thought | 001

Ali Edwards Thankful Thought 002 photo overlay is available here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter recap

Since Grandma Goulding was here to visit us for part of the weekend, we celebrated Easter on Saturday. Morgan spotted some of her eggs while on her way to our bedroom in the morning so I tried to stall her as long as I could with some new toys. She really got a kick out of finding all of them with Daddy and Grandma while I started breakfast. The Easter bunny brought Morgan and Parker a great mix of candy, some of their favorite snacks and toys which kept them occupied for much of the day! I heard a lot of "Thank you, Easter Bunny!" this weekend.
Mark and his mom worked on getting our shower doors installed (yeah!) while the kids and I played outside. Mark and I also got a chance to take a bike ride. Not on the trails like I had hoped, because rain + dirt = mud, and it's frowned upon (or just plain not allowed) to ride and put ruts in dirt trails. Instead we took an 8 mile ride around town. I did pretty well, despite the big elevation changes, the crazy wind and my idiotic failure to release my foot from the clipless pedal, resulting in a very graceful fall. On concrete. I probably would have laughed my ass off if I saw someone do what I did. :) During our ride, we found a house for sale in my dream neighborhood and Mark was just as excited as I was to see a sign in the front yard. It must be a very new listing though because we can't find any details on it yet. Believe me, I'll be watching.

Just before dinner, I saw The Wizard of Oz was going to be on TV again and promptly hit 'record' for Morgan. I didn't expect her to watch it all that night, but she insisted and she loved it. I never would have guessed that would be her first movie, as opposed to something cartoon-y. Sunday was pretty quiet. Groceries, yardwork and some good old vegging out.

Today: there is no list of things to do, as I am hoping for a quiet, laid-back day with Morgan and Parker. Mark starts his new job today and boy, is he missed. Good luck babe! It's going to take a little while to get adjusted to being the only adult in the house for most of the day, so I have zero expectations. Other than playing, snacking, being silly and napping. The focus is being present and getting back into our routine rhythm.

This week: May is sneaking up on us already. I have some magazines to catch-up on, maybe starting a new book, lunch with a friend, week two of Beyond Blogging for Scrapbookers, the library + Target, a craft activity for Morgan in honor of the royal wedding, and celebrating our own royal wedding. :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

the portable photobooth

I found the coolest app this week for my iPhone. It's called Pocketbooth and it is so fun! Totally worth the 99 cents. It takes 4 shots in just a few seconds and I took this strip while we were on the way to Home Depot on Thursday. What a cool way to capture snapshots of each of us together. And I can even print and scrapbook them. Love!

Today: the Easter baskets are packed, the eggs are dyed and ready to be hunted. Grandma Goulding is on her way to visit us this weekend and if we get a decent peek of weather, Mark and I might sneak away and hit the trail at Tree Farms in Novi and break in my bike. Our master bath is so close to being complete. My personal tasks include finding the perfect orchid and some storage baskets for the vanity. I can't wait to share the photos with you. I also got notification about our living room coffee table and, would you believe it, it's on backorder until the end of June! Ugh! That would have been nice to know before we ordered it. I'm trying to convince Mark to build one like this instead. Pretty please?

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

lip-smackin', teeth rottin' easter cupcakes

This is my 400th blog post. Holy sweetness! I have a fun giveaway in mind, but I think I'll save it for post number 500. 

Instead, Morgan and I made Easter cupcakes today. I made this recipe for the cake (thanks, Sue!) and this frosting to top them. This cake is seriously the best ever. Even without frosting. And even Mark thinks so. You know, the guy that's not crazy about sweets. They are so so good and we had a lot of fun decorating them with blue peeps, sprinkles, Reese's eggs, mini chocolate chips and fruit flavored mini marshmellows. My teeth are rotting just looking at the pictures.
I even experimented a little bit and melted peeps on top of a few naked cupcakes to make peep frosting. :)
They actually taste pretty good. You can taste more of the cupcake (which is probably okay because I am a very generous froster) and it's a little like eating toasty marshmellows roasted over a campfire. Dipped in sugar.

Phew. I need to go brush my teeth. Nighty-night!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

the evolution of an artist

With Mark home to give me a hand, I thought today would be a good opportunity to have Parker paint the canvas I bought to hang in his bedroom.
If you've been reading for a while, you might recall that Morgan painted a 16x20 canvas at daycare when she was just 4 months old. It's hanging in her room, which you can see here. Step one: get Parker (almost) naked.
Since Parker has a tendency to put everything in his mouth, I knew I was going to need another set of hands to help if I expected to get any photos of him actually painting on the canvas. I was kind of surprised that Mark wanted to be on the dirty end and I got to sit and watch and click.
As luck would have it, he never even put his messy hands in his mouth. But, he did put his mouth on the edge of the freshly painted canvas. Napkin in hand, I quickly swiped the paint away before he even realized what he did. :)
Parker had a blast smearing the paint around and loved watching daddy drip more on. It's mostly gray with yellow-green, blue and a smidge of black and white. Can you tell who made the color selections? His excitement eventually turned into boredom and he was done!
We stripped him of his diaper and dunked Parker in the tub. And he was a happy boy again! He loves his baths.

Parker's first real piece of art is drying on the mudroom counter right now and I can't wait to hang it in his room. I'm actually starting to collect some more decor ideas for Parker's bedroom, mostly stuff to hang on the walls, and will be slowing working on moving him into his permanent room over next to Morgan by his birthday. Yeah for better sleep. And yeah for another completed room.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

come out, come out, wherever you are

Ok, blog readers. Get your pencils out. It's pop-quiz time.
I'm joking!
Sort of.

I am curious though. What brought you here today?

Part of the Beyond Blogging for Scrapbookers course is to help me improve my blog. But first I need to know why my super awesome readers are here so I can focus my posts on what you really like. Sound good?

Just click a box in the poll below and tell me which best describes you and why you are here. You don't have to leave a comment, although you know I love when you do. Feel free to tell me how you found Reaves, party of four, what your favorite topic is, share the link to your own blog, or just say hello.

Don't be shy. :)

One Little Word : April

This month's prompt for One Little Word was to write a letter to myself. I thought about where I am in my life right now and how 'focus' is going for me. Then, I needed to answer "where I wanted to be one year from now." My letter started out as a list, and it was kind of tricky writing 'you' instead of 'I', but after a couple practice runs, this is what I got out:
click to enlarge + read journaling
Journaling reads:
Dear Nicole,

Right now you are always doing something! There isn't a lot of time for rest right now + when you do find some me time, you feel guilty about it. You are working on that. You are learning that is just as rewarding to cross off a completed 'to-do' as it is to just delete something that isn't important. You love being at home with Morgan and Parker and you are settling into a nice daily rhythm (as opposed to a routine). You are practicing being present + blocking out distractions. It is all a work in progress as you remind yourself that your family is more important that your to-do list!!

One year from now I hope you'll be more calm, more willing and able to relax and less feeling like you have to be doing something constantly. You will have a better handle on getting + staying healthy - eating well + getting active - not just for me, but for Morgan and Parker to see that this is your way of life. I hope you will be spending more one-on-one time with Mark, doing things you both enjoy. You will continue to strip the crap out of your life - the physical, the mental - and focus on what is important to you!


The overall spread includes the back of March's prompt (2 - 5" x 5" inserts: one is just patterned paper with a label tag, the other is another self portrait...I'm going to use the photo above), plus the above letter. I will take a final photo of the complete layout after I develop the photo. It'll be cool to read this next April and see what has changed, and what remains the same.

So much to focus on. One day at a time.

Monday, April 18, 2011

weekend rundown : in bullet form

  • We visited Kristin, Troy and the twins. They are adorable as ever but slept during our entire visit. I'm losing my touch too, because I couldn't tell them apart. Parker is crazy interested in his cousins and Morgan loved wrapping their stuffed monkeys in blankets, a la this post.
  • I test-rode some mountain bikes and finally made my pick. Mark picked up my new Specialized Myka FSR and I love it! He also found some shoes and clipless pedals on super-sale. I downloaded the iMapMyRide app to my iPhone and I'm ready to ride. If only this stupid weather would cooperate. I didn't do much more than ride around our neighborhood, practicing getting my feet in and out of the pedals. And getting used to a full suspension bike.
  • I completed my April prompt for One Little Word. Will share tomorrow.
  • I signed up for Shimelle's Beyond Blogging for Scrapbookers online class, which starts today. Very excited about incorporating these two loves.
  • We've been eating out a lot. And eating a lot of ice cream. :)
  • I started going through my iPhoto library and deleting lots of old, bad and duplicate photos. I've got a lot of work to do. I haven't even made it through 2007 yet. It is an easy mindless project to work on in front of the boob tube though.
  • We lost our power as we were sitting down to eat breakfast Sunday morning. It's April and I think this is the second or third time this year that we've lost power for more than a couple minutes. It's so annoying! Mark reported the outage, and apparently our neighborhood is a pretty high priority because our electricity is lost so often, for no known reason. So, we ate and hit the road for a couple hours.
  • To Target! We snagged free reusable bags, in honor for Earth Day, with our purchase which included a new water bottle for me, pretty sandals for Morgan, and some delish Method hand + dish soap in a limited edition scent, Lemon Mint. So spring-y!
  • Spaghetti dinner for four, which turned into baths for two. Parker inhaled it!
  • After I got Parker to bed, I walked into the living room to find Mark and Morgan watching my most favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz. She was really into it and was asking all kinds of questions. "What's her name? Is that house flying? What's his name? Ohhh, is she is a queen? Who are they? What are they doing? Where are they going? Hey, trees don't talk! Is it snowing? Who is that? Does the witch have a crystal ball?" I love it!!
This week: I'm glad we had some outdoor fun last week because the weather this week doesn't look promising. I've got a couple little projects up my sleeve, including an A-Z photo display for the kids, and beginning to plan and decorate Parker's permanent bedroom. Plus, dying Easter eggs and filling baskets. I'm hoping for the slowest. week. ever.

Friday, April 15, 2011


I think I've mentioned before how much Morgan is into imaginative and role play lately. She especially loves to play mommy + baby with her dolls and stuffed animals. Every day she diapers and dresses a select few and carries them around in her market basket or mini front carrier. And when she runs out of baby clothes, she grabs some of her own. As I type right now, her monkey is sitting next to me on the couch, dressed in Morgan's pajamas. Or she swaddles them in blankets or bathtowels or playsilks or rags - over and over and over. 'It's okay baby, I'm right here.' Their conversations are adorable. Or she'll collect a few of them, along with some pillows and blankets and put them down for a nap. So often, I hear her close her bedroom door behind her, then silence. Minutes later, she comes back out and announces that 'I need to be quiet. Bear and baby are sleeping!' She loves to play in her bedroom and I always kind of snicker to myself when I hear her slam her door shut (usually to make sure Parker doesn't follow her in). How old is she again? Do 2-year-olds really need privacy?

Not only does Morgan like to take care of her babies, but she is quite the teacher too. Most afternoons after lunch, the three of us will lay on the family room floor to play before Parker's afternoon nap. Getting Morgan to share with Parker can be a struggle sometimes, but lately, I almost always find her helping me 'teach' Parker. I love hearing her repeat to him 'Ball, Parker, bbb-aa-lllllll'. 'That's right Parker. That's a car. Cc-aaaa-rrrr.' It's so funny to hear her enunciate.

She is such a sweetheart. I could just sit and watch her play and pretend all day long. :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Field Trip : The Detroit Zoo

On Wednesday, I talked Mark into spending the afternoon enjoying the sunshine and taking Morgan and Parker to the zoo after lunch. I think he wanted to go bike shopping again, but he agreed. :)

Their favorites: The penguins. And the peacocks. As soon as Morgan heard them, she shouted "PEACOCKS!" and started making their screetchy call. Then she'd ask "Do I sound like a peacock or a monkey?" We sat on a bench nearby to rest and have a snack and a couple peacocks kept walking by, struting their stuff. Apparently, they like Nilla Wafers. Parker loved watching them get so close and walk by. Morgan also about peed herself when she saw the Dora and Diego banners advertising the 3D/4D show at their Wild Adventure Theater. And she went inside the prairie dog tunnel for the first time too!
Not-so-favorites: Morgan so badly wanted one of those rainbow unicorn suckers, but we told her no, not this time, it was too close to dinner. And the train isn't running yet - not until May. And the 'icy wall' in the polar bear exhibit isn't on yet. She loved that icy wall last year! Thank goodness she was beyond understanding about all of it. Sad, but understanding.

I'm loving this zoo membership! I'm especially loving that we don't feel pressured to see everything at every visit. There's always next time.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thankful Thought | 001

Photo taken on Monday, March 28, 2011:
Today I am thankful for growing independence + understanding.
For quiet time without a fuss, because today, I needed it more than you.

Last month, Ali started her Thankful Thought series and created these digital photo overlays to go with it. You can get yours for free here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

the beginning of the never-ending weekend

Saturday began Mark's 16 straight days at home before he begins his new job. We've been doing a lot of "what day is it?" lately. For once, I'm not minding losing track of time.
We've been keeping busy though. I spent Saturday with Kristin, Logan and Ellis. Reminiscing about those early newborn snuggly days and how time flies. Parker has been walking everything he can around the house. Mark hung the last of the drywall in our bathroom and applied mud coat #1. Grocery shopping. Belgian waffle breakfasts + Biggby Michigan Cherry coffee with dark chocolate creamer. Morgan has been a coloring fiend and has been showing a ton of interest in writing the alphabet. Thai food. Mark hung swings that his mom found on the branch of a tree in our front yard and Morgan and Parker love them. Target. We loaded the kids up in the Chariot bike trailer and took a 7-milk bike ride to Kevin and Erika's house. Easter basket shopping. Parker got his second haircut, this time from daddy. Afternoon treats at Sonic. Mountain bike shopping for me. $5 burgers and fries at The Emory. House and Parenthood. And it's only Tuesday.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Ok, I think I'm finally done screwing around with the blog. It was fun! I moved a lot of stuff around, added some tabs up below the header with a ton of links to my favorite sites and projects I've posted about. Plus, some new photo buttons in the sidebar. Browse around. Let me know if something isn't linked correctly. This is a big checkmark on the to-do list.

I'll be back soon with a real post. Now: time to sleep!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Project: Simplify - Hot Spot #5: Linen Closet

I mentioned last week during my before and after post for our pantry and fridge that I was hoping the final hot spot was the bathroom. My wish was granted. Sort of.

Project: Simplify Hot Spot #5 was actually a freebie. Anything we wanted it to be! After I read that on Monday, I thought of all of the other places I could tackle. The craft cabinet, my computer files (and especially my photos), the laundry room. So much to declutter, so little time. Instead, I stuck with the bathroom and actually just narrowed it down to the linen closet in our main bathroom. As much as I dislike this bathroom, I love this big linen closet. But, it's so easy to just toss something in there and close the bifold doors. Here is the before of the top half (we like to hang our towels from the doors but I should have taken them down first before snapping the picture so you could really see behind them):
Plus there are three drawers below. The top is first aid stuff:
The middle drawer is full of rags:
And the bottom drawer holds my seldom used hairdryer, curling iron, straightener, etc:
One shelf at a time, I emptied the contents of the linen closet. I tossed the old, unused and practically empty bottles and put like items together. I worked quick, quick, quick because this really isn't a room I could leave 'in-progress.' Here is the after:
The top shelf is full of toilet paper, kleenex, QTips and cotton balls, my travel toiletries bag and trial size bottles.

The second shelf is all of our cleaning supplies and lightbulbs.

The third shelf is personal care items, plus sunscreen and aloe, my nailpolish and supplies.

The bottom shelf holds our towels, the kids bath toys and their soap, bubble bath and shampoo. My biggest sore spot in the linen closet was the older towels. For some reason, I can't let go of them. Don't ask me why. We have some old bath towels that Morgan likes to use as water (the blue ones) and snow (the white ones) so, for now, I put them in the cabinet under the sink because it was empty and they'll be out of sight.

And the drawers, after:
30 minutes and done. And it's so much nicer to look at. Now I just need a better solution for hanging our bath towels besides on the doors.

Thanks for peeking! I'm excited to see what area everyone else chose. I'm also a little relieved Project: Simplify is over. I love the results that have come from all of the purging and organizing the last 5 weeks, but I could use a little break. It's time to focus this energy on some other projects.

Have a fantastic weekend! I'll be spending much of mine with my sister and my nephews. I hope they haven't changed too much since I saw them a week ago.