Monday, May 25, 2015

They Called It River City: A Memorial Day Tribute

Today is Memorial Day. It is a day off for me, a civilian, but my mind is occupied. I am remembering what it’s like to have a service member overseas in a war zone: the fear, the honor, the pride, the prayers. I remember calls at 3 am, afraid to answer the phone. Would it be my brother on the other end, serving in a far away time zone? Please, please let it be that. I remember well those days, those weeks, those months.

But this post isn’t about me. It’s about my brother, Michael, who served with the Marine Corps in Iraq. He had a hard service. He was assigned to a reconnaissance mission, not to a base. He slept in tents; he ate MREs; he patrolled in towns; he helped rebuild schools. He befriended Iraqi children. And he lost his friends. War is ugly but I am blessed with a brother who has a beautiful soul and a deep devotion to those he loves. This is the kind of men and women serving our country today.

Today on Facebook, my brother wrote the following remembrance of his time in service. I asked him if I could post it on my blog and he said I could.

They called it "River City."

I can't remember your name but I remember being at your funeral. You were killed by an IED in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq. You were a NC native and still a young man.

I'll never forget your 8 younger siblings coming up to the microphone to say goodbye to their big brother. My eyes were filled with tears the entire time and my blues had spots where my tears had fallen and collected. The church was filled with people to honor you. We all cried during this time. Every man and every woman there.  I didn't know you personally but we were brothers by the uniform we both wore.

You gave the ultimate sacrifice, not only for our freedom here but also freedom for the people in Iraq. I will never forget.

They called it River City, code name for an American killed in action. I can't remember the date but I remember seeing the helicopter fly into Al Quiam as I was walking back from the PX getting snacks and actually seeing multiple KIAs lying on the floor inside the helicopter. I couldn't believe my eyes. I stopped, my heart stopped and I stood there. I slowly saluted as tears ran down my face. I will never forget.

I can't remember the date but we were in our humvee in Iraq and we heard and felt this ungodly loud explosion. My heart stopped. We looked at each other, afraid to know what had happened. We later we found out an AAV ran over an IED killing 14 Marines inside. That night I prayed and cried for those Marines killed. I will never forget.

I can't remember the date but you had two weeks left before going home to American soil. Marines had multiple casualties and were in a fire fight and they needed help and you were part of QRF in response. You went to go help them but the 7-ton vehicle overturned and you were killed. I will never forget.

These are just a few that I'll always remember on Memorial Day Weekend. Our American heroes. I will never forget. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Beautiful Spring

Good morning. I have something a little different for me today. My scrapbook layouts are almost always about my little boy, so I don't often use pink. 

But every once in awhile, I get a picture or two of Cory with a little girl. In this case, it was with his cousin Piper and her brother on Easter Sunday. Yay for pink!

I love the combo of pink and yellow together. I really need to look for more excuses to use it. 

I made this layout with the May Creative kit My Creative Scrapbook. You can see all the monthly kits on their website. 

Thanks so much for stopping by. I'll be back later this week with a mini-album. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Puddle Jumper & Wave Rider: Summer Layout

We're fortunate to live fairly close to the beach, about a 4-hour drive, and when Spring fever strikes, it's hard to resist the pull of the shore. 

The ocean water was pretty chilly this April day, but it didn't stop my 6-year-old from jumping in. He was particularly anxious to try skimboarding. After a few tips from a fellow boarder, he was on his way. 

The water themed papers and icons from the May Creative Kit at My Creative Scrapbook were perfect for this layout. I used a sheet of blue patterned paper as my backdrop and created waves on top with kraft paper. 

I handcut the waves. Nothing fancy, then stitched them down, creating a pocket in the bottom wave for my photos. 

I tucked a series of photos in the wave pocket and stitched them in place. Then I added a a title and a few embellishments to the bottom wave. 

At the top of the layout, I created a cluster of stickers on a journaling card to balance the page. On the left, I added a shipping tag with a bit of strip journaling. 

Here'a another look at the full layout: 

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. I'll be back on Monday with one more layout from this kit. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Giggles and Goggles: Using A Kraft Paper Background

Good morning.  I am back today with a sunny, happy layout, as promised. 

I love using kraft paper as my background. It is one of my favorite scrapbooking trends. Kraft paper is like khaki pants. It goes with everything! Kraft paper lends itself particularly well to layouts about boys, I think. It has sort of a rough and tumble look all on its own. Plus, bright colors really pop against kraft. 

I've been holding on to these photos for awhile. I took them at a July 4th party when my son was 4. These photos went perfectly with the new May kit from My Creative Scrapbook.  The kit features Echo Park Paper. 

I printed the series of photos small (2 x 2 inches) and cut 8 circles (1.25 inches each) from the colorful paper with a circle punch.  

Below the photos is the title. I put my son's age on the sailboat using little alphas from the kit. It was a way to dress up the sailboat and add a little demographic data at the same time. 

As you can see, I had a lot of design on the right side of the page. I could have stopped there and cut my page to 8.5 x 11. I am kind of digging smaller canvases these days. But in the end, I decided to keep the page 12 x 12. Since the left side was empty, I added a few elements to balance things out: strip journaling, a line of banners and a 3 x 4 card with decorative elements. 

Here's another look at the whole layout. 

Thanks for stopping by.  I'll be back tomorrow with another layout from this kit. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Singing In The Rain: My Creative Scrapbook Reveal

Good morning!  

Today is reveal day at My Creative Scrapbook. The new May kit is sunny and happy and, well, a little bit rainy. Yep.  I played on that latter theme for my first layout. 

The May Creative kit featured Echo Park Paper's Sunny Days Ahead collection, which includes images of the sun, of course, but also clouds, umbrellas and rain boots. 

My first layout was inspired by this paper in the kit: 

The front side is adorable, but a little too girly for my scrapbooking my son. The B side, however, was perfect.  It has the text Singing in the Rain repeated over and over. 

The paper made me think of these photos I took last year of my son playing in the sprinklers, fully dressed, at our local botanical gardens. 

The photos aren't perfect. It is hard to capture crisp, sharp photos of an active child. Plus, there was the issue of not wanting to get my camera wet in the spray.  But the photos captured the joy of a child and that's what I wanted to scrapbook. 

I chose a series of three photos from that day and used the Singing In The Rain paper as my background with large yellow circles for a pop of color. 

In the bottom corner, I used a journaling card to anchor my page. 

We actually were at the gardens in late October last year for a Halloween event. So, I wasn't even thinking that my 5-year-old would run through the water spray. It was October!  But, as my journaling says: you can't keep a kid out of sprinkler. 

Here's one more look at the whole layout. 

This is the kit I used to create the layout: 

My Creative Scrapbook offers a main kit, creative kit, limited edition kit and an album kit each month. You can find all the details on their website

Thanks so much for stopping by. I'll be back tomorrow with another layout from this kit. A sunny one, I promise!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Sneak Peeks: My Creative Scrapbook May Kit

Hello everyone!

Spring has sprung and summer is almost upon us. This is my favorite time of year to scrapbook. I always seem to have the most photos - and the best photos - of these lazy, sunny days. 

Here are a few sneak peeks at what I have been working on: 

Yep. Happy little layouts with the new May kit at My Creative Scrapbook. The full reveal is May 5. 

Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful weekend!
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