Archive for January, 2009

Updates, Photos & Lots of TLC

She's a Natural

He's a Day Old & She's a Natural

Kolette has decided to lay low for a couple of days (or longer) so she wanted to make sure you all knew that for right now, one of my jobs as a new daddy is to be in charge of updating all of you on our life with Cole.  So click here and head over to my blog  for all the latest news and updates.  And don’t worry, Kolette will be back in the swing of things here before you know it!

Thanks for all of the prayers, support, congratulations, funny stories and great advice.  Kolette wants you all to know that YOU ROCK!



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Looking For More?

Hello All, Jason here!  Photos and info posted here. It’s all on my blog www.manontheinside.com right now.  Thanks for all the love


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She’s Having A Baby


It’s official!!! My water broke and I’m at the hospital. It’s 11:18am and the pitocin is doing its job.  Since I’m otherwise occupied, check Jason’s blog (manontheinside.com) for updates and more info through the day.

Jason and I are so excited and grateful to have so many people like you who already love our little guy.

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It’s 5:42 am and I think my water just broke – not sure since I haven’t been sure of anything when it comes to being pregnant – but fairly certain.  So, we’ve called the doctor and we’re headed to the hospital to check it out!

Not feeling contractions.  Yesterday was 3 weeks till the due date.  Jason’s car is in the shop – luckily we have a rental van.  I’ll be driving us to the hospital.  Typical of our lives for me to want to have everything in order and not get my wish!  :)  I still feel good so I’m not worried about any of it.

Will keep you posted….

The real deal or false alarm?  What’s your guess?

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Magical Burp Cloths

36 Weeks - 8 Months

36 Weeks (8 Months) - Can you believe it?!!!

No, magical burp cloths don’t keep your baby from drooling and spitting up but from what I hear, burp cloths made from cloth diapers are the next best thing since sliced bread.  They rate second only to the Bumbo – in which I have received an energetic and heartfelt testimonial each time a mother (or more often, a grandmother) mentions this amazing chair for 3-month-olds to me (the more I read about the Bumbo the more I think that you have to be really careful with these, though – not for every baby and you have to watch them carefully that they don’t arch out of them.  I am not advocating the Bumbo, just saying that lots of moms are telling me how great it is – totally depends on the baby).

I received a package of these magical cloth diapers at a baby shower, specifically for the purpose of using them as super-absorbent burp cloths.  However, since I do know how to sew – even though I have given up on my quilting projects since I started my scrapbook and design business – I decided to embellish them for Cole (but let’s face it – the cute factor is all for me since he won’t care one way or the other what they look like).  In the process, I made a girl-batch for my sister-in-law Crystal, who is having her fourth baby at the end of April.

Burp Cloths

They are easy to do if you have a sewing machine – even you novice seamstresses can whip these up in no time.  I am sure that many of you have seen these before and possibly made them in the past.  For those of you who want more info, here are instructions of how I created them.  Try it.  Make them for yourself or a lucky new mother-to-be in your life.  They are a piece of cake.


  • flat, pre-folded cloth diapers (I found mine at Target)
  • non-wired, satin or grosgrain ribbon (I like it to be 3/4″ – 1″ wide) – you’ll need 2 lengths per diaper
  • sewing machine
  1. You can either wash the diapers before you sew the ribbon or after.  If you wash them after the ribbon is stitched then the ribbon will pucker a little and create a little gathered look.  If you wash them before, the ribbon will be more smooth.  Both ways are cute so you get to decide what you like best.  You will need less ribbon if you stitch it after the diaper has been washed and shrunk.
  2. After trying  a couple, I decided I liked two ribbon strips going down the length of the diaper.  You can sew the ribbon to the edges, along the short or long sides, whatever.
  3. Fold over the end of your ribbon about 1/4″ and line it up with the diaper edge.  Pin in place if necessary.
  4. Sew along one edge of the ribbon – all the way down the length of the diaper until you get about 2″ from the bottom.
  5. Trim the ribbon at the bottom so that you have enough to fold about 1/4″ up under the ribbon then continue stitching.  Trim threads at the beginning and end.
  6. Repeat the stitching line along the other edge of the ribbon.
  7. Add another ribbon symmetrical to the first along the other side of the diaper to create two ribbon rows.

Burp Cloth Ribbon

That’s all there is to it!  If you chose to wash the diaper after you attached the ribbon then do that now and you will love the gathered effect it takes on.  Trust me, once you have created one you will be able to cruise through a whole batch.

These make fabulous baby gifts – they are personal but practical and actually easy to create.  I now have a stash of diapers and ribbon on hand just for this purpose because they are so simple to put together but are raved about by anyone who uses them.

Happy Stitching!

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Today the first African-American will be inaugurated as the President of the United States.  Whether you agree with or voted for Barack Obama or not, one thing that all can agree on is the fact that today is a historic day.

I agree that changes in our country need to be made – not necessarily the changes that have been talked about, but changes need to be made.  Is this the guy to do it?  That remains to be seen. But I love the idea that “embracing change” is one that has swept the country.  So, in honor of this historic day, that is what our download is all about.

Think of changes in our own lives.  I believe that our ability to be adaptable and open to new ideas or ways of doing things is vital to our happiness.  What do we do when things don’t go our way or when obstacles arise in our paths?  What do we do when the actions of another or circumstances beyond our control cause us to have to change direction?  What do we do when the ups and downs of life create the need to reevaluate what we are doing, where we are headed and how we are going to get there?

Change happens.  We are called upon to make changes every day of our lives.  Sometimes those changes are large and have a far reaching impact.  Sometimes those changes are as small as deciding to take a different way to work.  Change happens.

The question becomes: What are we going to do with that change?  How are we going to respond when we are faced with the opportunity to adapt, be flexible and shift our thinking to a new way of doing things?

My challenge to all of us is to embrace it.  Embrace change.  Not necessarily from a political standpoint but instead from a personal one.  Embrace the chance to be adaptable.  Embrace not complaining when things don’t go the way we planned.  Embrace keeping a positive outlook even when we have to adjust to new circumstances.

Embrace change.  I promise that we will be happier if we do.

please click on image to download pdf

please click on image to download pdf

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About a week ago I remember thinking, “What are all those people talking about when they say that the last trimester is miserable?  I feel great!  I could be pregnant forever and that would be fine.  That way I would have a little more time to get my list done…”

Fast forward to this week….I now understand what everyone meant.

I am moving more slowly than I am used to – just having a hard time getting going and everything is taking longer than I want it to.  My back is starting to get more sore as the days pass.  I feel a tiny bit nauseous.  But mostly, two nights ago I didn’t sleep at all due to insomnia – I’m not uncomfortable, really.  I’m just wide awake night after night.

I got up and tackled things on my to do list instead.  I feel very blessed.  It’s true that actually getting pregnant was high drama for us, but since then I have had a pretty easy go of it.  Now that I’m down to my last 4 weeks, I think it’s OK to assume that I should be starting to feel less than ideal.  To be honest, I can’t complain.  I know that many women out there feel worse a lot longer than I have – we are very blessed.

So, at 2 am I decided to work on Cole’s thank you notes.  I designed them a while ago but I needed another batch printed out (Bazzill Basics textured cardstock) and trimmed to fit the envelopes.  I used this last round of finished notes as my Project 365 of Gratitude photo for Monday.  I had a baby shower last week and this stack is for my friends and family that came to that.  I am so grateful for supportive people from over the years who are coming out of the woodwork to celebrate this baby.  It’s a miracle and everyone wants to share in the excitement.  (click here if you want to know more of the story about this long-awaited baby and here if you want Jason’s take on it all).

Cole Thanks

Cole's First Logo - January 12 Project 365 Photo

Therefore, on Monday I was grateful for the amazing support and love we feel from everyone in our lives – represented by this stack of thank you notes.

I am grateful for my life.  Here are a few photos from my Project 365 of Gratitude this last week.

I'm grateful for my brother Kent - he's the expert who put the crib together

January 9 - I'm grateful for my brother Kent - with 3 little ones & one on the way, he's the expert who put the crib together

I am sure that being grateful is not reliant on having lots of stuff for the baby.

January 8 - I'm grateful for the connections from various stages in my past that this baby has created - here's a friend from junior high, some from high school, & from our time in Connecticut - all together at the baby shower

I'm grateful that Jason finally got the pin out of his hand that had slipped and has been irritating

January 13 - I'm grateful that Jason finally got the pin out of his hand that had slipped and has been irritating him - just in time for it to heal before Cole comes (photo taken pre-surgery)

I'm grateful that we finally got my wireless printer working after the lightening strike a few months ago - "Yeah!"

January 14 - I'm grateful that we finally got my wireless printer working after the lightening strike a few months ago - "Yeah!"

Big things, little things, and everything in between.  My life is full right now.  I am definitely moving more slowly…but I am steady and sure of my gratitude for our many blessings.

Today, when it comes to gratitude, these things I am sure of:

I am sure that being grateful has little to do with things going perfectly and a lot to do with how I look at each moment.

I am sure that generosity and love abound and have made our little world a place of celebration of miracles.

I am sure that whether I am a mother or not, I have the choice to be happy and love my life.

I am sure that being grateful is not reliant on having lots of stuff for the baby (LOL).

I am sure that our lives will never be the same again and I relish the chance for that to happen.

Slow but sure – that’s how I feel today.



We are loving our experience so far with teaching our Big Picture Scrapbooking class “A Life Well Crafted.”  Thank you to all of you across the globe for being a part of it.  If you would still like to join us – there is plenty of time.  Just click here to register for the year long (discount price) option or here if you would like to register month to month.

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Memory Works Retreat

Memory Works is hosting a Scrapbooking Retreat this summer where I will be the keynote speaker. I am very excited about this opportunity – there will be fabulous project classes, crops and lots of great memories made.  I would love to have you come to Utah to be a part of it all.

Just click here to go to the retreat website.  For more information you can click here for last year’s highlights, here for more about what others are saying about the event and here for the registration form.  We would love to see you there!

365 Days of Gratitude – Organized

Life of Gratitude

I am pumped.  I love this project and everything about it.  I love thinking about something I am grateful for each day.  I love deciding the best way to capture that memory.  I love consciously looking for the good in my life and having a place to record my feelings as well as a visual image of that gratitude.  Many of you know that this year will be a landmark one for us.  After 16 years of marriage we are finally able to have a baby!  Because of that and because I am a strong believer in our happiness being directly linked to our gratitude, I am focusing my Project 365 on gratitude. (click here if you want to know more of the story about this long-awaited baby and here if you want Jason’s take on it all).

I have spent time this week getting my album ready.  I decided that I wanted to pre-decide as much as I could with the album because I know that life will get a little crazy in other ways.  I think this way I’ll be prepared to be as successful as possible to keep it up. To get my album ready, here is what I did:

1.  Create the title page and ending page using the pre-printed cards that were in the kit – with my own embellishment.  I will add a quote or my thoughts about the experience at the end once the year is over.

Title Page

Title Page

Ending Page

Ending Page

I added chipboard words to some of the cards

I added chipboard words to some of the cards

I added a favorite quote to one of the cards

I added a favorite quote to one of the cards

The purpose of it all

The purpose of it all

Ending page embellishment

Ending page embellishment

2.  Insert the “Week of…” cards into each layout for the whole year.

3.  Insert one coordinating full-color 4×3 card in the bottom row of my sheet protectors.  I decided to use one per week as a journaling card because I like the full-color look of them.


"Week Of" card + journaling cards

4.  Then I divided the journaling cards into 3 sets and inserted a “set” of cards into the rest of the bottom row slots – sometimes mixing up the order of the cards for variety.  I will simply pull out the card each day and write my journaling.  If I need to switch a card for one of the tri-fold card options to write more, I will do that as I go.

5.  Place a printed transparency in empty slots throughout the year – there are enough to do one about every other week.

6.  I liked the option of mounting the circle “days of the week” stickers to a color before adding them to the page.  I went through and punched a whole bunch of circles from coordinating paper and added a sticker to each one.  I placed these by day in small ziplocks so I can easily grab one for each day of the week in the color I want.

Days of the week dots

Days of the week dots

7.  Finally, I cut the black, spelled-out days of the week stickers in half so each week was its own little sheet and inserted one week’s worth into one of the slots for each week.  This way they are always handy for adding to my journaling blocks as I go.

Black weekly stickers ready to go

Black weekly stickers ready to go

All my album is missing are the photos and the actual journaling that I will do as I go along throughout the year.  This process took me a few hours to complete, I won’t lie.  But I feel like it is worth it to be ready for the year.  So much of what takes time as we scrapbook are making decisions.  Now, all my decisions are basically made and I can just concentrate on the record-keeping part instead of the decision-making part.

Finished journaling

Finished journaling

So yes, I received my kit in the mail – but after looking through it I have decided that it would be simple to recreate the same concept on just 12×12 pages.  I don’t think that you even need the divided sheet protectors to make this happen.  Especially if you take advantage of Becky Higgins’ completely generous offer of downloading some of the weekly title cards and journaling cards that she has made available on her blog if you click here.

Here’s why a 12×12 page works the same as the divided sheet protectors from the kit:

  • You can fit two 4×6 photos across the page in a row at the top (just like our kits have).
  • You can fit a second row of 4×6 photos across the page under the first one (just like our kits have).
  • You can fit four journaling cards across the bottom of the page – each 3×4 or the size you desire (just like our kits have).
  • It’s easy to make your own “Days of the Week” stickers for the photos and journaling blocks.

The only difference is that you have no “slots” to slide everything into and you have to print the cards (from Becky’s blog) or create your own (which is totally doable).  I suggest you print or create a stack that you can use all year and you will be ready to go.  Just adhere the cards and your photos directly to a 12×12 background and once the page is filled, slide it into a regular 12×12 sheet protector.

I am loving this option.

Enjoy the process – whatever process you are using to approach this project.  I’ll post some of the photos from the last week or so next time – stay tuned!



We are loving our experience so far with teaching our Big Picture Scrapbooking class “A Life Well Crafted.”  Thank you to all of you across the globe for being a part of it.  If you would still like to join us – there is plenty of time.  Just click here to register for the year long (discount price) option or here if you would like to register month to month.

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“How a Quadriplegic Uses an SLR” – Follow Up

I am giving you a follow up to my last post about “The Art of Photo Taking.”  Thanks for all the comments and the interest in the post.  Based on your ideas, we decided to try using our gorillapod (which we already owned but hadn’t thought of using) to see if that gave Jason more freedom in his photo-taking ability.

This is what we found out:

1.  there is not a place to attach it to his chair and still be able to take the photo.

2.  wrapping it around his forearm wasn’t very stable so that idea was out.

3.  this is where the lack of use of his triceps comes into play – our best option was to attach the gorillapod to the camera and then close the legs of the gorillapod. Then he can “hold” the camera up a little higher when he grabs the legs of the gorillapod.  However, lack of triceps in this quadriplegic means that he still can’t hold the whole contraption up high enough to reach his eye and look through the view finder.  Not to mention, then lifting his other arm high enough to press the button is not even an option.  Basically it all boils down to lack of triceps…

Dang.  I was totally hopeful that #3 would work fabulously.  I had forgotten about the “not being able to lift his arm above his shoulder” part.

However, what we have learned is that instead of being limited to only taking vertical shots with our old system, if he holds the gorillapod’s legs he can take a horizontal shot.  This is key for 2009 since the photos in Becky Higgins’ kit for Project 365 of Gratitude all slide into horizontal slots on the sheet protectors.

So, all is not lost!  We have made progress in our “How a Quadriplegic Uses an SLR” journey and we’ll keep you posted as we learn more tricks.

Download Day – Request

If you were wondering – yes, I take requests for Download Day.  Here is a comment from Brynn when she saw my 365 Days of Gratitude photo.


Beautiful Kolette. I too am on this journey and it’s already an amazing one.

P.S. Can the “Women of Stature and Faith” be the download for download day?! I would LOVE to have that!

Submitted on 2009/01/08 at 6:55pm

I created this as a sign for our 2009 theme in our church women’s organization but I think the quote applies to many women out there working to be the best they can be and have a little faith in the process.  For Download Day, I adapted it to fit a 5 x 7 frame if you want to place it somewhere as a reminder – it would also make a great gift this way.

So, here you go Brynn.  Our download for today is by your request.   Feel free to make your own requests, fellow readers.  I would love to give you what you want!

please click on image to download pdf

please click on image to download pdf

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7 1/2 months

7 1/2 months - a Jason shot

What makes a good photo?

There are many people out there who are amazing photographers – and this year I hope to get a little closer to that category.  My in-laws got us a new Canon Rebel XSi for Christmas because they wanted to make sure I could snap the best photos I could of Coleman once he gets here (he seems to be driving many decisions these days)!

The thing about SLR cameras is that unlike point-and-shoots, you have to look through the view finder in order to see what you are taking.  After the photo is snapped it shows up on the screen of the camera.

We have had a learning curve happening at our house because of this feature.

Since Jason can’t use his hands and has very little “grip,” he is constantly having to adapt the real world to fit his needs in order to function independently in it.  When he works, file folders are death and so we made sure he has plenty of table space for him to spread things out.  When he eats, forks and spoons tend to slide out of his so-called grasp so we use utensils with thicker handles.  The remote control sits chest high on the cabinet shelf – never on the couch or in a cupboard.  And we are always eager to see what new technology comes out that can help him access, organize and use information.  When the iPhone, where everything used the touch screen, started showing up on commercials, we sat enthralled with the possibilities for him (and yes, he has figured out how to manipulate his with taps instead of having to spread his fingers).

Little things make the most difference when it comes to his physical success.

So when we were presented with the new camera and I started trying it out, my immediate thought was that Jason wasn’t going to be able to use it.  He can’t hold it up to his eye and push the button at the same time – it’s just not physically possible.  This was disappointing to me because I like it when he can take photos – then I can be in them!  I figured we could have him continue to use my point-and-shoot – it’s small enough that he has figured out how to hold it vertically and snap a photo.

"blind" photographer

I should have known that Jason would not be content with watching me use the new camera.  He wanted in on the action, too.  And thus began our exploration of “How a Quadriplegic Uses an SLR.”  Here are step-by-step instructions:

1.  Hang the strap around your neck so you don’t risk dropping the camera.

2.  Move the settings to “sports” for continuous shot capability.

3.  Hold the camera vertically against your chest where you think the subject will be in the photo.

4.  Hold the button down with your knuckle, snapping continuous photos, while you move the camera slightly, hoping to actually get the subject in at least one of the shots.

5.  Look at the pictures you took and find the ones that actually worked!

This is how Jason took last week’s “pregnancy” photos of me.  Watching him figure this out was funny to me so I kept laughing while the camera snapped dozens of photos.

I love those photos.  You’ll see a few of the series in my new blog header that I created last week.  Yes, some of them are blurry.  Yes I was kind of cut off most of them.  But all in all, they are great photos simply because they capture the moment of joy that I was feeling.  They show off my pregnancy, which was the point.  And they remind me of Jason’s unique determination to figure out a solution to participate in life – even when it means taking photos “blind.”

Those pregnancy photos are some of my favorite pictures of all time.  Are they the “best” photos in the eyes of a professional or even just a regular person?  No.  But they are the best to me.  That is the true art of photo taking.

The first "Jason photo" with the new camera - our nephew Carter.  I love this shot.

The first "Jason photo" with the new camera before he figured out the continuous shot feature - our nephew Carter. I love this picture.

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