Category Archives: Family history

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throwback thursday | 28 years ago


My mom pointed out this morning on her Facebook that today marks 28 years to the day that my Grandma (her mother) unexpectedly passed away. Grandma had a bad heart and one day it just stopped working. I was thirteen years old. My brothers were ten and seven. My five cousins were all close to us in age, too. We were all so young to lose our grandmother, and I think it was the first real experience any of us had with death. I’d been to one other funeral, my great grandmother, but I was never close to her. Grandma’s death was devastating for all of us and that grief affected us profoundly. We lost Grandpa a year later to lung cancer and Uncle Ron unexpectedly in ’94. A lot of loss in our young lives.

I always felt a closeness with my cousins, even though we moved to Michigan when I was five and they all lived in Ohio. But after Grandma’s death, there was this special bond. We made it through something life changing together. That bond has remained all these years, despite the distance, despite us growing up, marrying, having kids. Maybe our kids will never fully understand this bond we have. And I hope and pray they don’t have to go through that kind of loss at such a young age. But I believe it made the love we already had for each other even stronger.

We still get together every year for Christmas and I know Grandma & Grandpa and Uncle Ron are all looking down with such pride when they see THIS:

Mom & Dad, Aunt Pat & Uncle Tom, Aunt Shari & Jim, who she married after Uncle Ron passed and who has become a wonderful part of our family. And all eight of us grandkids, the spouses, and the beautiful great-grandchildren.

The photos at the top of the page were some that I scanned over the past couple years from my Grandma’s film negatives. I’ve barely scratched the surface on that project, yet I’ve found so many wonderful memories there. Grandma and her mother on a visit to Michigan. Grandma and my brother Tim waiting for the school bus. Grandma holding my baby brother Rick. Grandma with her sisters and her mother. Grandma painting the garage door. She was a hard worker, always cleaning or painting or gardening. It’s one of my most prominent memories of her. That and she took us to McDonald’s all the time and always drank coffee there. ;)

We love and miss you, Grandma.

so many pages



These are just some of the scrapbook pages I’ve shared here on the blog over the years. I love this hobby. I’ve gotten away from the traditional style of scrapbooking in favor of the simpler Project Life way of documenting our life, but it’s all good. I love that I’ve got those old scrapbooks that show my style at that time and that it keeps changing as I grow and change. It’s been a big part of my life and a big part of this blog from the beginning. I’ve shared many traditional scrapbooking pages, digital layouts, pages I made when I was on Heather’s design team, and layouts from my time on the Project Life® Creative Team last year.

Because of this hobby and this blog, I have found many wonderful ladies that encourage and bless me with their friendship. Each one documents their life in creative ways that inspire and motivate me to do the same. Some I have met in person, some I only know online. All are so special and I’m thankful for each one of them.

If you’d like to see all the posts I’ve written under “scrapbooking”, click HERE and when you get to the bottom of each page, just keep clicking “Older posts in this category”. There are like 15 pages of posts, so grab a cup of coffee or tea, sit back and enjoy.

On to the giveaway …

GIVEAWAY INFO: There are four ways to enter through the giveaway box below and each will get you five entries in the drawing.

• The first option is the only one you HAVE to do in order to be entered. I’ll ask one question in every day’s giveaway. You just have to enter your name and email address, give a brief response to the question, and you’re in the drawing.

If you want more chances to win, you can …
• Join my mailing list (if you already have, enter your email address so I can verify)
• Tweet about the giveaway and copy/paste the link from Twitter
• SHARE about the giveaway and the BLOG-IVERSARY on your own blog, Facebook*, Pinterest, etc. and link to that as well.

All giveaways will end on my actual BLOG-IVERSARY, next Thursday, February 26th, so the giveaways will all be OPEN until then.
The winners will be announced in a blog post on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27th!

* Note: If you share on a private Facebook account and we aren’t “friends”, make sure you change the audience of that one post to “public” so I can see it. ;)

TODAY’S GIVEAWAY

This year for me is all about the one little word LEARN and one of the things I wanted to learn to do was design a scrapbook kit that would work for my Project Life albums. So a couple weeks ago, I sat down at my computer and gave it a go. This kit was totally inspired by a Bible verse I read recently, “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24. As soon as I read it, I thought it would make a great theme for a kit, so I took the honeycomb idea and went crazy with it. This kit is what I came up with!

I’m giving this digital kit away to 5 WINNERS! This is not a physical product. It is digital, but you can print the cards to use in physical albums if you want.

Enter below. Tell a friend!


CLICK HERE to see more images of the cards!
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CLICK HERE to see all the GIVEAWAYS on one page!

Hope you’re having a wonderful week! SEE YA BACK HERE TOMORROW!

10 YEARS!

You’re here! I’m so excited! On February 26, 2005, I started this blog, and for the next two weeks, I will be looking back at the past TEN YEARS of blogging!

Ten years has gone by in the blink of an eye. At least, it seems so at times. I’ve been browsing back through old posts and, while the style of my photos (lots of borders and filters in the early days) has changed, the core of the posts has not. It started with a few posts about my kids and that’s pretty much the same today. I wrote about things we did, places we traveled, movies I loved, following my love of photography into a business, family, friends, parties, scrapbooking, memories, happy times, sad times, publishing my novel. So much of our life.

Ten years is a really long time.

So, for the next TEN DAYS, I will be looking back, sharing old photos and favorite posts, and there will be GIVEAWAYS!!!

GIVEAWAY INFO: There are four ways to enter through the giveaway box below and each will get you five entries in the drawing.

• The first option is the only one you HAVE to do in order to be entered. I’ll ask one question in every day’s giveaway. You just have to enter your name and email address, give a brief response to the question, and you’re in the drawing.

If you want more chances to win, you can …
• Join my mailing list (if you already have, enter your email address so I can verify)
• Tweet about the giveaway and copy/paste the link from Twitter
• SHARE about the giveaway and the BLOG-IVERSARY on your own blog, Facebook*, Pinterest, etc. and link to that as well.

All giveaways will end on my actual BLOG-IVERSARY, next Thursday, February 26th, so the giveaways will all be OPEN until then.
The winners will be announced in a blog post on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27th!

* Note: If you share on a private Facebook account and we aren’t “friends”, make sure you change the audience of that one post to “public” so I can see it. ;)

TODAY’S GIVEAWAY!

I’ve got a paperback copy of my first young adult novel ready to sign. The Truth About Drew was published last May.
It’s a sweet, uplifting, heart-warming story full of friendship and family with a journey to faith and a mystery surrounding a boy and his notebook.
Enter below. Tell a friend! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you have any questions at all about the giveaway, feel free to ask.

SEE YA BACK HERE TOMORROW!

throwback thursday | from Grandma’s camera


It’s been the week of lots of snow around here. I found these pictures recently among some of my Grandma’s scanned negatives and thought they fit well with the recent weather. I believe it’s the winter of 1977 (January or February maybe). The negatives were in a big envelope with other photos from that year, so I’m assuming based on that. This snow storm is so similar to what we got this past weekend. It just snowed all day long and was extremely windy, which made the snow blow all over and drift everywhere.

I love looking back at old photos like these below. This is my Grandpa standing alongside their drifted driveway (left). And there’s just something I love so much about the photo on the right. Grandpa standing at the end of their drive, you can see that the snow plows went right around that lovely 70’s car parked on the street and it’s totally stuck. I love that Grandma took it from this perspective, so you can see just how deep the snow was piled up along the edge of the road, the trees, the cars driving by. The long shot down the road is so great!

This is the view from the end of their drive. They had a horseshoe drive that went straight in right here, curved around that tree and went back out the other side to the road again. I bet Grandpa had fun digging this out. I love that you can see the footprints Grandma left and that she stomped through the snow to take these pictures. :)

For those who are new here to the blog, my grandma passed away when I was 13 years old and my grandpa one year later. When Grandma passed, my Mom and her siblings split up all her photos based on who was in them and my Mom also got the negatives of all the photos she ever took. I snatched them from Mom a few years ago and have since been working my way through scanning all of them into my computer. It’s a huge task as there are thousands of photos, but every time I sit down to scan another roll, it’s like finding these wonderful treasures. I’ve seen some of them before, but I’ve found so many from the time after my family moved from Ohio to Michigan when I was five, special times we weren’t around for that Grandma captured, that have been so wonderful to see. And I always love finding just the everyday shots that Grandma took, too.

I’ve always said I get my love of documenting life in pictures from my Grandma. She always had a camera and took so many pictures of her life. I’m proud to follow in her (snowy) footsteps. ;)

hello, monday


We are on Day 6 without internet here at home. I’m using my phone as a hotspot for a couple minutes so I can post. A new modem is supposed to arrive today and hopefully that will be the solution to the problem. We’ve gone over our data allowance on our phones over the past week because of this. I’ve tried to stay off Instagram and Facebook as best I can. Jake and the kids went to the library on Saturday for their internet fix. And Chloe checked out a library book while there, too.

I should have been spending the internet-free time editing my book, but instead I decided to scan some more of Grandma’s negatives. Most of the batch I worked on were from 1981 or 1982. The above photos are from Christmas 1982 when my cousins and I got the beloved matching cheerleading uniforms. We were so cool! ;)

Isn’t it funny how photos can bring back all sorts of memories? Not just the things that were in the room, the decor, the everyday items, but what it felt like to be in that place, the house, the rooms, Grandpa playing solitaire at the kitchen table or sitting in his leather chair smoking his cigarette (funny … I don’t remember their house ever smelling like smoke, though it probably did), sitting on the orange davenport or on the floor watching Murder She Wrote or Dallas, Grandma running the vacuum, the smell of lavender, Avon bubble bath, that cozy feeling when you’re with family and you know you’re loved.

This photo was on one of the rolls. Nothing spectacular, just a picture Grandma took out the door on a snowy day.

They lived on busy US-30 so there were constantly semis driving by. And as soon as I saw this, I remembered being in the spare bedroom upstairs trying to fall asleep, listening to the sound of the approaching trucks, and watching the lights and shadows travel across the walls as they passed by.

I cherish every one of these photos. Even the fuzzy photos of snow. And there are a lot of those to cherish. ;)

monday’s list


• It was a very quiet and uneventful weekend around here. Didn’t take many pictures. And I liked it that way.

• Jake took a day off on Friday and we had lunch together. That was so nice. Our dates lately have been few and far between. We let the busyness of life take over sometimes. Definitely need to make our dates higher on the priority list!

• Family game night Friday. Played a game that Jake bought – Forbidden Island.

• Enjoyed some movies – Frozen (twice) and Saving Mr. Banks. Love Disney.

• Got some new music this weekend that is touching my heart (will share about this later this week).

• I adore everything that Lindsay Letters makes. I have lovely visions of her canvases above my piano in our future home (no news on that front yet – still lots to do around here before we list our house for sale). But for now, I picked up this cute mug (above) – Live Creatively! – and I love it.

• Editing some photos to be printed for my Project Life album. Will be sharing pages early next week. More weekly layouts for this year’s album. A digital layout. And another layout for the Germany album focusing on a visit to a nearby town with a romantic legend.

• Spent several hours scanning more of Grandma’s negatives. Every time I scan, I find new moments to cherish.

Easter 1975. We sure did love our new baby cousin, Tonya (me – left, Traci – right), back when it was just us three girls and none of the boys were born yet. And I guess I thought it would be funny to sit in Tonya’s little baby seat (me and Uncle Tom – Tonya’s dad).

• I think I’ve settled on a cover design for my book. Now I just need to get the supplies I need and photograph it. Then I can start working on the layout in Photoshop. Praying I can recreate what I’m imagining in my head.

• Jake and Dwight’s latest Plus Sized Models podcast is up today. They invited their running friend, Adele, to share her experiences with running as therapy for her PTSD from serving in Iraq. Have a LISTEN HERE!

• A little over a week left of March. How did that happen? And a week and a half until Spring Break. Yes!

• This week … we’ve got a high school orientation for Zach this week. Yikes! I can’t even believe that is happening.

happy scanning

It’s been one of those weeks. Started the week on a positive note with good intentions. Ended the week feeling a bit defeated. Lots of parenting challenges. Emotional. Exhausted. The never-ending winter doesn’t help at all.

The bright spot in my week has been scanning more of my Grandma’s old negatives and coming across many little gems. Here are just a few favorites:

Many of the ones I’ve been scanning I have seen before. My mom has a lot of photos that she inherited when my Grandma died, ones that were specifically of our family. But I am loving the everyday photos she took. Ones I had never seen before. Like the winter one above, top right corner. If there had been hashtags back then, that could have been Grandma’s most popular one. It’s funny to see so many photos she took out the window or out the door of their house. I do the exact same thing.

I am also so happy to see a lot of photos of my cousins and aunts and uncles that I have never seen before. We moved from Ohio to Michigan when I was five years old, so there are many pictures Grandma took when we weren’t around. Lots taken when we were visiting, too, but I wasn’t there for a lot of stuff. It’s fun to fill in the blanks a bit.

I think this one is my favorite so far. Me and my Grandpa. I don’t remember him smiling too often, so this makes me happy.

Happy Valentines Day!

Tech info, in case anyone’ s interested:
I am using an Epson Perfection V100 Photo Scanner that I have had forever. It has a special tray insert for negatives. I am scanning in the 35mm film at 1200 dpi and the old 110 film at 2400 dpi. Takes forever (like 6-8 minutes per strip for the 35mm and 10+ minutes for the 110 film) but I am resizing each photo to a 5×7 at 300 dpi so I want the scanned image to be large enough to size down. Especially that tiny 110 film. Why 5×7? Well, I know I’ll probably never blow any of these photos up to poster size and 5×7 is probably the largest size I would ever print them at.

The quality isn’t always the best. The negatives are old and some are a bit discolored. But Photoshop helps a lot with touching them up. And just having them digital and backed up makes me so happy.

without them


Grandpa & Grandma,

You left us 26 years ago this week, Grandma (March 12, 1987), and 25 years ago, Grandpa (March 19, 1988). We wish so much that you could have been here all these years to share in our lives, our joys, our heartbreaks, our accomplishments, our weddings, our babies, every little thing we’ve gone through without you.

Here we are. Your beautiful family. Your legacy. All a part of you.


We miss you! But we’ll be seeing you again someday. Looking forward to that day! <3

forever 13


yep, that’s me at age 11. on the left in the first photo on the left. circa 1985 Easter.

It has been so wonderful seeing everything through my Grandma’s eyes, the way she saw it through her camera lens, the way she captured it. But honestly, I am kind of dreading when I get to the last roll of negatives. I had a bit of a breakdown at the end of December after scanning a bunch of the negatives, because it crossed my mind that, at some point, I will scan the last photograph she ever took in her life and that brought tears to my eyes.

I wish things had been different. I wish she’d been there to take pictures in my teens, in high school, in college, with my boyfriend/fiancé/husband Jake, with her great grandbabies.

But in her photos, I will never be older than thirteen.

I am thankful that she took so many photos and that we have them to enjoy and to pass on to our kids. I will be spending many many hours with these photos because she took a LOT, and I know I will have more moments like this. Moments when I wish she could have seen all of us grandkids grow up and start families of our own and the beautiful great grandchildren that I know she would have spoiled like crazy like she did us kids. But it’s worth a few tears to have the photos scanned and backed up.

I miss you, Grandma. <3

happy st. paddy’s day


my great grandmother’s parents. my Irish heritage.

Mom stopped by today and gave me a card with a couple of old family pictures from her dad’s side of the family. I thought I would share this one since it’s St. Patrick’s day and it is his mother’s (my great grandmother’s) family that came over from Northern Ireland in 1774 and 1775. I love seeing these old pictures and learning more about my heritage.

Hope everyone has a happy St Patrick’s day.

AJAXed with AWP