Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Things of Note

Yes, I know that these things are not, in fact, worth noting.  Whatevs. 

~Yesterday, I needed to ask Scott's teacher something.  Instead of employing my usual three methods for Unexpected Social Interaction (text/send an email instead, wait for Nick to do it for me, or just ignore it completely and hope it doesn't end up being important) I boldly walked up to her after school and...drumroll please...ASKED MY QUESTION.

She answered, and I went on about my day.

It. Was. Epic.

I mean, seriously. So cool.  Yes, I had butterflies and wanted to vomit. But I did it!!!

Also, on a semi-related note, I have signed up to be a 'reader' at the kids' school.  Not because I have some altruistic longing to help the future generation, oh no. No, I did it because I know Scott is going to get into trouble, some sort of misunderstanding (the misunderstanding being that he is an asshole and the teacher/authority figure didn't know that/wasn't expecting that/doesn't approve of that) and I want to be a common enough fixture that whoever HAS the misunderstanding (aka Scott kicks her or grabs her breasts or ass) thinks of me and says to herself well, his mother seems sort of decent, maybe instead of calling the police or child services, I should just call her? 

I am at least a little bit kidding. But that's the basic gist, I want them to know me.  I want them to have a face for "Scott's mum." Squeaky wheel gets the grease and all that.


~I am on Day Three of Junebug being in nursery, three hours a day, five days a week, for free (can I get a HOLLA for Great Britain's public education system? Do people still say HOLLA? Did people ever say HOLLA or did I perhaps make that up?) and I absolutely LOVE IT.  "Oh, Jennifer, aren't you bored?" To that I say "Not just no, but fuck no."

Bored? Please.  This is the woman who can have entire conversations in her head. Heck, I can run through entire INTERACTIONS in my head!!! I don't get bored. Plus, I have a hobby that I love and is extremely time consuming (quilting- although it's getting too expensive- anyone want a quilt? I'll make you a quilt!! Pick me!!) AND I love to watch TV and read. So no, I am not bored even a little tiny bit.

Semi related: Remember when I watched The Fall and was so fracking creeped out by Paul Spector? Well, a few months ago, I taped this miniseries on the BBC called New Worlds because it looked kinda cool, and I finally got around to the first episode yesterday.  Well, what do you know, guess who sauntered across the screen looking all creepy and murdery?!?!


Paul Fucking Spector.

Ugh. He's ruining my life!! Plus, I think he's supposed to be some sort of dreamy love interest type, but I just want to scream at the girl HE IS GOING TO KILL YOU AND GIVE YOU A BATH AND PAINT YOUR NAILS AND HAVE SEX WITH YOUR BODY!!! RUN AWAY YOU MORON!!!

Just no.  No.  Paul Spector is THE WORST.

~Ya'll wanna know something stupid that has seriously changed my life for the better? Of course you do. So you know how I have awful skin, right? Well, things aren't helped by the fact that by the time I drag myself upstairs to go to bed (at the shameful hour of nine twenty five...) I am just too tired to wash my face. Maybe I could handle washing it (oh my word, I am so lazy) but I'm too tired to tone and treat and moisturize, which you have to do to keep up when you have skin like this. So usually, I just wipe off my makeup with a wipe. Or if I'm honest, usually I just brush my teeth and go to bed. I do always brush my teeth.  Just fyi.

But then I read somewhere a long time ago that if you're lazy like me and having this problem, you should wash your face and all that jazz EARLIER.

Dunn dunn DUNNNNNNNNN.

Seriously?

Yes, seriously. I do all this ridiculous nonsense (which in all actuality can't possibly take more than five or six minutes) when we (Nick) puts the kids to bed at seven thirty. Then I have two hours to veg out, then BAM, in the bed.

It is PERFECT.

And I am one hundred percent serious ya'll- this has changed my life. Swear to God.

~I am listening to Bossypants while I sew, and I feel like the World's Lamest Woman saying this...but I don't think it's THAT funny. It's certainly funny. Hilarious even.  But I listened to Mindy's book a while back and hers was just way funnier.

I feel like I'm betraying womanhood or something by saying that.  Which reminds me that I need to google all this business with Hermione Granger and the He Supports She or something? Anyone know what I'm talking about?

~But not now because tonight I'm going to the First Aid Kit concert at the Royal Albert Hall and I am so pumped!!! I'm so pumped up!!!

Ugh. But then that makes me sad that one of my bestest real life friends is having to move earlier than she (I) expected and I am (she is) DEVASTATED. Stupid Navy.

Which also reminds me that we considering leaving next summer, instead of next next January. I've moved over Christmas the last two moves and I don't want to do it again. But I also don't want to leave here early. But we're also out of money and not going on any more awesome vacays. Well except for one ;) But I love it here!!!

Ugh. Not like the Navy is interested in how I feel about any of this, but there's a potential job opening maybe in Halifax that Nick might be able to ask for. You know, because the Navy let's you ask :) We've been so lucky so far, I can't imagine another awesome assignment, but hey, a girl can hope, can't she?

All right. Gotta split.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Update on the Crazies

Well.  I guess I just took it for granted that two plus years after first asking for help, I wouldn't still be updating on my crazies. Or at least, I figured if I was updating, it would be like weaned off the pills, life is perfect, tra la la...

But alas, it appears that's not the case.  Go figure, right?

I don't even really have anything revolutionary to say.  I'm so grateful, so fucking grateful, that I've never wanted to hurt myself. I can't even imagine. It was just the same old same old, odd thoughts creeping in, the unsettled feeling in my chest, the shortness of breath at the thought of meeting all the new teachers, ugh. It was easy to chalk it up to changes in schedules and routines and an extremely busy (for this homebody) summer, but as soon as the kids were all in school and I was convinced they'd died and the school couldn't get ahold of me, I realized that we were right back where we started.

Seriously?

Apparently so.

So now instead of weaning off, I'm upping to a double dose, and if that doesn't help, I'll try a different drug. Ugh. Will this last forever? Will I need medicine for the rest of my life?

I'm thinking yes.

Anyway. I'm not that upset, just a little surprised. I was doing so well!! My life is so awesome right now, it's more than a little disquieting to feel so anxious when things are so perfect. Which just leads to more anxiety. Which is even more unsettling. Ugh.

It's also time to get back into exercising. The days are already massively shorter (groan) so I need that endorphin jump start to get going in the mornings. I need to drag out my lamp and drink more water and stop eating entire loaves of banana bread. You know, all those lame things you're supposed to do to take care of yourself.  LAME LAME LAME.

But feeling better won't be lame. Right? Reassure me that it's worth it, because I worked out today and my legs are SOOOOOOOOO SORE.

It hasn't even been a week, so I know I can't actually feel any different, but I do feel better. Knowing I'm doing something always makes me feel better, you know?

Anyway. That's what's going on lately. I just want to have these updates on the off chance that someone out there needs help and maybe doesn't know, or doesn't know why or how or what to do.  You're not alone, not by a long shot. You don't HAVE to feel this way.  Talk to someone, anyone, anyone at all, and get some help.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Paris, Round Four

Whoa. I've been to Paris FOUR TIMES. Once on the honeymoon, once with my mama, once with Uncle Matt and LeighAnne, and now again with Grandpa Kenny and Grandma Jane and Aunt Chelle. Hard to believe. Wow.

Okay. Anyway.  We took the eurostar and stayed at this FABULOUS apartment. Homeaway couldn't hack it for this trip (breaks my heart, but it's true) but we really lucked out with this one. We needed two separate apartments, but the stuck us in the same building, right on top of each other. So it was fine.

Oh my word. We left the house early enough to wait in the long-ass line at King's Cross for...drumroll please...PLATFORM NINE AND THREE QUARTERS!!!!

We saw it last year, but we didn't have a chance to stand in line back then.  The people who work there are SUPER nice, they have the four scarves to chose from and a handful of different wands (someone stole the Snape!!!!) and even a pair of little HP glasses. And they take your pic which you can buy for ten bucks, or they'll let you take your own, and they're super patient about it.  They're not allowed to take a pic of you with your own phone or camera, but this one gal was on her own and didn't speak any English, so he asked if anyone in the crowd was willing to help her out and take it.  How kind is that?!?!




We did the typical Three Days of Tourists Traps, hit the hot spots and took thousands of pictures. Nick and Kenny took a day tour to Normandy and the kids and I spent that day at the CUTEST playground just down the road from the apartment.




All in all, it was a pretty swell trip. I was a little (a lot) apprehensive about it, since we'd literally JUST GOT BACK from the drive thru Europe, but the kids were fab and it was basically all good. However, I am thrilled to be home for a LONG time.


Before Kenny and Michelle got here, we had a week with Grandma Jane to ourselves. We went to the Science Museum (very cool, but not as cool as the Transport Museum) and one day we headed over to Burton on the Water to explore the Cotswolds. It was so gorgeous I can barely stand it.  And for some reason my pictures of that day are crap.


I can't decide about this new kit I got for scrapbooking. I wanted it to  look like Project Life, but I don't want to actually do Project Life. I love love LOVE the way flesh and blood scrapbooks look, but that just ain't happening. And so far, digital is a pale comparison to actual Project Life. Which sucks, but what else can I do?

I was going to get this kit but for reasons I can't remember right now, I didn't.  I wanted more, maybe? Who knows. So I got these card templates, they're layered files and you clip in whatever papers and stuff you have. I figured that would be the best of both worlds, tons of cards, then a completely independent set of papers- I wouldn't have to pick crap colors to get cool cards or vice versa. I picked this pack for the paper bc I loved the green, but now I hate it and don't want to look at it anymore. Ugh.

Any scrappers out there wanna help me out? Anyone? Anyone?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Books Books and More...Books

All right, I'm gonna go with the most recent four, instead of trying to go back and start with the next four after the LAST stack I reviewed. I'm telling ya'll, since I got my library card, I've read SO MANY BOOKS.  Like, DUH. But still, blew my mind.


Let's start with The Secret Place, Tana French's brilliant fifth book.

"The photo shows a boy who was murdered a year ago. The caption says, 'I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM'. Detective Stephen Moran hasn't seen Holly Mackey since she was a nine-year-old witness to the events of Faithful Place. Now she's sixteen and she's shown up outside his squad room, with a photograph and a story.
Even in her exclusive boarding school, in the graceful golden world that Stephen has always longed for, bad things happen and people have secrets. The previous year, Christopher Harper, from the neighbouring boys' school, was found murdered on the grounds. And today, in the Secret Place - the school noticeboard where girls can pin up their secrets anonymously - Holly found the card.
Solving this case could take Stephen onto the Murder squad. But to get it solved, he will have to work with Detective Antoinette Conway - tough, prickly, an outsider, everything Stephen doesn't want in a partner. And he will have to find a way into the strange, charged, mysterious world that Holly and her three closest friends inhabit and disentangle the truth from their knot of secrets, even as he starts to suspect that the truth might be something he doesn't want to hear."
Sounds good enough, right? Like Faithful Place (the other Holly story), this one is less about the mystery and more about the relationships between the characters. It made my heart break, and more than once, at how HARD it was to be a teenager, and how much harder it must be in this day and age, with phones. Ugh. I actually bought this, rather than wait for the library (I really am a HUGE Tana French fanatic!) and I highlighted so many passages in the kindle that literally brought tears to my eyes. Or just made me wince with how awful it was. I mean, those people that say high school was the best time of their lives? CRACK HEADS. If you offered me cash money to go back there, I would tell you to go fuck yourself.

Mildly spoilerish alert...


In all four of her previous books (HOW HAVE I NOT REVIEWED BROKEN HARBOUR?!?!?) the cops are the center, in this one, every other chapter is told from the girls' points of views, which I didn't love, but can see it was necessary.  There's a few elements of The Craft (remember that movie?) that don't actually go anywhere or get any sort of resolution, and to be honest, that cut my review down seriously. I don't mind fantasy elements, but only in a fantasy book, if that makes sense. Ocean at the End of the Lane? Yes please. A procedural crime drama set firmly in our own canon universe? No thank you.

Also in all four of her previous books (I can't really call this a 'series' because they're so loosely connected- you can read them in any order, seriously, and not be confused.  Although I'd read In the Woods before The Likeness.  And I might just skip The Likeness actually) the cops sort of fall apart and ruin their careers and actually their lives. Adam, Cassie, Frank (although I guess not really...) and then Scorch in Broken Harbour (holy SHIT) but finally FINALLY these two? These two make it. They don't set their relationship on fire, and they don't ruin their careers.  For the most part. I was SO happy about that. It's hard to explain, unless you've read the others and watched them throw their lives in the toilet.

Anyway.  Four stars, three and a half when I'm feeling particularly moody about the witchcraft line. For once, I nailed the killer right from the get go.  I really did!!! Ask Holly Hudson.  True, I changed my mind ONCE, but I'm still calling it- I got it right.  For the first time in a Tana French book!!!





Next, Night Film by Marisha Pessl.
"Cult horror director Stanislas Cordova hasn't been seen in public since 1971. To his fans he is an enigma. To journalist Scott McGrath he is the enemy. To Ashley he was a father.
On a damp October night the young, beautiful Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Her suicide appears to be the latest tragedy to hit a severely cursed dynasty.

For McGrath, another death connected the legendary director seems more than coincidence. Driven by revenge, curiosity and a need for the truth, he finds himself pulled into a hypnotic, disorientating world, where almost everyone seems afraid.

The last time McGrath got close to exposing Cordova, he lost his marriage and his career. This time he could lose his grip on reality."

I don't remember how this ended up on my list, but they had it, so I grabbed it with nine other books for the Drive. I was ambitious ;) I tore through it, reading over a hundred pages a day (it's a long one) and I LOVED the short choppy writing style and her extreme use of italics.  She wrote EXACTLY like I think, so that was awesome.

That being said, I felt like the ending was stupid. It all sort of ended up being a huge cop out and I wished I hadn't wasted my time.  I know it's supposed to be the journey, not the destination...but the destination was so lame that it sort of ruined the journey.  For me.  Everyone else apparently loved it. I have a hard time imagining a movie so brutal that someone would pass out from horror, but then again, I don't watch horror movies, so who knows.

I just checked my Goodreads and I gave it four stars (rounded up from 3.5 bc a five star scale is just about useless, we need ten!!!) but that's bullshit. Two months later, I'll give it two, if I'm in a generous mood.  The writing style is FANTASTIC.  But that cop out ending? Forget it.



Ohhhh, The Rosie Project.  I'm sure you've heard of this, it's like The Next Buzzy Book in SAHM Land, but just in case, here's the back of the book: "Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don's Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper."

It was the perfect light read. Well written, hilarious, charming, engaging....it was great. Four stars. It didn't make me think or change my life, but it was just a NICE book.  Made me feel good.  My goodreads review just made me giggle when I looked it up, I type these in the middle of the night as soon as I finish a book: Quick easy fun read. Not too sappy. Predictable but still completely delightful. Four stars. And I love how Don uses exclamation points! Disclaimer: I may be slightly biased as, although I don't have any sort of diagnosis on the autism spectrum, I share a LOT of traits with Don.

I stand by my four stars too, which is rare for me.  However, there's a sequel coming later this month and I can't see being overly excited about that. I mean, it was good, but it was very specific.  And the second one will almost surely be EXACTLY the same, Sheldon Cooper Got Married and Now He's Going to Have a Baby. Loved it the first time, but I can't imagine reading another version, if that makes sense.



Last up, The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton.  "1961: On a sweltering summer's day, while her family picnics by the stream on their Suffolk farm, sixteen-year-old Laurel hides out in her childhood tree house dreaming of a boy called Billy, a move to London, and the bright future she can't wait to seize. But before the idyllic afternoon is over, Laurel will have witnessed a shocking crime that changes everything.
2011: Now a much-loved actress, Laurel finds herself overwhelmed by shades of the past. Haunted by memories, and the mystery of what she saw that day, she returns to her family home and begins to piece together a secret history. A tale of three strangers from vastly different worlds - Dorothy, Vivien and Jimmy - who are brought together by chance in wartime London and whose lives become fiercely and fatefully entwined.
Shifting between the 1930s, the 1960s and the present, The Secret Keeper is a spellbinding story of mysteries and secrets, murder and enduring love."

I thought this book was way too long, but I can't see anything that she could have cut out.  If that makes sense.  I gave it three stars.  That sounds so harsh!! But I stick by it.  The ending was so beautiful, it made me cry.  It was SO GOOD.  But I just...gave it three stars.  It wasn't my fave.  I kept comparing it to Life After Life, even though it was NOTHING like it, other than the Blitz, and so it came up short.  Probably unfair, but I can't help it.  I didn't really like Laurel, or Dolly in the flashbacks, so that made it hard to get too invested.  But the ending ya'll.  It's so good!! I'd figured it out a little bit ahead of time, but it was still sort of surprising to see her write it out.  And so beautiful.  Sigh.

Anyone read anything good lately? I've got The Expats, the last of my nine that I took on vacay, then I have no idea what to dive into next.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sup?

Well, let's see....

~Nick is out of town for like two days. I'm kind of bothered, but not really, and I thought it was ironic that this was my time hop yesterday:

September 15, 2011- The (surprise) end to the longest five months of my entire life. Not our longest deployment (close) but definitely the absolute one hundred percent hardest thing I've ever done in my life. And we made it. So two days? Pish.

~Yesterday was also the fourth anniversary of this little miracle. This is still the most terrifying thing that's ever happened in my life.

And yes, I know that my life is pretty awesome if this is the scariest. Regardless, it was terrifying. Donate to the March of Dimes today.  Don't believe that bullshit info graphic you see that tells you how awful and sneaky charities are, my sister said March of Dimes directly provided the incubator that Joshua lived in for the first ten weeks of his life. Whatever they do with some of their donations, some of them are going to save the lives of real live babies, babies you may know, babies you may need to help one day. No one knows why my sister went into labor so early (with BOTH of her children) and March of Dimes funds research into stopping this horror from happening to anyone else.  Joshua is a completely healthy four year old boy today, I sometimes can't even believe it.  Blows the mind.

~Daisy's Best Buddy has started a new school.



I hate it, it terrifies me that it's a normal class and he has mentioned a few times that he eats lunch alone and plays by himself at recess, but he says this with a smile on his face. He hasn't seemed to notice yet that this isn't quite right, that he's supposed to 'fit in' and 'be social' and 'cool.' I sort of hope he never does?

It's hard to describe what I'm trying to say. He doesn't seem bothered by the fact that he's an outcast? Can you be an outcast, if you're not really trying to be an...incast? He's content. He's not sad at all.  And I understand wanting to be alone, obviously. But at school?  I'll never forget one semester me and Angela didn't have the same lunch period. I literally hung out in the library, like one of the losers you see on tv? Did you know people really did that? I didn't. Until I did it.

Anyway. I keep saying I'm going to pull him out and homeschool him and Nick says to calm down and give him more than a week to settle in. But ya'll know my fear about school shootings. I never should have read that stupid 19 Minutes.

Also somewhat related to the above picture but on a lighter note, we got a new couch and ten minutes later I decided I hate it. It's way too big, and it's DARK. It looks NOTHING like the hundred and fifty seven sofas I've pinned in my 'future houses, living room' board. No idea what the fuck I was thinking.




~What else...We went to the Transport Museum when Grandpa Kenny was here.

I am a museum hater (I know, I know!!! But art is so boring and I don't get it, and my kids are so loud and there's so many of them...) but this one is AWESOME.  One of the coolest places I've ever been, easily. TONS of great info, very hands on (sort of) and just all around badass.  London is just the best.

It was only a few pounds, and once you get a ticket, it's good for a year!! We will DEFINITELY be going back because I got distracted and didn't get to read enough about when they electrified it. My nerd was seriously showing, it was SO COOL ya'll.  Hundred and fifty years!!!!

~Nick finally got to pin on his promotion that I swear he got like five years ago.

There are MANY odd things about the Navy, but that's right up there at the top, the fact that he was promoted or selected or whatever so long ago but it just now counts? Since I only stayed in for four years and the 'promotion' at the beginning is made up, I have no experience. But it's weird!! Nevertheless, we are of course very proud.

~I've been spending my newfound school day freedom reading all the books ever written, coding my blog, and sewing. I can't get enough sewing lately!! I am finishing up what might be my best quilt yet for one of my very best real life friends, and when my shoulders hurt too much to wrangle it through the machine (is that a thing? Because that bulk EXHAUSTS me), I'm working on another purse.


I'm trying out this pattern, and I'm using this tutorial to try and 'quilt' up some scraps from another one of my favorite quilts I did a while back. I am LOVING it, 'quilt as you go' is SO FUN. It's like INSTA results. Love that.

Now, back to coding my blog real quick? If you had EVER told me that I would enjoy this, I would have laughed in your FACE. I know NOTHING about computers. At all. PSE continues to crash my laptop and my honest to God solution is to try and talk Nick into buy a new laptop.  Seriously.  But last year, I bought ABM's blog design ecourse and it changed my world. Mostly because she made it so you could cut and paste an html code that she'd already written.  Lol. But whatever works!!! Now instead of a huge long scrolling mess, I'm organizing my travel archives (and books and recipes and eventually ALL the things) into rows of three small square pictures.

Click the little pics, takes you to the post. Easy breezy, and it looks a THOUSAND times better. If you want to take the course (I highly recommend it) I can't find the one I did, but I'm positive this 2.0 version will be even better. I know blogs are dead and I don't actually make even a single penny on mine, but whatever, it's super fun to dig into and I like the way it looks. What else do you need?

Hmm. Now I want to change the entire color scheme of my entire blog. Good thing I have that course saved right on the desktop huh?

Anyway. That's what's up with me lately.  What's up with ya'll?

And in the exciting near future, stay tuned for All the Book Reviews (you know you want to!!!) and a recap of our hop on over to the City of Light. I'm going bold and declaring that I might (maybe...) blog three entire times this week!!! Watch out world!!! She's a woman on a mission!!!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Summer Drive Thru Europe: Black Forest and Luxembourg

So the breathtaking beauty of Switzerland, we headed up towards the Black Forest in Germany.  We stayed here in this apartment in Kniebis, which I guess is about in the center of the Forest.


I can see this being an AMAZING winter destination. Or like, if you're not bogged down with four little kids and you can hike through the ENTIRE forest or something. But we were a little bored and just ready to get home in general, so we didn't have THAT amazing of a time.

We did enjoy a little sightseeing and souvenir shopping, and we didn't let the rain (the first drops on our ENTIRE three week vacay!!!) slow us down at all.





 If you're headed to the Black Forest and you want some pointers, shoot me an email and I can give you what I've got (which is very little) but I'm just gonna skip to the next stop, Luxembourg City.


I was DONE by this point. We tried to just skip it entirely, but our apartment had a zero cancelation policy. I considered just skipping it anyway and eating the money, but that seemed stupid, so we stayed. And it wasn't awful, don't get me wrong, it just wasn't...amazing.  And truthfully, the only reason we'd planned on going in the first place was to break up the drive between the Black Forest and London.



We stayed here, on the outskirts of town, and it was FABULOUS. Great apartment, highly recommend.

There wasn't much to the city, but we hit the American cemetery, which was as humbling as you'd expect, and we explored the Fortress, which was REALLY neat. But that's about it.




 Then we came home, rested for six days until Grandma Jane got here, did the London thing for a few days till Grandpa Kenny and Aunt Chelle got here, then we jettisoned off to Paris. So yeah. Busy summer.

But the kids are back to school now, Nick is giving Kenny and Chelle the royal treatment around London while I do carpools and work on all these pictures. I'm sure within a few more weeks, I'll be itching to go on holiday again, but for now...I'm enjoying the boredom.  IMMENSELY.

I'm still waiting for Artifact Uprising to have some sort of sale, but I've got the book all loaded up and I am mega excited to get my hands on it. I'm curious to see how my diamonds show up, and if the paper is really any better than Shutterfly.

I ended up with 67 pages, which is actually UNDER budget!! So hooray for me. I considered going back and adding a few pages, but no. I can't. I'm sick to death of looking at this computer screen, and I'm not gonna lie, the Artifact Uprising site isn't as user friendly as I'd like.

I went with this for the cover... I had to darken the diamond bc of all the clouds. Stupid perfect weather ;)




And I wanted a sort of 'table of contents' so I pulled this out for the first page. Fingers crossed I did the math right and the parts that get chopped off in printing work out properly...


 And since I just couldn't resist, I threw together a huge collage of IG pics to put in the back.



And then for the final page, my babies. They were SO good on this trip. I hope when they're older, even if they don't remember the trip itself, they like looking at these pictures.