creative projects in 2017

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At the start of every year, I start thinking about which creative projects I'm going to commit to. And in the past few years, that's been about the extent of it...I commit, but don't actually complete. Will this year be different? Time will tell! Here's what's on my creative mind...

Scrapbooking - I am a lapsed scrapbooker, and I am in good company. I may get back to traditional layouts this year, and I may not. I've been thinking about cardmaking a bit. I had been scheduled to do a card project with MC's class, but had to put that on hold due to the unexpected BC trip. I'll get that back on the books and see where the inspiration takes me. 

Project Life - I only completed spreads through March of 2016, and I'm still committed to having an album for last year. I've organized photos into Smart Albums, and narrowed down to a handful a month. My plan is to "print & pocket" and pretty much be done. I still love the idea of PL, I'm just not sure how extensive I want my 2017 PL to be. Digital maybe? Hybrid? 

One Little Word - I signed up for Ali's class in 2016, and never completed a month. I wasn't really connected with my OLW. This year already feels differently. So, I may follow the prompts from last year & complete a "Celebrate" album.

Photo Prints - One of my 2017 creative intentions is to print more photos. Chatbooks, Collage Posters, and simple 4x6 prints are high on my list. I love the idea of having a small basket of 4x6 prints that the Littles can look at when they are with us. It's so inexpensive to have 4x6 prints done these days that I won't worry about them getting torn/fingerprinted/etc. 

Photo Collections - I've done photo collections (in the form of scrapbooks) in the past - A Week in the Life, A Day in the Life, December Daily, etc. - I've had other collections on my mind lately - photo collections about our house, about what the Littles are into, about our travels, etc. I'll likely end up dong Chatbooks instead of scrapbooks.

and finally...non-photo related...Writing! Once upon a time, I not only blogged a lot, but I was also a contributing writer for Parenting Squad, and P&G Everyday. Given that I have Littles in my life again, I may delve back into the parenting world. Or perhaps I'll pursue a new path? Either way, I think that I'll rekindle my relationship with the written word. 

What's your creative plan for 2017?

dominican republic : january 2017


Hello Punta Cana! Yes, we spent almost 10 days in December enjoying the Caribbean. Yes, we went back last week...'cause, y'know, why not?? Actually, it just so happened that Dan's company incentive trip was scheduled for January. SO MUCH FUN!

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We went zip-lining! Totally out of our comfort zone, and I am so glad that we did it. We couldn't take any photos (what with holding onto the cable for dear life and all) go check out Canopy Adventures Punta Cana for a look at action.

Dan holtz vt starfish

We had an amazing day trip to Saona Island - speedboats there, with a stop for starfish, and then a catamaran back. Beautiful beaches, fun with friends, AND a chance to use the underwater camera that Dan bought me for my birthday!


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Dan holtz vt beach

So love celebrating life with this guy.


celebrating forty-six.


I turned forty-six yesterday! It was a wonderful day, full of celebration, friendship, & laughter. In honor of both my birthday and my OLW, here are 10 (b/c 4 + 6) people, experiences, and things that I plan to celebrate this year...

  1. Dan. Sometimes I'm sad that I missed out on so many years with him...and then I remember that we have so many years ahead of us. 
  2. The Bigs. My baby girl will be 25 years old this did that happen? I really do celebrate the fact that she still calls her Mom pretty regularly. And Mister Mister certainly keeps us hopping with medical challenges...but aside from that, he's just a super interesting & creative guy.
  3. The Littles. McCartney is learning about a million new things every day, and that is worth celebrating! We love crafting together, and I hope that we'll celebrate a few roller coaster rides this year. Wilder Our can be a handful, AND he has the best laugh ever. He is learning & growing, and is so full of energy. I love when he gives me a kiss attack and says "you my best fwiend, Tweena!"
  4. Our far-away family. Our sets of parents, my brother, Aunt Betty Jo, and a variety of Aunts, Uncles, cousins...looking forward to celebrating the love that brings us together, despite the distance.
  5. Getting hitched! We're planning a very small wedding in Hawaii in May...and then all the parties when we're back on the mainland.
  6. Coffee, wine, brunch, etc. All the coffee. I'm looking forward to the return of coffee dates at Scout...especially with Dan, and with Mary Beth. Evenings hanging out with Dan & a bottle of wine. Brunch at The Spot is always a win.
  7. Friendships. I seriously have the best tribe ever. I'm looking for more ways to celebrate them in the coming year. 
  8. Our neighborhood. I've missed a few Lake Ladies get-togethers due to travel, so I'm really looking forward to reconnecting in the new year. We made great use of the park & the bike path last summer, and I'm looking forward to even more outdoor fun this summer.
  9. Travel. As I type this, we're finishing up packing for a trip to the Dominican. Exploring & adventuring is my favorite
  10. Creating a life that I love. That is definitely worth celebrating.

2017 One Little Word® : celebrate

So...I wasn't sure that I was going to choose a word for 2017. 

I pretty much abandoned my word in 2016. I realized the other day that I never even blogged about it! My word was and...meant to honor all the parts & pieces of my life, to encourage inclusion, and to replace "but" in decision making. Anyone who has been to my house knows that ampersands are prominent in our decor. Maybe that even made it a little too everyday for me...didn't give me something to reach for? Anyway...

I hadn't really given much thought to OLW for 2017. And then a word started showing up. I've found that those are the words that end up having the most impact for me...the words that I don't look for, the words that find me. What's my word? 


We already have a lot of celebrations planned for 2017...the "usual" birthdays & holidays, D&K get hitched (hint: aloha!), seeing friends & family, neighborhood parties, etc. I want to celebrate the little moments...the quiet mornings, small victories, date nights, family adventures, my tribe...all the pieces of our life. Celebrate is also choosing to see the good in the challenging moments...I'm sure I'll be asking "what can I celebrate in this?" often. It's about finding the fun, and continuing to create a life that I love. 

Here's to a year to Celebrate - bring it, 2017! 


saying so long to 2016...

This year was a, moving, changes, more travel, Landmark, little kids, big kids, many (many) bottles of wine, laughter, a few medical pauses, friends, family, and so much love. There were parts of 2016 that were, well...not so lovely (ahem)...but all in all? It was a pretty awesome year. 


January : hola Mexico!


February : we got engaged! (that's Mackie's "oh, you're kissing, aren't you?" face)


March : we moved into #thepalace, and traveled to Los Angeles for work (Kat) and the Advanced Course.


April : Hopey came home for a visit! And Mackie started looking like a teenager...


May : we visited Bubbe & Disney World and Austin came home!


June : back to California for work (and good friends), and spending summer nights with my favorite.




July : what a big month!! Bubbe, beach days, Barb, and the Bigs! Plus...Vegas, baby! 



August : my brother came to visit, Mackie got ready for kindergarten, and Austin headed back to University with Emily & Nate...


September : Dan celebrated 42, and we celebrated 2 Baltimore, where we met.




October : I visited the 'rents (+ more) in Texas/Oklahoma, we celebrated Halloween with a fabulous neighborhood party, and the Littles continued to entertain us.



November : #BarbandKatsExcellentAdventures in Chicago, plus a trip to British Columbia & Los Angeles for me & Dan.



December : (not pictured) an unexpected trip back to British Columbia, a Caribbean cruise, and celebrating Christmas with Bigs and Littles. 

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!  

old san juan : december 2016

Our December adventure started with a couple of days in Old San Juan...


We loved the colorful buildings & interesting architecture - and learned that the colors are assigned by applying for a painting permit. How fun is that??




We took a walking tour of Old San Juan - our tour guide, David, was terrific...and funny. "Come here. Look at this!



He proceeded to feed the birds - uhm, no thank you.



So grateful to travel with Dan's Mom, Iris, and her friend Don.





fall weekending.

It was a rainy, chilly weekend we focused on indoor fun. 

Library Collage

We love the library! We came home with about a dozen books. Standouts - Walter the Farting Dog, and The Three Little Tamales. 

Cupcakes Collage

There is a cupcake shop just across the street from the library, so we've established a tradition/reward for positive behavior. If we use our inside voices at the library, and are mindful of our actions...we get mini-cupcakes! And when it is chilly & rainy, we get hot chocolate & hot apple cider, too.

We did a lot of Halloween decorating, a little donut making, and some (reluctant) room cleaning before wrapping up the Littles portion of the weekend. Time always flies too quickly! 

Peter Mulvey

Dan & I closed out the weekend with a FABULOUS house concert hosted by one of our neighbors. If you haven't heard of Peter Mulvey before (confession...I hadn't)...I highly recommend that you look him up. Super talented.

Hope your weekend was awesome!

the littles.

Totally borrowing this idea from Ali....

These Littles have been in my life for 2+ years. Many people have asked me what it's like to "start over again." My answer? It's a lot of work, and a lot of fun...


name: McCartney

age: 5 years & 8ish months

totally into: Horses. Different foods that she wants to discover. 

likes: Ice cream. Being silly. Kindergarten. 

dislikes: Throwing up. Tomatoes. When Wilder is annoying. Caramel.

wants to be: a horse trainer.

name: Wilder

age: 3 years & 6ish months.

totally into: Going to the playground. Daddy's truck. Candy.

likes: Cars. Chocolate milk. His police officer costume. Our house. 

dislikes: Naps. Being quiet. 

wants to be: a knight.

a marvelous mother's day weekend


FRIDAY - Yes, we pretty much celebrated an entire weekend around here...and it was marvelous. We kicked it off with a May Day Celebration at McCartney's preschool on Friday. It was spectacularly sunny, and the smiles on the kids' faces made the event even brighter. 


SATURDAY - I enjoyed coffee on the deck. Our view of the lake is definitely at a distance...but it close enough to be a reminder that the ice is gone! 


Dan worked for a bit, and I went to a fascinating Yoga & Tarot class - super inspiring, and a great explanation of the Journey of the Fool. When I finished up class, Dan & I stopped in at Firebird Cafe for lunch - one of those little local gems that we've passed a million times but never stopped at. Delicious! We ended the day with a neighborhood (belated) Cinco de Mayo party -

MdaygiftSUNDAY - Dan & Austin collaborated on an awesome gift - a beautiful teapot set, wrapped in the most amazing Wonder Woman handmade giftwrap. Look at that title detail! And can you even stand the precise signatures from McCartney??

Mdaygifts(ps. We don't draw a distinction between Mother's Day & step-Mother's Day. We talk a lot about different types of Moms in our house...birth Moms, Moms, step/bonus-Moms. ALL Moms are celebrated!)

ScoutdanAfter a pretty decadent Sunday brunch at The Spot (with Austin & Dan), Dan & I did a little shopping...and then indulged in smoked maple lattes at Scout & Company. I managed to get an episode of Grey's Anatomy & a quick nap (I'm a terrible napper), and chatted with my birthday girl. We ended our evening in Burlington at a performance of the Spielpalast Cabaret.

This marked my 24th Mother's Day, and I can honestly say that it was one of the best yet. You've set the bar pretty high, Mr. Holtz....

(yes, I realize that I neglected to get photos with any of the kids - will have to remedy that!!)

2016 project life : february & march

That's right...I'm skipping January for now. It was a big month with my birthday & our Mexico trip, so I want to take a little more time sorting out what to do with it. "Catching up" on February & March was relatively simple. I ensured that photos were downloaded from my camera & my phone, I scrolled through Facebook as a reminder of what we were doing, and then quickly put the pages together. I'll add in a summary of each month in 6x6 inserts. 


February was highlighted by Mackie's 5th birthday, a day trip to the Eric Carle museum, and our surprise engagement! I may add in the kids' Valentines, and will definitely add in the card that Dan gave me the night we got engaged. 


Highlights from March included our move, a trip to California, an extended visit from Hope, and the Landmark Advanced Course. Oh, and the Easter Bunny, of course! 

I'm keeping it very fluid this year - I may do some months as a highlights-only spread, while others may be more in-depth. One thing that I'm not doing is including Week Numbers. That will allow me to focus less on exactly when something happened, and more on what happened.