Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Memory keeping: pregnancy book

Today I am sharing the book that I made 6 weeks after my oldest was born. Well, actually, I wrote and designed most of this book during the sleepness nights before he was born, and I added the delivery story later as well as some information about our first weeks as a family of 3. I love this book. It brings back so many memories! 

On the cover is a painting I made of 3 penguins to go on the birth announcement card. I am still quite proud how it turned out. The title of the book is 'the story of the grain of rice' because when I was pregnant, we always called our baby our little grain of rice, because that's how big he was when we found out we were expecting. 

I started off this book by writing a little bit about Mark and me: when and how we met, for example, including a picture of us that I love and that we have framed in our bedroom. I then wrote about my pregnancy: how I found out, how I told Mark, when and how we told our parents, how I felt, when I first felt the baby kicking, etc. I took a picture of my belly every week and included those, too. I included ultrasound pictures, pictures that a sweet friend took of us and some selfportraits. 

After Julius was born I wrote down the birthstory and told a bit about our first weeks together. Pregnancy, labor and delivery and the newborn stage, it all passes by so quickly when looking back. I am so happy to have this beautiful book to read about that time. It already seems long ago, even though Julius is just 3 years old! 

This book was printed by Blurb on their proline uncoated paper. This was the first time I had a book printed on this special paper and I totally love it. 

I have a book ready to print about my pregnancy with Oscar as well. I haven't ordered it yet though, since I am a bit on a budget right now! I would recommend making a book like this about a pregnancy or other big event in your life to anyone!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Julius' first months

Today, Julius turned 3 years old. I didn't just celebrate his birthday, but also remembered the day I became a mother for the first time. What a tough day that was. It seemed like the day had no end. Still, I remember thinking I shouldn't complain about all the pain, because I was having the baby I wanted so badly! When a slippery baby was placed on my chest, I could see that it was a boy, and I remember someone checking to be sure and asking what his name was. Julius! Mark was crying, and I was just exhausted. All I could think was: Finally, he's out!

We were adapting to our new life as a family of 3 really well, but then, one night when Julius was 2 weeks old, we woke up to sounds of him choking. Julius slept in a crib next to us and when I turned on the light, I looked at my boy unable to breath. I picked him up and handed him to Mark as he knows much more about giving first aid. After what seemed like forever, Julius started crying and breathing again. We got dressed and went to the hospital right away. I sat next to Julius and was so scared, so very scared that I would lose my boy. 

The doctors looked Julius over and said that he had a very bad choking incident but that he was fine. They wanted to keep him at the NICU for a day, just to be sure. The next day, he seemed to be doing well, but in the evening he started crying and he refused to drink. They had done all kinds of tests on him, so maybe he was just upset. We went back home (just 5 minutes away from the hospital). 

Next morning my phone rang. It was a doctor, calling from the NICU about Julius. He told us that Julius had become very ill that night and that they had done lots of tests and that he was on all kinds of wires and meds. We rushed to the hospital and when we saw our little guy our heart sank. He couldn't handle any light, sound or touch and he looked very, very ill. I remember asking a doctor if he'd be ok, and the doctor answered that he didn't know. We stared at our 2 week old baby in disbelief, not knowing if he would live.  Fear gripped us. 

After a couple of very hard and scary days, we learned Julius had an urosepsis with a bacteria called klebsiella. Sepsis, or blood poisoning, is very dangerous, and Julius fought day and night. We spend hours with him every morning and evening and after a while we started to see a change. He was now able to digest milk again, and started to have the power to drink by himself (instead of getting milk through a tube). Breastfeeding was more difficult, as that had been a struggle from the start, but he started to manage that as well. He was making good progress and after 2 weeks at the NICU, we could take him home again. 

I was scared to have Julius home those first weeks. The nights were hard. I only wanted to sleep with the lights on, because I wanted to be able to check on him. Every sound he make woke me up, but if he was quiet, I worried too! During daytime, Julius cried. He cried and cried and cried and Mark and I did not know what to do. We got some help with that, but we still struggled. We were told that because he had been so critically ill, his body was still on a high alert and something small was enough to set off the alarm. Therefore I decided to carry him in a babycarrier. Against my chest, he would sleep and he wouldn't cry so much. 

Those were difficult months. I had imagined our life with a baby very differently. After a couple of months of carrying around my boy, things started to change. I could put him in his crib to take a nap and he wasn't crying so much anymore. When he was 7 months old he started crawling and that made him so happy, and I was relieved, too! 

Julius is now 3 years old and you could never tell that he had to fight for his life once. He's still very feisty, but he's also very sweet and funny. He loves cars, drawing and play-doh. He's a bossy big brother that little Oscar looks up to. He's a very happy kid and I am still totally in love with this guy. 

I love taking pictures of the real life. None of the pictures above were posed (except for Mark holding Julius' little hand) and they mean so much to me. The pictures of Julius in the NICU were taken with a point and shoot because my DSLR had been stolen. The quality of those isn't good, but still they mean incredibly much to me. They remind me of a difficult time, but at the same time, of the first weeks of my son's life. Someday I will show them to him telling him how strong he was, and is. Because I believe in this so strongly, I work for 'Stichting Earlybirds Fotografie' to take real life pictures of premature babies and their parents while in the NICU. The parents get this photoshoot for free and will have beautiful pictures of their newborn. 

I am incredibly proud of my little big boy. Happy birthday, Julius! I love you! 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Project Life: the first spread of 2015

Last year, I kept a weekly Project Life album. I loved working on it. However, after about 5 months it started to frustrate me that one week, I had almost no pictures, and the week after, I had way too many to fit on a spread, sometimes all taken the same day! I also found it hard to make a good looking spread when including pictures that didn't really work together well. I often changed pictures to black and white if the colors didn't match, but still this was an issue for me. So I decided that I would keep it up for that year and  then change to monthly in 2015. 

Well, 2015 has arrived and I am making a new album. And I stuck to my decision to do it monthly. I must admit I just couldn't wait until the end of the month to start working on my album. I missed it too much. So I already had a bunch of photos printed and just use the ones that work together on a spread. It's a very different process, but I enjoy it a lot. I'm still not sure how this will turn out, but as long as I'm having fun, it's good with me! 

For the spread I am sharing today, I journalled on white cardstock and used cards by Laurel Lane Designs. I'm excited to be on the Laurel Lane Design Team and had so much fun using her cards to put together this spread. The card with the smileys is one I quickly made myself using a little stamp. I cut the heart out of some cork. You can find the (and many more) journaling cards here: 

I am very happy with the way this page turned out. I love all the white and that it looks simple and clean. The page on the left features some favorite moments: my 2 boys looking at a movie together, Julius posing for me after having his hair cut, Julius in bed next to me looking at the iPad one early morning, giving me a chance to sleep a bit more, and the boys and Mark looking at a cartoon together. The right page is all about bath time! As you can see, bath time is a fun part of the day for Julius and Oscar! 

To learn more about the memory keeping system Project Life, visit 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Memory keeping: making books

Years before I had ever heard of the term 'memory keeping' I was already doing just that. When I was 18 years old I went to the USA for 2 months to stay with people that I met through the internet. It was such an adventure! I kept a diary and took pictures, and the next times I visited the USA, I continued this. 

8 years ago, I found out about and the books you can make and have printed there. I thought that was amazing! When I came back from my second trip to the States I combined my words and my photographs in a book and had it printed. I even sold a few copies to family! 

I kept a diary every time I went on a vacation but still don't have all of them in book version! The last book I made was actually about the very first trip, I completed that book just last year! Better late than never, right? I also had a book made of Julius' first year and of my pregnancy with him. I am on a budget right now so Oscar's books will have to wait, but I do print lots of photos for my Project Life albums.

The album I am showing on the blog today is the album I made after our trip to California in the Fall of 2011. I was halfway through my pregnancy with Julius. It was a wonderful vacation and I do feel homesick thinking about all those wonderful places we went! I haven't been on a vacation since, so I do love to browse the book. What makes this book one of my favorites, is that I scanned a lot of receipts, handwritten notes by locals, etc. and put those in the book. I also didn't just use my 'best' pictures but included lots of snapshots, of us having dinner for example, and of the food we were eating.

This book contains about 80 pages and to us it's a treasure! Our last vacation together without kids! It does take a while to put a book like this together, but it is so worth the time. I can totally recommend it! 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

An exciting announcement

I am so excited to announce that I have been chosen to be on the Laurel Lane Designs design team this year! Laura of Laurel Lane Designs has a gorgeous collection of Project Life cards and I am looking forward to playing with those and adding them to my spreads. I will be showing my spreads using her products here on the blog. That's why I created this blog in the first place! To read more about Laurel Lane Designs, check out Laura's blog at or find her on

Monday, January 5, 2015

Memory keeping: the everyday moments

Some things seem so normal that it is easy to look them over. Other things are special but might happen very often and are part of our everyday life. We think we will remember them but it's crazy how easy we forget. When my first was born, I used to scribble down notes in a pretty orange little notebook about my birth experience and what I went through those first weeks, but life got busy and I stopped. When my second boy was born I kept asking myself what my first could do when he was a certain age, or how I coped with stuff, and I just couldn't remember. They are just 20 months apart. That was quite shocking to me. Therefore, I now make notes very often. Mostly about my boys because they change so quickly and because I want to remember this special time where they are little. I am trying to be better at journaling about myself, too, and sometimes ask Mark to write something down about himself, too. 

Today, I took a picture of a cute little game that Oscar, who is now almost 15 months old, and I have every day which started a few weeks ago. He loves to help me empty the dishwasher. He gets all excited and hands me over the dishes and the cutlery. And everytime I take something from him, he says in his sweet little voice: thankyou! 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

My first blog post!

Finally, my own blog! I've been thinking for quite a while now to start a blog, but kept doubting. Would there be anyone actually wanting to read what I have to say? What will I write about? Would I share personal things, or just photographs that I take and pictures of my memory keeping? There is a reason that I finally decided to do start a blog which I will announce hopefully within a couple of days. I am excited and hope some of you would like to follow along with my writing here.

I am still not entirely sure about everything I will blog about, but I'm going to write about memory keeping for sure. I will be showing pictures of my Project Life spreads, tell a little about the other projects I have going on and I might share some of my ideas/tips.

Thanks for reading!