I’m a Mom

Back in April, exactly a week past his due date, our son Teddy made his way into the world.  He’s officially the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

We’ve been adjusting to our new life as a family of three and I’m not afraid to admit it’s been very difficult at times.  We’re plugging along and it’s truly a joy to see him learn new things.

I’ve been carving out little bits of creative time where I can.  I’m looking forward to showing the rest of my pregnancy album — the insides are finished and I’m starting to bind it!

I’m also looking forward to sharing what it’s like traveling as a family.  Teddy isn’t yet three months old but has five planned plane trips already!  Feel free to join me on Instagram for more timely updates.

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Programming Note

Paper Project by Natalie Parker

A short note today for my scrapbooker / crafty audience:

You may be wondering all of this travel is great, but where are the paper projects?  Or not, maybe you love everything I write in which case, thank you!

But seriously, where are the projects?  I’ve kept this off-blog for several reasons, but we had a major issue with our new home.  As a result, I haven’t done a paper project since we moved last year.  It’s been tough keeping our heads above water but we finally have it behind us.

This weekend I worked on my first paper project in months.  It felt so normal and for that I’m thankful.

For the near future, you’ll still see a lot of travel-related posts.  I want to get all of my Italy posts from last year’s trip up, then I’ll write more about our big adventure around the world.  The paper will return as I get more time to work on paper projects!

Onward!

Celebrating the Holidays Near and Far

Snowy Trees in Munich by Natalie Parker

It’s our third Christmas away from home.  Way WAY away from home.  If you’d asked me even five years ago about this I’d have said you were crazy.

Taking these trips has been an amazing privilege for us that we may not have in the future.  Even though we weren’t sitting around a tree, I will remember the last two Christmases as precious.  Two years ago Mr. P and I were on a boat in Antarctica with one of our best friends toasting the end of a very long journey.  Last year he and I were in a rented apartment in Munich, soaking up German Christmas traditions.

I hope whatever is in store for us this year is just as memorable.  Wherever you are across the world and whatever you celebrate, I wish you nothing but peace and happiness.

Our Very First Home

New House

Big news over here in Natalie-land:  Mr. P and I have purchased our first home!

We are very happy to have purchased and remained in Oakland and are excited about our new neighborhood.  Though the house was move-in ready, we are discovering that homeowner feeling of death-by-a-thousand-tiny-projects, also commonly known as death-by-a-thousand-trips-to-home-depot.

We’re finally settling in after moving and we’re really smitten.  I’m really excited to share projects with you now that we don’t have bed sheets covering the windows anymore.

Moving was relatively painless thanks to lots of help from our families and that we Kondo-ed all our stuff earlier in the year.  We got to skip the step of whether we should keep or give things away because we’d already done that earlier in the year.

It’s a ranch-style home that was built in the 1950’s — an odd find since a lot of the housing stock in Oakland is craftsman.  It was built as an office and we are the first ever to be using it as a house.  It has more space than we are used to, so we’re being very careful to keep our stuff in check and not grow into all the closets.

Exciting things ahead!

In Store for 2015

Kerak Castle Jordan by Natalie Parker

When I launched my new blog design back in August, I said I was thinking about expanding what I write about in this space.

I have lots of opinions on things (those of you who know me in real life can stop laughing now).  I always feel like I’m not qualified to write about something.  There’s always going to be someone somewhere online who knows more about a subject than I do.  It’s why I haven’t written much about travel even though I have lots to say.

I’m not an expert on one thing.  I have many identities.  I’m a blogger, scrapbooker, photographer, wife, foodie, Oaklander, football fan, tech company worker, graduate student, traveler, and crafter.  Those things don’t necessarily go together.

That leads me to my resolution for 2015: embrace it.  Embrace being uniquely me and that I have many voices.  What I have to say matters (I’m not proving it to you, just to myself).  In case you were wondering, I talk in parentheticals in real life.

I never thought I was qualified to write about travel.  I started this blog a few months after I’d been out of the country for the first time.  All of a sudden, I’ve been to seven continents.  I think I may have earned the right to say a few words about it.  In fact, all of my pursuits taken together give me a unique view.  I’m not just a traveler.  I’m not just a scrapbooker.  It all goes together to make me who I am.

What to Expect in 2015

You will still see lots of scrapooking and crafts.  I’ll also share more about memory keeping as I keep pressing forward toward’s my master’s degree.

Every month will include a week-long travel feature about a specific place or specific travel topic.  February is going to have a week about Paris because, obviously.

I’m not subtracting anything, just adding.

This Month

January is always about new beginnings.  I’ll be sharing lots of new beginnings here.  You’ll see the first pages of my new scrapbook.  I’ll discuss starting to travel.  If you’ve ever wanted to try scrapbooking or some type of memory keeping, stay tuned for some help on getting started.

Ready?  Ready.  2015?  Time to begin.

Image above is at Kerak Castle in Jordan during our 2011 trip to the Middle East.

Archives Up!

You guys. I’m really excited to tell you that I’ve finished coding my scrapbook archives!  I know, that doesn’t seem much like news but I’m stoked.

I’ve overhauled everything to make it really easy to see all of my completed albums and every layout in each.  Plus, you can click on any layout to see the blog post about it.  Annnd I learned how to make GIFs so can see the whole album together in action.

Click “Scrapbooks” at the top of this page or click here if you are reading from a reader or email.

I hope you like it!  I’m planning more archive pages for the rest of my content so stay tuned!

My New Blog Design

Hi, my name is . . .  new blog design.  If you are visiting from yonder lands such as blog readers or email, click over to my homepage to check it out.

I’m not finished yet, but I’m launching anyway.  If I waited until everything was perfect, I’m sure life would get in the way.  I’ll keep you updated as new things are added — I have some really exciting plans to showcase content and make finding things much easier.

Organized Categories

Check out the new category list on the right sidebar (click through to the homepage to see it).  I rejiggered the categories and recategorized all 400+ posts.

How this was Designed

All I’ve ever wanted was a very simple clean blog design and I’m really happy that it’s here!  I used the Blog Design Love 2.0 course as an impetus and jumping off point, but coded many of the things you see here myself.  I’ll be writing up a review of the course and my thoughts on coding very soon.

Plans for Future Content

My tagline at the top now incorporates travel.  Incidentally, writing a tagline is hard if you want something other than “I write about stuff.”

This is still primarily going to be a memory keeping and crafty blog.  However, I want my writing to be a creative outlet in and of itself rather than simply writing about a creative outlet.  I enjoy writing the travel posts.  When I enjoy the writing, the writing is better.

Travel has become a big part of my life since I started blogging.  Back then, I had just left the country for the first time.  I’ve spent a lot of time searching for other people’s insights en route to becoming a world traveler so I will pay it forward.

New bloggers are always admonished: “stick to your niche!!”  Just like I scrapbook the way I want to, I’m going to break the rules a bit and inch outside my niche.  You’ll see me adding a couple more personal things, especially if you follow me on social media.  This is not a personal blog, but I haven’t sorted out exactly what the future is.  It will continue to evolve.

If you have comments or there is something you’d like to see more of, I’m all ears!  Or eyes, rather, given that this is on a screen.

Away we go!