December Daily® 2021 | Story 06

Welcome to Story #06 in my December Daily® album for 2021. 

Today includes a photo on the back of yesterday's Hallmark bag, four pages of journaling tucked inside a pocket, and a second photo stitched along the outside edge of the 6x8 transparency. 

Let's dive right into the process video: 

Here are some images of the project in and out of my album: 

My first task today was to print a full page photo and adhere it to the back of the Hallmark bag I cut up and added in yesterday. 

I used small Fiskars scissors to cut around the scalloped edge and really like how it turned out. 

It's a little wonky on the side with the photo which I think has to do with the fact that this is a dark photo but today was a lot about embracing all the things. 

On top of the photo I used gold thin puffy letter stickers and white cardstock alpha stickers to create my title (a phrase which Aaron texted me during the day yesterday and jumped off my journaling for this story). I also added a vellum star and a small puffy gold star

Today's story ended up being a lot longer than would fit onto the card that came inside the pocket so I removed that and added in four pages of my story (see below) and tied them together with twine. On top of the outside of the pocket I layered two vellum stars and a black/gold pleather circle from last year's December Daily® collection

Today's journaling: 

“Some days are diamonds” was a text Aaron sent me this morning after I was going-on about some frustrations related to kids and holidays and expectations. Expectations. Man, it always comes back to that doesn’t’ it? Today was one of those days where things felt like they were compounding and I had a hard time moving through my expectations not meeting the reality. 

Sometimes I have fantasies about family hangouts: I love the idea of us all sitting around the tree leisurely decorating while Christmas music plays and the fire burns. In my fantasy everyone is happy to be there together to celebrate the season. Some of this goes back to when I was a kid and we had a family tree decorating evening when all the ornament boxes came out and we took turns putting each ornament on the tree one at a time. Ornaments were special in our house - my Mom even kept a list of when we received all the ornaments in our individual boxes and who they were from. As an adult I 100% realize that she was the one who made that magic happen and set the expectation for family participation. I now fully understand the emotional effort that goes into keeping some traditions alive. And don’t get me wrong, our tree decorating evenings were imperfect because it involved people with thoughts and feelings and emotions. Even considering all that I still look back on the idea of it all with fondness.

Today I talked to Aaron about how I really wanted us to all spend some time together to decorate the tree. It didn’t need to last hours and I have generally low expectations that everyone would enjoy it (and I get it and remember what it felt like when your friends were everything and hanging with the people in your house might feel like a chore) but I still really wanted to make something happen even if was for a limited time frame before people went their own way for the evening.

As with most family stories, there is a lot more that goes into all this (oh the layers of these stories) then I could ever include in one telling. I love our diverse personalities, our unique family set up, and I enjoy spending time with each of them (I enjoy it most when they are enjoying it too). I’m also working on - and have been for a number of years - adapting my expectations and taking things down a couple notches and being open for beauty and goodness to appear in ways I hadn’t considered.

With all that in mind Aaron and I did some quick brainstorming on what we could do to make this a more enjoyable hangout for our crew and ended up deciding to do a “board” dinner (basically a couple charcuterie trays and some sparkling cider) at a set time (concrete expectations for a beginning and an end: about 30-45 min total) to go along with each kid adding their own ornaments to the tree. 

No one complained one bit during the entire time. There was smiling and eating and laughing and a broken ornament and corny jokes and chatter about Christmas and conversations about rides and sleepovers and cheese tasting. It ended up being just right for the seven of us. I adjusted. They adjusted. The tree got decorated. And when it was all over Anna and Simon and I watched Home Alone.

Along the outside edge of the transparency I stitched a color photo of our tree and placed a vellum star on top along with a puffy number from the Main Kit. 

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26 thoughts

  1. Carolynps says…
    12/07/2021

    Love this page and can totally assimilate with your thoughts and feelings. Great result though

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Jgk04 says…
    12/07/2021

    Thanks for sharing that story with all of us Ali. I’m sure everyone can relate, especially regarding expectations.

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. denine2 says…
    12/07/2021

    Thank you for sharing the words to your story, Ali. They are so true to probably so many people, and I think this helps us to connect and feel better knowing we are not alone. Plus I am a total words person...I often times find myself drawn more to the words in people's stories than their designs. I am happy that your evening turned out so pleasant. Beautiful page!

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. justlisa says…
    12/07/2021

    I am enjoying all of your days so far! Great ideas and stories too. Thank you!

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Elizabeth_Heinz says…
    12/07/2021

    Oh man Ali, I get it. I recently had a similar experience with family Christmas photos. I schedule them EVERY year on Thanksgiving weekend. I always get the SAME grunts and groans. I ask VERY little from the boys and they know how IMPORTANT it is to me. We travel about 5 miles from the house and the entire thing takes about an hour. Why is it always such a battle? But they do it, and I'm delighted with the photos that we capture.

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. SFK14 says…
    12/07/2021

    I feel this HARD!! Thanks so much for offering your story, which helps me know I am not alone. I made it through the teen era with my kids and am now in the reality of a blended family with adult kids and all of their memories, hopes and expectations. This story is a great reminder for me that I can expect that some days will be stones and it doesn’t mean that I’m failing or that our family is falling apart or anything except that we’re humans. I love this project. Thank you again for all you give.

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Donna_Clements says…
    12/07/2021

    Love this page! Ali, have you tried Un-Do Adhesive remover? It easily removes any kind of sticker, does not harm the photo, and you can even reuse the sticker! I got it on Amazon.

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. AliEdwards says…
      12/07/2021

      Thanks Donna! I didn't know you could use that one photos.

    2. pmmessner says…
      12/10/2021

      YES! i LOVE un-du... it has saved me and my photos many-a-time!

  8. BetsyB says…
    12/07/2021

    Love how your story ended-it all came together with family and decorating the tree. So glad you included this story-it gives me a jumping off point to tell my own story of Christmas time expectations.

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. Kgarcia09 says…
    12/07/2021

    totally understand! i come from a huge blended family of 10 with many parents and households and 2 different cultures and languages it gets real very quick!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Pepierre says…
    12/07/2021
    Reply 0 Replies
  11. TracieClaiborne says…
    12/07/2021

    This page turned out lovely, as always. I read your journaling with tears in my eyes because I am proud of you. I would be such a shitty mom to all those kids. I'm not good at adjusting or having a lot of people around. They are lucky to have YOU, I'm thinkin they know that. I know someone else told you but I also would love for you to try Un-Do, just have it on hand. You can actually soak an entire paper or photograph, and it dries and you'd never know it happened. You can literally soak the page and then make your adjustments - I have used it for 20 years and also post-its to help me line up letters. I even use Un-Do now to take 3M command hooks off my new paint job in my house! It's a treasure. Thanks for sharing so much with us! We love you!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. TracieClaiborne says…
      12/07/2021

      and PS: please pull up that song on YouTube - it's the best. Sweet John Denver, now I'll be singing it all day.

  12. asackr01 says…
    12/07/2021

    I loved this story. We go through this too and it always helps to understand you're not alone in how these things go. I'm so happy that it all worked out for your evening. What I also think is so interesting, is how we perceive things were for us when we were kids and how much effort a parent put in to make it that way (that we didn't realize at the time). Thank you for sharing as always :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. BSAW15 says…
    12/07/2021

    I relate to this so much. The expectations and fantasies of what I want our family moments to be like. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. barefootscrapbooker says…
    12/07/2021

    Love it! Expectations kill happiness so fast, it is incredible! Adjusting them definitely helps everyone not only enjoy things, but as you said, allows for new beauty to come into the activity in unexpected ways. How many of those kids will do board meals while decorating the tree in the future? ;)

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. lovingsue says…
    12/08/2021

    I love the back story of this layout. I can almost feel your emotion while watching you and then when I read the journaling, all the feels Ali. I can relate. I think that is what memory keeping is all about. Documenting the hard part and accepting that not all days are Okay but that is life. Here's my Day 06
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmlGkteXGHQ&t=2161s&ab_channel=CraftsbyAyienD

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Mpasquini12 says…
    12/08/2021

    That photo looks so cool with the scallop edge!
    Here is my day 6:
    https://www.instagram.com/p/CXOJMZHukv_/?utm_medium=copy_link

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. JinOK says…
    12/08/2021

    "some days are diamonds" is one of the quotes I use often! Lol! I'm a half empty kinda girl! Thank goodness life is made up of both diamonds and stones, how would we ever appreciate the beauty of diamonds if there were no stones.....great truth telling

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. adawson816 says…
    12/09/2021

    Sharing my Day 6 here: https://youtu.be/YagvbStw5lI

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. pmmessner says…
    12/10/2021

    E X P E C T A T I O N S. i can totally relate. thank you for sharing your story of what many of us struggle with.

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. mcbce says…
    12/10/2021

    This was so good...I can totally relate to the feelings and expectations. I so enjoyed listening to you process and watching your process. I hope that makes sense. Thank you for sharing this piece of your December life.

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. scrappinjam says…
    12/10/2021

    Love everything about this. The holidays always bring so much emotion out in me. Over the years my expectations have caused me a lot of disappointment. I have learned to go with the flow and not expect anything. I think it is wonderful how you and Aaron turned this around. Thanks for always being so authentic and for sharing with us.

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. nicoleseitler says…
    12/14/2021

    I love your attitude through all of this--embracing the imperfections with the page and your journaling that navigates through the place between expectations and real life. Even when it's good, there's so many emotions hiding in the Christmas season! Ugh.

    I also wanted to say that those stars...! They are the best and I would love to see more of them! I'm currently hanging on to mine for when I feel up to working on my vacation album, but I love seeing how people are using them for DD. If they make their way into a Story Kit, next year's DD kit or an add-on, I think that would be wonderful! (Like the butterflies for Care... I liked the OLW ones. I LOVE the Care ones. So pretty!)

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. virginiegoujon says…
    12/16/2021

    Love everything about this. Thanks for sharing as always. Going through this too.

    Here's my story #6 : https://www.instagram.com/p/CXf4YbgoR_q/

    Reply 0 Replies

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