Bringing Up Boys


My Old Soul..

Our older son turns 20 today.  Our first born, of the golden hair and disposition to match, is no longer a teenager.  He is now an amazing young man; wise beyond his years, kind, inquisitive, fun to be with, and though the flaxen hair is gone, the sweet temperament remains. The boy was born an old soul. So call the Cliche Police but the twenty years has flown by and me, the girliest of girls (well, besides the swearing and frog catching- me, not the boys) never did get to experience braiding hair, playing with dolls, choosing dresses and sparkly shoes, or arguing over diaries with daughters.  Instead, my years were filled with;

Couldn’t resist this music for this post


Chaperoning first dates…

…Some more innocent than others…

Praising first swimming lessons…

Decorating Pirate ship rooms…

and outsmarting Leprachauns

Using telepathy to help guide balls over nets…

Dressing Power Rangers, Pokemen...

…and Ninjas!

Hooking up hoses…

silently mouthing lines in plays…

Making hot chocolate…

Capturing Moments

and still more moments…

Even the dog was a boy. Hell, so were our rabbits…and the infamous, beloved hamster Gomez, who disappeared from his cage one day. My distraught son and I slept on the kitchen floor in sleeping bags, ringing ourselves with peanut butter and apple slices in a failed attempt at recapturing the AWOL rodent.  He was apprehended a couple of months later, sauntering down the upstairs hall in the middle of the night as if he owned it, standing upright I might add, like he was simply out for his evening constitutional. God only knows what he had been eating all that time but he certainly wasn’t any worse for wear.

…and still, always mom with the camera!

…and the scrapbooks


Holding my breath…

Catching my breath…

Seeing them soar….


…and tucking them back in

Making sure a helmet was worn at ALL times (especially when the seat was up :) )

…and always most of the time trying to remain calm :)

and finally wondering now, as my birthday boy shaves his beard and my baby boy starts creeping up over 6′ 2″ how could I have ever even imagined MOI having girls??!


Wishing all parents with little ones…  Days as long and sweet as the summer days when we were very young-

Everlasting and brimming with promise and pleasure.


And Happy Happy Birthday to my Golden Boy :)

Painting by Archibald Barnes.

Memories, Menus and Inspiration…

summer mood board, slimpaley.comSlim Paley photo

Several posts back I mentioned that I enjoy scrap-booking and making collages.  In addition to Inspiration Boards, I think they’re a wonderful way to express yourself, as well as keeping memories alive to enjoy on a daily basis. Collages and inspiration boards can be completely random or have a theme. Some of mine get so thick they become assertively 3-D (I told you I could relate to the Collyer brothers!)  Some begin with a certain theme only to veer off down another rabbit hole leading me to a completely different inspiration.

I started collaging when I was a child. An entire wall of my bedroom from floor to ceiling became a vast and vivid depository for photos of my friends and myself, art work, report cards (OK, one or two report cards-hardly any White-Out), pages torn from magazines and all the flotsam and jetsam I found amusing or inspirational at the time. What I wouldn’t give to have a photograph of that wall now! 

Later on, as a young adult, I started to collage my annual day planners, which I always bought in hardcover, sidestepping the Filofax craze.  I traveled a lot and once again, in addition to being a nice way to chronicle the places I’d been each year, it was a way to keep the faces of those nearest and dearest to me close at hand. Keep in mind this was long before digital photography, much less photos on your cell phone. 

Later still, when my children were born, I saved their mementos; ticket stubs, school items, plane tickets, theatre programs, letters written from summer camp, even locks of golden, silky hair (boo hoo!) to put scrapbooks together for them to enjoy and hopefully share with their children. Scrap-books take considerably more effort than collages  but I believe, especially with  children, your efforts will be appreciated. I kept several boxes for each son and over the years everything got thrown into them. In the days when we were still printing photos from film, I would get 3 sets of photos; one for each boy’s scrapbook and one for mine.  My older son’s books are all finished and belong to him now.  Like my collages and life itself, they got a little fatter than I imagined and took longer to assemble than I would have ever thought. Our entire dining room was plastered in photos, Post Its, plastic sleeves, newspaper cuttings, mementos and books for weeks that stretched into…well, I’m not even going to confess how long. 

A word to the wise-DO NOT listen to sad or emotionally stirring music as you take this trip down Memory Lane or I guarantee you’ll be wiping yourself off the floor. Many were the times I would stagger away from the dining room with a tiny sock, or a note to the Tooth Fairy clutched to my breast to share with my husband who would give me a sweet hug and suggest I take a break and change the music. I haven’t started my younger son’s books yet-I’ll start soon and I look forward to it.  I realize that people nowadays might not wish to save their memories in such a labour intensive,old-fashioned method. For me, there’s nothing quite like the tactile loveliness of a scrapbook; the love that goes into making them and the love that pours forth each time they’re opened.

Old agenda covers, slimpaley.comSlim Paley Photo

Photos of 12 years of my collection of collaged Day Planners  (Some faces have been blurred to protect the shy and not so innocent :)  )

Inspiration board, slimpaley.comSlim Paley Photo

A photo of an Inspiration bulletin board in my office (about 8′ x 5′)  Not quite sure what the theme was originally, but as this one is right off my bedroom, it is constantly evolving.

Slim Paley photo

A few pages of some of my older son’s scrapbooks. As well as mementos and photographs, I chose to include clippings of news stories over the years and everything from his favourite comics, music and TV shows to world changing, momentous events.

Menu collection, pantry wall, slimpaley.comSlim Paley Photo

.Another fun idea;  Collect menus from restaurants you love, especially when you travel. Cover a wall in your kitchen or breakfast nook with them. If you have a particularly memorable evening or meal, you might have the chef sign your menu and date it. If you are a wine lover, do the same with wine lists.

Most restaurants are very nice about letting you take the menu if you explain your intentions. 

Alternatively, carry a large bag. 

Here, a photo of a wall in our food pantry. I’ve papered the entire room with menus I’ve collected over the years. You might even be inspired to try whipping up some of your menu items yourself when searching the cupboards for what to make for dinner.

Notes on Scrapbooks

- ALWAYS use acid-free, archival quality paper, protective sleeves, glues and tapes.

- EXPOSURES catalogue has a great selection of items needed for scrap-booking

-use expandable books with individual pages.  Trust me on this.

-Don’t use both sides of the pages.  Only use one side, then place two back to back in one sleeve.

- archival quality glue “dots” come on rolling tapes in many different sizes (even 3-D) that make life a lot easier.

-For particularly precious items you might want to scan them and keep originals in a safe place.

- Keep all your book bindings uniform.  Pick a classic, low key colour like black or brown leather. Something that will hold up over the years and not look dated.

- As well as photos and mementos from school and travel, include news articles- the passing of famous people and important events, as well as favourite book titles, songs, movies, cartoon characters (Bart Simpson? Sponge Bob?)  Find their photos and lyrics on the internet and include in your child’s scrapbook.

-Place tiny or delicate things such a first lost tooth, or a lock of hair in clear little bags that have an invisible double-sided strip of tape along the edges (Exposures catalogue)

-OK, I’m done.  This post took almost as long as a scrapbook.

Happy Memories!!