Visual Journal Page 75: Rylie Bug



July 15, 2012, baby Rylie was born. I was officially an aunt, Nick’s sister had sweet baby girl.

I will never forget the moment I first realized I was going to be an aunt. It didn’t happen when Randi announced her pregnancy, it didn’t happen when Randi began to show and came in town for her baby shower. It happened during a very casual conversation with my sister-in-law, and Randi’s sister, Stacey. We swapped our excitement for the coming baby, discussed how cute she would be, and how much we spoiled her. Out of nowhere I said, with 4 brothers and 1 sister I guess there is no competition for you for favorite aunt. As soon as the words left my mouth I paused, wait a minute… I’m married to one of the four brothers… I was also going to be an aunt…

We had a good laugh, and my excited increased just a touch. I was going to be an aunt… Aunt Whitney, it sounded good.

A few months later, Rylie-Bug came into the world. Nick and I made the hike to Kentucky as soon as we could, and for the first time in a long time I held a tiny, fragile, unbelievably adorable, two week old infant.

It’s amazing how much you can love something you don’t even know. A connection is inherently built through family. Although the same blood that runs through my veins isn’t the same as Rylie’s, she is my family. She is my family through love of her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and parents. The connection was formed through family reunions, trips to the lake, and dinner at the Panetta’s. I got to know Rylie through spending weekend after weekend getting to know my husband and his five siblings. Through seven years of time with┬áthe Panettas, 2 years of marriage to Nick, a base was being set for future family members, additions through marriages and births. As soon as I held Rylie I felt I knew her.

Although Rylie has moved from Louiseville, KY all the way to Italy, I am still Aunt Whitney. Although visits are few and far between, I still have that title, making each visit a family reunion, rather than a new meeting.

I can’t wait to watch that baby grow up. I have already witnessed her 2 year journey thus far, from snuggly infant to a sassy, energetic, and hilarious little girl. In one month she changed so much, in two years she was a transforming into a person, I can’t image what the next 10, 18, and 20 years will bring.


  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Book pages
  • Construction paper
  • Printed picture
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie


From the minute I saw this picture, that my amazing photographer sister-in-law Randi took, I was in love. This had to be the “Rylie” visual journal page picture. I decided I first needed to create a neutral, yet interesting, background. I opted to rip up pages from an older, and slightly discolored book. I glued them down layered on top of each other.

Next, I carefully cut out baby Rylie, and glued her to the left side of my visual journal. I debated various ways to write the words, and in the end decided I needed to make the words pop with a little more color. I took different shades of pink construction paper, to mirror the pink in the netting, ripped it up, and glued it down in an arc shape to fit with the picture. I placed the paper going from the lightest pink to the darkest pink.

I wrote the words on top of the pink paper, took as step back, and evaluated. Somehow, it still looked incomplete. I played around with layering black construction paper just under the words, and I liked how it tied in the black sharpie. I quickly glued it down, but was still unsatisfied. The page suddenly turned too dark. The final piece I added was another layer of ripped up book pages on top of the black paper, leaving a small edge of black. This helped tie into the background, while keeping an interesting space around my written words.


Create a visual journal page about your family. It can be a single member or an large group. Good luck and have fun!

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