FabFitFun Winter Box 2017!

My box has arrived! I unpack it here in this video, along with some great add-ons – and freebies! Don’t forget to enter to win the bag shown in my last review video! There’s still time! Follow my blog and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Thanks for watching!

FabFitFun Post-Fall 2017 Editor’s Box REVIEW and GIVEAWAY!

Hey there! Erica and I have used the products we received and we review them here. We also have a giveaway at the end of the video! To enter the giveaway, subscribe to my youtube channel, follow my blog, and follow the instructions at the end of my video. Thanks for watching!

*Winners of the previous giveaway will not be eligible.

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Us, in our Purlisse masks.

The Love of an Animal

It’s hard to explain the love we have for our pets. Some people don’t understand it. They think animals are just animals – their worth not equal to that of a person. I disagree. Sometimes I think they may be worth more. They have the capacity to love and yet retain an innocence that people typically leave behind once they enter adulthood. I once had an idea – perhaps pets are angels. They are sent down to live with us, to comfort us, and help us in difficult times. To show us unconditional love and to remind us to be kind and to care for those who are unable to care for themselves.

When my husband and I moved in together, we decided to get a dog. We already had a couple of cats at the time. My cat Sadie, and his cat, Larry. I saw Bruno on Petfinder. His big, smiling, happy face made me smile when I saw it. He had been rescued by a couple who tried to rescue dogs who would be euthanized. Bruno was a Bernese Mountain dog/Rottweiler Mix. His foster parents had rescued him from the pound and gotten him up-to-date on everything and microchipped. We went through the adoption process for him and then we brought him home. They believed him to be about 3 years old. When we took him to the vet for  the first time, however, the vet thought he may be older than that.

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Our Bruno, in his youth.

Bruno would follow me around everywhere. He would just stare at me. He had come from a home with other dogs, so I though maybe he was lonely. So we rescued a puppy from the pound and named him Brautigan. They quickly became best friends. But Bruno still followed me. Still stared at me. I realized that I was his person.

Bruno was incredible. He loved other dogs, all people, cats, and children. Good lord, he especially loved children. We’d have to hold him back whenever kids were around. He’d knock them over trying to lick their faces. When we got him we were trying to figure out a name for him but ended up keeping the one he already had. I did give him an official name, however, as I do with all of our pets. He was HRH Prince Bruno Roth of Switzerland. Over the years he received many nicknames. Brune-Brune, gentle giant, baby bear and pupper. We had him 10 years, which means he was at least 13. That’s a nice long life for a dog whose breeds average a 9-year lifespan. But still, it was hard to let him go.

I think one of the hardest things in life is deciding to put a pet to sleep. Sometimes it’s obvious. A terminal illness or a vet recommendation. But sometimes, it sneaks up on you. A few years ago Bruno developed a tumor on his side. The vet said it was a fatty tumor, probably not cancerous. He lived with it for years. As he got older it started to interfere with his ability to turn around on that side. And then he started falling down. At first it was down steps. So we tore the outside stairs down and my husband built wider, less steep stairs that Bruno could use much more easily. And when those started to be hard again, we added non-slip coverage. The he started falling on the hardwood floors from time to time. Then he started falling everywhere. Now by this time he was practically deaf and partially blind. And he started to spend most of his time sleeping. But he still went wherever I was.

At night, after my kids were in bed and my husband went to sleep, I would do the dishes. Bruno would always join me. Sometimes he would lay right at my feet and I’d trip over him and say things like, “Dammit Bruno, do you have to lay right under me?” But even then I knew the day was coming when I’d miss tripping over him. I’d turn on some music and in the quiet of the evening, load up the dishwasher while my big old dog snored. It was a relaxing way to end every day.

Then Bruno started refusing to leave his kennel in the morning. I started reading articles about knowing when it was time to put a pet to sleep. No one really seemed to have the answer. Some said you’d just know. But I didn’t know. He was having good days and bad days. But then I read something that talked about pets having accidents in the house. And Bruno never had accidents. So then I thought, “That’s how I’ll know. If he’s going to the bathroom inside, I’ll know it’s time.” A couple of weeks later, he started to have accidents. It was a couple a day and it was like he didn’t even know it was happening. And even though I said that if that happened I would know, I was still unsure. But then I remembered an article that said something along the lines of it being better to be two weeks early than a day late. We have the ability to let them pass before they are in agony, so why wait until then. I had already made that mistake with my cats. Tony and Sadie. I waited longer than I should have and they suffered. I didn’t want to make that mistake again.

I called the vet and I set everything up. I prayed that he would have an awesome last day. And he did! He had more energy and seemed more like himself than he had in quite awhile. He seemed happy and full of life again. It made me second guess my decision. But that night, as I was doing the dishes, and crying, I looked over at him and he was looking at me. I said, “I just wish I could know that I’m doing the right thing. I wish you could tell me that it was OK.” And I swear to God the most incredible thing happened. My dog responded. He made 3 little growly sounds at me, and then laid down. He’s never done that. Not ever. So I decided he understood me and he told me it was time.

The next morning we took him in. I brought his blanket so he’d be comfortable and it would smell like home. He was laying in the waiting room and when it came time for us to go back he couldn’t stand up and the vet tech had to help us get him up. He’d lost weight, but he was still a big guy. We went back and he laid down. They gave him a shot and my husband and I petted him. I was laying on the floor with him, crying, but trying not to. We told him what an amazing dog he was. How much we loved him, and how much we were going to miss him. He fell asleep. We continued to pet him until the second shot stopped his heart. We left. I had made arrangements for the funeral home to pick him up and cremate him. He was too big to bury in the yard but we wanted to bring him home. The funeral home dropped his ashes off to us the next day.

It’s been several weeks since he’s been gone. I had to wait that long to write this because I knew I wouldn’t be able to. I’m crying now but not sobbing hysterically as I would have been if I’d tried to write this any earlier. I find solace in him being home. I find solace in knowing, in retrospect, that it was definitely time and that we did the right thing. But boy do I miss him. My big gentle giant. He was such a lovely soul. I wonder if I’ll ever have a day when I don’t think of him. For now, I keep his collar in my dresser drawer, and I do the dishes in the daytime – when the kitchen is filled with distractions.

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Us, on Bruno’s last day.

 

 

Little Fall Project – Faux Mums!

Hey all! I have been decorating for fall and typically I put fall mums outside of our home. Unfortunately, I always forget to water them, and eventually they die. I thought that perhaps in order to save future mums from certain death, I’d try my hand at a crafty little faux flower arrangement. I’ve never worked with faux flowers before, and it was fun – and I’m happy with the turnout!

I made this little video showing the process. Sorry, the sound isn’t great because I was outside.

 

 

 

Marry A Man Who…

Not all relationships are perfect – or even good. The relationships I’ve been in have all ended, including my first marriage. All of them have ended – until now. My husband and I have been together for 12 years. Sometimes when people see us together they ask how long we’ve been married. I think they expect us to say a year or something so that they can say we’re in the “Honeymoon Phase” – and when we say how long, they look surprised. We’re the couple who makes our friends pretend to gag over our love. Here is what I can tell you about my marriage, in hopes that it helps you find the right man, or woman, for you.

We met all those years ago on Match.com. After my father convinced me to try it out, I did. I saw his profile and he wasn’t the kind of man I would have picked out of a crowd in terms of his looks. He’s a great looking man, don’t get me wrong – but I wouldn’t say he was my “type.” But I had learned a few things by that point, one of them being that choosing men based on a type had gotten me nowhere, so I read his profile and he was so funny and clearly intelligent that I was interested, so I winked at him. He winked back and then we spent a couple of weeks emailing before finally meeting. And when we met, I got butterflies in my stomach and my breath caught for just a second. That’s never happened to me before. Years later when we talked about how we met, I asked him why he didn’t wink at me first and he said that he thought I was too pretty and that he didn’t stand a chance. He proposed to me while we were out at our local bar. My friend was bartending and we were discussing our future. We’d been together about a year and a half and my lease was about to be up on my apartment. I was thinking about moving but I didn’t want to sign a new lease if our future was together. I jokingly asked him how much he loved me and he said, “Enough to forget about the perfect moment,” got down on his knee right there and proposed to me with a ring he’d made out of the foil of a cigarette pack. He told me later that he’d been looking at rings and planning some elaborate proposal, but that in that moment he just wanted to do it, so he did. I still have that ring. It’s in my jewelry box and is my most prized possession. A few months later he replaced it with a real one, that we picked out together. A year later, we were married.

The last 12 years have put our relationship through many trials. We’ve moved 3 times. We lost my grandmother, his father, his grandfather and both of his grandmothers. We’ve renovated 3 homes. When we tried to get pregnant we were unsuccessful and struggled with infertility for years before having our children. We went through the process of adoption to get our daughter. And throughout it all, we’ve never really had a fight. We’ve had discussions and been irritated but we’ve never raised our voices at each other or said anything regrettable. The last 12 years haven’t been perfect, but they’ve been damn close and here is why I think that is. When he gets home I ask him about his day and I really care about his answer. I listen and try to help him problem solve. I regularly let him know how damn much I love him and that I’m attracted to him and that I find him to be charming, intelligent, funny and kind. I never allow myself to take him for granted. I treat him the same way today as I did when we were dating. I care about him and I always make sure that he knows that. I don’t get angry over little things. I see him for who he is, and that includes his flaws. And I accept him as that person and love him regardless of those little flaws. That doesn’t mean I never say anything, or that I just ignore it. But I don’t expect him to change who he is. After all, I love him just the way he is, and to quote Sex in the City, “Be careful trying to change a man. They’re like sweaters. Pull the wrong string and the whole damn thing falls apart.”

And here’s what he does for me, and how I know he’s the one for me. I suggest you marry a man who comes home from work and always gives you a kiss. Who never hangs up the phone without saying “I love you.” Who comes home to a house that looks like a tornado went through it, doesn’t say a word about the mess, and buys you shrimp and grits for dinner. Marry a man who tells you that you look better without makeup, who tells you you’re sexy even after you’re still carrying 15 pounds of baby weight on you. A man who pushes you behind him when you encounter a dog if you’re out on a walk. A man who supports your dreams and your endeavors. A man who listens and accepts you and your little, weird issues. That’s the man who will give you a happy life.

Put each other’s needs either before your own, or equal to them. If you both do that then you can’t go wrong. Never raise your voice. If you’re angry, try to take time and think about how you want to express yourself before you speak. This is especially hard for passionate people, I think. Passionate people are led by feelings and emotions and it’s harder for them to stay quiet and not express what they are feeling. But if you can do that, then you never run the risk of saying something you’ll regret. And each day, look at your love and try to remember how you felt when you first fell in love. Then hold on to that and let that feeling, let that place, be the one from which all of your actions and words are coming from.

Us, on our wedding day.

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You’re Not A Bad Parent, They’re Not Bad Kids (or Pets)

My children can perform some pretty impressive feats. Is it magic? Do they have some sort of time machine they can use to stop time for me but allow them to keep going? This rule applies to pets too – because we all know that fur babies can perform this same magic.

I once said that it didn’t matter if I hid/threw away/locked up every writing utensil in the house. The Universe has a special wormhole that will open up and distribute a writing utensil if there is a toddler who wishes to get creative. If they want to draw, then they will indeed draw. For fun, and proof, I’ve attached some pictures to this blog of some of the messes my very own darlings have created. And the reason I say it’s magic? Because they find ways to get things that are out of reach and put away. They manage to make a colossal mess during the time it takes me to do any of the following things: Make a bottle, change a diaper, pee, preheat the oven, and much, much more. Now for some of these I did make the mistake of walking out of the (very loud) room to take an important phone call or do the dishes. Those were mistakes of epic proportions. Just when my children are sitting quietly and playing or watching T.V., I think to myself, “I have 5 minutes. I can load the dishwasher real quick and be back before they notice I’ve left.” WRONG.

The same thing goes for pets. And not unlike children, the older they are, the better it gets. But at first? Good gravy. Puppies will chew anything and EVERYTHING they can get their little, sharp, teeth on. And kitties will shred anything they can get their little, sharp, claws on.

So why do they do it? Do they hate us? Are we bad parents? Are we raising a bunch of ruthless hellions? Do they have zero regard for the fact that we’ve told them “NO!” when they do these types of things? Are they destined to be horrible people/animals forever? Luckily, No. To all of that. Children are destructive because they are doing their jobs. Their jobs are to explore, experiment, learn, grow and play. And sometimes, doing that makes an incredible mess. They don’t mean to irritate you. They aren’t trying to be horrible. They are simply developing. Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t correct the behavior and guide them into understanding that some things should not be done and that there are times and places for messes to happen that are more appropriate. But don’t get angry at them, and don’t blame yourself. Know that – like everything else with them – this time is temporary and they will grow out of it. They will learn through your guidance that these things aren’t okay, but it will take time. And believe me, spreading a bag of flour around your kitchen and jumping in mud puddles are two very different things. To your child, each mess is it’s own experience, so don’t assume they understand the likeness between them.

And for pets, the advice is the same. Scratching and chewing are developmental. They’ll grow out of it with time – in the meantime, get them some great chew toys and a scratching post. And I suggest you put your favorite shoes in an impossible to reach place.

 

 

Top: (L to R) Max draws smiley faces on his knees. Max finds whiteout and draws alover himself, my desk and my mouse. The boys dump a box of cereal in the living room – teamwork!

Bottom: (L to R) The boys make syrup pools to eat and play in. Max dumps a box of rice cereal on the floor and makes “snow angels.” Max and Audrina make Max a tiger. Bennett rubs diaper cream all over his face.