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.

 

FabFitFun Fall 2017 Unboxing

Hey there! As I stated in my last blog (& vlog), I received the Fabfitfun Fall Box 2017 and have opened it! I’m so excited! So again, if you think you might be interested in this subscription service, it’s one that I highly recommend. I’ve been very happy with what I’ve received. The video is a little long, but it’s a vlog as well as an unboxing so I’m talking throughout and giving ideas and information throughout it. Also, this time I discuss the perks of being an Annual Subscriber over being a seasonal subscriber. Watch until the end for a fun surprise giveaway!

Update: Giveaway has ended – Congratulations to Kelsey D.! 😀

Here’s the link to my YouTube channel! Subscribe with the click of a button!

We Are Women

When did who we are become a one-size-fits-all range? Because the last time I checked, that just isn’t true, possible or interesting. You can look anywhere and find an article or a Blog or a story about how women are being alienated by other women. Sometimes we call it “mommy shaming.” We see women judging one another based on how we feed our children: breast or bottle? Organic or processed? And if we breastfeed, sometimes we’re applauded for doing it in public and other times we are chastised. We are judged for having careers and judged if we stay home to raise our children. We are judged by how we dress our children, what extracurriculars we put them in, how late they stay up at night…the list goes on and on.

And it’s not just mothering. If we dare to say we don’t want children then people can’t seem to wrap their heads around that in any way. We hear things like, “You’ll change your mind when you’re older.” “But you’d make a wonderful mother!” or “We want grandchildren!”

Anywhere you look you’ll see the arguments on both sides of all of these topics and many, many more. These subjects have been debated up and down and in and out and all throughout time. I’m going to spare you the lecture on why it’s ridiculous to assume that you know everything about everything and instead discuss something from an entirely different angle. Here it is. Have you ever considered, for even a moment, how your judgements and opinions make people feel? And I’m not talking about strangers on the internet, but the people you love. Have you?

Here’s the thing. If you are adamant in your opinions and your ideas, if you are positive that you are right, please realize what that does to the people around you. And what kind of a person that makes you. If you don’t open yourself up to the idea that you aren’t right about everything and that different situations call for different measures, and that life’s experiences cannot all always be handled exactly the same way every time for every person, then you are doing something horrible to the people you care about. You’re telling them that regardless of their situation, you will be unsympathetic and not someone they can come to in a time of need or count on for advice, comfort, guidance or understanding.

I can tell you this as a fact because I used to be that person in some ways. Here’s an example. I had a friend many years ago who began dating a guy. I didn’t know this person but did know some of his friends and had heard some rumors about them and, in turn, him. I told her she shouldn’t be dating him. I was afraid he was going to hurt her. I believed she was making a mistake. I told her how I felt and that I didn’t approve and that I was sure she was making a mistake. Guess what? They’ve been together ever since and are blissfully happy. I love him like family and he is a wonderful, loving, incredible person. So not unlike the women I am referring to here, I was closed off to the idea that I could be wrong. I was sure that I knew everything. But I was wrong. Luckily it didn’t take me all this time to realize it. Not long after they started dating she started to talk to me about him and I realized what an ass I had been. I immediately apologized, asked for her forgiveness and promised to support her no matter what. Because guess what, ladies? We have to be there for each other.

We have to realize that our choices and ideas and ideals don’t have to be the same for every person in the world. Because life is imperfect and so are we. Because loving someone means supporting them and helping them and providing those incredible things that friendship and family and community offer. And if you want to be a truly good person, someone who loves and makes the world a better place and who contributes to the happiness of others, then you will take this advice. None of us are perfect or always right. But we can be the perfect friend, wife, sister, daughter, neighbor, or any other role, if we just decide to let kindness and compassion override our need to be right. And that’s when the most incredible things come in and change who we are, because that’s how we learn and grow. And that’s how we can find true happiness.

 

Here’s a picture of me and my littlest mister, Bennett – whom we allow to stay up too late 😘

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She’s Our Daughter

I have to say that I’m not too thrilled with the current trend of getting offended over every single little thing. Have we forgotten the fact that we are not born as all-knowing beings? We learn and grow through experience and through asking questions. If you’re going to be offended by every little thing, then you are part of the problem. Seek to educate – not alienate. Take for instance our daughter. She’s adopted. I’ve had people say things to us and ask us questions that, if I were another person, I could easily have been offended. However, I instead understand that people say things out of curiosity and a want to know and understand. They say things out of a place of unknowing. And that’s OK! Take those opportunities to educate them and to help them grow.

Here are some questions people have asked me in relation to our adoption. I’ll post them here, along with the answers and, in some cases, a more appropriate way to phrase something or a different term to use so as not to be hurtful. Hopefully you can take this knowledge and learn and grow from it!

  1. Why didn’t her parents want her? Well, her birthparents did want her. They love her more than you can imagine. Her birthmother carried her for 9 months. She went to her doctor and had prenatal care. She went through labor and delivery. And then she did something that most people could never, ever do. She and our daughter’s birthfather chose adoption for their daughter. I say most people could never do it because it takes an unimaginable amount of selflessness, love and insight to create an adoption plan. They love her just as much as you love your own children. They knew they wanted her to have a wonderful life, and they found a way to give that to her through adoption.
  2. Why did they give her up? They didn’t “give her up”, the proper terminology is they created an adoption plan. They carefully considered all of their options, they poured over letters from couples who desperately wanted a child, and then they chose us. They decided how much contact they wanted to have with us. They did anything BUT give her up.
  3. Where are her real parents now? Well, we are her real parents. We are the ones making plans for her future, changing her little diapers and getting up twice a night to feed her. We are raising her, and that makes us her parents. The appropriate term is birthparents, and we are in contact with them and hope to always have a relationship with them. They are wonderful people who we care for very much.
  4. Do you love her the same way you love your other kids? We do! It’s exactly the same love. She is our daughter just as the boys are our sons. The love is the same. I always say I grew my sons in my belly and my daughter in my heart. They are all a part of me.
  5. Open Adoption seems weird. Aren’t you scared that her birthparents will try to take her? Isn’t it confusing for the child? These were our same thoughts when we first heard about open adoption too! But here is the reality. We are not scared of her birthparents because we know them. They chose adoption and they chose us! We didn’t take her from them. And open adoption has proven to be much healthier for everyone involved. It’s healthier for the birthparents because they get to see her grow up. They get to see her healthy and happy. They don’t have to worry about whether or not she’s OK. It’s better for our daughter. She gets to grow up knowing that she has two sets of parents who love her more than anything. And it’s good for us too, because they aren’t some strangers we are scared will show up one day trying to get her back (“life is not a Lifetime movie” our social worker said). And we don’t have to worry that she’ll grow up and set off to go find them. She’ll already know who they are. They won’t be exotic strangers to her and her life won’t be one of wondering and questions. We will raise her having the answers to all of her questions – with their help.
  6. Oh, she’s adopted! How nice of you! I can see why you would say that. We are constantly having pro-life agendas shoved in our faces and told that we should all be fostering children and adopting children. In the Bible, God tells us to adopt. I get it. But here’s the thing. We didn’t adopt out of a need or want to do society a favor. We wanted another child. We knew that when I was pregnant with our youngest son. My husband asked me if we should have one more and I thought that sounded perfect. We knew it would have to be quick because I was 36 when I had Max and 38 when I had Bennett. We needed fertility assistance to have them both. Nothing extreme like IVF or anything, but we needed help. But then my doctors told me that I was lucky to come away from those pregnancies healthy because my heart didn’t handle them well, and I was advised not to carry another baby. I thought, OK, that’s it then. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that we weren’t done. That our family wasn’t complete. That something – someone – was missing. We chose adoption to complete our family. To have the daughter I always wanted (I say I because my husband would have taken another boy, I don’t think he really cared either way. Though he did say, well if we can choose, then let’s choose a girl!) We chose adoption because – and I believe this with my entire being – our daughter was out there somewhere, and we needed to bring her home.

So there you go! Some answers to some questions. And I’m always happy to answer questions and have discussions because it’s important for growth that we share and learn! So if you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comment section and I’ll be happy to answer them! Here is a picture of us the day we got to bring our daughter home. It is truly one of the happiest moments of my life. Her birthparents could have chosen anyone, but they chose us. And for that I have a special love for them and a place in my heart for them that I never knew could exist. It’s a beautiful thing, and I am so, incredibly, grateful.

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FabFitFun Editor’s Box 2017

I recently subscribed to Fabfitfun’s quarterly subscription! The subscription comes at the beginning of each season so you will get a box at the beginning of spring, summer, fall and winter! You can also get the editor’s box at anytime and if you would like a little taste of what they offer you can order the starter box which is cheaper and has fewer products but it will let you see what is in store. As I state in the video I saw this advertised and it’s something that I thought would be fun so my husband got it for me as a Christmas present! The boxes are $49.99 each – and each box contains items that add up to be over $200. Easily. You can also get the Annual Subscription. This is really fun because it entitles you to a few perks. Also, I saved $20 by choosing the annual subscription. Each Season FabFitFun also chooses a charity to support, which is really cool. Fabfitfun subscription boxes contain a lot of different elements, which I love about them. They have all sorts of things in there like makeup, jewelry, fashion, lifestyle items, Fitness items, and even nutritional things. So it’s really cool because they cover an array of areas and it’s not the primary focus on just one thing. I’ll open up my boxes here on my blog for you to see so you can see if you might be interested in ordering them too!

Click the link below to see my video and please subscribe!

#FabFitFun