Tuesday, April 30, 2013

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things in April

It's everybody's favorite time of the month!

Dressing for spring.

Waking up to puppy dog eyes.

Emerson's budding fashion sense and fiercly independent I-Can-Dress-My-Own-Self attitude.

A thoughtful gift from my thoughtful husband to help me sleep in a 45degree angle.

Our annual Delta Phi Epsilon sorority reunion.
The Croods! Loved this movie.

My heart and soul.

 Saturday morning ritual.

 First official day as a FirstMerit employee. And yes, I kept my job.

 Missing Disney.

 The girls.

 Narls' first story.

 April Ipsy bag.

 Suckers: there are two born every minute.

 Mexican with my husband.

 Filling out her bestfriend's birthday card.
An apology from my boy, after a rough morning for the both of us.

Saturday morning walks.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dating My Kiddos: Pottery and Ceramics

Last week Narls asked me a question. It was after a series of other he questions he just finished asking me. I was only half-listening (less than that even, quarter-listening would be more accurate), focusing instead on my phone and catching up with my twitter stream. I mumbled a non-verbal sound of confirmation to his unheard question, and after a few beats of silence he asked me, “mumma, did you even hear what I asked you?”

I heard him then and I let out an appreciative laugh at my knowing boy, with his serious question asked in his child voice. I put my phone down and give him and his conversation my full attention.

I would be lying if I said that I’m a changed woman; that every conversation I have now with my children would always receive my full attention. I posted before about my struggles to remain present in every day moments. It’s hard. I’m human, and they’re young children with endless questions. I zone out for the sake of my sanity.

But I did use this opportunity to resolve to carve out time for my kids that is just theirs. Special time with no distractions. More than just playing with them in their rooms – which is important, don’t get me wrong – but an event that they can look forward to and get excited about. A “date”, if you will. And thus the idea of a series of monthly kiddo dates was born.

We had our first date a couple evenings ago at a new ceramics place that opened up in our mall. Narls and Emerson and I walked around the store, looking for our perfect pieces.


I let them have complete creative control. I chose a coffee mug, to which Em noted, “you love your coffee, don’t you mumma?” My son zoned in on a dog, which didn’t surprise me, and my daughter chose a cat over a fairy, which did surprise me. We chose the paint colors we wanted and talked about our favorite colors and how to mix colors to create other colors and why real cats aren’t blue and pink but it’s ok if ceramic cats are painted those colors.

I was nervous about their energetic, clumsy bodies in that fragile store, but we talked about the importance of being careful. In short, we talked about everything. And anything. Narls told me about his friend at school who has newborn baby kittens, and Em wondered if all these ceramic things come alive at night when the store is closed.

I smiled at their silly stores and patiently answered their questions. I took a few minutes to snap these pictures but I never picked up my phone or let my mind drift away from what was happening during this moment that I was spending with two of the most important people in my life.

We left with our items (well they did, I have to come back in a week to get mine), feeling proud and creative and happy and heard. I'd say that's a pretty successful first date.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Mix Tape: Baby Love

I heard a song recently that instantly reminded me of the that sweet time in my life when I was a new momma. It was a song that still, to this day, reminds me of my son. 

Coldplay-Yellow by Coldplay on Grooveshark

I started thinking about the other songs I've quietly dedicated to my children. I'm sharing that playlist with you today; hopefully you'll love them as much as I do. Also, I'd love to hear the titles of songs that remind you of the little darlings in your life.


Linking up:

Thursday, April 25, 2013

DIY Chalkboard Champagne Bottle

A super easy craft just in time for the weekend. And if you're anything like me, you have all the supplies on hand, making this project free ninety nine.

From start to finish, making a chalkboard champagne bottle maybe takes two hours. Soak the empty bottle in warm soapy water for about a half hour to loosen the labels. They should peel right off.

I'm assuming chalkboard spray paint would be even easier, but I had regular paint on hand from when we painted Narls' chalkboard wall a couple years ago. Apply a coat of paint, let dry about 30 minutes, apply another coat, then let that dry for another 30 minutes to an hour.

And voila, you're done. I stuffed a cork in the top to finish the look. Write your family's last name, a love note, a sweet word, anything; the finished project is lovely.

Linking up:
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Monday, April 22, 2013

My Top Five Spring MAC Lipsticks

It has rained here for an entire week. I'm over it. Luckily today, I woke up to sunshine and blue skies, which has got to mean spring has finally arrived, right? (Please say yes.) I made a personal resolution to wear more lipstick this season, probably because I worn it exactly three times this whole winter. Boo. I compiled a list of my favorite shades and paired them with some great lipstick-wearing occasions. I stuck with MAC lipsticks because it's my favorite lipstick brand. I love all the colors (I own over a dozen) and they smell so damn good and the formula is great.  All that for only $14.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Follow Up

Today marks a week with my new boobs.

Surgery was Friday. Clay drove us the hour trip to the surgical center, and at 7am I was taken back to a cold, bright room. The anesthetist was warm and engaging, but that did little to ease my nerves. The last thing I remember was a story she was telling about her new puppy and then I woke up with a foggy head and a weight on my chest.  The surgery itself took less than a half hour. 

The first 48 hours were tough. The implants were inserted into my body through a small incision in my naval, making the entire procedure virtually scar-less, but as a result my whole core was affected. I couldn’t sit up on my own and walking was difficult. Luckily I had painkillers, which I only used the first day, and after two days the pain felt more like the aftereffects of an incredibly hard upper body workout as opposed to surgery.

The fourth day I went back to work, which was fine with my doctor.  I had initially planned on working from home, but it was necessary that I be in the office so I was and I was fine.

The pain is completely gone today, the seventh day. In fact, I took a shower by myself this morning; I needed Clay previously because I couldn’t lift my arms over my head to wash my hair. I still can’t raise my arms, and have been advised not to for the first three weeks, but I’m much more comfortable and less afraid to move my chest muscles, so I was able to wash my hair by lowering my head to side.

Later this afternoon I have a follow-up appointment with the surgeon. Besides observing how I’ve been healing, he’s going to show me how to begin massaging my breasts, a process that I’ve heard is much more painful that it sounds.

I got 275cc of saline inserted over my chest muscles and this has resulted in a gorgeous pair of boobs that I’m obsessed with. It’s difficult to say what size they are as I haven’t even attempted to wear a bra since surgery, but ultimately the size is a non-issue because these breasts fully compliment my frame. It’s only been a week, but I’m amazed at how much more proportional and self-confident I feel.

I can say with 100% certainty that this was the best decision for me. If you have questions, let me know; I am more than happy to answer. Also, I have before and after pictures that I will share through email or text if you're interested. I know how helpful it can be to those considering a boob job to hear firsthand accounts from those who have had one.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

An Anniversary, in Pictures

Simple snapshots of a happy second wedding anniversary.

My god, there has never been a truer quote.

This man.

Lovely flowers.

Dinner and drinks.

Homemade cards from our babies.

Here's to many, many more.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Two Years Ago Today

Two years ago today... I uncomfortably accepted a gift from my fiance. He reserved a full spa treatment for me - hair, nails, makeup, massage, the works - while I was on vacation in Las Vegas. I say uncomfortably because this was a girls' trip and none of my girlfriends were about to spend all morning and most of the afternoon at the salon. I wanted to be with them. I tried to give away pieces, here I'll take the hair and you take the makeup and you take the nails, but they wouldn't accept. I was uncomfortable, but also giddy, because, who does this? Who gives gifts like this? He does.
Two years ago today... I sat in the hairstylist's chair when a friend handed me a note. From my fiance. He was here, in Las Vegas, and would I meet him this evening at the alter. I started shaking, what was going on? Another friend handed me a dress - in my size! - that reminded me of clouds: silky, feathery, soft. I remembered this dress; I pointed it out to him a long time ago, describing it as my dream wedding dress.  Then shoes were being handed to me, beautiful blush stilettos - in my size! - and now I was crying because what. was. going. on?  It took me a minute to realize the extent of what was happening. He was in Las Vegas, asking me via a love note, to marry him that very night, in this breathtaking dress and wearing these lovely shoes and holding a bouquet of flowers so perfect and fragrant. Who would do something like this? Who knows my tastes and sizes so perfectly? Who knows that this, this exact thing, would be my fairytale? He does.
Two years ago today... I walked down the aisle of a beautiful Las Vegas chapel, high up on the top floor of the Stratosphere, and looked into his smiling face. I still remember that smile. I see it every day. I said I do to him while the sun was setting and his hand was holding mine tightly. I still remember those hands. I hold them every day.
Two years ago today... I married my best friend. 

Clay and I have been together for over a decade now, married for two of those years today, and while it feels like a lifetime, it also seems like the time has gone by in a blink of the eye. That's the wonder of love, I guess; I imagine I'll feel this very same way on our fiftieth wedding anniversary, looking back on a lifetime of love and wondering, where did the time go.

We are different in so many ways, but similar in those that really matter- like family, and love, and where we want to be in one month, ten years, fifty years. Life is good and with him it's even better. And where ever this life may take us, it'll take us together. We are each other's heart, each other's home.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Quest for Fun

I don't know if you know this about us, but we are the Griswolds incarnate. Bible. Perfectly planned trips get plagued with strange disasters and weird situations that turn us all into hot messes losing our shit everywhere, which is probably why Clay and I have never attempted a real family vacation before this week.

And truth be told, we wouldn't have done this vacation, this amazing perfect life-changing trip, if it wasn't for the urging of Clay's brother, Scott, and his wife, Kelly. They convinced us to join them at their vacation home in Orlando, Florida, and they never let us say no, and it turned out to be the best thing ever.

So we packed our suitcases, loaded up the kiddos, and the four of us flew like it was no big deal. The kids handled the long drive to the airport and airport crowds and TSA like tiny bosses.  The flight was a breeze and we landed in Orlando at midnight on Saturday.

We woke up on Easter morning to blue skies and sunshine in the most amazing villa right on the golf course at a gorgeous resort which is exactly how I picture Heaven to be. Our villa had 3 bedrooms - each with its own bathroom and flatscreen TV, a fully stocked kitchen, a dining room, and a livingroom. I'm not kidding you guys, paradise.

Aunt Kelly had plastic Easter eggs filled with candy hidden throughout our villa's backyard so Narls and Em had a hunt that morning, and then the resort had a Easter scavenger hunt and a build-a-bunny event later in the afternoon.

I drank wine all day, and we all went out for Chinese for dinner. I couldn't have asked for a better Easter or a better start to the week.


Monday morning I woke up and had my coffee on the patio. I think that alone might be the highlight of my entire trip- it was so perfect and serene. All of Monday was pretty chill and relaxed in fact, with us spending the entire day at the resort's waterpark.

Later that evening Kelly made an amazing chicken dinner and I drank another bottle of wine and we all stayed up late talking and laughing.


We got up bright and early Tuesday and headed to SeaWorld where I think I cried no less than seven times. You really can't take me anywhere, but THERE IS SOMETHING SO MAGICAL ABOUT THE PLACE. The dolphins, the whales- they're nothing short of amazing. I did have a mini freak out when we first got there because I don't do well in crowds, especially with my kids, and calling this place busy was a complete and utter understatement, and I pretty much said there was no way I could do Disney, but Scott and Kelly helped us a ton, they even took the kids so Clay and I could ride a roller coaster, and before I knew it I wasn't even bothered by the crowd and then it was 10pm and the park was closing and I just had one of the best days ever. Like in my entire life. It was that good.

My absolute favorite part of the day was Scott playing a basketball hoop shoot game to win Kelly a stuffed turtle, and after three attempts finally winning it only to have Emerson's face light up like he just climbed to the moon and brought her back a star. Seeing Scott hand that turtle to Em was classic. So then Clay had to play to win one for Narls, and Scott had to play again for Kelly and he ended up winning her the biggest dolphin ever and I know I'm babbling here, but perfect- everything was just perfect.


Kelly and Scott kept the kids for a bit on Wednesday so Clay and I could explore the resort.  We ended up on the rooftop pool, which overlooked the entire place, and I literally could have spent the whole damn day up there.

But I couldn't, because Scott and Clay were super excited about going on an airboat ride through the Florida everglades and scoutin' out some alligators. Personally, I wasn't excited about this. At all. I'm a bit clumsy and if anyone is going to fall overboat, it'd be me. Plus, swamps and mosquitoes don't quite compare to having poolside cocktails on the rooftop, but I went because I'm a trooper, and actually had a lot of fun. And I didn't fall out of the boat! Narls and Em even got their own sharktooth necklaces.

Ok, so I thought SeaWorld was magical, right? And I cried there, remember? Well that was nothing compared to being at Disney with my husband and our children. I was a mess. In a good way! I looked at my kids so many times throughout the day and saw their happiness and their perma-grins and died over and over.

The only bad part of this day was that it was supposed to rain allllll day. A couple tornadoes were even predicted. Clay and I didn't let that stop us; we're not scared of tornadoes. Ok we totally are, but we had already bought our tickets so it was a now or never kind of deal. The weather actually worked out in our favor because the morning was beautiful but the crowds were super thin which warmed my anti-people heart.

Then the rain came. There was a moment during the afternoon where it had been pouring for an hour, we just left the Country Bears Jamboree (lame, but it had a roof), the kids were whiny and Clay was losing his cool, and I pretty much thought that was the end of our Disney trip. We got in line to meet Tink mainly because it was in doors, and once we met her, I don't know, it was like instant happiness. I get that she's not the real Tinkerbelle, even Narls commented that she's just a person dressed up, but I cannot explain how easy it is to get wrapped up in the magic of the whole thing. Of every thing. So, yes, she was awesome, and we were happy, and we went outside and found that the rain had stopped and the sky was a gorgeous blue, and we got some Dole pineapple whip, and all was well.

I was immensely proud of us for turning the day around, something we're not always good at. Only  we didn't just turn it around, we made it awesome. We rode more rides (the crowds were even thinner after the rain), we ate, we met up with Scott & Kelly for the fireworks and I cried. Because I'm a crier and that's what I do, but also because I watched Narls face lit up at seeing Tinkerbelle zip across the castle at the start of the fireworks and because I heard him shout "now that's the real Tink!" and because Em fell asleep snuggled in my arms and because I was just so. damn. happy.

Friday was bittersweet because Scott and Kelly left that afternoon and we knew it was our last full day in Florida. We spent most of the morning being lazy and packing and doing laundry, and then after our family left, the four of us headed to the mall four for some shopping and to get our Florida Starbucks mug and a bit of froyo.

Afterward it was back to the villa for takeout pizza and some cuddling on the couch all while watching TMNT. After the kiddos fell asleep, Clay and I had some much needed quality time and then we were in bed by midnight so we could get some sleep before our 5am trip to the airport.

So now we're home and our cat made it through the week without us and our dog did great at the doggy daycare and the kids are happy and Clay and I are happy and this vacation was just what we needed. I know it sounds incredibly cheesy, but it fed my soul. I came back home even more in love with my husband and children, which I didn't even think was possible.

And we didn't have even a single Griswold-esque mishap.