Some news

Each and every moment the thought crosses my mind, “Oh I have some free time, maybe I could work on a blog post?” that thought is then stolen by a ringing telephone, a whining or desperate-for-playtime toddler or the list of a million things that needs to be done. I have good intentions, but never the time to fulfill them. But I did want to drop in and post a quick update.

As much as I complain about my crazy, busy life, I wouldn’t trade it. In fact, soon we’ll be adding a little more chaos to the mix…

Pregnancy Announcement

Special thanks to Speckled Clementine for the adorable announcement!

Yes, I am indeed, with child. :) Child #2 to be exact. I started to have “the ache” to expand our family shortly after Little C’s 1st birthday but knew for all practical purposes that we were not ready. When we did decide the time was nearing, God decided to bless us immediately and I was pregnant before I could blink. Joy and fear gripped us at the exact same time, which is a funny emotional roller coaster of its own. We are truly excited as this will likely be the completion of our family, despite what several friends have told me.

This pregnancy has been decidedly tougher the second time around. Morning sickness has been fierce and relentless and my bragging about never vomiting while pregnant with Little C quickly became stifled. Of course, everyone immediately thinks that means I am having a girl. I don’t know about that, but I do know that battling the stomach flu, then a severe cough and cold and general exhaustion while early in pregnancy has taken its toll. I believe I have finally graduated into better days and the second trimester and of course, after the pregnancy announcement cards were distributed, found out that I’m farther along than initially thought and am now due in September. That potentially means 3 family birthdays in September. This poor child!

I had been warned of it beforehand, but I’m astonished at how different we treat 2nd and 3rd pregnancies and children. I am not reading the books, magazines, blog posts and articles. I lazily track things in a single app on my phone. I constantly forget how many “weeks” I am. I’ve taken next to no pictures of myself or anything pregnancy related. I’m excited and I truly care, but it’s a sort of “been there, done that” feeling. I am fighting this as I don’t want to be the mom that has 1.1 million photos of baby #1 and 2 or 3 photos of baby #2. There has to be a happy medium between obsession and apathy. I have started a pregnancy journal but am letting the masters at Shutterfly be the designers instead of designing my own. I just don’t have the time and I’m all about letting myself out of the competition to become the Pinterest Mom of the Year. ;)

Well, my heartburn beacons to me. I hope to share more in the coming weeks as we find out if baby is another “he” or a little “she”.

The C Word

Curiosity may have struck you a few weeks ago, like it did for me, when several friends’ profile photos on Facebook turned shades of purple overnight. After a few instances, I knew that something was going on, and that I missed the boat. One quick Google search later revealed it was an act of support for World Cancer Day. I had a lump in my throat for a good hour or two after watching the associated video from Chevy.

A few weeks later I was reading about a local pastor who had been diagnosed with stage 4 of a rare form of brain cancer and who is now fighting hard for his life.

A few weeks after that I heard the painful news that our local little hero Cash Shank had lost his battle with cancer at the tender age of 6.

Cancer is seemingly everywhere this month… and, I admit, I started to get very down about it. I am no stranger to the grief that cancer can bring, having lost my paternal grandparents to it when I was just a child. It was one of the most painful things I can remember about my young life. My heart wrenched between seeing my grandparents writhe in pain, being eaten away by the awful disease and knowing I was going to lose them before I really knew them. Or maybe it was having to watch my dad, the strongest man I have ever know, break down in utter and total grief. It was heartbreaking.

It’s no wonder that when I got the news just a few months ago that my very best friend was found with cancer that I completely broke apart and dissolved into tears at the very thought, for days. Not my best friend! Why??? Thankfully it has been a treatable cancer and she’s a strong woman, but it has made the journey no easier. Because of my experiences watching many more friends and family be diagnosed and fight, with various results, it catches me in the throat when I hear the word. Cancer. I hate it. I fear it.

Then the strangest thing happened when I got a message from Cameron Von St. James, sharing the amazing story of his wife and family. It was the perfect timing and the very thing my weary heart needed to hear. Almost like it was meant to be. ;)

Cam_Lil_Heather090312Cameron’s beautiful wife Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma (a rare, very aggressive and very deadly cancer) just shortly after giving birth to their beautiful daughter, and was given just 15 months to live. A devastating diagnosis for sure. But Heather is a fighter and with her family on her side, she made the tough decision to have a surgery to remove her entire left lung. Most people would sit around and mourn something so risky and life changing. But not Heather! She and her family (after a suggestion from her sister) declared February 2nd to be “LungLeavin’ Day” when she had her surgery and have celebrated it each year ever since. Heather just celebrated 8 years of being cancer free!

The purpose of LungLeavin’ Day is to encourage others to face their fears. Each year, their family LLD 2014and friends gather around a fire in their backyard. They write all of their biggest and scariest fears on plates…. and then the smash them into the fire! Cameron told me, “We celebrate for those who are no longer with us, for those who continue to fight, for those who are currently going through a tough time in their life, and most importantly, we celebrate life!” How AMAZING is that?!

 

6th LLD (2012) (1)I am so inspired and encouraged by their story and their decision to turn something so scary and potentially earth-shattering, into something so powerful and decisive. Though the day has passed, I took a moment on my own, writing my fears onto a simple paper plate, and burned it in my backyard – sorry guys, I didn’t have any smash-worthy plates. But the effect was the same and for the moments following that act, I have let go of some very serious and crippling fears. What a wonderful day. My own LungLeavin’ Day. I am honored to support this cause and want to take this moment and encourage you to visit the LungLeavin’ Day site. There you can read more of Heather’s story and even prepare and smash your own virtual plate. It’s super therapeutic and inspiring so please go and do it now!

Lil_Heather

May we all continue to fight this awful disease and love and support those who are fighting it. I am so thankful to Cameron, Heather and Lily for giving me the chance to change my attitudes, face my fear and be inspired by their incredible story.

Before and After

Given the title of this post you may think I’m sharing something fun like a makeover or weight loss story [I wish] but given my recent days as a mama, it is most definitely not. I had never really given this much thought as I’ve only been a mom for a little over a year and a half [omg!] but I only really gave it thought when I became guilty of the very thing I am ranting about. The offense: posting the sweet, perfect, cutesy, fun photos of my son instead of the REAL, ugly, tear-filled, nitty gritty moments. The photo:

1601343_250937655067148_1122684814_n

Aren’t they cute? Doesn’t my son look like a sweet little angel? You are wrong. In my defense, I did mention what happened just a few seconds later in the description below the photo on Facebook. Pre-haircut, Little Man was sweet, charming, curious and quiet. The minute the scissors came out, he turned into a screaming, sweaty, hysterical mess. What was supposed to be a 15 minute appointment turned into a 45 minute scene that ended in Mr. C and I having to hold down our son for a simple haircut. I was practically in tears myself and Little Man was a total mess by the end of it all. It was TRAUMATIC. I’m 90% sure my stylist now hates me and will magically become unavailable when I request an appointment in the future.

You wouldn’t know what went down (without my description) because I posted the photo above. Now, I didn’t exactly take a sweaty screaming photo as my hands were full holding my son’s head in place and telling him that nothing was going to hurt him, but… I probably never would have put a photo like that up any way. Why?

When it comes to parenting, why do we want everything to look perfect?

Why must we put only our best faces forward?

I suppose it’s because everybody is doing it. Because we want our social-network-self to look as good as Susie Cutiepants who never looks tired, overwhelmed or depressed. And because being a mom is tough enough. Because we are already our own worst critics. And it’s not that I want to see posts and pages of hysterical kids and piles of dirty laundry, but I also don’t want to get looks of judgment and annoyance when my son throws a fit because we are going to leave Target before he is ready or because I won’t let him have a sip of my soda when out to dinner. Believe me, that one happens often nowadays.

I wish we could all commit to being a little more real. For the longest time, I felt like the only mom that was a mess. I felt like the only mom that was praying for time in the day(s) to take a short nap. I felt like the only mom who had locked herself in her master bedroom closet to cry every once in a while. But as I open myself up to women in my life, and they in turn do the same, we all start to look a lot a like. We all start to admit to the same burdens, the same fears, the same total and complete exhaustion. And honestly? I kind of love that. I find myself so drawn to other women and moms who can look me in the eye and admit to NOT being perfect. Moms that will show me the “After” instead of the “Before”. Moms who look different than those perfect letterpress Christmas cards we pin on our walls and refrigerators each December. REAL women. REAL moms. REAL life.

I have always had a bit of a love hate relationship with social networking because of things like this. You get to be whomever you want to be online, and I just don’t think that’s a very good thing. Reality becomes blurred and the game of “keeping up with the Jones’” becomes fierce. Though the internet is a vast portal of information and inspiration, it can also be a very dangerous place to dwell. It’s been a fight of mine for a long time. As I’ve pondered all of this in the last few weeks, I’ve decided that I want to be more authentic, online and offline. Sometimes, parenthood stinks, and that’s okay. Sometimes it really IS the greatest joy in the world and you have those Kodak moments that you want to share. But there shouldn’t be anything wrong with sharing both… the beautiful “before’s” and the agonizing “after’s”.

2013 Favorites

 

I cannot in any way fathom how it is already 2014. This past year has gone by faster than any other that I can remember. Being a grown up sure has that effect, doesn’t it? The New Year snuck up on me before I really had the time or the state of mind to reflect. This was a year of enormous changes, taking huge risks, stepping out of long-held comfort zones and tremendous emotional highs and lows. It was a tough one. It was a good one. But before I get too serious and start planning out 2014, I wanted to share a few FAVORITES from the year. I envisioned myself being really sophisticated and sharing relevant art, literature and gourmet faire, but… hey, it’s me. You’re getting fashion and beauty for the most part. ;)
2013 Faves1.  2013 was the “year of the Acai bowl” for my hubby and I. A local food stand, which I’ve talked about before, popped up and started dishing out these bowls of deliciously healthy ice cold fruity yumminess during the deadly heat of summer, and we were hooked. We have since sought them out as we’ve traveled and found a gem of a spot in Maui during our anniversary trip. And now, due to the wonders of Costco, we’ve been freezing our own Acai juice and blending our own smoothies and bowls. Antioxidant awesomeness.

2.  I am an utter fool for layering necklaces and got really into stacking up fun combinations this year. I’ve pinned too many pictures on Pinterest of combos like this and have had fun mixing dainty and chunky chains. The combo featured here is from Kei Jewelry on Etsy and it is amazeballs. I have a feeling this will extend into 2014 favorites.

3.  Oh, to describe the wonders of my love for all things Capri Blue. You may recognize these if you are an Anthropologie shopper or lover. I have since found them in many other locations, particularly in cute little boutiques as I travel. The Volcano scent has become one of my favorite scents on the entire planet. I’d like to think my little corner of heaven will smell exactly like this. I can dream, right?

4.  To quote the queen of fashionista’s, Rachel Zoe, “this bag is so maje!” And it is. It really is. I bought it from Sole Soceity just before fall thinking it would be my fall carryall, and now that fall has come and gone, I just cannot switch it up. I love the feel of it. I love the design of it. I love carrying it like a messenger bag. It’s everything.

5.  I’ve always been a bit of a scarf lover, but I feel like that “trend” (and I hate calling it a trend) has really blown up in recent years. I laugh when I see mannequins styled with scarfs layered over 2 or 3 other pieces in the spring or summer, because it’s so gosh awful hot where I live that this is not even remotely possible, BUT, I still flaunt my love for scarves in the fall and winter. This year, I had a little bit more fun with colorful variations and fell in love with those offered by Stella and Dot.

6.  This one is a bit silly as I originally saw it pinned on Pinterest with the note that Dr. Oz says this is the only moisturizer you will ever need and it’s exactly the same as super luxury priced brands and that it was basically liquid gold, blah, blah, blah. I’ve learned in lots of fun and not-so-fun ways that Pinterest doesn’t always equal facts and truth. But I made a note and found this moisturizer at my local Walgreens and it was literally like $5. I’ve used it for months now and I really have to say that it is pretty great. The 10 ounce tub is massive and lasts for ages, the formula is great for all skin types, and it’s rich but settles into the skin and moisturizes beautifully. I may have put an end to spending a fortune on skincare.

7.  I know for a fact that I’ve posted about Essie polishes before so I will not go on and on about them, but I adore them wholly and completely. I’ve tried just about everything out there at every price point and they always come out on top. They last. The colors are amazing and they are constantly adding to the collection. You can buy them at most drugstores now and they are very affordable. Magic. Love. Forever.

8.  I have always been fond of OneRepublic. I fell in love with their first album when I was falling in love with my husband. I used to listen to the album almost every day as I made the 40 minute drive out to my then-boyfriend’s house and then 40 minutes back home to get a few hours of sleep before work. I probably listened to it 1,000 times in that year. Now, over 5 years later, when I hear any song from that album, I think of my husband and our young love. Isn’t that soooooo cute? ;) My love for them continues as they continue to put out amazing music. Their newest album Native is completely brilliant.

9.  Like every other crafty rusty-chic loving girl out there I fell in love with all things chalkboard this year. This trend was EVERYWHERE, along with chevron patterns, kraft paper, burlap and lace. And I loved it. I created a “1st Year” book of my little man with a chalkboard theme. I made chalkboard coasters. I put all my spices in tins with chalkboard labels. I contemplated painting an entire wall in my dining room in chalkboard (ultimately decided not to). Though I loved it endlessly, it’s probably time to retire it and move on to something new. I’m curious what this year will bring.

10.  Last but not least, another cheap but amazing beauty product for all you bathing beauties out there. I am HUGE about taking a long hot bath with loads of bubbles and salt. It’s is my guilty pleasure at least one night a week after the little one finally surrenders to slumber. I put a mask on my face, sip a glass of wine and soak until I nearly fall asleep. Dr. Teal’s bath salts have been my go to for soaks as they are cheap, smell great, and have amazing soothing powers on sore back, aching muscles and bodies full of stress. My faves are the Lavender and the Chamomile.

I hope that everyone had a wonderful 2013 and is looking forward to 2014 with great hope, optimism and excitement! I’m not quite there yet, but I’ll get there soon!

An update to end all updates

“I’m not going to mention how long it’s been since I’ve blogged. I’m not! I’m not! I’m not!”

But seriously, how LONG has it been?! I’m certifiably the worst blogger in the world right now. I want to find the time but I just never seem to. And the words come at the most random of times – usually in the shower. I remember that fact from college when I was studying copy writing in my advertising program, that inspiration comes at very inconvenient times – in bed, in the shower, in the car. So you were supposed to be prepared and have a notepad everywhere. I suppose I could keep a kid’s bath crayon in the shower? That might freak my husband out. Can you imagine a bunch of random words scrawled on your shower walls?

Anyway, by the time it comes to putting words down on a post, they are gone and I stare at a blank screen and think about how many photos I need to edit to make it an interesting post anyway. A LOT has happened in the past few months. Our little man is just over 18 months old. He is sweet, charming, hilarious, silly, smart, curious… and has a super mean temper. The “terrible twos” have hit early and there are many days where my patience runs thin before we see the sun go down. But we survive each day and make memories as we go. I guess that’s the best you can do with these phases. It’s not all bad, I promise!

In the past few months…

We had some fun days out at the park, well, and Lowe’s ;)

edited-0427

edited-2950

Little man had his first haircut

edited-0052

A first visit to the pumpkin patch with Grandma

edited-0031

And a Hawaiian vacation celebrating 5 years of marriage

edited-0452

And so many other moments I probably never caught on film but, we will always have those memories. I think there is so much pressure now to capture perfect photos of your kids somehow looking candid but flawless at the same time. In my messy world, that’s not realistic and not what I want to remember. Our days are long and messy and terribly fun!

And now Christmas is nearly upon us. WHERE did this year go? The holidays caught me off guard this year. I was not prepared and Thanksgiving snuck by me before I really go to reflect on how incredibly grateful I am for my life. It’s been a tough year with a lot of changes and taking a lot of risks, but at the end of each day I watch my son play and chat with my husband and think, “this is the good stuff.” Even as our Christmas tree grows a steady foundation of gifts, I have all I need in my boys. How can it get any better?

Because I probably won’t get the time, I want to wish everyone a truly Merry Christmas filled with God’s love and blessings. I look forward to the new year and all that 2014 will bring us. BLESSINGS!