Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The amazing things in life

Oh, blogger, how I've missed you.
I must admit, I've been having a writing affair with a little book I started a few years ago and all of the sudden picked up again. I thought it was a pretty original/good idea then, and now? I think it's even better. Thus, the sudden writing affair.
In an attempt to feel normal again, I've started doing all of the things I love to do- reading, writing, singing, taking pictures, sewing, crafting.. And I've come to find out that it is very possible to get overwhelmed in enjoyable things. I have this tendency to bunch overwhelming things in the not pleaasant category, but these past few weeks have shown me otherwise. I should put some things down, focus on one thing, take it slow, but how many times in our lives can we say I'm totally overwhelmed with all these amazing things in my life..?
Not too often.
So for that reason, I am going to continue writing my book, blogging, taking way too many pictures, making lion costumes/nursing covers/hanging dish towels/heart pillows, practicing singing my songs for The Voice auditions, reading way too may books, and of course being a mom and wife above everything else.

It's picture time, people! Here's a recap of the past 2 weeks. Enjoy!

Healthy cooking


Blueberries' stain butts.. Just a warning.


Just hangin' with the dogs.


1st time shooting a gun. Not to brag, but I would totally survive the zombie apocalypse. 


Swimming

Sliding

Crawling

Shopping

Talking

Playing

After a long day of changing diapers, picking up toys, wiping faces, there's still nothing in the world I'd rather be doing. There may be times when all I want to do is get out- have some me time, but being here with him, seeing him learn new things everyday, is something that I would not trade for a million dollars.
Can I get an AMEN?!

Last, but certainly not least, Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. 25 years... Wow. How many people can say that? These days, I feel like not too many can. But you have shown me that it is possible- for two people to stay faithful, happy, and in love, for 25 years and beyond.
My parents met when they were 14 and 18, and have been together ever since. To this day, they can remember where they met, what the other was wearing, and that they knew they would be together forever. When I found my forever at just 14 as well, they didn't scold me and tell me I was too young. They didn't laugh at me when I said I loved him. They smiled, and they nodded, cause they knew that it could be true.  
I know that through them, and Todd's parents as well, we have the best examples of lasting relationships. A relationship with God as the center, and a profound love. 
Thank you, thank you, thank you for never giving up on each other, and on us.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rolling with the punches

I'm sitting here literally typing the first thing that comes into my mind after staring at the screen for a solid 8 minutes. I don't know what to write. I don't know what to say. It's been a week, and I've missed at least 2 posts in between. Life has a way of wrapping it's tiny little tendrils into every crack and cranny, grabbing a tight hold, and not letting go. Not that it's a bad thing. I love my life enough to let it consume me, to let it take me away from the things I enjoy most. Reading, writing, sewing. 

But if I'm being quite honest, the whole stuck-in-a-rut thing has hit me once again. The monotonous routine of wake up, change baby, feed baby, play with baby... over and over again has started to wear a path in the tiled floors of our house. I don't want to sit in the house all day doing the same thing, but when I'm given the chance to get out, get moving, I chose instead to throw a pity party and sulk. It's the rut. Because honestly, my life is perfect. I have a perfect husband, a perfect baby, a perfect house, a perfect supportive family. So what do I have to do to get out of this said rut?

I don't know.

What I do know is that it won't last forever. Life is about changing, adapting, rolling with the punches. It's about the way you see things, and the way you let them affect you. Easier said than done, right? True story.

Anyways, since I haven't written- on here- I figured I would give you a little inside scoop on what I have been writing. It started as a short story a few years back in high school, and escalated into an almost 30 page beginning of a book that I hadn't touched since about 2010. I've been doing a few changes recently, but this prologue is exactly the way I wrote it almost 3 years ago. It doesn't have a name, the characters names still aren't set, and the writing isn't completely perfect, but I'll let you in on it anyways. I'm just too excited to keep it to myself.


Prologue

I remember I kept thinking about the blood. How it was everywhere, and how it would never come out of the carpet. I had just watched my parents die and all I could think about is the mess it would leave. How much of a mess my life would become. When you’re growing up, you never imagine that something like this would happen. It’s only in movies or in those nightmares where you wake up screaming. It’s not supposed to be real and you’re not supposed to wonder how to get blood out of your mother’s favorite rug. You think your parents will always be there when you need them. That your mom will help you pick out your senior year prom dress and that your dad will teach you how to drive the stick shift sitting in the garage. That they’ll be there to help you move into your dorm at college and then be there to bail you out of your piled up parking tickets. You never stop and imagine the possibility of them not being there. It never occurs to you that there could be one single night when someone takes that away from you, like they took it away from me. I got to experience the earth shattering silence that follows the last breath of the living. And right then and there I knew things would never be the same. I never really understood the extent of it, until now…

                                                                                 

Just a short post for tonight- hopefully I'll pick back up tomorrow, but I'm making no promises. And for everyone who reads this little blog of mine- thank you. You have no idea how much it really means to me when someone tells me how I put a smile on their face, or a tear in their eye. I hope I can continue to adequately write what you feel, and express my own thoughts at the same time. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Okay, I know I said I was going to wait until Wednesday to write this post, but I'm too wrapped up in all of the red hearts and stolen kisses to wait a-whole-nother day.


So, without further ado, Whimsical Wednesday: The Vow.


Yes, I am referring to the movie that just came out this weekend, with the lovely Rachel McAdams and the dreamy Channing Tatum. I was planning on going to see it with a girlfriend, since it's a chick-flick and all, and I know how much Todd hates enjoys those kinds of movies. But Friday night came and we were sitting in the room, and Todd says to me, "Can I take you to see The Vow?"
It took me a minute to respond while I was trying to figure out if he was being sarcastic or not. I finally decided that he was sincere, and responded with a smile on my face and a simple "Yes."

I didn't wear mascara- yes, I'm one of those cry-your-eyes-out girls, and I'm okay with that. I tend to put myself in their situations, and it's hard not to feel what they feel, to cry when they cry. Surprisingly, I only cried once, and they were happy tears. I won't give away much just in case you haven't seen it, but the movie inspired me to do something I didn't do, almost two years ago. It inspired me to write my own vows.

I don't know why we didn't write them. I think I just didn't want to add another stress to the three months of planning we already had. But, along with many other things from that day, it is one of my biggest regrets. Don't get me wrong, I think our ceremony was beautiful and heartfelt. The pastor did an amazing job and besides my nervous rocking back and forth, it was perfect. But I wish I had put into my own words how very much the man standing across from me meant to me. I think people thought we were a little crazy to be getting married. After all, I was only nineteen and in the middle of my college career. But some things are just too good to wait for, and we both knew there was no one else. So here they are, my vows. I hope I can put as much feeling in them as I am blessed to feel every single day.

I vow...
To love you, every day and every night. To look into your eyes and remind you that you are the only man for me. To kiss you randomly, and to whisper sweet nothings into your ear. To be supportive when you need me to be, and to question you when no one else will. I promise to hold your secrets in my heart, and I promise to always share mine. I promise to tell you when I'm mad instead of letting you figure it out. I promise to make you hot tea when you're sick and not get mad when you cough all night long. I promise to let you think you came up with that idea all by yourself and I promise not to say "I told you so" even though I was right. I promise to be patient and passionate. Kind and loving. And I promise to make up for all of the times I'm not any of those things. I promise to treasure every moment we have together. I know love is hard, and I know life isn't always easy, but I promise to be there, every step of the way, till the day we die. And if I can do anything about it, I promise to love you beyond this world. Always and forever.




Did you write your own vows? If not, today's as good as any to do it and give it to the one you love. You can never say I love you too many times.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone. Go show someone how much you love them.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Manic Monday: You win some, you lose some

Fail- No Friday post. I had every intention of posting. I had even started writing and was pretty excited to write about what I was writing about, but the husband came home super early, and then we went on a movie turned Barnes and Noble date night, and well, excuses excuses.

Win- This weekend. We finally got out of the house. The cool, grey weather delicately cradled our morning green market adventure, cold enough for little hoodies but warm enough for some comfy shorts.

Those lashes..


We walked, bought weird things like Honey Pepper sauce and fresh mozzarella, and ate one too many sweets. Breakfast? What's that? Bring on the dessert.

The best strawberry shortcake I've ever had.


The rest of the afternoon was filled with grocery shopping, which should seriously be a sport, or a job, falling right under the category of making plays in football, or strategizing war. Just sayin'.
We compared prices, read ingredients, compared prices some more, and still ended up spending way too much money. It's so easy to buy the stuff that isn't good for you when it's just so much cheaper.
I know it'll be worth it in the long run. I think. I hope.


We ended the day with family, the way all things should end.

 My beautiful mama


We want to make sure Aubrey grows up surrounded by his family. That he knows how important they are. That he knows that we are the only ones who will always be there. I've learned that even the best of friends can disappoint you, but family? They may not always tell you what you want to hear, but it will always be what you need to hear.

The next day included church, some more family, and some more grocery shopping. It was perfect.
Sure, there are several things I can think of that might have been more enjoyable, or more relaxing. But, as cheesy as this may sound, as long as I'm with my boys, I'm happy. They complete me.

And hey, huddled over a bag of gluten free elbow pasta in a crowded Whole Foods on a beautiful Saturday afternoon ain't such a bad place to be when the one you love is right there next to you.

Speaking of looooove, Wednesday's post is going to be all about V-Day. I'm extending a little challenge for all you couples out there, married or not.
Be prepared!


 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Faith like a child

I'm sure most of you have heard this saying, but have you ever stopped and thought about what it means? I grew up with it. In my baptist church, in my christian school, but like most things from that time, it was in one ear and out the other. Now that I have Aubrey, I see. 


I see his blind faith. I see his determination, his will, his love.
He knows that if he's hungry, he'll get fed. He knows that if he gets scared, I'll be there.
He knows that if I leave, I'll come back.



He looks at the edge of the bed like a minor obstacle rather than an immovable mountain. 
He fights for what he wants, and doesn't give up 'till he gets it.
It may seem like a bad thing, but dude's got determination.

I want to be more like him.
I want to always remember that if something's broken, God will fix it.
That if our money runs out, God will provide.
That if I sometimes forget he's there, He still loves me.

Leave it to a baby to teach you a few things about life.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Whimsical Wednesday: Healthy eating

Todd and I are about to make some drastic changes in our life; more like our diet.
It'll be slow going. It'll be hard. But it's much needed.

He's going gluten free, and I'm going all organic/non-processed/whatever you wanna call it. We're tired of feeling tired, craving bad foods, and feeling crappy when eating those bad foods. Don't get me wrong- we're pretty conscious of what we eat, and we try pretty hard to keep a balanced diet. But I crave McDonald's like nobody's business and Todd's in the bad habit of surprising me with a Twix bar about twice a week, which I absolutely cannot refuse. It's my weakness. My kryptonite.

Anyways, we're going grocery shopping this weekend and my plan is to have a weekly menu, making it easier to keep up with the cooking and such. Whatever's left over will be Todd's lunch the next day, and I will most likely make salads for myself.

Now it's idea/recipe time! First up- Salad in a jar.
Im thinking I could add in the veggies and dressing, making sure that the dressing is at the bottom, not touching the lettuce as to avoid wilting. And maybe, instead of jars, I could use those vacuum-sealable feeder bags from Ziploc? Who knows if it will last as long as in the jars (supposedly 2 weeks!) but I think it's worth a try. I seriously hate making salads, but love to eat them. Lazy? Maybe.

http://www.salad-in-a-jar.com/skinny-secrets/salad-in-a-jar

Oh lettuce wraps, how I love them. And not just any lettuce wraps, mind you, but PF Chang's lettuce wraps? Heaven. Anyway, that website has the recipe for them and be certain they are number one on my menu.

http://iowagirleats.com/2011/04/26/p-f-changs-lettuce-wraps-remade/

I know what you're thinking. Everything involves lettuce and veggies, I need some real food. Gimme meat! Okay, maybe you weren't thinking that but I know I was. 
How about some grilled balsamic flank steak? With a side of roasted broccolli, and some (gluten free) biscuits.

http://pointlessmeals.blogspot.com/2011/05/grilled-balsamic-flank-steak.html

Maybe some red wine and garlic pork tenderloin, accompanied by asparagus and quinoa pasta? Sounds delish. 

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/

I'm interested to find out how all of it tastes, since I'm not a cook. And when I say I'm not a cook, I mean it. I like to think I can follow recipes pretty easily, but truth be told, it could all end in disaster. I'll keep you updated on our healthy eating progress, and any other yummy dinner ideas are gladly welcome!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Manic Monday: Take it easy

As I sit here, I'm listening to the sound of the rain pitter-pattering outside of my window. It perfectly matches the weekend we had. Not that it was gloomy or sullen, some emotions commonly associated with rain. But just that it was one of those stay-at-home-eat-pizza-watch-movies kind of weekends.


Usually weekends are a chance for me to get out, get moving. Feel normal. I spend the majority of the week in the house, with no car, and a baby who gets just as bored as I do. We get restless.
Todd, on the other hand, looks forward to the weekends as a way to sit back, relax, chill.

Can you see our problem?

Well, not really a problem, but maybe more a chance to do what conflict resolution is all about- compromise. I suppose it all has to do with balance, yin and yang, that sort of thing. I've been learning a lot about this lately, in every aspect of my life.


Going out or staying in.
Twix bars or fruit.
Reading or cleaning.


So instead of insisting we do something, anything, to get out of the house, I bunkered down, grabbed a book and read while Todd dozed peacefully next to me. We spent a lot of time sprawled across the floor of Aubrey's room, legs entangled, making the perfect jungle gym for a baby with a new obsession of climbing.
And we finally got back to church.

It's something we've been meaning to do. Something that we said every week we were going to do. But excuses come easily when you'd rather sleep in or go to breakfast.
The baby's still sleeping.
I have nothing to wear.
We don't have time.

I don't know if it needs to be said, but we'll be making it a habit once again. It felt like home. It felt right.
The times we have gone in the last year, (sparingly, mind you) have always been communion. After the first few times, I knew it was no coincidence. Only God knew that I needed reminding of who and what we believe. It's sad to say it took me this long to realize, but with eyes wide open, we are slowly coming back.

Taking it easy, one day at a time.
Taking it back to when the weekends meant family and God.

Maybe all it takes is a slow and steady weekend to bring you back to the basics, to make you appreciate the little things, and make the big things count for something.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Formal Friday: Change happens

Sometimes I forget that I'm a mom. That I have a child who depends on me for life, for love. For happiness.


It's not that it's something that is easily forgotten; no, it is quite the opposite.
It's become so natural, that I stopped thinking about it as a difference from my previous life. It's as natural as saying I'm a woman, or a daughter, a sister, a wife, a friend. I'm a mom. He is mine, as naturally as the beating of my heart, and the blood that courses through my veins could very well be replaced with the love I have for him. It sustains
 me, revives me. I can hear it's pounding in my ears, feel it's throb beneath my fingertips. It's constant, flowing, never changing. It is always with me.


It's a different love than any I've ever felt. It's unintentional, never hard to come by. As easy as the breath that fills my lungs, and leaves it to be replaced by another. Without thinking. Without trying.



I never knew I could love like this. That it would be given to me in the form of one pink, little human. That the tiny, foreign body they put on my chest, that took his very first breath in my arms, would ignite this passion, this need to nurture. After loving like this, I can never look at anything the same. I see beauty in places I didn't notice before, and suddenly, the need to escape this place I was born and raised in subsides and is replaced with the realization of just how lucky we are to live here. Just a few minutes from the beach. Never far away from our parents, our friends.

I realize how blessed we are to be able to sink our feet into the soggy sand, and lick salty water off of our lips on an almost daily basis. That whenever we like, we can take a quick 5 minute drive to a place where people only visit once a year. If they're lucky.



All the whispered, this place sucks, comments that have escaped my lips were replaced with awe as I drove over the bridge to our perfectly placed oasis. The buildings of dowtown illuminated by the bright sun, the crystal clear intercoastal waters hugging us from all sides. I was reminded, as I am every time I drive that bridge, of how much I love the ocean. The fresh, clean air. The bright, hot sun.
While I love the mountains of Colorado, or the miles of green that can be found in Tennessee, I love the beach.

I love how I can smell it before I see it. And how I don't realize that the entire state smells that way until I've left it and come back. Sure, it's hot and crowded, expensive and kind of dirty, but there are places of pure beauty. Places where I can only sit and wonder how anybody can say there is no God. If it takes us going to the beach everyday to remember how blessed we are to live here, than so be it.





I know that I'm supposed to be writing about more important things, like maybe talking about Romney and Gingrich and their annoying adds. Or how the tobacco commercials talk about the formaldehyde in cigerattes, but no one worries about the formaldehyde in vaccines. Yes, these are important things that I will talk about, in posts to come.

But this has been on my mind a lot lately. How being a mom changes things, makes them whole, makes them different. How when thinking about where to live, I ask questions like "How are the schools?" or "Is it safe?" Instead of, "Any good bars around?" or "Where's the nearest mall?" Instead of looking for a studio apartment with a loft as the only "bedroom," we'll be looking for a house with a big backyard, and the perfect tree for a treehouse.

I've realized the little parts of my life that have changed. Sleeping schedules, having to actually pack a bag for the beach, worrying about feeding someone else before myself. It's not until you look at the big things that you actually sit down and take a long hard look at the path your life is taking.


Mine looks like it's going to be filled with a lot of kids, a lot of noise, and a big, full house.


I wouldn't want it any other way.







Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Whimsical Wednesday: Readers are Leaders

So maybe that statement would be true if the reading I spent my time doing was actually educating. I read purely for enjoyment, as an escape. It's my "me" time and I like to make sure I'm not learning anything important.
So this post will have 3 parts; Some reccomendations for uneducating books, a craft (or 2), and some really cool organization for those books.

Books- These are books that I've realy enjoyed and think are worth reading. If you're like me and like Twilight but wasn't toally convinced, what with the shimmering vamps and the lack of action, than you will love Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instrument Series.

Book 1

If you aren't into fantasy and are looking for something a little more realistic but still full of adventure, than look no further than Blood Red Road by Moira Young, or Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick.

 















If you're more of a sappy, love story kind of person, I got nothin' for ya. I don't really read anything that doesn't have some action in it, however, all of the books I have recommended have definite love stories included in them. Especially Cassandra Clare's books. I've honestly read them all more than a few times. Just sayin'.

Now for the crafts. All book related, of course.
Do you hate folding the corners of your books and end up using some scrap peice of paper as a bookmark? Which isn't a big deal, obviously, but wouldn't it be nice if you had a cute, practical book mark? Like this one, perhaps?


I also like to stack my books in order of authors instead of height, or color, or some other organizational way. (Maybe I'm the only one who thinks about how to organize their books?) Either way, the idea of covering the books with matching book covers is really cute! Here's an inspiration..


We all know how expensive books can be these days, so why not hit up the local library? If you have kids, bring them along and join story time while you're there!

I'm off to finish yet another book. I hope you'll start one soon!