Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Choices

I am such a hypocrite sometimes and I hate that I am but let's face it - we all are.

I cannot stand negative people. I cannot stand to hear people complain and it takes almost everything in me not to give them my two cents when they do. I cannot stand when people make excuses for themselves and I cannot stand when people have a 'better-than-thee' attitude just because they choose to do things differently than you.

Am I ever negative? Uh..yeah. Do I often complain? Yup, sure do! I wish I could say that I didn't. At least I can own up to it, I suppose and besides - I like to think that I'm less negative than most and I sure TRY not to complain a lot.

I usually try not to judge, everyone out there is fighting some sort of battle within their lives and just because we view it as less difficult, doesn't mean that it's any less difficult for them.

But here's the thing.

This is how I CHOOSE to live my life. I choose to be a (mostly) stay-at-home mom. I choose to go without a lot of things because of that choice. But to me, this time with my son is WAY more important to me than most things. If I felt that he wasn't well taken care of and that we couldn't survive this way, then things would be different. But before that time comes, you can bet I'd go without cable, internet, vacations and anything else that I could cut out before I would sacrifice this time with him.

Pride is something else that's important to me and just because I'd sacrifice most - I won't sacrifice it either. If at any point Jeremy and I couldn't provide for ourselves and our son, I would take on a full-time job. But we will not be going to the state and asking for assistance. We will not be asking for hand-outs just because we push the choices we make from something wonderful into something stupid. We have and are doing this on our own and just because I don't work much doesn't mean that your 'hard-earned money' is paying for me to stay home and be with my son.

Most people don't make the choice that we made and say they wish that they had or could. But then they turn around and look at us like we're ignorant or stupid for the choice that we DID make. It just makes my blood boil. What you do every day, what you think that you have to have or whatever it is that you're working towards is what's most important to you in life. If money, shiny new cars, big homes, fancy clothes and shoes and jewelry are what's most important to you; then have at it. Trade these few precious years with your children away for them. That doesn't bother me a bit! But don't turn around and look at me like I'm some charity case because my children are more important to me.

Sorry for the angry blog, but people sure do know how to step on my toes. Sometimes we just have to get it out and then move on!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Henry's Puppy Themed First Birthday Party!


Well, I believe Henry's first birthday party went pretty darn great if I do say so myself! We had an amazing turnout (I think our final count was around 45 people) and everyone seemed to have a great time (minus the heat).

This was my food spread - I made the banners behind the table with scrapbook paper and then sewed them together. (I've been putting my new found love for my sewing machine to good use lately.) I taped down photos of Henry from birth to 12 months down the front of the table and then used all red, white and brown decorations. I served some things in dog bowls and the rest on matching plates, bowls and platters.


Besides the main dishes of hotdogs, hamburgers, 'dogs' in-a-blanket, 'pup'corn, chips and dip, baked beans and mac'n'cheese, we had LOTS of desserts. We had a cupcake tree with both chocolate and white cake/icing. The chocolate cupcakes had toppers that I made out of construction paper and printed designs that I had created and the white had paw-prints made from junior mints and upside-down chocolate chips.


I also made dog-bone sugar cookies with chocolate sprinklers in addition to a mini-candy bar.


I made all of the chocolate and peanut butter suckers as well and a HUGE batch of puppy-chow - which seemed to be everyone's favorite.


I attached little dogs and bones to a lot of things to make them stand out - like my fork and spoon cup holders here.



I also had a special area set up for the kids - a picnic table of coloring pages and crayons, as well as a puppy adoption center and grab bags - all of which I made myself!


I made a matching banner to put around Henry's high-chair and added a puppy in the center of it as well.


He received a TON of gifts - a lot of books, bubbles and fun things that make loads of noise.


He didn't care at all to open any of them, instead he just picked up a thing or two and played with it while I opened all of his gifts.



He did however, enjoy his birthday cupcake. I used just a single, white candle for his candle because I hate the number candles - I think they're just tacky.


Jeremy spent most of his time at the grill but had plenty of company around him most of the time.



Henry was super excited to see his best-friend Layla in attendance. I'm sure he'll be excited to show her how to play with all of his new toys one day this week!


We felt so extremely blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful family and friends. Jeremy and I have said many times in the past week that things couldn't have gone better and that while it was hot and miserable out, everyone seemed to have such a great time. We are so lucky to have such amazing people in our lives, especially our little boy who I think will have a wonderful first birthday to look back at and enjoy!

(P.S. - I stuck to my guns and didn't take ANY photos!! Most of these photos were taken by my sister Sara and cousin Stephanie. Thanks for helping out guys! You're the best!)


Catching Up

With my son's first birthday, vacation and other things lately, I followed my Focus52 prompts but I was late on getting them uploaded so here they are! Street photography and floral.



Friday, July 20, 2012

Untitled

I'm beginning to believe that with age comes wisdom but also a deeper understanding of life and the abundance of emotions that it can bring. Tomorrow we celebrate my son's first birthday and on Sunday we leave for a trip to see family and the beach and yet, today I feel heart-broken, confused and angry at the events that have taken place over night. Although I do not know one of those that were affected by this tragedy; my heart hurts for them and my prayers will be focused around their healing today.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Henry


It's truly hard to believe that a year has gone by since we welcomed Henry into our lives. We were so happy  to have him, so blessed and so over-joyed that I think it took us several months to really believe that he was ours.


He was such a happy baby, so curious and alert - even at the youngest of age. I had a bond with him before he was born, but as he grew, it was as if a rope was gathering more and more twine, twisting into something stronger every day. Now I can't imagine spending a day without him.


When his blue eyes turned to brown, I knew one day he would be the 'tall, dark and handsome' type. I began to pray for his future, for his life as a husband and a father and hoped that one day I would be able to create for him the big, happy family that I always felt I was without.


But for now, I enjoy watching him grow and learn. I enjoy watching him explore and although I may not always act like it - I even enjoy finding the things that he hides from me all of the time. My heart melts when I hear him say my name and my hear hurts when I know he's in pain. He truly is an extension of my being and I think I am more attached than what he will ever be.


At one year of age, he is walking everywhere and even attempting to run. He is saying a few words here and there but sticks to 'dad' and 'mum' more than anything. He eats like a champ and drinks his milk from a straw. He can't go to sleep without his silky blanket and still prefers a pacifier at times but is so independent that it breaks my heart at times. His favorite toys are his cars (or anything with wheels really) and he just loves feeding his dogs. He loves to open and shut doors and stand up in his high chair if you don't strap him down. If you'd let him, he'd stay outdoors all day long. He's still a happy boy, so full of life and spunk. He already has quite the attitude and loves to see how far he can push his limits. He is the greatest blessing that has ever came into my life and I can't imagine loving anything more.


A letter to him from his Mommy on his first birthday:

Dearest Little-Bit,
Today you turn one! You've come quite the ways in one years time (don't worry, mum has it well documented) and I couldn't be more proud of the boy that you are becoming. You are so curious and full of life and my hope and prayer for you is that you will always remain that way. You have the most gorgeous eyes and smile and every time that I look at you, I just melt inside. We are on a wonderful journey, my son, and it is just beginning! We will have many adventures, stories to tell and memories to make. I hope you don't mind me documenting every second - I want to be able to look back and remember you just the way you were each step of the way. You may not remember this day, but I hope you will always remember that it was special because you are special and you are very loved - by me and your Daddy and by your Heavenly Father above. You are perfect to me and no matter how big you grow, you will forever be my little boy. Happy Birthday Henry! I hope next year will find you happier than you are now and just an 'older' version of the perfect little boy that I adore so very much.
I love you to the moon.
Mommy

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Not-so-Good First


Today my poor Little-Bit was sick for the very first time. We got up early this morning and had a small breakfast, made our way to Miamisburg to spend some time with Mammal and do some pre-vaction and birthday shopping and before I knew it, he was running a high temperature.

It really came out of no where and at first, I thought it was just because he has several teeth coming through his gums right now. So I gave him a little Tylenol and a bath - his temperature was 102.7 - high, but we had also been out in the heat and such prior so I laid him down for a nap and waited to see if it would come down while he slept. When he woke up about an hour later, it had rose to 103.5 - which started to feel scary to me. I gave him a little Motrin and then got him dressed, made him drink some milk and water and then put him in the car for the drive home, calling a nurse on the way. She told me if it got any higher I should take him to Children's - it was about that time that he started puking all over my back seat.

Needless to say, I decided that Children's was probably the best idea and so I just headed that way, calling Jeremy so he could meet us there. When we got there, the poor little guy's temperature had rose again. He was burning up, his entire face was red and his eyes were swollen and red from crying. I knew he was just so uncomfortable. Upon another dose of medicine and being there for a few hours his temperature finally started to come down and when we left it was around 102 again. They couldn't find any sort of infections and are figuring on some little virus since it's not very common for puking to occur with teething.

He already seems to be feeling better and he met a new friend while he was at the hospital. I thought it was so cute to watch him wave and smile at the little boy on the other side of the glass. He also enjoyed playing with the toys that were attached to the walls and exploring a new place. My hope now is that he feels better for his birthday on Thursday and his party on Saturday.

I have to say - one of the worst feelings in the world is knowing that your child doesn't feel well and there's nothing you can do about it. Needless to say, I think I will cuddle him a little closer when I crawl into bed with him tonight.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Busy Blessings


Boy do I have a busy couple of weeks ahead of me! Henry will be one this time next week. Someone please pinch me and tell me it's not true! If time just goes faster as they grow older, I swear he'll be 16 tomorrow!

I just love that messy face. I love his little hands and his big eyes and his even bigger personality. He will always know how much his Momma loves him - always and forever. I will always encourage him to explore, get messy and bend the rules a bit. I will challenge him and push him but mostly just be there for him - camera in hand!

I am in serious trouble when it comes to his party. I went overboard, WAY overboard. I don't know how I'm going to get all that needs done around here done in one week. Not only does the house need cleaned but I have cupcakes and cookies and banners and hats and decorations to make, food to buy and bags to put together. It's going to be crazy around here until Friday (because I WILL have the majority of it done by Friday) but then I'm going to just relax and enjoy this time with my son. I am thankful that this milestone has been reached and that God has blessed us with this perfect little boy for at least this long.

Now I just wish that there was another photographer in the family because I don't want to be behind the lens his entire party. Boo. I will manage. I think I'm determined to turn my sister into a photog.  ;)

After Henry's birthday, we are headed on vacation for a week. I don't know where we're going - but I'm sure it will be a great time.

Isn't life just a beautiful blessing?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Excited!

Ya know what's exciting? I think I'm going to have a studio space here soon!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Walking, Talking and Other New Things


Yes, I know this will be my second blog post in the matter of like an hour, but you won't mind, right?

I like to use this space to keep my family, friends and myself updated on my life and I'm pretty sure it's been a little while on my standards since my last 'update' blog.

As many of you know, Henry will be turning one in 13 days. That's less than 2 weeks and I am in no way prepared. I fully expect myself to wake up that morning and just start bawling. My baby is no longer a little baby and I swear to you I can not find where the last 12 months have gone.

He is showing his age though! Check it out:

video

Yup, he's now walking! He's been attempting to walk for several weeks now but this week he prefers to stumble around everywhere he goes rather than to crawl. This was the best I could do to get it on camera and it just dumbfounds me to think that in a short amount of time, he will be walking most of the time. Although, I will have to say that this may make some trips nicer - carrying him all the time is not always fun.

He has also been talking. Although most words are just jibber-jabber to us, Jeremy and I both agree that he says 'Hello' quite often - usually while holding one of our cell phones to his ear. It's cute and it's amazing all at the same time. He also says 'WHOA!' a lot. I think it's probably one of the cutest words a kid can say. At least it is when he says it.


In other news - Jeremy and I have been trying and trying (and trying) to get pregnant again. We're ready for Henry to be a big brother and although it hasn't happened yet, I'm sure it will eventually. We don't want a lot of age between children and at this point, we feel like that gap is getting almost larger than what we'd prefer. Call us crazy, we're okay with that.

We still plan on going on vacation in a few weeks but we still have no idea where. I want to see family - he wants to see the beach and neither of us want to spend the money. It makes for a tough decision. We're considering going down to Virginia, spending a weekend with family and then driving over to Virginia beach. It may be the best of both worlds. We'll see. I still kinda wanna go to Chicago. But I don't know about that either. We'll decide last minute. We're good like that.

Otherwise, life has been crazy busy. I swear I don't know where each week goes and if I don't get my butt in gear, I'm going to be scrambling to get all the cool things I had planned for Henry's party put together last minute. I have conquered a few new things on my sewing machine and Henry's chocolate paw-print suckers turned out PERFECT. I feel like I've got this creative groove going on that I hope never leaves. We're buying a jeep and Brandon is buying Jeremy's truck so for the first time ever, we will be a truck-less family. The house is still slowly coming together and although we didn't get as much accomplished as what we'd like so far, it will all be done in due time. At least we don't have a loan to pay off, right?


Celebrate


I had this great intention of trying some sparkler light writing for my Focus52 prompt this week and unfortunately it just didn't happen. I had a GREAT turnout for my mini-sessions though and was just tickled pink at the enthusiasm of my clients. It was the 2nd hottest day of the year thus far and although I tried to set up in the shade and kept plenty of water close-by, I know everyone was sticky and just plain hot.


I had an awesome assistant though. She kept us in water, watched the time, collected payments and wrote receipts. I had her standing on her tip-toes on a very-shaky chair holding a flag and she never grumbled once about any of it. Although her house was just a short distance away, she pushed through the 3 straight hours of sessions and the hour of setting up before without once taking a break. She's the best!

Not only was this my first time doing a mini-session like this, but it was also the first time that I've ever had pets as one of the main focuses of a shoot. I learned very quickly that it's extremely hard to get two dogs focused in your direction when they are in a new place with new smells and dogs in backyards barking at them. We still got a bunch of good photos though!


Don't they look festive in their bandannas and hat?


Although I have a ton of 'celebration' photos from my sessions, I'm choosing to use this one for our prompt this week. This is little Amber. Amber has a birth defect in which the blood vessels in her brain continually expand and grow. Because of this birth-defect, Amber has to have surgery almost every month and each time it seems to take her a little while longer to recover. There is no cure for what she has and these surgeries are really just a way for her family to buy more time. She does not talk much and she's just learning to walk but every milestone for her mother and her family is precious to them. Amber had just been released from the hospital hours before our session after a 2 1/2 week stay. So this week I am celebrating with her family.

What else am I celebrating?

I am celebrating freedom.
I am celebrating family, friends and pets.
I am celebrating milestones.
I am celebrating the little things - because often these are the things that are most important and yet so easily forgotten.



Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The 4th of July


With tomorrow being the 4th, I thought I should throw together a small post but I've had issues getting one together because I've been extremely bothered today. I came across a Facebook page today entitled 'Soldiers are not Heroes' and it just enraged me. The almost 800 followers of this page believe that soldiers are nothing more than cold-blooded murderers who are helping our 'corrupt' government to grow. After reading a few posts I left a small piece of my mind and then tried to ignore it - there's no sense in arguing with a bunch of ignorant people who would disgrace our military in such a way. I am just dumbfounded by their views.

Without soldiers we would not be able to celebrate our Independence Day tomorrow. We would not have the freedoms that we have today and we would not live in such a wonderful country full of possibilities and opportunities. You still hear all of the time people who have come from out of the states say that THIS is the land where things happen. It is still a place to prosper and succeed - some people have just given up to the point that they just don't see it and that saddens me.



The 4th is one of my favorite holidays. To me it's about celebrating our freedom, our values and the fact that we do live in such a great country. It's about spending the day with family, cook-outs, and fireworks. It's about kissing your husband and hearing that 'boom'. It's about sparklers and The National Anthem. It's a warm day and cooler night and memories that will never be forgotten. I seriously love the 4th and I look forward to it every year.

I hope you all have a great 4th of July! I know I will!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Balancing Life After Baby



When I was pregnant I had big dreams of the day that I would stay home with baby all day. I would have time to have the house perfectly cleaned, a hot dinner on the table when my husband walked through the door (while looking fabulous of course), finish all those crafts that I now have pinned on Pinterest and still have plenty of time to spare!  I mean, I’d have all day…right?

Almost a year later I look back at that dream and have to laugh at myself a bit. I’m lucky if my house looks clean ten minutes after I clean it and dinner is usually a little-lot on the late side anymore. I may find an hour to myself throughout the week while Henry is napping to do some crafting, blogging, reading, and all the other things that I used to enjoy on an almost daily basis and as far as looking good goes - it may be last on my ‘to do’ list.

If there’s anything I’ve learned about life after baby it’s that the majority of time you have way more on your to-do list than what you have time for! At first I just tried to do it all anyway. I would get up before baby to try and get things done, work through his naps and then stay up after he went to sleep at night as a last ditch effort to finish those last few things that I didn’t get done throughout the day. What did this leave me?

Exhausted to start. But I also felt uncared for and quite honestly - depressed. In the hopes to be this perfect housewife and mother, I had forgotten completely to take care of myself.

It took a complete breakdown one day for me to realize just how crazy it was to expect so much of myself. I had to reprioritize my life. I sat down one day and thought ‘What is it that REALLY matters?’

I came up with something like this:

#1- My son should have a happy, healthy life. This includes his right to freely move around the majority of our house without me constantly worrying that he’s getting into something he shouldn’t be or making a huge mess I’m going to have to clean up over and over. We baby-proofed to the nines. Bring it on, little one!

#2- My husband should come home from work to a stress free home. As in - I won’t nag my husband the minute he walks in the door to both watch the baby so I can get things done and do the things that I know he will eventually get done on his own. Bickering and nagging never makes a marriage fun.

#3- Dinner is important. Even if I get nothing else done all day, I strive to make sure that the three of us can sit down and have dinner together without it being a last ditch effort or a whining fest that someone’s hungry but we don’t know what to fix. It gives us a time to connect and talk and it’s something to look forward to every single evening.

#4- It’s okay to do it tomorrow, especially if it means keeping your sanity in tack. For the longest time I was always telling my friends “I can’t” because I had x, y and z to finish at the house. This left me lonely and frustrated because spending all day everyday keeping house and taking care of a baby will eventually drive you insane if you don’t get out every now and then. If I go out today and leave it until tomorrow, that’s totally okay!

#5- Routine is a must! If I know everyday that my son will take a nap at 10:30 then I know everyday that I’ll be able to accomplish quite a bit or even relax by myself for a good while at that time. It makes scrubbing up oatmeal all over the floor at 8 a.m. much easier if I know I’m going to get a break a little while later. It also makes for a happier baby!

#6- Don’t forget yourself! Right now the laundry needs folded and put away, the dishes need done and I have a to-do list a mile long BUT I enjoy writing so I’m taking a break and writing instead. Momma needs her alone time (and a large glass of wine). Seriously.

#7- Nothing is ever going to be perfect! Who cares if there’s toys strewn all over the room (Don’t mind the mess, the kids are making memories!) or if you have to ‘live off the pile’ for a few days as we call it. Life is what you make it and if you spend every single day stressing about whether or not things are perfect, you’ll drive yourself crazy. Find what is important to YOU! If you keep what is REALLY important at the top of your list, the rest will fall into place.

What kind of things did you find helped with the flow of things after you had a baby?

DIY: Window Showcase and Bark Candle Holder

If anyone knows me, they know that I absolutely LOVE making things myself. If I can take something old and re-purpose it or make it into something completely new, I'll do it.

I've been dying to find an old window and turn it into a pretty showcase for some of my favorite things for our new house, so when I realized that the windows in our garage were fairly aged, I took it upon myself to go remove them promptly and (to my husband's surprise) just put up a board for now instead.  (In my defense, the glass was already broken, haha)

Here is the window before:



Here it is after:





It took me a little while to gather all of the little things that I wanted to place in the window (not to mention, the ledge was very small so most things were too large anyway) but once it was finished, I was instantly in love. There are so many personal trinkets and bits of my husband and I's life since we've been dating, married and started a family in this frame.

The photo in the top left pane is of my grandmother and Henry on her birthday right after he was born. In the top middle, the two hearts are made from one of our cards from our reception and a map that we kept from our honeymoon. (I made that rosette, isn't it cool?) The frame in the top right pane holds tickets from our first date, the day we were engaged and many other little events we've attended over the years. The bottom panes hold an 'O' for our last name, a photo of our son as a newborn and a candle and my husband's boutonniere from our wedding.

I would give you a bit of a step-by-step process for creating the window, but really, you just need to find an old frame, clean it up a bit and decorate the way YOU want. Make it personal, the more personal things are, the more dear to the heart they become.




Now THIS I can give you a step-by-step for and it's SOOO easy (next time I'll remember to take photos for each step).

First, go out and find you some bark. Try to find bark that's of the same height and width and also the straightest pieces you can find, it will make putting things together soo much easier.

Next find a can or a jar or something that will withhold the heat of a burning candle. I used a vienna sausage can for this one - you could use an old baby food jar, or if you wanted it to be different heights or sizes, you could use a tuna can, a regular sized can, a mason jar...the possibilities are limitless.

Next you're going to glue the pieces of bark to the outside of the can. Two things here:

 1. Make sure that your bark is at least an inch longer than your can or it's really not going to end up looking very pretty if you can see the edges of your can.

 2. You can use quite a few different types of glue here but I wouldn't reccomend using hot glue if you're going to burn candles in it. The hot glue will reheat and fall off. Some of us (yes, I'm guilty) use certain candle holders just for the look of them rather than actually burning candles in them. If that's the case, hot glue is going to work GREAT for you!

I used Gorilla Glue (I love that stuff) and it worked great.

Before you glue on your pieces, let me suggest gluing on one piece and then fitting the next before you glue anymore. You want to get as close as a fit as possible to avoid huge cracks between the pieces where your wood will be exposed.

So go on...fit and glue!

Once you fit all of your pieces around your can, you can either a) call it finished, throw a candle in it and stick it somewhere where everyone can walk by and love it's diy beauty or b) if you want to fill any little cracks you may have had between your pieces, you can break off tiny pieces of bark and glue them in too.

Either way, you're sure to love your little candle holder. I paired mine with a glass plate, my Mother's Day roses, a ceramic bird and my lace tablecloth as the centerpiece to my dining room table. I'm not ashamed to admit that every time I walk by, I love it a little more and more!


Sunday, July 01, 2012

Prego Brain

I swear it's a year later and I still have a bit of pregnancy brain hanging on. I could have SWORE that I sat down about a year or so ago with my mother-in-law and wrote down all of Jeremy's family's address' in my address book. I sat down tonight to get all of Henry's 1st birthday invitations filled out and ready to mail tomorrow and there is maybe 2 people in my entire book that is related to my husband. My husband even remembers me doing this - I feel like I've gone half insane!

I know me and I remember pregnant me pretty well - I probably went to my in-laws, sat down to write down these address', got to talking and never did it. Still, it's driving me crazy. I've even went as far as to start digging through a few totes that have still gone unpacked thinking that maybe I just wrote them in or on something else and it never made it to my book. But that really doesn't make much sense to me; I love my address book!

Soo... I'm going to blame it on pregnancy brains because that HAS to be what it is. That or I really am crazy.  Is there a pinch test or something for craziness out there?