Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Honoring the Fallen

My heart has been heavy these last few days. As some of you may know, I live just outside of Prescott where the Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters were from. I know this story has impacted our nation, but it has especially affected me because it is so close to home. One of our best friends is a firefighter and although I am thankful to say he was not up here when tragedy struck, it still shook me to know he 'could' have been.


Source: via Heroes Memorial Fund

My husband knew one of the firefighters and I have many friends who knew or went to school with some of those men. And even though I personally did not know them, I am deeply saddened by their sacrifice. I have been very distracted this week, so I haven't gotten the posts up I had planned. I cannot seem to escape all that is going on here. My personal Facebook page is flooded with outpourings of support and heart-wrenching stories about the families. Our local news is filled with images of the fire and the men's faces.

I will be the first to admit I am not very religious, but this whole tragedy has humbled me and I have been praying. 

Praying for the wives, children, parents, families, girlfriends, and friends of the firefighters to find strength.
Praying for the lone survivor of the Hotshot crew to find peace about losing his 'brothers'.

Praying for rain to come and the winds to calm so the remaining firefighters can safely contain the fire.

Praying for the 250 families that lost their homes to this fire.

Praying for our state of Arizona during this scary wildfire season.

Praying for the families of firefighters everywhere that were so vividly reminded about how dangerous the job of these men and women can be.

I am blessed and grateful to live in a community that is able to come together in a time of tragedy and show such a great outpouring of love to honor the brave men that died on Sunday. Last night our community had a candlelight vigil to honor the fallen men. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend, but thousands of people from the community banded together to show support for the families and honor those brave men.

Thank you for allowing me to share my heart with you. Words cannot really express all the things I am feeling. On my personal Facebook page last night I shared that I would love to give each and every one of the wives, children, girlfriends, parents, brothers, and sisters of those brave men a huge hug.

We honor those 19 men for their courage, bravery, and selflessness in order to keep the rest of us safe.

Friday, June 21, 2013

We Love Otter Pops and Otter Art

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Jel Sert. All opinions are 100% mine.

True story. When I was pregnant with my son, I was so sick. I had terrible 'morning' sickness. But you couldn't really call it morning sickness. It should have been called morning until night (and sometimes while you are trying to sleep sickness). I had an awful time keeping anything down. For a while, Otter Pops were the only thing that I could keep down. Something about the sugar and the cold, I guess.

So, needless to say, I have a certain fondness for Otter Pops. (I used to joke with my husband that my son was going to come out as an ice-cube!) My kids definitely love Otter Pops, too. My daughter's favorite is Alexander the Grape (mine, too!) and my sons is Louie-Bloo Raspberry.

Summer is the perfect time for a cold treat. We love to go out on the porch in the afternoon to have a little snack. I love that Otter Pops are self-contained in their own wrapper. Regular popsicles on a stick always end up dripping in a sticky mess all over the floor, and all over hands and clothes!

In honor of our love for Otter Pops, the kids decorated their very own otter coloring pages I found online.



I got out a bunch of art supplies and let them be creative!



Quick, impromptu art projects are a huge sanity saver for me over the summer months with both kids at home all day. I think the kids spent almost a full half-hour on their masterpieces! Aren't they cute? (My daughter is a fan of the HUGE google eyes!)

otter art collage

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dear Olivia ...

Dear Olivia,
 
Three years ago we welcomed your sweet face into this world. I was so thrilled to have a little girl. I couldn't wait for the day when we could play dress-up, dolls, and Barbies. Those days have finally arrived!
 

You are such a little girly girl! You love to dress up like a princess. It is a daily occurrence that you will put on a princess dress, fancy shoes, a tiara, bracelets, rings, and your wand. Then, you will come to me and say, "Will you dance with me, Mama?" Yes. You say, "Mama." Just a few months ago you started calling me Mama instead of Mommy. It is so sweet and melts my heart every time.

 
 
 
Even though you are so into dressing up, Barbies and dolls, you love to rough and tumble, too! You work so hard to keep up with your big brother. One of my favorite things to watch is when you two play together. You fight monsters, hunt bugs, and play in the mud! You are not afraid to get dirty and you are certainly not afraid of bugs. This summer it was common for me to find bugs all over the house that you had brought in from outside - even picking up the grasshoppers with your bare hands!

 
 
 
You are a stubborn little girl. If you don't get your way, everyone in the whole house is going to hear about it. You are so persistent in whatever it is you want. I was like that as a little girl, too. So now I have a little insight into what my parents went through. (Sorry, by the way!)

 

You have such an infectious laugh. Especially when you find something funny to do out of the blue. Like the time you asked everyone at the dinner table to "watch this" and crossed your eyes at us. One of the funniest moments we have had at the table!

 

You have a heart of gold. You are always willing to share with your brother and all of us anything you have. You take care of us when we are not feeling well. You are the first one to pass out hugs if someone gets hurt. 

Happy Birthday, sweet girl! Mommy loves you so much. 

Love, Mom 

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Life-n-Reflection. I receive products to try out and review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Thank you to Kristy at Life-n-Reflection for the great Parisian storyboard and wallets I enhanced my photos with for this post! To create the first photo collage, I used the Life-n-Reflection Dreamer Storyboard. For all of the other photos, I used the Parisian Photo Wallets. Aren't they beautiful? 

Click the following tutorial to learn how to create a storyboard like the one above in Photoshop: Quick Page Video Tutorial

Monday, December 17, 2012

Heartbreak . . .

This morning as I hugged and kissed my son and put him on his school bus, tears welled up in my eyes. Tears for the families who should be putting their kids on the school bus this morning and can't. Tears for the families that will have to put their kids back on the bus and send them to school after such a tragedy has occurred. Tears for my own son knowing there is no way I can protect him and keep him completely safe.

In the wake of Friday's tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, I have been trying to compose my thoughts and feelings to share with you. The struggle comes in that there are absolutely no words. No words to describe how horrific the whole situation is. No words to express how completely heartbroken I am for those families involved.

I spent Friday watching the news, but mostly getting my information online so I wouldn't have to expose my kids to the tragedy. I had to spend the rest of the weekend with the news turned off because I simply could not watch it anymore.

I cannot begin to imagine what the families of those who lost their lives are going through. You expect to send your child to school and for them to return home safe. Those sweet children got up Friday morning, expecting it to be like any other day. Ready for the weekend to spend time with their families. Excited for Christmas to be here so soon. And all of that was taken from them. From their families. Twenty-six families will be spending the holidays with a huge hole in their hearts. How can they pick up the pieces and move on? I honestly do not know. All I know is it is devastatingly heart wrenching to even think about.

There is nothing anyone can do or say to help ease the grief those families must be feeling. All we can do is offer our empathy, love, and prayers.

I want to share the United Way page for Newtown in case you are looking for a tangible way to help. You can find the information for making a donation to help the victims. United Way of Western Connecticut

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fake It Until You Make It

I originally started a blog as a way to stay connected with my family and friends and share my thoughts on mommyhood. 

Over time, it evolved into a craft blog. I realized I love to write, but also to share my creativity. I love to inspire others to realize you don't have to be super 'crafty' to be able to create beautiful things. I love to share tutorials with everyone, but I still want to be able to share snippets of my life with you. And that is part of the reason I separated out The Silva Stories from Laura's Crafty Life.

This has been weighing heavily on my mind. I have been debating whether or not to actually hit publish. I am not sure if I should share something so personal with all of the internet world to see. But, I also realize that by sharing, I might be able to help someone else going through something similar. So despite all my reservations about writing something so personal, I am going to hit publish. Today.
 
I have to start off by giving a little background information. Two times in my past I have been diagnosed with clinical depression. Once, in high school and another time at the end of my college years in 2001. 

The first time in high school I was still mourning my mother's death. She passed away when I was 8 years old, and I don't think I had ever really processed my grief. After some serious counseling, I felt like myself again - actually even better than my old self.
 
In my last semester of college, I was under immense stress to complete the two degrees I was working towards. I was completely burnt out from being a nearly straight-A student all my life. I put a ton of pressure on myself to excel and the weight of it just came down on me like a ton of bricks. 

Needless to say, that was the worst semester I have ever had at school. That time around I was able to do cognitive behavioral therapy with a great therapist and it worked wonders! 
 
I have read studies showing that people who suffer depression once are much more susceptible to becoming depressed again. Since college, I have suffered some times of feeling not quite myself or a little sad, but nothing I couldn't pull myself out of. I used the techniques I learned in therapy to pull my mood around.
 
Fast forward to the past few months. I am sinking. There is no other way to describe it other than I feel like I am drowning. And I can't seem to pull myself out of it this time. I don't enjoy doing the things I once enjoyed doing. The responsibilities of being a mom and a wife all just seem to be too much to bear. Even the littlest things take the most amount of energy.
 
Let me preface this by saying there is a lot going on that is contributing to my not feeling so great. One of the biggest issues I have is a two and a half year old that still doesn't sleep through the night. 

That means more than 2 and a half years of not getting a good night's sleep. If you have ever missed a few nights' sleep, you know how this can negatively affect your mood. Times this by almost 1,000 days and you could see how this wouldn't be great. For anyone.
 
I have also been feeling very isolated lately. I have a lot of friends but don't really have a 'best' friend (other than my husband). There is definitely something to be said for having a great girlfriend to talk to and share with. And right now in my life, there is not anyone that fills that void for me.
 
I am so grateful to have such a loving, supportive husband. He is my rock in hard times. And I am so grateful that he has supported me in talking about all this with him. I have been shutting him out and that is not fair at all. 

I feel so bad that right now I am not the wife he married. And I think by talking to him about it, sharing it with some of my family, and now sharing it here I am starting to feel like I can move forward.
 
Depression is a strange thing. As much as you need or want to talk about it, you sometimes just can't. Some of that stems from being worried about people judging you. Some of it comes from the lack of energy to do anything, let alone have an emotional talk about what you are feeling (that more than likely the other person isn't really going to understand). And some of it comes from not wanting to admit to yourself that you are anything other than happy.
 
But now that I have admitted to myself that I am heading down that road to depression again, which I so desperately want to avoid, I know what I need to do to move forward. Essentially, I have to 'fake it 'til I make it'. I have to just do those things that used to make me happy and I know eventually I will find some peace and happiness in those activities.

And that is exactly what I am going to do. I am going to move forward and try to enjoy all of life's blessings because there truly are so so many.

I know this was an extremely heavy post. And I thank you to those of you who made it all the way to the end with me. I hope my experience can someone help someone else out there, if by nothing else than to help you realize you are not alone! 
 
Please note, I am not a therapist and if you are feeling overly sad or not quite right you should definitely see your doctor. It is always okay to seek the help you need.