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 22, 2012

Earrings and a Handmade Card

I have been going through my digital picture files on my computer and getting them all organized (finally). I have been coming across pictures of projects I had planned on blogging about, but haven't gotten around to yet. For the next few weeks, you will be seeing some of these posts.  And at the end, I will share a post with how I organize all those pictures on my computer. So a win, win for everyone, right? ;)

Last year for my sister-in-law's birthday, I handmade some earrings and a card for her birthday.

The earrings were made from silver findings and green glass beads. I really love the way they turned out. (And I am sure they look beautiful on her!)

If you have been scared to create earrings, don't be! These were very simple to make. To create each earring, I used a silver headpin, two green glass beads in two different sizes, a silver spacer bead, and a silver fishhook ear wire. 

Start by stringing your beads onto the headpin. You will create a simple loop at the top of your headpin. Then, just attach the loop you just made to the loop on the fish hook ear wire. 

Here is a great online tutorial on how to make the simple loop: Making a Simple Loop

I got the idea for making this simple card from one of my favorite blogs, Little Lovelies.

To create the card, I cut a basic card shape from kraft card stock. Using my clear stamps, I stamped a birthday hat image three times onto the card as well as 'Happy Birthday'. I then stamped the birthday hat shape onto three different types of patterned paper. I cut out each hat shape and glued them over the stamped image on the card!

I hope this inspires you to make something handmade the next time you are giving a gift. I know, I always love to receive things someone took the time and care to make him/herself! Have you made any handmade gifts lately?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Summer Fun 2012

Summer break has officially started for us. I am slowly coming up with ideas to keep the kids busy (and Mommy from going crazy from repeated - "I'm bored" - requests).

I created a list of fun activities we can do as a family throughout the summer. Some are pre-planned activities I know we are doing and others are activities to do when we don't have any plans. These particular activities will likely be done on the weekends when Dad is home with us.

Our list of activities:
  • fishing
  • camping
  • local pool
  • zoo
  • baseball game
  • bubbles
  • sprinklers
  • summer movies (our local theater has inexpensive summer kid's movies)
  • homemade ice cream 
  • go on a hike
  • picnic
  • pink jeep tour
  • library program (our children's library has a summer reading program with a lot of fun local guests to entertain and educate the kids)
  • tabletop s' mores
  • pool party
  • mini golf
  • summer concert
  • water balloon fight
  • garden
  • playdates
  • chalk
  • fly a kite
Being a craft blogger, I had the overwhelming urge to go all out and make something with card stock and embellishments and basically just over-do it. But, this time, I just needed to keep it simple. I used a large piece of kid's art paper and different colored markers. Anyone can do this in about 10 minutes. It helps to include the kids in coming up with some ideas of fun things they would like to do.

We have already checked one item off the list - camping, and tomorrow we get to cross off another - pink jeep tour in Sedona.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Happy Birthday . . . to Me!

Today is my birthday. I am turning 33. I got the sweetest good morning from my son. I woke up a little bit before him. He walked out into the living room with his super sleepy eyes and before he said anything else, he said to me in his super excited voice, "Happy Birthday Mommy. Now you are 33!". It was one of those moments that makes being a mommy all worthwhile.

I have to admit. Lately, I have been in a real funk. I can't put my finger on what is not right, but it is something. Mostly I am just burnt out! I don't like to use the word 'should', but I should be happy. I have a great husband, two awesome kids, I get to be a stay at home mom like I always wanted. Somewhere along the way, though, I think I have lost a little of myself.

I am sure some of you other moms out there can relate. I tend to put myself last. I am the last one to start eating at dinner. Only after everyone has what they need do I sit down and actually eat myself. I am the last one to get dressed and ready in the morning, only after the kids are up and ready to go. I make their breakfast, comb hair, help them get dressed, get their teeth brushed, get all of our stuff ready to go, pack snacks and diapers and anything else we might need while we are out. Then, and only then, do I get ready myself.

Now, please don't think I am complaining. I love being a mom, but I am having a hard time having anything to give them right now since I am not taking very good care of myself. For me, it is so hard. I feel tremendous guilt when I do things for myself. As if I should be doing something else! It is so silly. How can I think I can take care of anyone else if I am not taking care of myself? I have written about taking care of yourself as a mom before, and it is the time I take some of my own advice!

So, with this new birthday, I am going to start taking care of myself. Putting my needs first. I can't do that all time, nor should I, but at least some of the time I need to do things I want to do, just because I want to do them. I need to stop making excuses for why I can't/won't/shouldn't get out of the house without the kids. And I really need to start making exercise and sleep a priority so that when the kiddos are in bed I am not completely wiped out and can focus on what I love to do - crafting!

Thank you for reading along with me on this journey we call life! I am excited to start feeling like myself again.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring is Here!

Remember when I posted about how much I love bulbs last year? This is why . . .

Just as I am beginning to think spring will never come, these little beauties pop out of the ground. They are so sunny and happy and definitely make me think "Spring"!

And I love that they take so little effort. I am a low maintenance kind of gardener (except for my actual vegetable garden).

Soon, we will be getting blooms from our irises and tulips, also. I can't wait.
The craziest part? Two days ago, we had this weather:

See that arrow? That is where one of the little daffodils was buried! It had already bloomed, so I figured for sure it would be dead after this freak snowstorm we had. But, luckily those little guys survived. And the weather this weekend is supposed to be beautiful and in the high 60s! 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Remembering Mom on her Birthday

I have so many thoughts and emotions swirling through my head and heart today. Today is what would have been my mom's 60th birthday!

For those of you who are new to my blog, my mom passed away when I was 8 years old from breast cancer. She was only 32 when she was first diagnosed. This year has been particularly hard for me because I am now 32. My son is the same age I was when my mom was diagnosed. It is hard to imagine what she must have gone through. Now that I am a mom myself, I can not even begin to imagine what that would have been like. And the thought of it terrifies me.

My Mom and Me
I guess what amazes me even more than the fact that she got breast cancer, was her upbeat attitude about it. I know I have a skewed perception of what she was going through since I was only a child, but if I remember nothing else, I remember her always being there for me. And even going above and beyond in so many ways. She sewed clothes for me and my dolls. She was my Brownie Troop leader, she attended my brother's sporting events. If it were me, I don't know that I would have even been able to get out of bed.

My Mom in High School

On anniversaries like this, I often find myself playing the "what if" game. I know it doesn't get me anywhere and it is hardly productive, but it is hard not to. What would my life be like if she hadn't died when I was so young? Would I live in Arizona? Would I have chosen a different career path? Would we be best friends? Would I be a better seamstress? Would I know how to crochet and knit? Would we have had a falling out in my teen years as so many kids and their parents do?

My Mom with me and my two brothers
Would I be a different person? Obviously the answer is yes and no. I would be a completely different person than I am now, and I would also be the same. These are the thoughts that go through my head. Are they logical? Probably not.

I was talking with my husband today about it being my mom's birthday. My son (age 5) overheard our conversation. Here is what he said,

     Thomas: "Did your mommy die?"
     Me: "Yes."
     Thomas: "But today is her birthday?"
     Me: "Yes."
     Thomas: "Are we going to celebrate it?"
     Me: "No, we aren't."
    Thomas: "But every year when someone has a birthday they grow and grow."

How do you respond to that? It breaks my heart each and every day my children have never met my mom. And there are fleeting moments, when I will look at my son or daughter and see my mom's face staring back at me. I try to make it a point to talk about my mom to my kids, but I hardly knew her myself.

Favorite picture of my Mom with her brothers
She looks so happy!
I miss my mom. I wish I could give her a hug. I wish she could come over and take care of me when I am sick. I wish she could hug and hold her grandchildren. I wish she could have met my husband and seen me get married. I wish I could have her over for a weekly dinner. I wish for so many things.

But most of all, I wish my mom a Happy Birthday up in heaven! I know she is smiling down on my brothers and me right now.

I love you, Mom.