Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! What are your goals for this year? I have never been a fan of official new year's resolutions but I have a few goals. They are as follows:

Get fit. I am not aiming to be super-skinny but would like to get back the strength and stamina that I once had. I would also like to clean up my diet. There is too much crap in it currently and I just need to cut it out. Period.

Read more. I feel like I have lost about a million IQ points since having kids and I hate that. I blame exhaustion and too much Thomas but I believe I can feel smart again. Regular reading can help, I think.

Get my work back on track. As you may or may not know, I do bookkeeping work now that I am home with my kids. I have been behind for about 6 months and am desperately trying to get caught up again. 

Figure out my calling. I was blessed to be able to earn a Bachelors and Masters degrees in business but, frankly, I'm not sure that business is my true calling. I have also been blessed to have some diverse career opportunities. In the short term, I still really want to be at home with my kids but God continues to really prod at me that He is wanting something more from me and that that thing will be big and unexpected. Please join me in prayer for figuring out just what it is that He wants me to do this year. I'm starting to get some inclinations after several years of prayer but they seem very strange to me. Hopefully He will fully reveal His will for my next career move in the coming year.

What are your goals? 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Still not sure what to get for someone on your Christmas list? Here are a few of my current favorite things.

The Bodum Travel French Press. I adore my French press. I love it so much that I donated my electric coffee pot when we moved several months ago because it hadn't made a pot of coffee in nearly two years. To me, freshly ground beans and utilizing a French press are musts for home coffee preparation as the coffee is just so much better. My husband doesn't drink coffee at all and I don't drink it every day. Plus, I frequently take it on the run when I drink it. I stumbled upon this nifty little gadget a few months back and was intrigued. After using it for several weeks, I am very impressed! Basically, this is a very nice 15-ounce travel mug with the press built into it! It saves me from cleaning a separate press and it is better insulated than any other travel mug I own. Additionally, the 15-ounce size is just perfect for my needs. If there is a coffee aficionado (or loose leaf tea fan) on your list, I would highly suggest checking out this cool product.

Anyone who spends very much time around me knows that I'm a popcorn fiend. I love making it on the stove top in my Whirly Pop but I also like to make it without oil sometimes. I have never been a big microwave popcorn fan but I swore it off altogether a few years ago due to the chemicals in it. My air popper broke a few years back and I never replaced it because I didn't really love the rubbery popcorn it made either. Yet, I was considering buying another air popper because it is healthy when it is made that way. Then I stumbled upon the Nordic Ware Popcorn Popper.I am really digging this popper! It can be used with or without oil, the popper can double as a bowl and the pieces (just a bowl and lid) are dishwasher safe. This thing is a busy popcorn lover's dream! At less than $15, it is very economical too.

As a busy mama, I rarely wear very much makeup (usually just concealer, powder and a little eye makeup). I used to wear lipstick every day when I was working but I don't recall the last time I used it. Still, a little color will help to brighten a tired face. I love Sugar Rose lip balm and use it frequently. It is a great lip balm but it has just a little dark pink color in it too. It's a bit pricey at $22 for a thick tube but totally giftable/splurgeworthy.

Finally, if you are local, I would suggest checking out Candy House. It is an easy place to forget about but they have some really fun treats. I love to give their truffles or their salted milk chocolate caramels (my personal favorite). Their chocolates are always beautiful and they are elegantly packaged too.

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

'Tis the Season

I can't believe it but Christmas is just a few short weeks away. I have been working to finalize my lists and start my shopping. Thankfully, we're paring down the number of people we're exchanging gifts with this year too. (Yea for a less is more Christmas!) I am super-excited to see the holidays through my two year old's eyes as I anticipate Christmas to be pretty magical to him. We will be buying very few gifts this year but here is what I have come up with so far.

Andrew: toy Stihl chainsaw (Daddy is intent on this one and I agree that he will dig it), Memory board game, books (Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site and Tickle Time). I'm thinking an electric toothbrush and some art supplies for his stocking. We also talked about a train table and accompanying train but decided that he is still a little young to play with it properly.

Allison: a homemade doll, books (can you tell I like books?!) and possibly The Little Mermaid (since it will be vaulted by the time she'll be into movies in a few years). I'm super-stoked about the doll. My very talented friend, Cassie, is making it and her dolls are just adorable! I'm planning on getting a couple more fun books for our collection (Dinosaur's Binkit and That's Not My Puppy: Its Coat is Too Hairy). Can you tell I love Sandra Boynton books yet? We have a ton already but they are so fun! I have no idea for her stocking but I need to do something.

I'll probably do picture books for our parents and frame some photos of the kids. And I have no idea what to get my husband...he's always the tough one for me. (I'm open to ideas if anyone out there has any!)

How is your Christmas list shaping up?

Friday, November 1, 2013

November Goals

How is it that the holidays are already around the corner? This past year has flown by at a frightening pace! I guess moving, having a baby and chasing after a busy toddler, all while working and running a household will do that! Since my baby is sleeping more regularly these days (knock on wood!), I'm determined to get some more "me" time again. These are my goals for this month:

  • Work out at least four days a week
  • Organize my office. This is the one room that is still a disaster from moving. It is the catchall room for our house but I'm convinced it can be better than the piles of crap stacked in there currently. 
  • Read a book. I rarely make time to read these days but I really love to read. I haven't read a book since last winter and I'm very sad about this. I'm open to suggestions :-)
  • Get my Christmas shopping done. I've been making my lists but I would love to have everything bought this month. 
  • Decorate my house. My walls are still bare and this makes me sad. At the very least, I need to hang things up that I already own and like. 

This list doesn't look like much but I suspect it will prove to be tough.

Meal Planning Basics

Food is one of my family's biggest expenses. I am a firm believer in eating whole foods whenever possible and would love to buy all organic and make absolutely everything homemade. But life gets in the way of that goal and it just isn't practical with two young children and our busy lives. Several years ago, I discovered that a little planning goes a long way with both saving money on food and eating better. Sadly, I got out of the habit a few weeks back when I was super-pregnant and too exhausted to cook every day. But I have been gradually getting everything back on track (hello blogging!), including our meal planning.

I know there are lots of fancy tools out there to help plan meals but I have always found my old-school methods to work pretty well. First of all, I have a list of meals which I maintain. Basically, if I try a new recipe that we like, it goes on list. When I'm planning meals and drawing a blank, I consult the list. I have a second list of budget-friendly meals that I try to rotate in consistently. These include meals like soup and sandwiches, ham and beans and my husband's least favorite, breakfast for dinner. Perhaps it is odd, but I like to look at the weather when planning meals. If it is cold and rainy, I know I will want a warm soup or chili. If it is unseasonably warm one day, I probably won't want to turn the oven on. And no one wants to grill in deluge rains.

So from there, I start working around our calendar and plugging in meals for the week. The benefit of looking at the whole week at once is that I can eliminate (or minimize) waste by coordinating veggies and perishable ingredients.

What is your strategy for meal planning? Do you use a service or go at it on your own?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

My Fall TV Favorites

New tv shows - yea!! Last week was very exciting for me for this very reason. Sad? Maybe a little. But if you are nursing a baby, you quickly discover that you are sitting around a lot while baby eats. I like to watch tv while nursing because it doesn't require my hands at all. So I was quite excited to check out some of the new shows and catch new episodes of my old favorites. Here are my thoughts on the ones I have watched:

The Goldbergs - I love, love LOVE this one so far! The show is told from the perspective of a 12 year-old boy who is documenting his family's life in the 1980s. Think The Wonder Years but twenty years later - you know, like our lives when we were watching The Wonder Years (ironic, huh?). In my opinion, it is well-written and fun.

Trophy Wife - This one was a big disappointment for me. Malin Akerman stars as Kate, the third wife of Brad who has three kids with his two former wives. I was excited for this one based on the previews but the show seems incredibly predictable and I was bored. I really expected more, given its cast of familiar faces. I'll be skipping this one going forward.

I'm also watching The Middle, Modern Family, Nashville and Parenthood.The Middle and Modern Family are oldies but goodies! So far, the quirky Heck family has not disappointed me and I am digging Modern Family as much as ever. Nashville is soap opera-y as usual but I still enjoy it. And Parenthood is my perennial favorite.

I also recorded Lucky 7 but I couldn't quite get into it. I may give it another shot, though. I also have Betrayal recorded but haven't watched it yet. What are you watching this fall? Is there anything you'd recommend?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Mama Wisdom

I can't believe that Miss Allison is 7 weeks old! Time has certainly flown. I have been surprised at how much easier mama-hood is the second time around versus the first time. As a mother of two, I'm certainly far from being an expert but I feel like I have learned a lot between baby #1 and baby #2. Since I have a number of friends who have recently had or are getting ready to have their first babies, I offer these pieces of advice as food for thought:
  • Everyone will tell you to enjoy your baby and the chaos that arrives with them because they will grow so incredibly fast. They are correct that time will fly in an entirely new way after your baby arrives. The adage that the days are long but the years are short is very true when it comes to parenthood. I would also agree that you should enjoy your baby as much as possible, even though that can be tough at times.
  • This, too, shall pass. I remember standing over the crib and sob-crying at 3 am several times after Andrew was born. A fussy baby combined with sheer exhaustion can be overwhelming. I felt certain I would never sleep again. Just remember that this is temporary (see the first point).
  • You may not feel the instant magic that Hollywood portrays and that is okay. It doesn't mean that something is terribly wrong with you. I remember feeling very guilty because I didn't feel a lot of "magic" right after Andrew was born. I was tired and I felt awful. Of course, I loved him more and more with each day. Parenthood is a huge adjustment, so take it easy on yourself and don't freak out if everything isn't rainbows. You may have moments when you wonder what in the world you have done with your life (I know I did). Frankly, I still have those moments when I daydream of running off to nap my days away on the beach but those days are much, much less frequent. Don't we all love sleep and indulging in our hobbies? Yes. I call BS on anyone who claims that they just love parenthood 100% of the time.
  • Breastfeeding is hard. And it hurts in the beginning (despite so many books saying that it doesn't). I found it to be much more emotionally taxing at times than I ever expected. It is also incredibly rewarding as it is a bond that no one else can truly have with your baby. I fully believe in the benefits of breastfeeding but it doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with formula either. If breastfeeding doesn't work for you, that is okay. There is entirely too much mommy guilt surrounding this topic! If you want to breastfeed, I hope you will try it. But if it isn't working for you, then there is zero shame in reaching for formula. You have to do what is best for you and your family above all else.
  • Hold your baby. This sounds like silly advice, but I don't think I hardly held my first baby in the first couple weeks. Sure, I held him when I nursed him, but that was it. There were so many people visiting and everyone wants to snuggle the baby. I felt bad saying no, but it really meant that I hardly got to snuggle him during that time. I was much more selfish this time around and have thoroughly enjoyed my snuggle time.
  • Finally, enjoy your baby and try to embrace this crazy time. It really will pass so quickly. People often wax nostalgic about the time with their young kids being the best days of their lives. I agree with them, but these days are also very trying at times. Cut yourself some slack where you can and do the same for your spouse. Also, not everyone loves babies and that's okay too. It just means that your best times are still ahead of you :-)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tiny Fluff

The last bit of pregnancy is long, exhausting and emotional. But the excitement of bringing a tiny baby home is thrilling too. One of the things I'm most excited about is using my newborn cloth diapers. I mixed up our stash a bit from what we used with Andrew and I'm pretty stoked to try the new stuff out. For Allison, I have the following:

24 Diaper Rite newborn prefolds
24 Green Mountain Diaper preemie prefolds
2 Snappis
4 Blueberry Mini Coveralls
2 Bummis Super Brite covers
3 newborn Proraps
2 Thirsties XS covers
4 Swaddlebees Capris, size 1
12 newborn Swaddlebees Simplex

This sounds like a lot (and it is a pretty good-sized stash) but I don't expect these will all fit at once, either. I know there is a lot of size variance in the covers in particular. And I'm not even sure we will use the preemie prefolds. Our newborn prefolds were too big and bulky on Andrew for the first couple weeks so we used more disposables than I liked. I bought the preemie prefolds for a great price since they are seconds (diapers with minor flaws) and figured we would have them on hand in case our newborn diapers are too big for Allison too. The price for the two dozen preemie prefolds was less than the price of one box of newborn Pampers, so why not get them? Seconds sales are awesome!

This is a newborn Swaddlebees Simplex. These didn't exist when Andrew was born but I'm really excited to try them in Allison. I'm planning on bringing her home in a Giraffe one just like this one :-) I am also pretty excited about my first-ever cow-print diaper.

Finally, here are some of our prefolds and covers. Isn't tiny fluff just the sweetest?!

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Work in Progress

Man oh man, has God been working on me lately! I feel like there are so many things that God is telling me and trying to change within me that it can feel overwhelming. The biggest challenge lately is simply to have faith in Him. Do I have faith? Of course I do! But do I still worry? Yep. And I know that He wants me to worry about nothing and give everything to Him. Anxiety has been a lifelong struggle for me but God has freed me of so many little worries over the years. But what about the big stuff? Things like losing a close loved one or the thought of me passing and leaving my children motherless. I know I should have complete faith in the the Lord's plan but those things still terrify me. And I feel guilty even admitting my anxieties because a "good" Christ-follower shouldn't have here fears, right??

Ultimately, I felt these same fears after having A and experiencing several weeks of complications. The Lord healed me but also blessed us with another child which we weren't sure we would ever have, especially in the early days after A was born. But I face some of the same challenges and risks again, plus a few new ones. Stastistics are on my side that all will be well. And I trust my doctor. But I am still anxious. I realize that everything is ultimately in God's control, though. I have prayed many nights about everything with this baby and I generally feel like all will be well...but then that fear creeps in. So I pray some more. The big prayer I have been praying recently is just to hear God's voice over the enemy's. I feel confident, calm and assured that all is well and will be well when I focus on God's voice. Then, the enemy creeps in, exposing my vulnerabilities and bringing in his friends, doubts and fear.

God reassured me in a big way recently during my daily devotion. I have been reading Jesus Calling and love it. While praying for several days about my guilt regarding my fears, God gave me this devotion:

Yes God, I hear you. What is God working on within you?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

My Poor Neglected Blog

I'm baaaccckkkk!! Well, for now at least. I have really missed my fun little creative outlet but it has been a rough few weeks. To recap, we sold out house very quickly and had to find a new one and be moved into said new house inside of 6 weeks. Yikes! As if that wasn't scary enough, we were blessed with a record sales month at that same time, so my poor husband was a bit distracted and exhausted. Oh, and I was about 7 months pregnant and chasing a busy toddler. But God blessed us with a great home and made it all come together. Now, we are (relatively) settled and anxiously awaiting the arrival of sweet little Allison any day. (Note my optimism as I say "any day"...in reality, she won't likely show for at least another couple weeks but a mama can hope!) Anyway, I am excited to begin posting again more regularly even though it will likely be erratic for a while.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Life As Of Late

Whoever noted that when it rains, it pours, was very wise. Man oh man, has it seemed to pour lately! There is way too much going on to go into details but here is a recap of my past 2.5 half weeks in a nutshell:

  • We got a contract on our house! After 5 years of being on and off the market, we were elated. The only downside is that they wanted us out in 45 days. Yikes!
  • Since we had no place lined up to move into, the search for a new home was fast and feverish. I looked at nearly 20 houses in less than 3 days, plus we sifted through at least 100 homes online.
  • We put a contract on a house! It is new and still under construction so we requested to make some decisions re: final colors and such. It is a beautiful home and just down the road from our business, which is great.
  • I immediately began lining out details for the move, including updating our financials with our bank and signing paperwork to get our mortgage in place. I have also been selling off furniture that won't be needed in the new house and buying/preparing to buy things we will need immediately like a refrigerator and window coverings.
  • We had a record sales month in April for the store - yea! Hopefully I will remember what my husband looks like when I see him again. He has been working 12-13 hour days 6 days a week and has had to work many Sundays too. Craziness.
  • In the middle of this, I found out about some health issues a family member is having which are potentially serious. Hopefully they are nothing but we are still awaiting test results. There are many prayers going up in the meantime.
  • My nearly 13 year-old dog has stopped eating regularly. I don't know why. My vet doesn't seem concerned so I'm trying to ride this one out too.
  • Insert 2-3 instances of randomness/requests from our buyers/their realtor each week and I'm feeling like I might snap.

Anyway, if I have seemed a little stressed lately, that is my world. Oh, and I'm nearly 27 weeks pregnant - yea! That has become totally back burner and I can't believe I'm almost to 3rd trimester already. Hopefully the pouring will slow to a minor drizzle soon. Even in the midst of this insanity, we recognize how incredibly blessed we are. I look around me and see people sick with terminal illness or struggling with recent the loss of loved ones. My problems of today are fleeting and, in the grand scheme of things, are minor. I have full faith that the Lord will carry us through this time and that everything will work out as He intends, even if that plan isn't the same as ours.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Last night, I was flipping channels and stopped on TLC's Extreme Cheapskates. I have seen the show before and have heard lots of people who are shocked by people featured. I have seen some things on there that disgust me but, honestly, there are a lot of things I currently do or would consider doing. I was contemplating this as I watched last night. Additionally, I couldn't help but think that we really are a wasteful society. And it is fine if you want to be wasteful and can afford it, but most of us can't afford it. According to CNN Money, the average family has nearly $16,000 in credit card debt. Yikes! Think about it, this is consumer debt with nothing to show for it. Now THAT seems crazy to me - living or going further into debt while living wastefully. I will be the first to admit that I, too, am guilty of not being as resourceful as I probably should. But I recognize that and am always striving to find new ways to save where I can. Even if you aren't in debt, could you not put more money into savings or retirement or give a bit more to your church or favorite charity? We can all strive to save more, right?

Here are some perfectly sane (in my opinion) ways to save money that have been featured on the show:
  • Buy food from discount grocery outlets. This includes scratch and dent items and items which are just outside of sell-by dates. I have done this. If I had a large family to feed, I would likely do this more often.
  • Sell your car and ride a bike. Exercise, frugality and saving the earth? Many urban dwellers discovered the benefits of bikes long ago. 
  • Make household products or cleaners. This includes cleaning your home with staples like vinegar and baking soda or making homemade toiletries. I clean most of my house with vinegar and baking soda, so I obviously see nothing wrong with this one.
  • Recycle cooking water or bath water for watering plants. I don't see how anyone saves a lot of money doing this, but it is efficient, I suppose.
  • Eat alternative cuts of meat. I probably won't be buying goat heads or eating cow brain but I don't see it as flame worthy, either. Kudos to these people for eating parts that often go to waste in our country. They are often very nutritious but the stigma of eating them prevents most Americans from ever trying them.
  • Scavenging for wild food. If one is savvy (I'm not), then they can pick edible grasses and berries from the wild and eat them.
  • Upcycling items. Basically, finding other uses for items that would traditionally be seen as trash. There are a lot of items that can be reused. You generate less trash and don't have to buy additional items for household needs. It can be a win-win! Just a note, here, though - there was one individual featured who was making gifts out of upcycled items. Sorry, but I view this as tacky. Be frugal on your own but don't give your trash as "gifts" unless e recipient is a fellow cheapskate or has requested a specific item.
  • Washing and reusing Ziplocs. I frequently do this, especially if the bag has just held bread or a similarly non-threatening food. I will not reuse bags that have held raw meat or pungent items like onions, though. But bags can get expensive and they'd go right into the trash, so it is basically throwing money away each time I use one, so why not reuse thr ones I can?
There have been some other practices featured that are a bit further than I think I would ever go, though. Among those are the following cheapskate practices:
  • Dumpster diving for food. Yuck. Sorry, but just yuck.
  • Washing clothes in the shower while you shower. No...
  • Not flushing the toilet. Honestly, how much are you really saving with this?
  • "Family cloth" aka cloth toilet paper. Um, I'm all for reusables but I can't imagine giving up toilet paper.
  • Asking strangers for their leftovers. I'm sure they are probably fine but this one is way too much for me.
All in all, though, I have to laugh a bit. What do people think their ancestors did or used? Even the things that I'm not willing to do (like family cloth) were likely normal practices in our country as recently as 100 years ago.  And I obviously still drive a car and don't do many of the things that I find acceptable. But I guess I'm not seeing where the controversy is with many of them either. To me, some of them seem worthy of consideration if times get tough. But maybe I'm an extreme cheapskate too.

Friday, March 29, 2013

For Every Season

It is currently a strange time in my world. It is, in general, a blissful time for our family. Sure life is incredibly hectic and there aren't enough hours in the day. But it is magical to watch a toddler discovering the world and getting so excited about all of its details. Life really is about the simple things right now. And knowing that we'll soon start all over with little Allison is very exciting. I am definitely trying to soak it all in, expecting that this will be my last pregnancy and knowing that we will never experience this exact phase of our lives again.

Still, it seems like everyone around me is not in such a blissful time. There is currently so much disease and loss everywhere. My heart breaks for all of my friends and acquaintances who are struggling right now. Yet, I remind myself that many of them were experiencing smooth sailing when I have been pushing through hard times. And there is no promise that tomorrow will be easy for any of us, so I should soak up today and enjoy it. But why do I feel guilty? I'm just praying hard for those around me and trying to focus on enjoying today in my own life.

Friday, March 15, 2013


My husband and I have been watching The Bible miniseries on The History Channel this past couple weeks. We have really enjoyed it, as we re-visit Old Testament stories which we had forgotten and learn a few that we didn't know as well. It is so incredible to see God speaking so specifically to His people! I'm always even more amazed as I see Him working in my life, even though many of the ways I feel He speaks to me are far less profound. One of those little ways has been on my mind this week.

A few months back, I was not content with the baby carrier I had been using for Andrew. I researched and researched and decided to sell the one we had to fund a different one. There were two which I thought would work well for us, given my frame and his size. And both had great reviews for young babies too, which was a bonus. I looked for several weeks for a used carrier but didn't have any luck as they were still very pricey, even used. Finally, I settled out on a new one which I loved. A few weeks after that, I was poking around in our local kid consignment store and found the other carrier I had looked at. And it was only $30! (These carriers are $125 new so this was a steal!!) Even better yet, it was a pretty, neutral print. Though I certainly didn't need it, I wanted it as it had the best reviews by far for newborns. But I wasn't even pregnant so it seemed crazy to consider purchasing it, right? I had complications after having Andrew and we were very unsure of whether we would get any more babies in the few months after he was born. But thankfully, I was healed and we planned to have at least one more baby. I contemplated the carrier a bit and really felt like I should just buy it, so I did. I figured that I could easily get my money back out of it if I changed my mind as the going price for a used one was roughly twice what I paid. After getting the carrier home, I looked up the print and was taken aback - the print name was "Allison".  Allison was the name we had chosen if Andrew was a girl and it has been my girl name of choice for many years. My husband was sweet and quickly agreed to it during my first pregnancy as I loved the name so much. As I looked at the carrier and the name, I really felt that it was a promise from God - that He would send me another baby to love, even if it wasn't an "Allison" and was a boy instead. A couple months later, I found out I was pregnant. And this week, we found out that we'll be welcoming our sweet little Allison this summer. I am still in shock, honestly. Apparently my feeling regarding God's promise was much more literal than I thought!

So I'm obviously the crazy girl who feels like God gives her promises through used baby gear but I am okay with that. I am just feeling incredibly blessed that He speaks to me at all and has given me all that He has. Has God spoken to you? What messages or reassurances has He given you, big or small?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Baby Bump at 18/19 weeks

Almost halfway there. And definitely wearing this shirt for the last time for a few months!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Little Mr or Little Miss?

Next week should be an exciting week for our house - we will find out the sex of Bean 2.0! As many of you know, we did not find out the sex with our first child so this is a whole new experience. The anticipation is building...will this baby be another boy or a girl? We shall see!

The comments and assumptions of society re: gender have been a bit surprising to me. One, that we automatically want a girl. (Honestly, we would love to have a daughter so that we could experience parenting both sexes but I know many parents who prefer one sex over the other or simply have no preference at all.) Two, if you have a boy, at least he can be close to A. Huh? My husband and his sister, who is one year older than him, were very close growing up. Likewise, I know many sets of siblings who are close in age but not close at all, even if both are the same sex. I tend to think that closeness is dictated by personality versus gender. Three, if you have a girl, she will be super-girly and decked out in pink all the time. Honestly, I hope not. I can't imagine encouraging a daughter that she is a "princess" and should only wear pink. But again, I tend to think that kids are who they are. Just today, I watched A run around outside wearing his bike helmet like it was a fashion statement. I would never encourage that one but hey, safety first, right?? 

Thursday, March 7, 2013


I miss my mom. Intensely, at times. I am sad for myself and I am even sadder for her. It feels like everywhere I turn, there are reminders of the emptiness I feel where she should be. Motherhood has made me miss her more than I ever could have imagined. Honestly, losing her and watching her struggle when I was young was hard but I feel like I was somehow stronger then. Maybe I was naive (I think I somehow always thought she'd come back) or maybe I was just more resilient then? Mostly, I think that I just assumed that I would push through a couple rough years and leave everything behind.  For the most part, that is exactly what I have done (at least to the outside world). It just seems simpler as I don't think anyone really understands anyway. And I feel incredibly selfish when I try to explain it. I mean, how do you say, yes, I'm nearly 34 years old and I feel like there is no one to really take care of me? Crazy, right? God has blessed me with an incredible husband, a sweet little boy and some amazing friends. But no one is quite like your mama, and I still feel that void all too intensely at times. So that's my dirty little secret. I may act like I'd have it together (and some days I do), but underneath it all is the same young girl who stood at the window, praying and pleading it's God to see her mother again. I know I will someday, but the days in between are tough.

I vividly recall coming to the realization that she was gone when I was 13. I have been blessed to see glimpses of her on a handful of occasions since then. But the mom who took care of me when I was little, who played with me and comforted me, is gone. Even with this internal realization, it feels so strange and awkward to explain my situation, so I don't. My closest friends know the gist of it but I don't really talk about how deeply it still hurts. Truthfully, I feel so ashamed of all of the hurt, as it just sounds so selfish anytime I try to verbalize it. And the foreign looks people give me just make me feel even worse. Plus, I have had too many people say, "well, she didn't actually die, so..." And then I feel even worse. She is still alive, even if she is like a completely different person, trapped in a body that looks like her. I realize that many people just don't know what to say but I feel like others just don't get it. I know my dad feels similarly, but I really don't know about the rest of our familyas no one ever talks much about it. My siblings break my heart, as they only know Mom as she is now, and remember me as a mother figure in their younger years. So, I again feel like an island. To be fair, this is one of those situations in life where I don't think there is anything to say. Sometimes, people have pain and problems for which there are no words or solutions. You just pray and give it to God, which I have done thousands of times over the past 23 years. Still, it always seems to come back at points when I least expect it.

I have read Motherless Daughters, by Hope Edelman, numerous times over the past few years. I would highly recommend the book to any woman, young or old, who has lost their mother in any manner. I have a copy of Motherless Mothers (also by Hope Edelman) on the way. I'm hopeful it will bring a sense of peace over the rawness that I am feeling right now. In Motherless Daughters, the author writes about her experience of losing her mother to cancer at age 14. She talks about many of the emotions I felt too, including not really understanding the depth of her loss at that time. The author interviewed nearly 200 other women who had also lost their mothers in various ways, many of whom I could relate to as their mothers didnt actually die. After conducting all of these interviews and from her own life experience, she had several conclusions: One, that certain life events (for me, late high school/dances, weddings/marriage and children) will be tough. As she highlights, these are all events in which mothers are typically an integral part and the emptiness of them not being there can be really hard. Next, she points out that we all have a natural tendency to experience anxiety about our own mortality as we approach the age our mother was when she left them (either due to death, physically leaving, etc).

Anyway, I am not sure what the point of this post was. Catharsis, I suppose? I'm not even sure if I will publish it. I haven't decided yet. If you are reading this, thank you for listening. Please know that
yes, I am fine. And I don't feel like I really need anything, less prayers for continued healing. This is just an ongoing struggle for me, which I rarely address to anyone due to all of the emotions that are wrapped up in the situation.

Explanation: if you are reading this and are wondering, my mother was in a car accident when I was 10. It was a normal day of work and school for everyone. She was coming home from work and the car she was riding in was in a bad highway collision. One of her close friends was sitting next to her and died, while my mother was ejected from the vehicle which was traveling at approximately 60 mph. As one would expect, she suffered devastating injuries including nearly 30 broken bones/crushed bones and a traumatic brain injury. She spent nearly four months in the hospital and was in outpatient therapy for over two years. She had to re-learn to do just about everything in her life, including eating, walking, using the restroom, etc. To see her today, she truly is a miracle. But with traumatic brain injury (TBI), many things are changed. For her, she is a very different personality and nearly all of her "warmth" is gone.  Don't get me wrong, I still love my mother and greatly admire her strength and how far she has come. But the TBI left her completely different than she was before her accident. On top of that, the affects of these injuries on the families are incredible. Divorce rates for TBI survivors are near 100%, costs of therapies and rehabilitation are incredibly high and many of the patients never regain full independence and need daily care. When this happened, I was 10, my sister was 2 and my brother was 2 months old, which meant that my family role changed pretty drastically as well.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Have you ever thought about the safety of your dishes? I hadn't until relatively recently. I stumbled upon something mentioning lead content in many dishes. Lead poisoning seems to be more common than I ever would have thought since I have heard of several friends and acquaintances who have discovered that their children have high amounts of lead in their systems. We didn't have A tested since our Pediatrician didn't think it was necessary given the newness of our home and the places he spends most of his time. But lead in dishes? That seems scary since it leaches into our food and is very indigestible.

After investigating the subject a bit, I found that the government spot checks dishes and that most are okay. But there have been problems with a few manufactures, including Pfaltzgraff, the brand of our dishes. In particular, there had been problems with Pfaltzgraff's products since they moved production to China about 10 years ago. Yikes! Our dishes were made in China. This was enough for me to want them out of my home. I quickly found that several major companies were considered to be universally safe, which included Fiestaware, Denby and Corelle. Stoneware and traditional pottery dishes are considered to be the most risky, as lead is commonly used in the glazes on them but Denby and Fiestaware do not use lead at all. Some of the older Fiestaware did contain lead, though. Corelle is made from Vitrelle glass, so it is also lead-free (Corelle does make a stoneware line, which I did not research so I have no idea if lead is used in its manufacturing). Now, at this point, my husband wanted to kill me as he subscribes to the ignorance is bliss theory...can't we just assume our dishes are fine? No, honey.  Fortunately, I saved my old college dishes which were basic Corelle. They are ugly but I would much rather use a product that is safe for my family than one that is pretty. Corelle is also much cheaper to replace if it gets broken and it is lighter weight. All in all, probably a much better choice for a family with young kids. 

Speaking of kids, I will not give anything breakable to A yet since he is still prone to throwing things at any moment, for any reason. It's okay, he'll usually say "uh oh" before he throws it. (Obviously it is really accidental.) He has been digging eating his food off of dishes as of late, though. I was dubious of many of the kid plates and bowls I found locally. I won't use melamine dishes at all and I really wanted ones free of BPA and phthalates. I couldn't find anything that met my criteria that wasn't breakable. But alas, Ikea makes children's tableware that fit the bill. We have been using the tableware for a few weeks and I really like it. The pieces are dishwasher safe (upper and lower racks) and microwave safe too. I won't put plastic in the microwave, personally, but it is handy to know that it is okay if one wants to do so. Plus, all of the pieces are bright, fun colors and they are a great size for little portions. As a bonus, they were very economical. I would highly recommend them if you are in the market for toddler dinnerware. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013


It has been a LONG time since I have posted...too long. Between work and the holidays, life got a bit too crazy but I have missed this outlet. Oddly, I have written several posts but wasn't sure about actually publishing them so I have been sitting on them . I have not liked the blog name for a while either but didn't have the patience to think of one I liked better when I started writing. Anyway, I have re-named my blog (as you know if you are able to read this :-) ). I still plan on writing about creating a healthier home but I want to broaden my posts a bit, too. Hopefully you guys won't mind.

I have been a Christian most of my life and feel strongly that the Lord directs my life. Lately, He has really been working on me in some new ways. I'm not sure what He wants me to do exactly but I feel that He is asking me to share more of my past and who I am.

Additionally, I may just post on some fun stuff too. So, that is my randomness for the day. Happy Sunday, all! :-)