Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve... What Are You Listening To?

Just a drive by post... I still have presents to wrap... But I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite Christmas songs. I don't have many...

6. Deck the Halls by SheDaisy - It came out when I was a teenager and I loved their arrangement. The round at the beginning. The mix of a few different songs. I loved it.

5. Mary, Did You Know? by Rascal Flatts - Again with the arrangement... But the harmonies on this one get me. And the line "When you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God." I believe that's true of every child. All children are the faces of God. It seriously makes me tear up every single time. It's a beautiful song of praise and wonder. And it's a song every mom can relate to.

4. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings by Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLaughlin - It's upbeat. It's fun. It makes me happy. And anything she sings on is just MAGIC. Plus it's clever.

3. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town by M and Me - We've been singing it to G this year and he loves it. It's so fun to sing and make dramatic.

2. Jingle Bells and Deck The Halls by G - He's been watching a lot of Christmas specials on Netflix and these are his two favorite songs and he sings them all the time. So cute.

1. Oh Holy Night by Lea Michele - When I first heard this version last season on Glee I was literally moved to tears. I keep it in my players all year round. I really consider it more of a praise song and less of a Christmas Carol. The lyrics never, ever fail to move me. Praise His Holy Name.

So those are my favorite Christmas songs... Tell me your favorites in the comments.

And... Merry Christmas to all of you!


Friday, December 20, 2013

10 Things I Love About Christmas Shopping

I like shopping. It's fun. It's interesting. It's pretty much the best thing ever.

I'm a shoe, handbag and jewelry nut. But I'm also a Christmas shopping nut.

So below is my list of the top 10 Things I love about Christmas shopping.

10. The time I get to spend in the car singing with the radio. I love to sing almost as much as I love to shop. So anytime I'm in the car by myself I plug my phone in to the stereo, turn the volume UP and sing at the top of my lungs. Christmas shopping provides me with plenty of opportunities to sing. Loudly. Cheesily. Awesomely.

9. Also related to music... I love Christmas music. My favorite songs are O Holy Night by Lea Michele, God Rest Year Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings by The Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLaughlin, Mary Did You Know by Rascal Flatts and Deck The Halls by SheDaisy. I'm also fond of She & Him and a few others. But those are my go to songs. Christmas is an excuse to listen to them. Christmas shopping allows me to plug my ear buds in and jingle all the way while finding gifts.

8. It's fun to rush around. I love it. I play games with myself to see how many shops I can get to in a designated amount of time. Malls only count as one. Today I was able to get to five shops in 2 hours. And I got some great stuff. Win!

7. I love all of the things I find in my wanderings through shops. Things I would never think to buy without having seen them before. I have found fun games, cute notebooks, and so many other things.

6. I enjoy being what feels like the only "nice" person. Everyone else is rushing around, scrambling to get the best deals and as a result they end up being rude. I never get upset. It doesn't do any good. Shopping should be a fun experience. Low stress. I refuse to stress about it. If I start feeling stressed I go home and wait for the next day.

5. I love doing themed presents and then tracking down the items for the theme. One year I did a guitar theme for Husband-Man. I bought all kinds of guitar gear that I knew he needed. Stands, capos, a really nice tuner... Even some Hula Girl picks to honor our love of Hawaii. This year I'm doing a theme for my stepdaughter... I can't tell you about it yet. But come back after Christmas and I'll show you.

4. Deals. Deals. Deals. I LOVE them. I have so much fun finding the best price for the things as am looking for. The best is when something is listed as one price and ends up being another. For instance... This year I decided G needed a Mr. Potato Head. So when I was shopping at Walmart I found a bin with them in it and a sign that said $10 but when I rang it up it was $5. SCORE!!!

3. Have you ever had someone on your list that you just can't figure out something to get them? Every year. Seriously... Every year. But the feeling when you are out and something catches your eye and you just hear angels sing and a beam of light falls on it while a sign unfurls above it with the name of the person it's for. Best. Feeling. Ever!

2. Sort of along the same lines as 3...finding everything you wanted to find for everyone. Knowing that you were able to get everyone you love exactly what they wanted or needed is such a great feeling. 
1. The anticipatory feeling I get when I shop for others. I live for the thrill of seeing the people I love open their gifts. Every time I put something in my cart I feel a frisson of anticipation. "How is Husband-Man going to react when he sees this?" "M is going to pass out when he opens this!!!" I love that feeling. I love shopping for the people I love. I love giving to others and seeing the joy in their faces.

So that's it... Those are the things I love about shopping for Christmas.

I'm almost finished with my shopping this year. And I'm literally on tenterhooks waiting to see how my darlings like what I've found for them.

Hurry Christmas...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Santa Santa...Ho Ho Ho!!!

First...I want you to know I have a few new tutorials coming. As well as a post about my latest obsessions, from hair (I totally can't wait to share this one with you!!!) to TV, to book,s to all kinds of other things. I'm pledging to become so much more better (ha ha) at this. What's the point of owning the blog if I'm not going to keep it up? New Years resolution time. 

But for now...let's talk about Christmas.

Husband-Man's family is Jewish. They do not celebrate Christmas. Which is cool because hey, at the holidays no one is complaining that we didn't spend enough time with them. WINNING!!!

I don't have any family to spend Christmas with so no problems there either. For years its just been me, the Husband-Man and the kids. Which is cool. We had traditions. Sushi. Karaoke. Movies. Presents. FUN!

There were a few years we even traveled for Christmas. Let me tell you. Waking up in Disney World was awesome! If you ever get the chance to do it...DO IT!!!

For years though, I have longed for the "traditional" Christmas holiday experience. You know...the one where everyone gathers together at a family members house, usually Grandma's, and everyone spends the day wearing ridiculously horrible Christmas sweaters and drinking egg nog. Inevitably there is an uncle who has a little too much nog and he passes out in the corner. The kids play with their toys on the rug in front of the fire and the adults stand or sit around telling stories of past holidays and laughing and loving each other. Does that even happen? Seriously..if it does please let me know in the comments. I think this is just a fantasy I made up.

I dream of this. 
I yearn for this. 
I love my family so much. I'm so blessed. 
I know that I am. 

But sometimes I just want the hectic insanity that everyone else has. I want to feel a part of a huge family unit. I want to have a grandmother who loves me, buy me socks and underwear and a mom to bake pies and cookies and cakes with. I want to have siblings who are genuinely interested in each other. I want them to love me and each other and be supportive and goofy.

I have none of that. 

But I will. Oh I know I will. 

One day I will be the Grandma. One day it will be my daughter baking cakes with me and my sons laughing and joking and snatching cookies from the cooling racks. One day I will have a hectic Christmas to end all hectic Christmases (seriously...is there a plural for Christmas?). 

One year Husband-Man and I will be so driven crazy by the planning of this event that he will say "Never again!!!" and I will pat his wrinkled and liver spotted hand and say "Yes, dear" and then start planning the next year.

I have to tell you. I have so many fantasies about that day I'm not sure it will ever live up to it when it finally comes. But that's OK. The memories will.

Until then though...I want you to know that I have the most loving and wonderful friends. These are people who adore my family as much as we adore them and their family. I may not have family family, but I sure do have a family of friends. This will be our second year being with them and I am looking forward to it so much. We plan to have Italian food and everyone will be bringing a dish of some sort. I've been designated to bring my fabulous green beans (You want a recipe? Keep coming back to the blog) and I know there is going to be baked ziti. I'm hoping for some canoli. This gathering is going to be epic and fun and full of love and laughter. Exactly as Christmas should be. 

I'm counting down the days.

Until then though, I'm going to leave you with some fun pics of G with Santa and some toy soldiers. Looking at them puts me in the holiday mood. I hope it does the same for you.

G posing with his new "friends" at our Lodge's Kids Christmas Party. He walked into the room and saw them and refused to be parted from them.

He played with them and moved them and carried them.
And refused to let any other kids play with them. They were HIS. He's normally really good at sharing...but not this time.

G on Santa's lap. He didn't cry or get upset. But he didn't want to look at Santa either. 

You can see the anxiety in his little hands though. We tried to prepare him for this Santa visit by showing him pictures of other kids (not crying) on Santa's lap and talking about it with him. It seems to have worked a bit.

In the end though, he was so tired that he decided he and his "Toy Soldier Friends" needed to take a nap. So he grabbed Brudda and made him lay down with him and his "friends" His little hand was patting the soldier on the back to help him get to sleep. Sooooo cute!
What do you long for at Christmas? Quiet? Noise? For it all to be over? For your house to be filled to bursting? 

Do me a favor and have a very Merry Christmas!!! Be safe! Be loving! Be filled with grace.


Monday, October 21, 2013

How Did This Happen?

So...M came home from school today and informed me that it's time to send in his application for high school. 



Is that right?


High school?


WHY? HOW? Seriously?!?!

It's hard to believe that this little guy...

Just born.
He was so sweet from day one. I was in love with him immediately.

First taste of chocolate.
Maybe four or five months old. Love the spot on his noggin.
Seven months old and I promise I tickled that belly all the time. 
His first birthday. This is one of my favorite shots of the two of us. He refused to smash his cake.
So we did it for him.

First grade. This was for a Thanksgiving play.
If you look close enough you can see where his two front teeth are growing in. 

is now this guy...

This is on his thirteenth birthday. He got pieces for his Halloween costume and cosplay.
We're huge Doctor Who fans and...well...Fezes and Bowties are COOL!
Being a wonderful big brother. He and G are incredibly close. Lots of love between these two.
M is usually the person G goes to first to show his accomplishments...and punkins.
He still loves the lorikeets at the zoo. And they obviously love him.
He joked that this gorilla was going to be his prom date. As soon as he said it it was like the gorilla heard him because it got up and walked away. So funny. I was laughing too hard to get a picture of the look on his face.
It's a rare sight to see him any more without his head phones either on his head or around his neck.
This boy...I swear. He makes me so happy. Every day. All the time. 

I'm just having a few moments of crisis over this. Just a few. 
(sniff, sniff, snuffle)

*blows nose*

So wish us luck. He's got high hopes for high school and I really hope he gets in to one of the two he's chosen. With a GPA of 3.8 they'd be goofy to not take him. 

High school ya'll?!


Friday, October 18, 2013

The End of Snuggles

It's been a long time since I've posted. I've been guilty of not taking the time for myself that I should be. I love to write and I love to share what I've written. I should take more time for it right?!
I promise you...I'm going to try harder. From now on. Deal?...Deal! On to the actual post.
When G was six months old he got a pretty nasty ear infection and was running a high fever that didn't want to break. Husband-Man and I have always made a policy of letting our littles sleep with us when they are sick so we can more easily monitor their fevers, coughs, restlessness and just be there for general comfort.
Having a family bed has never been an issue for us because we all take comfort from snuggling in with each other. But ever since that ear infection G never went back to his own bed. He had been sick for a week and got so used to being cuddled close that he just never wanted to be away from us. After discussing it Husband-Man and I decided to let things be. We loved his snuggles and knowing he was our last child (we don't plan to have anymore) we wanted to enjoy all of the snuggles and cuddles we could. He was like our very own warm little teddy bear.
Sure it made intamacy a little difficult. It's never really any fun to schedule something like that. But our marriage is so good and strong and full of love that we weathered that pretty well.

We've known for a while that it's getting close to time for him to transition to his own bed though. And so we set up a twin size bed in M's room (so he won't feel alone and M wanted him in there with him so he can look out for him) about a month ago. But I still couldn't bear to start transitioning him.
He's such a pro at cuddles and hugs and I didn't want to lose the kisses he sometimes gave us in the middle of the night when he woke up from a dream and needed to shift positions. How can you want to give that up? I kept putting it off. "I'll start next weekend," was heard often from my lips. Husband-Man was so patient with me. And I think he was experiencing some of the same anxiety. After all...He's the one who naps with G on occasion throughout the week.

But things changed last weekend... Husband-Man and I decided to go see Gravity (GREAT MOVIE!!!) and have dinner. So we fed the boys dinner and then headed out.
 M stayed home with G. He's such a great babysitter. He plays hide and seek and sings and dances with G to all their favorite music. He's a very involved and incredibly engaged big "Brudda". Last weekend they played and ate popcorn and watched movies and sang and danced and then...When G got sleepy M made an executive decision.

Husband-Man and I came home to find both of our beautiful boys asleep in their own beds. G was asleep in his big boy bed for the first time in a year and a half. He's been there ever since.
There are some nights he asks for "Brudda" to put him to sleep after I read him his book and sing his songs. "Brudda" comes in and lays down with him until he drifts off to sleep.
Occasionally G will cry out in the middle of the night and either Husband-Man or I will go in there and snuggle him up until he goes back to sleep. I think those are the times that we would usually be getting our "in between dreams" kisses. Maybe this will take a bit longer to get G through, but it hasn't been an issue at all. It's a good transition for us in a way too. This way we still get some snuggles. He's usually back to sleep within about three to  five minutes and we return to our bed. After a few extra kisses and snuggles of course.

But really...I can't tell you how blessed I am to have such an awesome oldest son. He's so much more mature than other kids his age. He loves his family and especially his little brother so much. What gets me most about all of this is that he knew I had intentions of transitioning G. But he also knows me so well, that he knew how hard that was going to be for me. I am greedy for any time I can spend with my boys and my M knows how emotional these things can make me. He quietly did what I should have done and hasn't said a word about it since. He just did it.

How in the world did I get so lucky?
Have any of you ever co-slept? How did you tranisition away from it? Did it take a long time? Were any of you emotional about it? Please, share your experiences in the comments.
What's in your nutshell?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Baby Cornhole

So as promised I have a new DIY post for you, my friends!

Are you excited?!

First some background...The company I work for is all about engagement. So much so that they use an enterprise social media website. Its really great for the associates because it opens up our networking in ways that wouldn't have been possible for us before. The site contains not just business related posts but also special interest groups for like minded associates.
For instance...I am a member of the Downton Abbey group, a couple different reading groups, I help administrate a group for breastfeeding moms (I'm really proud of this one) and I am a member of a group for moms and expecting mothers.
It was from the mommy group site that I learned about busy bags. One of the moms explained what they were and proposed we organize a swap. Naturally this brought out my overachiever.
The other moms did easy things like pom pom sorters, homemade play-doh, color matching with clothespins and some other really easy (disclaimer: easy is smart...unlike me) ideas. I was not that smart. I wanted to do something that would grow with our children.
Upon searching the interwebs for inspiration I came up with what I am choosing to call Baby Cornhole.
If you are at all familiar with the game called cornhole you'll know that it involves wooden boards that sit up at an angle and at the top of each board is a hole. The goal of the game is to toss corn filled bags through the hole...thus...Cornhole.
I'd seen tutorials on making a similar tossing game for toddlers but instead of the wooden boards I saw people using black paper with red, yellow and green circles on it to make it look like a traffic light.
The thought, I'm sure, was to combine color recognition, with stop, slow, go, with the motor skills needed to toss a bean bag just right to hit the color.
I, however, did not like the idea of using paper. I thought...why not felt. So I took a trip to my local craft store and bought a length of black felt, and some in red, yellow and green.

I also purchased red yellow and green quilting cotton to use for the bean bags.
Check out the process and pictures below.

First I ironed my felts and then cut the "stoplights" out of the red, green and yellow felt and rectangles out of the black for the base of the "stoplights".
Then I used felt glue to glue the "stoplights" onto the rectangles.

Once the glue was on the "stoplights" I carefully turned them over. The instructions o the glue stated not to press on the glue as it would soak into the felt on its own.
While I let those dry for the hour instructed on the bottle of glue I set about ironing the quilting cotton I planned to use for the bean bags.
Once that was finished I cut them into squares that were slightly smaller than the circles for the "stoplights".
Then I used a straight stitch on my sewing machine and sewed all four sides, leaving just a small space open to allow me to fill it with rice.
At this point I set M to work on turning them inside out so that I could fill them with rice and then sew them closed. But then I realized that sewing 30 of these little bags closed with a pillow stitch was going to take FOREVER! I had to make ten of these for the other mommies and being my usual procrastinating self I waited until the last minute to get started.
(Note to self: Work on procrastinating tendencies later)
M was not pleased with me when I told him we needed to turn all of the bags he had turned inside out back right side out.


Moving on though...
I didn't have a funnel on hand so I rolled a piece of paper and taped it. Voila! Improvised funnel. Then using the funnel I filled the bags with rice. Being careful not to fill them too full, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to sew them shut.
Then I sewed them closed using the straight stitch again on my sewing machine.
Once they were all sewn I trimmed the ragged edges and put one of each color in a gallon size Ziploc bag along with the "stoplight" board.
Unfortunately I neglected to take a picture of the finished product. I'll work on getting one up as soon as possible.
But that's it really. Pretty simple but time consuming with all the cutting, filling, and sewing.
The only negative I've found so far is that the "stoplight" tends to slide on our hardwood floor when G tosses a bag. I plan to try adding some strips of glue to the back of the "stoplight" to add texture and grip. Don't know if this will work but I figured it was worth a try.
For the record...G loves his.
I hope you liked the tutorial and that you'll make one of your own. If you do...send me a pic. I'd love to see it!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

April Awesomeness

I realize it's been a while since I posted. But I have a great excuse.
I live in Louisville. This basketball season has been crazy for us and with the recent injury sustained by our sophomore guard Kevin Ware we've all been a bit discombobulated. I've been spending a huge amount of time reading articles at CardChronicle.com and watching our team recover and prepare for the rest of the tournament without him.
We advanced yesterday, to the final game and we'll play Michigan on Monday for the title. We plan to win. We will win. For Ware. For Louisville. For love.
Watching the Elite Eight game against Duke and seeing Kevin get injured was one of the most emotional moments I've ever witnessed. Seeing his teammates fall to the floor in shared agony. Seeing Coach Pitino wiping away tears. Seeing our center Gorgui Dieng holding our guard Russ Smith and Kevin's best friend Chane Behanan as they cried for him was simultaneously one of the most beautiful and heartrending moments in sports for me.
Here in Louisville, we take our basketball seriously. But we also take loving our student athletes seriously too. We were all united that night. I'm positive that God was overwhelmed with prayers for Kevin, and his family, both the one he was born to and the one he made on the court. And for this last week Louisville has been his family.
Louisville has rallied around Kevin and made him our hero. As he lay on the sidelines with his right leg broken and the bone sticking six inches out of his leg his thoughts weren't for himself. He didn't care about his leg. He cared about his team. He cared about the progress his family had made on the court this year. He begged them to not worry about him and win the game.
"I'm fine...Win the game." He said. "I'm fine...Win the game"
Now obviously we should all care more about the student athlete than the tournament and speaking purely for my own family I can tell you...we do. We love and appreciate all of our players. We want the best for them and follow their careers after college. But when we heard the brave words of Kevin, we wanted to win...because he wanted us to. #WinForWare was instantly trending on Twitter and I know that quite a few of the tweets with the tag came from my account as well as M's.
Kevin will climb the ladder to cut down the net in Atlanta this year. We are determined. If fans can will anything into happening our fans have definitely willed it so. Kevin will remain one of the best beloved players in Cardinal history. When he finally returns to the court, the fans in the Yum Center will go berserk. If you aren't wearing ear plugs...you'll be deafened. I can't wait to hear it.
Numerous get well cards and banners have been signed by Louisvillians. Every time it has been announced that one is available for signing the city has turned out to do so.
That, my friends, is the best thing about Louisville. Our love. I've lived here my whole life. I've never lived anywhere else and I've never wanted to. I love my hometown. I love my team. I love my fellow Louisvillians and I love the love we display for each other.
So I'll apologize for not posting lately...but I'm sure you understand...I've been busy cheering my Cardinals and will continue to do so until they bring the trophy home.
I'll have new DIY post for you soon...Just have to win the tournament first.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Best Thing...

Again I find myself having to apologize for neglecting you. I promise it was for some good reasons though.
I have been dealing with some nasty bug that had me on my tail for a few days. Congestion so bad that at one point I couldn't get any air flowing through my nose at all.
Literally...if someone had duct taped my mouth I'd have suffocated. Thank goodness I didn't drive Husband-Man crazy enough to do that.
I tried Sudfed.
I tried steam.
I tried crying (I'm a wimp...so sue me).
I tried whining (this is why I'm glad Husband-Man was out of tape).
Finally I broke down and used Afrin...I know...it's not good for me. But a girl has to breathe.
In the midst of this yucky illness though, something super, incredibly, awesome and wonderful happened...The Best Thing!

But first...A story.
About 11 years ago (as of this writing) I met Husband-Man. I started working for him and we became close friends (a pretty long story there....one for another post) and eventually fell in love. I truly believe that the major impetus for that was the fact that we were both single parents. R was about seven and M was about one and a half, when we met.
M's Bio-Dad wasn't involved in his life at the time after he and I split when M was 9 months old. I offered to let him see the baby anytime he wanted but he never took me up on it. At one point he told me that he was "able to be a dad" at the time.
Bio-Dad wasn't a bad guy. I don't want you to think he was. He was a calm and peaceful guy and after almost 3 years with him I can honestly say he never once raised his voice to me. He never showed a trace of violence to me or M for the time he was with us.

I've been very honest with M about this. I think its important that he knows that his Bio-Dad was a good person on the inside. I think its important for him to know that the parts of his Bio-Dad that he got are the best parts. The great parts. He got the kindness and the calm. The loving side. He also got the cowlicks...
Without going into the issues we faced I'll just say that the relationship ended with very little drama on our parts. There was no screaming. No yelling. Just me telling him that we shouldn't be together any longer. Bio-Dad respected me enough to be OK with that. He didn't argue. He understood my position.
I think he had potential. I think he could have been a great dad. I hope that he is now. I hope that he has children and that if he does, he can understand the joy I have taken in the child we made together.
M has been a light for me during some very dark times. M's love and very existence got me through quite a few hard moments and I would not be the person I am today if it hadn't been for Bio-Dad and I making the miracle that is my M.
So...Bio-Dad....if you are reading this...Thank you. From the very bottom of my heart. I promise M is everything you could have ever wished he would be and so much more. God did me the biggest favor when he blessed me with him.
I digressed a little...
So...shortly after meeting Husband-Man I had to leave home very suddenly. I won't go into the struggles I had to face (Suffice it to say they were legion) but Husband-Man was with me through them all. Helping me get on my feet. Supporting me through my moments of doubt and idiocy (which were also legion). But most importantly...
Husband-Man was also with M.

Husband-Man and M having a giggle
M and R had become very fond of each other in the short time they had known each other. She loved walking him around in his stroller and is very proud of the fact that she actually taught him his second word (it was BOOM!). She was an awesome big sister, spending time teaching him his ABCs and 123s and just playing with him as much as she could.

 M  & R  in the early days
I slowly but surely got on my feet and along the way I learned how to be a mom. It wasn't easy but I had Husband-Man to help me and M was an incredibly easy child. I was very blessed.
Fast forward another year and a half or so and M was talking pretty clearly and started calling Husband-Man, Dad because he had heard R calling him that. Husband-Man decreed that he was OK with it. After all...a boy needs a Dad to call his own right?

The younglings
As the years went on M and Husband-Man were exactly like father and son. Husband-Man didn't distinguish between his R and my M.

M was his son and that was that. He introduced him to his old friends as his son and we always laughed like loons when people said "Oh yeah...He looks like you." Because M looks nothing at all like Husband-Man obviously. M looks just like me, except for the cowlicks.
 There was never any question of how much Husband-Man loved M. He showed it every time he hugged and kissed him goodnight, every time he tickled him, played catch with him, pushed him Big-High-Scary on the tire swing in our back yard and every time he disciplined him with time outs.

The tire swing in the back yard was one of their favorite spots to play when they were little and was the site of many Big-High-Scary pushes
Husband-Man's family were also very welcoming of M. Mum (my MIL) and Pop (my FIL) loved him from day 1. They spoiled him the same as they spoiled R and their other grandchildren. Mum getting him the noisiest toys she could find for Hanukkah and Pop introducing him to James Bond. M and I were members of the family almost instantly. This is something I am truly and deeply grateful for. I love Mum and Pop very much. I love them for a multitude of reasons that I won't go into here but of all of the people I have met on my journey through life Mum and Pop are two of the kindest, most loving and accepting people I've ever found. Once again God was smiling on me when he blessed me with them.
After Husband-Man and I had been together for long enough to make it pretty clear we weren't splitting, Mum started putting the pressure on Husband-Man (as did just about everyone else) to make it official. She wanted us married and most of all she wanted M to be a honest to goodness member of the family. She wanted Husband-Man to adopt him.

One of our outtakes from a Christmas card

Isn't that a gorgeous face? This is one of my favorite shots of them

As is this one

Disney World was Husband-Man's gift to me, R and M one year for Christmas.

Adoption is a common thing in Husband-Man's family. He and his younger sister Melody were both adopted before their younger brother Aaron was born. It was only natural that Mum and Pop would want to see their oldest son do the same.
After close to 7 years together we finally made it official and got married on a trip to Hawaii. M walked me down the aisle and R was a bridesmaid along with our dear friend Lani, whose husband
Kula married us. It was such a beautiful ceremony, on the beach with our wonderful ohana (that means family in Hawaiian) surrounding us.

The wedding party & ohana

A family hug (that's M in the middle there...you can just see his little arms)

When we got home we consulted a lawyer to see if we could get the adoption proceedings started. We were told that we had to wait at least 6 months to a year before we could even file the paperwork. So, we waited.

After we had been married just over 2 years I found out I was pregnant. We hadn't been trying to get pregnant. In fact we hadn't wanted to get pregnant. But we were incredibly pleased nonetheless. However, this meant that we had to move forward as quickly as possible with the adoption because when the baby was born I wanted M to be an official member of the family. I wanted us all to have the same last name when we welcomed our new addition.

Once again we contacted a lawyer and paid the money and got the ball rolling. It took a long time. A really, really, really long time. We didn't make it in time.

G was born in 2011 and our lives were enriched even more. All of them. M and R fell deeply in love with their little brother. G tied us all together in a way the marriage hadn't. We were all a unit now. United by this little squirmy, sweet gift we had been given. But the adoption still wasn't final. M's last name still wasn't the same as everyone else's. But we were getting there.

G is almost two years old now so you can tell it took much longer than we all wanted it to, but I am very pleased and proud and just ecstatic to say that the adoption was finalized last week. While I was sick with the crud I was also in a courtroom watching and recording as my Husband-Man and my M legally became father and son. Something that was already done in all of our hearts.

This is a video of the moments that completed our family. M was always Husband-Man's son. Always. But now its official in the eyes of everyone. Words can't express the happiness I felt while taping the proceedings. All is now as it should be in my happy little world.

Wooo Hooo!
Husband-Man and M with the judge who made it final
I want to finish with a quick thank you to everyone who supported us through the years.

I'd also like to thank our wonderful lawyer who kept on top of everything and made it easier than we thought it was going to be to get this done.

And finally to my family who pushed me to be who I am...Thank you. Without you doing the things you did I would not be where I am today. Happier than I ever thought I could be and with the most beautiful family in the world. I am truly a blessed woman. 


Friday, February 22, 2013

I Like You For You

Let’s you and me have a talk.

Let’s talk about inspiration.

What exactly is inspiration?

Merriam-Webster defines inspiration as:

a: a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation


b: the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions


c: the act of influencing or suggesting opinions

So, I'm going to share a few of the things that inspire me...Look out for the challenge
First, I was at work today when this came in on one of my social media sites. I watched it, wiped away the tears and then decided to write this blog post. INSPIRATION!:


This video is beautiful. Gorgeous. Meaningful. This video should be required viewing in schools. This video should be given an Oscar. This video should be shown everywhere. Everyone should have to watch it. Hear the message. Be the message.
I really can't say much more about it. I saw it and knew I had to share it with you. Do me a favor and share it with your friends and children.

And then there is this video:


How cute and right and cute is this kid?
He totally has my vote for President!!!

I highly recommend you check out his other videos. Nashville and I were talking him up at a gathering of our friends from high school and we just can't get enough of him. He makes me giggle and there really aren't enough giggles in the world these days.

He has the right idea and a great delivery.

We should be a party!

We should stop being boring!

We should all be on the same team.

"It’s like that guy Journey said…Don’t Stop Believing... Unless your dream is stupid, and then you should get a better dream."
(Best line ever)
~ Kid President

And then I was also inspired by Mr. Rogers. I grew up watching Mr. Rogers. He taught me (though I didn't know it at the time) that I was special. That I was allowed to have the feelings I had. That all I needed to do was find a way to express them. His Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award Acceptance Speech was a superior example of the beauty of love and humanity, not to mention humbleness.
He really was a beautiful human being and I'm very sad that I never got the opportunity to hug him.
 Something I read this morning had a quote from him in it:

“Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” 
~ Fred Rogers

It’s the perfect description of love. Exactly how it should be. Love is a struggle. Loving your spouse. Loving your children. Loving the elderly parent you are caring for. Loving your neighbor or co-worker. It’s always a struggle to love someone. But it’s a struggle worth struggling.

It’s even harder I think to love yourself. And you can't really love someone else to the fullest extent possible until you love yourself. Can you?

Do you look in the mirror and love what you see?

Do you accept yourself for yourself?

Do you know how special and worthy you are?

I know I don’t.

I’m being brutally honest here…I don’t like what I see in the mirror.

I don’t know how to accept myself as I am. I always seem to think something about me needs improving (I’m right…but the way I think it isn’t healthy).

I have no idea how special and worthy I am. No clue. Sometimes I get just a glimpse. A glimmer. Like a piece of glitter that is stuck to your nose…sometimes the light catches it and it catches your eye and you go cross eyed trying to see it again. Turning you head this way and that to make it catch the light. But you never seem able to. Until someone else sees the piece of glitter and removes it for you.

So today’s challenge…

Go into this weekend with the plan to find the glitter. Don’t actively look for it, because you won’t find it. Being special isn’t something you can actively do.

Be mindful of your actions.

Be aware of the words you say.

Know that at some point in this weekend you are going to BE special. And then go and enjoy your weekend. OK?

Say it with me…BE SPECIAL!

Because you are. You are special.

Mr. Rogers taught me that.

“I like you for you.”
~ Fred Rogers


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

So You Had A Bad Day

I'm a pretty positive person. The type who likes rainbows and unicorns (actually butterflies but it doesn't sound as good) But I work hard to be that way.
My nature at its very basic is "glass half empty". I think if you understood the way I grew up you'd get why that's my basic nature. However, I'm not a believer in (or I try not to be) basic is best. Your nature is not fixed and can be changed if you're mind is put to it. If you really want to change who you are...you can. But you have to be willing first.

To that end I have worked pretty hard most of my life at being happy, goofy, perky, silly. Any positive emotion you can name I spend a lot of time trying to be it. It's my belief that happiness isn't just going to happen to you. Happiness is a choice. You make a choice every day, whether or not to be happy. I'm not going to go so far as to say that its an easy choice. It's not. Most of the time.

It's work to be happy. To be conscious of your happiness and to really pursue it is a very difficult thing to do. It's definitely much more difficult to be happy than it is to be unhappy. I think this the fundamental problem with humanity but that's a rant for a different time.

Think about it...how easy is it to remember all of the negative things that have happened to you in life?
When you got cut from the basketball team.
When the girl you asked out turned you down.
When the guy you were hoping would ask you to the dance asked your best friend instead.
When you were passed over for the promotion that you know you deserved.
When you got into a car accident.
When you didn't make the big sale. 
When your wife asked you for a divorce.
When someone you love died...

Pretty easy right? I'm willing to bet that at least one of those things I mentioned happened to all of you who are reading this in some way, shape or form.

But how often do you take the time to really sit down and remember your happiest moments?
The first time you rode a bike.
The first time you hit a three point shot.
Your first kiss
(I remember mine very fondly and am in fact still friends with the beautiful man, who I'll call Misfit in honor of a t-shirt he wore on a day that I have a particularly happy memory of, who gave it to me and taught me about love and its beauty. Hey Misfit...Thanks!).
The first time you saw your significant other.
The first time you kissed them.
The day you planned how to propose to her.
The day he proposed to you.
The day you got that promotion you worked so hard toward.
The day your first child was born, your second, third, fourth etc...

Yeah...once I really put my mind to it I can remember those things...and in the remembering....I can count my blessings.

I saw an old friend (we'll call him Nashville) the other day and he said something to me that I don't remember having heard before about myself. Sweet Nashville told me that I have a big heart. 
And hearing it almost made me cry.
I never thought about how big my heart is. I never thought about how much room I have inside it for everyone I know. I never thought about how much love I send out to the world. Its not something I think about. I just do it. I love everyone. But Nashville, showed me, and I'm pretty sure its one of the most beautiful compliments I've ever gotten in my life. Definitely one I'll cherish for the rest of it.

It also made me realize that Nashville is a blessing to me. (You are you know...Just your DrawSomething pics alone are really...I can't tell you how many times they've made me laugh.) Just having known him in high school was enough of a blessing, but to still have his friendship 13 years later and know that he sees me in such a wonderful way is just incredible. I don't know how I got to be so lucky in my friends but I am.
Stopping the sappy...now.

At work I sometimes hear "You sure look like you're having a good day." Most of the time I reply that I am...but really...most of the time I'm not. I'm having a horrible day. But I have a secret that I'm going to share. Its my secret to having a good day...

Are you ready?

You sure?


My secret is...

"Fake it til you make it."

If you aren't happy...pretend to be. Sing a happy song. Tell a goofy joke. Be a light to someone else who is having a bad day. I guarantee you that if you fake it long enough you will eventually make it. It's never not worked for me.

I'm not a naturally happy person. In fact...depression runs pretty deep in my family on both my mother's side and my father's. But I gain joy, warm fuzzies and much pleasure from making others laugh, smile, feel better, feel loved. I especially love making people feel loved. Its one of my favorites. Right up there with smiling. Smiling is my favorite (wink).

I have to work at it. Some days I have to work really hard. I mean REALLY hard. Some days I don't succeed. Some days I fall just a little short. Some days I'm almost too happy to stand it. Sometimes I'm too happy for the people around me to stand it (I'm talking about you Marilyn). Some days I get it just right.

But when I have days like today, where everything was a mess, everyone was complaining, and I discovered that people I thought were my friends really aren't...I have to remind myself of my secret. Today I thought in reminding myself that I could maybe remind you too.

I hope this helps you. I hope you finish reading this post with a smile and that you go write down 10 things that make you happy to just think about. My 10 are below. I hope that you'll work hard at being happier. Make the choice. You have to work for it. You have choose it. You have to really want it. No one is going to hand it to you and if they did...it wouldn't be your happiness.


My Top 10 Happy Things
(in no particular order):
1. Daydreams about Hawaii
(today it was a fantasy about just laying on the warm sand in the dark and listening to the sea, absorbing the warmth of the sun warmed sand, feeling the salt tinged sea breeze and watch the stars and moon. And breathing deeply of the peace I can only find there) 
2. My children's smiles
(cliché I know but they really do make me happy)
3. The Sunshine Song by Jason Mraz
"A little light never hurt nobody. Send out your ray of sunshine."
4. Dancing and singing.
5. Goofy texts from Husband-Man.
6. Kisses from Husband-Man.
7. The smell of the tops of my children's heads
8. Writing
(both writing actual paragraphs of information like blog posts and the actual act of writing. I like to see my hand make my words take shape. Those words belong to me and are shaped by me. Odd I know but it makes sense to me so that's all that matters.)
9. Snuggling into my bed with a good book and being all nice and toasty cozy.
10. Sharing my thoughts, craziness and projects with you. Its so much fun.
That's my list...what's yours? Share it in the comments.