Category Archives: Pets

Into The Forest 

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Into the forest I go; to lose my mind and find my soul

I’ve got lots of favorite quotes about nature but when my mind and heart are heavy I wander around the garden or stare at the sky for a while and am always reminded of this one. It’s so fitting. Sometimes you just need to escape your thoughts and worries and just vibe with the planet to try to gain peace and clarity.

My mind is full of worry this week and there are so many I know going through difficult times right now too. So many prayer requests recently and so many more unspoken.

But I believe there is power in numbers. So whatever you believe in, could you just take a minute to send out some positive thoughts and energy? If some float my way too I sure won’t complain, but right now I just hope they can help bring healing, comfort and peace to those I know who need it.

And to that end I leave you with another loved quote –

The wound is the place where the light enters you”.

I hope whatever pain and difficulties you are facing now bring you to peace and happiness tomorrow. And may you be a beacon to someone else in their time of need.

💜

  

Gratitude & Grief 

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I am reading poetry in front of a warm, crackling fire. My sweet (though slightly sick) babygirl is nestled beside me and our furbabies are cuddled up snoozing beside her. There is music flowing through the house and my husband is in his chair nearby enjoying a glass of bourbon with a full belly after a wonderful home-cooked meal. Everyone is comfortable and my loved ones are all safe… There may be a million things going wrong, but in today’s tumultuous times these are the simplest and the greatest blessings to be thankful for. As full of gratitude as it may be, my heart aches and wishes for healing to come to this planet. 
#PrayingForParis

#PrayingForHumanity 

#PrayingForPeace 

Praying for Peace & Healing

Flying the Nest

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A few weeks ago we watched as our robin family returned to the little hawthorn tree in our front yard to build their nest again this year. Mama worked all day building her nest in that tree right outside our bedroom window and created a perfect home for her growing family.

Homemaker - literally

Homemaker – literally

 

All comfy cozy in her new digs

All comfy cozy in her new digs

It wasn’t long before we could see three little beaks bobbing up and down whenever mama and daddy returned home with worms.

Baby birds sure do eat a lot

Baby birds sure do eat a lot

Day by day we watched them grow bigger. It doesn’t take long for babies to grow in the animal kingdom. We dubbed them Mozis, Beezus, and Bishou.

1, 2, 3 little beaks

1, 2, 3 little beaks

Mama & Daddy go back and forth taking turns with meals for the little ones

Mama & Daddy go back and forth taking turns with meals for the little ones

The following week our little baby birds who, just days before were only covered in pin feathers, had their redbreasts and feathers and were venturing out onto nearby limbs. Well, one more than the others anyway. Mozis, who I am guessing was the oldest, was the lookout for mama and sat out on the ledge of the nest while she was away.

Mozis always visible and usually perched on the outside of the nest, Beezus somewhere in between and Bishou nowhere to be seen

Mozis always visible and usually perched on the outside of the nest, Beezus somewhere in between and Bishou nowhere to be seen

Mozis & Beezus growing more curious of the world outside

Mozis & Beezus growing more curious of the world outside

It seemed they each had their own little personalities. Beezus was visible, but only from the neck up. And you would never know Bishou was in there if you didn’t see them at dinner time because it stayed as low in the nest as possible.

My favorite shot of Mozis and Beezus (and Bishou in there but hidden as usual)

My favorite shot of Mozis and Beezus (and Bishou in there but hidden as usual)

And then, on a morning after a terrible storm that had me worried the tree wouldn’t even survive the winds let alone the nest, Mama returned with one final family meal at their home and then it was time. She flew off and left her three musketeers to it. Surprisingly I thought it would be Mozis who flew first since it was the bravest. But it was Beezus that surprised me and took flight first, heading straight across to the neighbor’s front yard.

I never would have guessed the middle one would be the first to fly...

I never would have guessed the middle one would be the first to fly…

And then there were two.

Mozis fluttered up to a higher branch and seemed to watch for Beezus to land safely and get to where it wanted to be and then all of a sudden little Bishou emerged and fluttered down into the yard.

This one chose to stick to the ground

Bishou (finally visible outside of feeding time) chose to stick close to the ground

Flying must have been a little scary for it because it stuck to walking around the neighborhood until it found a good spot to hide.

Bishou making a mad dash across the street and seemingly more like a roadrunner than a robin

Bishou making a mad dash across the street and seemingly more like a roadrunner than a robin

And then there was one. Mozis perched on the highest branch of our little tree. Siblings safe from their landing and mom and dad nearby keeping track of them all.

Mozis on the highest branch watching to make sure the others got somewhere safely

Mozis on the highest branch watching to make sure the others got somewhere safely

One flew over, one flew down and Mozis flew directly up. Up to the very top of our neighbor’s roof.

Mozis, the first born and the last to fly the nest

Mozis, the first born and the last to fly the nest

Mozis may have left the tree last but his flight was by far the most impressive

Mozis may have left the tree last but his flight was by far the most impressive

And then there were none.

Our little nest is empty and our feathered family friends have grown up and are moving to roosts of their own. Mama made a great home for them while they were in it but alas, they outgrew their cozy abode. Funny considering we are doing the exact same thing…

We put an offer in on a foreclosed home a couple months ago and, after tons of paperwork and a long drawn out process with many hands to pass through, we will finally be closing next week! It’s going to take a lot of work just making it livable and ultimately making it ours but I can’t wait to take it on and see what we are able to do with it… (Though I’m sure I’ll be wanting to scream once I’m knee deep in renovations. lol)

I hope our new home is as cozy to us as this one has been and that it provides all that we are hoping for our family until it’s time for our little tulip leave the nest. I’m just thankful that although she eats like a baby bird and is growing up quickly, that at least she doesn’t grow as fast as our three little birds did! So at least we’ll have a while. 🙂

 

And then there were none. Our little robin family has grown and moved on to larger living quarters. Mama built a sturdy home with a strong foundation that stood up to some pretty gnarly storms that the poor little hawthorne tree barely survived. I hope whoever lives in this house when we move to our new homestead can appreciate our little robin family when they return next year. <3

And then there were none. Our little robin family has grown and moved on to larger living quarters. Mama built a sturdy home with a strong foundation that stood up to some pretty gnarly storms (a couple that the poor little hawthorn tree barely survived itself). I hope whoever lives in this house when we move to our new homestead can appreciate the nest we built here…and our little robin family when they return next year to do it all over again. ❤

 

One Year

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So much can happen in one year…

In one year I went from managing an office and dreading turning 30 – to a very inflated pregnant 30 year old – to a new full time mom sans the full time job. In just under a year you can grow an entire human being. And as if that’s not insanely amazing on its own,  then in her first year you can watch that tiny little baby grow and develop her own personality and witness as she learns everything. That first time she found her hand and was blown away; The first time she crawled; When she first walked alongside the coffee table holding on for dear life; That first time she ventured away from the table and took a few steps on her own; or hearing her say the words “mama” or “dada” for the first time. In a year you can experience every holiday as a first – and commemorate them with hand and footprints. In a year you can take in so many great milestones. And all you can do after every milestone is hold back your tears and marvel at how in just a single year your child has already grown so much…and so quickly. It seems nearly impossible that one purely amazing and completely full year could go by so fast.

Sometimes I can’t remember what life was before her. Yeah sure, the stretch marks are an obvious reminder of the fact that she was’t always here…but then they’re also a reminder of my amazing pregnancy with her. (There was actually a time while I was pregnant that I wished I could just be pregnant forever). There wasn’t a day that I didn’t stop to marvel at the fact that inside me another human was growing. Every flutter and hiccup captured my complete attention and everything else faded into the background. From the moment that little blue line appeared nothing else mattered. Everything I would ever do from that moment forward would be for her. From the first time I heard that tiny heart beat, to her first cry in the delivery room, to her first words she has been the music of my heart. She is my song.

The pain I endured delivering her was nothing compared to the warmth my heart felt when I held her that first time. I would do it a million times over. No questions – No hesitations. The extra weight and stretch marks just symbolize our amazing journey to get her here. The months of physical therapy (after spending the first whole month of her life sleeping on the recliner with her on my chest) were and are still worth it. I remember the heartburn I suffered through during my last trimester and laugh about it every time I brush my fingers through her amazingly long hair. I made this. We made this. This is us. The very best of both of us. The greatest thing we will ever create. She represents our deepest love for one another and every fiber of goodness from our souls.

In one year I went from feeling insecure about my body to marveling at how amazing it truly is for having created, delivered and nurtured such a perfect little human being. My snacker who only liked to nurse for 10 minutes at a time every 2 hours. The one who convinced me pretty quickly to stop reading the breastfeeding books that insisted she needed to nurse longer and on both sides and just go with it, trusting her and my body to know what she needed. My healthy eater who started solid foods with avocados and absolutely loves salmon. And how ironic it is that I despise loud chewers so much but  adore the sound of my baby smacking her lips with each bite. My little stinker who tries to butter you up to get her way by giving kisses hoping you’ll forget you told her no. Or how every day she points at everything and asks “Is it?”. So eager to learn.

In one year I have watched this miracle bloom into a smart, sweet, funny, dancing, laughing, singing, kind and strong little girl. I have watched her features develop and change and grow and resemble everyone in our family at some point. She is my stubborn determination and her father’s fearlessness. We have watched her take steps but still refuse to walk because she was too determined to get there quicker by crawling to all of a sudden walking and then practically running across the room. We’ve watched her learn new words and take her place as ‘Pup Commander’, the leader of the pack to our two fur babies. She makes us laugh every day with her quirky personality and expressions – and especially when she starts dancing as soon as she hears music. Or because I apparently played the Twlight Saga soundtracks so much while I was pregnant that to this day as soon as I play it she falls almost instantly to sleep. And in that regard it’s soothing to know that she finds as much comfort and security in remembering her time in the womb as I do remembering the joy of being pregnant with her.

A lot can happen in a year and there are really no words to describe that first year with your first child. In this first year I have never learned so much than watching this new little person learn everything. I have never been so awed, so reminded of my faith, so humbled and so alive. I have never felt so much love or protection or connectedness. I may be grayer than before or less perky in certain areas and my body has its own, self-made (and less attractive) tattoos to commemorate my pregnancy. Yet even still there is so little that is more precious than carrying your child…except, of course, holding them. And in those first years hold them as much as you can because even though a lot can happen in a year, a year goes by so quickly.

I won't lie. I cried when I pulled this out of her dresser this morning. This is the last one. Twelve months…It's pretty bittersweet.

I won’t lie. I cried when I pulled this out of her dresser this morning. This is the last one. Twelve months…It’s pretty bittersweet.

My baby is a year old. It’s hard to believe it’s come so fast yet I’m so excited to see all she does next – Forever her number one fan. No matter how fast these years may fly by I’ll always be there, in the front row, cheering her on (and undoubtedly holding back tears). And no matter how big she gets she’ll always be my sweet little tulip.

 Adri, you are my biggest blessing. You are more than I ever could have wished for in this world. You breathe so much life and love into this heart of mine and bring me more joy than I can put into words. You are my song. And even though it's your birthday, you are still and will always be my greatest gift.

Adri, you are my biggest blessing. You are more than I ever could have wished for in this world. You breathe so much life and love into this heart of mine and bring me more joy than I can put into words. You are the sweetest song. And even though it’s your birthday, you are still and will always be my greatest gift.

Adri, you are my biggest blessing. You are more than I ever could have wished for in this world. You breathe so much life and love into this heart of mine and bring me more joy than I can put into words. You are the sweetest song. And even though it’s your birthday, you are still my greatest gift.

Farewell to 2013

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Farewell to 2013

2013 was a pretty monumental year for me. I gave birth to a happy, healthy and beautiful baby girl; I quit my job of over a decade and became a stay-at-home mom; I started my own business; I started my blog; I lost all my baby weight; I celebrated 7 years of marriage with The Hub; I celebrated a whole year of first holidays with the baby;   It’s crazy to think this year is already over. I can’t imagine what 2014 has in store for us but I know of a few things I have in store for it. Like…

Celebrating every moment with my little girl. She’ll only be little for so long. Now that she sees and understands so much more than she did as a newborn I am looking forward to venturing out and doing more fun things and having lots of quality family time.

Learning an instrument. Music has always been not just “a” but “the” big influence in my life. It’s no wonder my daughter is already dancing and singing all the time. I want her to have that connection and outlet with music too but on an even bigger level if that’s at all possible. I never played any instruments growing up so I hope that by learning now maybe it will inspire her to give it a try.

Investing more time in my craft and craft space. I have lots of ideas scrapbooked away for the gift shop for 2014. We’ve had to reorganize things in our house a few times now with the new baby moving around and getting into everything but now that it’s done I’m really getting excited to get my dedicated craft room set up so I can get to work. I can’t wait to dig in and get my hands dirty!

Becoming more familiar with the natural foods store and all it has to offer. It helps to know what natural remedies are available for things as they come up but also, even though my pregnancy was fantastic, it left me with some new things to work on aside from just stretch marks (like eczema). I reworked our menu to introduce as many super foods as possible, cut back on the no-no’s and boost our intake of fiber and key vitamins. In 2014 I want to make sure my family is eating well and feeling their very best.

Growing our own food. We attempted a garden last year but aside from getting it planted late we had a bit of a pest problem and didn’t get as great a turn out as we had been hoping. Now that we’ve tackled those obstacles though I am looking forward to a garden a’plenty in 2014.

Being more efficient. When I quit my job this year I set out to do all I could to save us money to make up for my lack of a paycheck. In 2014 I hope to do even better with our efficiency by reusing and repurposing things to cut back on waste and avoid extra spending, fixing things ourselves, and structuring meals to get more bang for our buck.

Creating “Our Places”. It’s important for us to create traditions that we can enjoy year after year with our daughter (and any kids we may have in the future). Trips to look forward to, events to plan on every year, etc. One place I have in mind is Holland, Michigan. Their annual Tulip Festival not only happens every year right around my birthday but our daughter’s nickname has been Tulip since before she was born. (And who knows, maybe when she’s older we can visit the motherland and take in The Keukenhof’s massive tulip festival).

Strengthening our faith & Finalizing our family mission statement. The mission statement was actually The Hub’s idea and it’s a pretty good one I think. I believe at the core of its success lies our faith – both in each other and in God. Not much brings you closer to God than having a baby. She is our joy but apparently also our salvation and cause to protect, value and cherish all that is good.   Of course there’s plenty more things I hope I can check off my list for 2014…like losing 20 more pounds, finishing my book, selling our house, buying a new home, etc. But 2013 proved that few things are far more important than faith & family – even with less money and personal time and wherever we are, if we are together, I know we’re home.

So here’s to the new year! I hope 2014 brings you joy and all you set out to accomplish yourself. Have a safe & happy New Year’s Eve everyone!

Christmases & Blessings A’Plenty

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This year is Adriana’s first Christmas and we have 9 Christmases altogether. Needless to say holidays are usually busy for us and involve lots of traveling around. We spent the first with my step-father in the Smoky Mountains where it was beautiful and more like spring than winter. We had our Christmas with the baby on Christmas Eve morning followed by my grandmother’s, The Hub’s grandmother, and step-father’s family and Christmas Day at his mother’s followed by her family, then his father’s and finally one with my mother.

It was 77 degrees in The Smokies while we were there and yet was still alive with Christmas

It was 77 degrees in The Smokies while we were there and yet was still alive with Christmas

I have to say, as cute as it has been so far watching our little girl open her first Christmas gifts ever, I realize more and more (and more especially now) that it’s all that you have that money just can’t buy that are the greatest gifts of all. Our budget was much tighter this year but, all things considered, we’ve ended up with so much more than ever before. God has blessed me with a beautiful, happy and healthy baby girl who radiates the purest joy. I have a husband who both challenges and supports me every day and who even when I want to scream at I love with the deepest part of my heart. I have a family that believes in me and encourages me in all things.  My home is modest but it’s more than I’ve ever had and is a product of our hard work and I know it will only get better from here. I am humble and appreciative and I have an unbreakable faith in a God who gives me reason to rejoice and be thankful every single day…yes, even when things don’t go as planned.

Even raining it was magical

Even raining it was magical

It’s hard to believe the new year will be here in a week. I both look forward to all the new firsts we get to experience and also wish time wasn’t seeming to move so fast. In a few short weeks my baby is going to be a year old!!

One final Christmas craft with the baby. It's hard to believe these little fingers are going to be a year old in just a few weeks!

One final Christmas craft with the baby. It’s hard to believe these little fingers are going to be a year old in just a few weeks!

But for the here and now it’s still 2013 and even more importantly than that, it’s Christmas. It’s the season of peace, love, and joy. Faith, hope and wonder. Giving and appreciating all that you have received. Sometimes your white Christmas ends up being an unexpected and even rainy spring break. Sometimes that silver lining is actually a golden shower. Sometimes the hardest challenges turn out to be the biggest blessings in disguise. And no matter how dark it is, there is always a bright side. This is what I’m reminded of during the holidays. I hope that you find that in your holiday season and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and more blessings than you can count in the coming new year.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thoughts on Flatulence

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I’ve decided that the frequent moments of dingbat dubbed “mommy brain” is due not just to the lack of sleep but also the excessive amounts of gaseous fumes inhaled by them. Flatulence. It’s inescapable. It seems everywhere I turn it’s either The Hub, one of the dogs, or the baby. That doesn’t even include all the bathroom breaks and shitty diapers. And no, I won’t even sit here and pretend I’m innocent in all this either. No one is. Besides, it’s a fact that women can’t NOT fart. If you spend all day trying not to you’ll just end up letting them go all night while you’re asleep and then hear about it later from the one you’re sleeping with (if they decide to tell you, that is). So you may as well just let them go when the urge hits and when you can conveniently blame them on the dog or baby like your husband does. One thing is for sure, whoever the culprit may be, all those fumes have got to have some type of impact on one’s ability to think clearly. I have no actual scientific evidence to back this up but I figure if WebMD can turn every symptom into a death sentence then I certainly a mother’s instinct is better than their formula.

True so far

True, so far! 😉 

Happy Friday y’all.  Have a great weekend!

Thanksgiving 2013

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This time last year I had a little turkey of my own taking up turkey & dressing space in my belly. I thought I had an idea of what was to come with her but I was way off. It has been so much more than I could have ever dreamed.

I thought about writing out all I am thankful for but there is just too much to even try and one day is never enough.  I appreciate all I have and those I share it with so much – on this and every day.

 

Turkey Day Sunrise - It was a beauty outside my window this morning

Turkey Day Sunrise – It was a beauty outside my window this morning

 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you have more blessings than you can count.  And may your waistbands be as big as your appetites today.

 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Blooms & Brown Thursday

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The blooming indoors continues…

Big beautiful blooms in my living room

Big beautiful blooms in my living room

It’s the third year I’ve brought my Hibiscus inside for the winter and it never disappoints. As soon as it found it’s place in front of the living room window it started to bloom all over again like it was still summer.

Lilies in the kitchen

Lilies in the kitchen

I know it may seem like a silly thing to be excited about but I’ve had this lily for over a year without any blooms and I had pretty much given up hope – I mean, at least it was a nice green houseplant. So this morning when I woke to finally find a lily it was a pretty big deal.

Orchid in the dining room

Orchid in the dining room

And this orchid was dead – both the stem and flowers totally gone. So for it to now not only be shooting new roots but to have a new stem with buds too is huge because it doesn’t usually happen once the stem dies.

It’s absolutely freezing outside so it’s nice to have these little reminders of spring and summer around the house. If it weren’t for the fur babies that have a history of eating my houseplants I would fill every room with them (another reason these winter blooms are such a big deal to me).

So in other positive news, it’s a short work week for most people here in the U.S. (Yay!)…Well, unless you work at any of the retailers trying to pinch every dime they can from consumers this year by being open on “Brown Thursday” and Black Friday (Boo!). If you are, I’m sorry. Not just that you have to work, but that you have to work on a day that is being referred to as “Brown Thursday”. Last time I checked the day already had an official title – ‘Thanksgiving’. And I’m all for creativity but if you’re gonna rename a national holiday to commemorate the materialistic ways of society, can’t you come up with a better moniker than “BROWN THURSDAY”?!? As if Black Friday isn’t enough already.

Aaaah, the holidays

Aaaah, the holidays

Have a great week everyone!

Fall Back

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Reason #197 that I love the fall: The clocks fall back. As much as I hate losing daylight and it getting dark so early, this time of the year has always agreed with my internal clock so much better. Getting that extra hour of sleep the night the clocks change is a bonus too.

So I woke up earlier than normal and recharged (not usually two words that work in a sentence together for me). The baby slept in extra late so I let her snuggle with daddy and I actually even went for a jog. (Yeah, I felt that recharged).

The golden sunrise from this morning

The golden sunrise from this morning

After a Sunday breakfast and some work around the house, The Hub smoked a whole chicken and while that was going on we went for an afternoon walk to enjoy the last of the fall colors before the rest of the leaves all fall to the ground. Even after an early season snow and with many of the trees already bare, autumn is still hanging on with everything she’s got.

A covered bridge by our house

A covered bridge by our house

Autumn views, The Write Side of Life

Fall Branches, The Write Side of Life

Autumn Stroll, The Write Side of Life

Fire Tree, The Write Side of Life

We came home and had a great dinner – The Hub’s chicken was amazing and we had some of the carrots I had put up from our own garden. The baby smashed her mashed potatoes and then had fun feeding the rest to the dogs. In an effort to keep my baking progress moving forward I decided to make an apple pie this morning too. The only problem was that  I couldn’t find a recipe that fit what I wanted just right…So I improvised. Yes, even with the whole “baking is a science” fear of mine. Maybe I’m getting more comfortable in this area of cooking now and trusting myself more. The other factor may be that pie doesn’t require any  real scientific know-how. There’s no “rising” or “density” or “airiness” you’re going for like with cakes. It’s pie. You pretty much just fill it, top it and bake it. It’s pretty fool proof I guess…As long as the flavor is good that is. (Anyone remember that episode of Friends with the Trifle?! Haha. Rachel, Rachel.)

So I sliced my apples and added some dried cranberries for some extra zing, added my cinnamon and some other spices I thought would go well together and made a crumble topping with brown sugar, butter, flour and walnuts. The house smelled heavenly while it baked and it tasted phenomenal. With a scoop of vanilla ice cream and cup of (decaf) coffee it was a perfect close to the weekend.

He's got a point...and it was a damn good pie if I do say so myself! :)

He’s got a point…and it was a damn good pie if I do say so myself! 🙂

Hope your weekend was great too!