Tuesday, March 28, 2017

home.

It's a funny word, home. So many meanings in just four letters.

Home can be a person.
The people who make you your heart feel content. Not necessarily giddy with butterflies [though that's always a bonus], but at peace.
The kind of peace that makes your bad days suck a little bit less and the good ones that much better.


Home can be a place.
A house, a city, the view from the top of a mountain.
Even if it's not technically your home, it will feel like it. Feel like you just...belong.
Because sometimes even your home doesn't feel like home.


Home can be a state of mind.
Like when you get done with a giant project and you're left with a sense of accomplishment.
Or when you stop in the middle of a really good day only to realize you're incandescently happy.


Home is what you make it.

I've straddled the line between miserable and happy and sad for the past year and finally things are starting to settle down. Life is starting to make sense and I'm starting to realize that it has been too much about stuff and not enough about what truly makes me happy.
I've been in the mindset that if I have this or that or something or other that I'll finally be happy. But it's bullshit.

All I need in my life is home.
I need my people and my mind and a place to sit down and read a good book.

Friday, January 13, 2017

the divorce diet

2016
It was a dark year.

When I should have been enjoying my newborn and 2 year old, I was suffering from depression, anxiety and all-around misery.

I got a divorce. 
At 28.

Some know. Some don't.
At this point, to me, it's old news. I feel like I've aged 10 years in the last 5 months, while others still seemed shocked by the news daily. That's where the theory of relativity comes into play, I guess.

I get it, though. Divorce is not exactly a happy word in the English language.

With it comes a series of standard questions:
"Why?"
"Is there someone else?"
"What about the kids?"

And then there are the statements.
"I never saw it coming!"
"But you seemed so happy!"
"Those poor kids..."

As if divorce should be added to the list of Child Abuse risk factors.

So I'm here to clear a few things up. Mainly because I know I can't continue with this blog until I do, but mostly because I miss writing. Terribly. And I can't just skip this part in my life, move on and pretend like nothing happened. It's kind of a game changer.

Here goes...
Four years ago I was stuck. Terrified because I couldn't have a kid and I thought that made me both worthless and a failure. Really, it just made me like a million other American women who struggled with making babies, but that's a story for a different day. You guys know all about that; you struggled right along with me.
Terror, frustration and infinite guilt; all things that burrowed deep into my soul and still linger to this day.

I thought a baby would make things better. Make me a better wife. Make my husband actually talk. Make my life worthy.

Instead, I was pumped [literally] full of hormones. Poked with needles, sucking blood from my veins like a vampire on steroids. Stifled by a cloak of disappointment.

I'm not a psychologist, but I think this is where it all started.
Me trying to fix my life with a baby is what landed me a divorce some four years later.

Don't mistake my words, I beg you. My children are my world. Without them, I would have very little left to live for.

But I do think this was the nail in the coffin.
The stress; the depression; the sheer desperation...it drove us to the edge and back again.



So here I sit, In a 900 square foot apartment with a cat and two kids.
Wondering what the fuck happened to my life.
You know what happened? Life happened. I changed and so did he.
I was 18 when I met him. 21 when we got married. Both of us babies.
10 years and a shitload of life experience later, we turned out to be much different people.
And we just didn't fit anymore.


Now on to the questions..

What happened? 
I putzed around for 4 years, hoping that things would change. I saw therapists; I read books; I tried making friends for us to hang out with. None of it worked. None of it fit. And I grew tired. I grew tired of being lonely. I grew as a person. As a mother. As a wife.
I grew into someone who would no longer settle for unhappy.

Is there someone else?
Yeah, there is.
It's me.
For once, I'm being selfish. I'm thinking of me. Not my kids. Not my husband. Not my family.
Me.
I'm thinking of the things that make me smile, that make me laugh until I pee [an easy feat after kids, I'll tell ya]. The things that make me feel whole again. If that makes me an asshole, then so be it.

What about the kids?
I love how people ask this as if we did all of this without a SINGLE inclination of how our kids would be affected.
Seriously, guys. You know us better than that.
My kids are my world. And as much as they might drive me nuts sometimes, they are the ONLY thing that have been my constant throughout this disaster of a situation.
So quit asking that shit. My kids are going to be happier this way.


And now on to the statements.

"I never saw it coming!" 
Guess what, genius? Neither did I. I didn't exactly picture this moment on my wedding day. "Oh I can't wait until I can sit in a courtroom full of smelly weirdos and declare to 100 complete strangers that my husband and I are divorcing due to incompatibility!" 
It's basically the American dream.

"But you seemed so happy!"
Yeah, on Facebook, guys.
Facebook is the worst. It's the place to show the good side of your life because no one wants to see the shitty side. It's depressing. And it's no one else's business. So we might seem happy, but that doesn't mean that everything is perfect. Like it or not, everyone has skeletons in their closet. You might think you don't, but you do.

"Those poor kids..."
I know. We're basically serial killers. Our kids will never love anyone EVER AGAIN.
Look, I get it. Holidays are going to suck and won't be normal, but what the Hell is normal anyway? A perfect family with no drama and everyone has a crapload of gifts and no one spills a bunch of spaghetti on their clothes?
Please.
This isn't Pleasantville, folks. My kids are going to be just fine.
You know why? Because we love the shit out of them. As do our families. And friends. And anyone I tell to love them because damnit, they deserve it.
So spare me the guilt trip.


Look, I'd love to spill the gory details but quite frankly...it's no one's GD business. I love you guys, but you don't need to know the good stuff to know that we made this decision consciously and carefully and over a very long period of time. We didn't take it lightly and we are still suffering because of it.
But [and I can't speak for Matt but I think he would agree], we're surviving.
We're getting through for our kids and for ourselves.


My family has been there with me through all of this, even when they really shouldn't have. And for that, I love them. They were filled with heartbreak at losing a son and brother and torn because they knew their daughter and sister was hurting. And somehow they stuck by us both.

And Matt's family has been there for me even when they absolutely shouldn't have. I can't thank them enough for that, because I consider them my family just as much as my own.

At the end of the day, all I can say is that this whole ordeal...well, it fucking sucks.
That's all I can say about it.
I literally have no idea what else to say.
It's been the worst 5 months of my life.

I have been to places so dark I didn't think I could sink any lower.
And guess what?
I fell deeper.

That's just life.
But here I am. Living and breathing and surviving.
And for that, I am grateful.

I am grateful to be me.
And I am grateful for all of you.

So I'm ready to start new. I'm ready to be my own me and live life without guilt and anxiety and doubt.
I hope you'll stick with me. Because I have a feeling it's going to be a great year.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

DIY: Corner "Zoo"


Hey all! I'm back with a project we worked on this weekend.

I've been wanting to build a "zoo" for Addi's embarrassing amount of stuffed animals. I'd seen some ideas on Pinterest but could only find the square versions. They're cute but seem to take up more space than Addi's tiny room would hold. I finally saw a photo of a corner one that I decided we had to do. The only problem? No tutorials. Yikes. We were riding blind. So I drew up a not-too-impressive plan in hopes that I could still remember the math required to get it done. [Spoiler: I didn't remember. Google to the rescue.]
After talking my husband into actually getting this done Sunday morning, we headed off to Lowe's to gather the supplies. I wanted a 4-foot tall zoo with 2-foot long legs.

Here's the stuff you'll need for those measurements [if you want different sizes, you're on your own, pal. My brain is math'd out.]: 
    - [6] 8-foot boards
    - Screws[We used 1-1/4 in. (3.18cm) exterior screws]
    - [2] 9' packages of elastic [I got ours at Walmart in the craft section] - You can also substitute these with bungees but I couldn't find any that I thought would work well.
    -1 quart of paint in any color [I barely used any so you could probably even get away with the samples they will mix you at Lowe's].

TOOLS YOU'LL NEED:
    - Saw
    - Drill
    - Staple Gun [not pictured because my husband hid it from me, apparently]
    - Measuring Tape
    - Paint Brush
    - Sandpaper

First off, measure and cut the wood. You'll need [6] 2' boards, [6] 4' boards and [3] 2.83' boards.
We built our zoo in sections. We started with the corner. For the corner, we screwed one 4' board into another.
Next, we attached [3] 2' boards to each side. Be sure to measure to make sure the middle board is actually in the middle.
Because we screwed one of the 4' boards into the other, they were uneven on the sides. No big deal because it was going to be in the corner and I don't think the kids were going to be critiquing our handy work [we could've used brackets but that's just one more thing you have to buy].
So, when you're screwing the 2' boards into the back, make sure to make up for the difference on the side that's longer. This ensures that each of the 2' boards are the same length.
After that you can screw two more 4' boards to the ends. [no picture, sorry!]

Next we did the front section. Screw the [3] 2.83' boards to [2] 4' boards. Again, don't forget to measure to center the middle board!
After this, I sanded down any rough edges and painted all of the boards that would be showing. I don't have photographic evidence because by that point, Addi was up from her nap and attempting to "help" us with the project. This resulted in a sawdust party and attempts to keep her away from the paint. You get the gist.

Next, using your staple gun, staple the elastic to the boards. I did each edge with 3 staples for some extra stability. These will probably get a lot of "love" when your kids take their animals in and out, so we need to prepare for the worst.

Since we were working on this project on a Sunday, I couldn't go to Hobby Lobby to get the embellishments I wanted. I took care of that Monday. I bought wood letters and spray-painted them with shimmer metallic spray paint. I also found some cute metal butterflies that I thought would add some extra color. [All purchased at Hobby Lobby..on sale to boot!]
Once the embellishments were on [I used hot glue to put them on], we took the two sections into her room and Matt screwed the front into the sides at each corner. We didn't screw it into the walls but if you're worried about your kids tipping it over, do that first [before you attach the front section].
I used the embellishments to cover up the screw holes on the top & used paint to cover the others.

So there you have it! Our zoo! 
Addi's obsessed with it. She kept calling it her birthday present? No idea where that came from. Her birthday isn't until November. Weirdo.


I hope this was easy to understand! I tend to forget steps so if you have questions feel free to ask me in the comments!

Stay awesome, bloggers.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

6 Simple Party Planning Ideas for Your Littles

Planning parties can be tedious, exhausting and all around not-fun. Because of this, my motto when planning my kids' parties thus far has been "simplicity."
After all, do you really think your Little will be disappointed with anything at all involving their birthday?
Okay, maybe [especially if you're dealing with an illogical toddler].
Things can hit the fan quickly when your toddler decides THEY DIDN'T WANT THE MICKEY MOUSE DECORATIONS EVEN THOUGH THEY WATCH MICKEY MOUSE 45 TIMES A DAY AND CALL YOU TOODLES INSTEAD OF MOM.

Which brings me to my first tip:
1. Let them pick the theme 
I picked my daughter's first two themes because she didn't really know what a birthday was, let alone what Disney character she liked best.
For her one-year party I stuck to colors:
Fun & easy to decorate on a budget!
But if they're old enough to care, let them pick the theme! My nephew turns 4 in May and has already changed his theme three times. His mom drew the line at 3 so they're going with his latest pick, Avengers! Letting them pick gives them the control and will hopefully avoid an epic meltdown later.

If your kids aren't old enough to decide and you still want to do a theme, trust me: keep it simple. I loved the colors theme because I could get generic colored tableware, table cloths and streamers and it wouldn't cost me a fortune.

It seems like ALL of the trademarked party goodies should be trimmed in 14k gold for the price they want us to pay for them.
Since this is the case no matter where you buy, I suggest:

2. Buy some trademarked & stick to generic for everything else
Choose a couple of colors that match, say, the Buzz Lightyear plates and napkins you found and decorate the other stuff with those. You don't have to buy all Buzz plates, napkins, cups, streamers, party favors, table cloths, toilet paper, paper towels, dish soap, etc.
You'll quickly find yourself dipping into your kids' college fund and they will probably tell you later they think that was a pretty stupid idea, mom [though I would enjoy some Buzz Lightyear toilet paper, not gonna lie].

For my daughter's second birthday, I chose Dinosaurs because she was, and still is, obsessed with all things dinosaurs. I got a few dino decorations on Amazon and stuck with generic colors for the rest.


I even got the table cloths, plates & napkins from Amazon because I'm lazy and Wal-mart is the worst. I think for this party I spent less than $50 on all tableware and decorations. Not too shabby!

3. Party favors? I say "nay".
Guys, I get it. You want all the kids to have a good time and love your party. But does that really mean we have to send them home with a bag filled with $50 worth of stuff? No. My kid plays with cardboard. She ate dirt last week. Doesn't take much to entertain her.

I get a couple of things to make them feel extra special and call it a day.
For her 2nd birthday I got dinosaur masks and dino tattoos for everyone who attended.

Max-osaurus
Yes, that is my husband.
Yes he chose his forehead for the location of his tattoo.
Veloci-Adelaide
Bonus Tip: Goodie bags for the adults? Beer. Just..lots of beer. 

4. Food & Cake
My family [both sides] is the not at all fussy when it comes to food. Everyone's usually happy with easy goodies so we don't over-do it.
Crock pot meat for sandwiches, lunch meat, chips, dips, etc. As always, sticking to my "simplicity" motto.
Crockpot dips, crockpot pulled pork sandwiches, chips - easy peasy
Taco fixings for [nephew] Max's 3-year "Planes" party
[Nephew] Maverik's 1-year "Lumberjack" party...all things manly
Maverik's "Blaze" waffle pajama party
My sister is the real party planner in our family. She even does those cute food tags with clever puns on them. For my nephew's 2nd birthday, he wanted a "Blaze waffle pajama party". I shit you not. It was amazing. Best party ever. We all wore sweatpants/pajamas, ate waffles and genuinely had a fantastic time. 
She's also clever with the food:
These cupcakes. Seriously. Where does she come up with this stuff?!
Now for the cakes...
Cakes are expensive [you guys probably think I'm poor. I'm not, I swear. I'm just cheap.] and I really don't like cake that much anyway. My sister & I are fans of going the alternative route. Ice cream cake or cupcakes. 
Addi's 2-year Dinosaur Ice cream cake - We had the dinosaurs already so I just stuck 'em on there and called it decor.
Maverik's 1-year tiny birthday cake
Addi's 1-year over-sized cupcake
Max's 2-year Buzz Lightyear cupcakes
Maverik's 2-year Blaze cake
My mom recently started a tradition of getting the kids these amazing cakes that a local gal does for her. It's fun for the kids and the cakes taste amazing [so I'm told. I'm weird about eating cake].

Any way you do it, kids tend to like sugar so I don't think you can really go wrong.

5. DIY
My sis and I complement each other well because where she likes to do fun things with decorating and the food, I love to DIY. It's just my thing. Cooking not so much.
The main reason I like to DIY decorations is because - you guessed it - it's cheaper! And I enjoy crafting like the true dork I am.
DIY Poms - These things are a pain in the ass to make, but totally cute!
Search Pinterest to find thousands of tutorials to make these.
I made the hats in this top picture out of scrapbook paper, felt, elastic, and some poms - all things I had on hand.
I get lazier as the years progress so I bought these hats off of Amazon and added the dinosaur tails with some blue scrapbook paper I had on hand. They were a hit with the kids!
My sister's centerpiece creation for Mav's "Lumberjack" party. All from the great outdoors!
I also choose to make them something special to wear rather than buying it because holy Lord have you seen how much birthday outfits cost on Etsy?? A lot. A lot of dollars.
Tutu I made out of ribbons & scrap fabric [my mom bought her the adorable "1" owl shirt]
Shirt I made with acrylic paint & white shirt from Old navy
I also make their invitations every year because I love doing it. My sister sends out e-vites via e-mail which I think are just as good. I simply enjoy making mine! 

6. Reduce, reuse, recycle!
Reuse whatever you can from year to year to make it memorable [and cheap! haha]! 
You might have noticed the "Happy Birthday Adelaide!" sign in a few of the pictures. I made that for her first birthday out of more scrapbook paper I had lying around [you can tell how often I use scrapbook paper for actual scrapbooking]. I plan to use it for every birthday as long as it lasts.

I also use like to use streamers to create a cute photo backdrop. I plan on doing that for as many as birthdays they let me! :)
Sass-o-frass
I made this balloon wreath for my sister's "She's about to pop!" baby shower back in 2012 [yikes, times flies]. The center part was removable so she can replace it with any little message she wants. I made one for Addi's first birthday as well and plan on using it for each of the kid's parties! 


I hope some of these ideas help with planning your littles' next birthday party! If you are working on something a little bigger, check out this event management system by Eventbrite. I've been chatting with a gal over there and she seems super cool!

As always, stay awesome bloggers.