Plans and being stuck in the planning stage

I have been envisioning/planning a master bedroom re-vamp for what feels like forever now. I am still waiting to find the time. We have to clean out an embarrassing amount of junk clutter and get some serious reorganization done before we can really begin the transformation. We are so busy the next few weekends, (with good things!) that it will probably be another month or so until we really get down to business in there. But I am so excited!!! I can’t wait to have a pretty haven for us, you know one where you aren’t so embarrassed of it that you close the door when company comes over…yeah, it is that bad right now! I am also going to eventually have my own little craft space in there…yaaay!!! I am brimming over with excitement but have to contain myself a bit until the calendar allows. Here is a little sneak peek at what I am planning, because I need it to feel real. On the left is some color scheme inspiration. Also, my friend Erin strikes again and made me this wonderful print. She took what I envisioned and expanded on it to make it even better than I had hoped! I just love it!
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And here is a little glimpse at one of the fabrics I bought with plans to make a headboard and maybe some throw pillow covers (we will see if that is too ambitious for me as I am still a non-sew-er).

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I am itching to get some creating done in some way. Now that birthdays are done and we are finally all healthy around here for the time being (fingers crossed) I can get SOMETHING, anything completed and end the drought!

celebrating life and love

This past weekend was really busy and one of the most fun we have had in a while. On Friday Braxton turned one and two of our good friends got married! We had so much fun celebrating (and then recovering) all weekend! Peter had been up till the wee hours of the morning the night before for the bachelor party, but he was a good sport and got up with me and the kids to celebrate Braxton’s one year anniversary of life before he had to be at the church in the early afternoon. (He was a groomsman.)

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I always take a “birth minute” picture of me with each of the kids. Since Peter had to be at the church getting ready for the wedding, I had to improvise and take this one in the mirror.
The wedding was really fun. There is something so special about celebrating Christian marriage, especially when you have known the people getting married for years. John was Peter’s former room mate and also a groomsman in our wedding. He is one of the most generous, kind and Godly people we know. He has been an incredible blessing in our lives on numerous occasions and was also a complete gentleman when I accompanied him to his senior prom many years ago! God has done amazing things in his life this past year and we were so happy to celebrate with him and Allison as they begin this exciting chapter in their lives together.

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Peter and I even tapped into our inner 25 year olds (yes, we are actually 25, although sometimes I feel as if our corrected age is more like 35) and stayed out until 3:30am catching up with some amazing lifelong friends. I am so thankful for people who we can just gel with and who we know genuinely love us as much as we love them. What a gift! Congratulations John and Allison!

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A year of change

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What a difference a year makes! Last year at this time I was anticipating a scheduled c-section for the next morning. Today I am playing with my sweet boy during his last day as a less-than-one-year-old! I have learned so much this last year. It has been such a whirlwind that it has only been in the past couple months that I have actually been able to assess all that I really have learned. When I found out Braxton was a boy I am ashamed to say that I was disappointed. I never thought I would react that way. I had always wanted a boy, but for some reason I could not make myself be happy about it. I shudder at that thought now. I am so blessed to have a son, and not just “a son” but Braxton. He has challenged and blessed me in countless ways. I am so grateful that God gave me the privilege and honor of being Braxton’s mommy. Everyday I am amazed by, enriched by and more and more enthralled with my “B”. God really knew what He was doing when He gave me Braxton, even if I didn’t. Happy Birthday my adorable, lovey, feisty, wonderful boy! I feel like our family is better and more complete with you in it. We love you so much!

I took a picture on every one of Braxton’s “month birthdays”. (Is anyone surprised by this??) I still can’t get over the change that can occur from month to month and certainly over the course of a year! When I look at these pictures I am reminded that as Braxton was growing and changing God was using him to grow and change me as well. I am so grateful that God works in mysterious ways and through even the tiniest vessels.

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I can’t wait to watch you continue to grow, Braxton.  I am excited to see the person you will become. I know you will continue to be an amazing gift in our lives and will bless everyone who knows you with you with your loving and fun personality. Love you!!

Fabric Bulletin Board

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Sometimes it is the smallest and simplest projects that mean a lot. I went from feeling uninspired to now having way too many ideas rolling around in my head. I just needed to get something out of my head and actually done! This bulletin board was not tops on the list, but it was something I knew I could knock off in one sitting. (Ahhh, the sweet aroma of actually finishing a project!) I got the idea from my friend Ashley and knew this would be perfect for Hayleigh’s room. All I did was 1.) spray paint a frame, 2.) mount cork behind it, 3.) Cover it with fabric, and 4.) refine the edges a bit with some ribbon. I can’t wait to put up some pictures and bible verses etc. I know it will make my little collector very happy.

Speaking of, here are just a couple pictures from Hayleigh’s actual birthday a little over a week ago!

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This weekend is Braxton Boy’s birthday and two of our life long friends are getting married! Can’t wait!!

Not home yet…

I have been in a bit of a funk lately…feeling uninspired, unmotivated, exhausted, down, grumpy, discontent. Maybe you know the routine. Anyway, I started feeling myself finally coming out of it the past few days. (Maybe a little thanks to pharmaceuticals is an order). I am feeling more motivated to create, finally! Now, hopefully I can find the time to get stuff done!  I also heard a song on the radio today that really grabbed me. The lyrics made total sense to me. It is called “Where I belong” by Building 429

Sometimes it feels like I'm watching
From the outside
Sometimes it feels like I'm breathing
But am I alive?
I will keep searching for answers
That aren't here to find
All I know is I'm not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

So when the walls come falling down on me
And when I'm lost in the current of a raging sea
I have this blessed assurance holding me.
 
I think Depression and being tempted to be overly driven by emotions will always be a struggle I have to battle against, my “thorn in the flesh” so to speak. It is a nice reminder that that is how it is supposed to be this side of heaven. I am not meant to be completely comfortable and fulfilled here on earth. I am not saying by any means that my struggles compare to those of other people. Many people suffer much, much worse hardships than I will ever taste. But for me in the midst of my trivial, but sometimes consuming, struggles this reminder was just what I needed.
 
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. “ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18


Also, although random, this is my 100th post!  Yay!

One

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Next week my sweet boy turns one year old. In some ways this fact makes sense to me but in other ways I find it nearly impossible to believe a year has gone by already. I feel like I have known Braxton for so long-like he is (and always has been) such an integral part of me. Yet in other ways I look back at life a year ago and realize how true the cliché is that time goes “in the blink of an eye”. This past year has been one of the most challenging and rewarding years in my life. Braxton has enriched and blessed our lives in countless ways. He has caused me to love in ways I never had before. Even though I had “done it all before” with Hayleigh, my experience with Braxton has been incredibly different in almost every way. God taught me a lot this past year. One of the main things I learned was how much I have left to learn.

When Hayleigh was born I didn’t really have any first hand experience as to what to expect. They handed me my bundle, wheeled me out of the hospital and sent us home. As first time parents Peter and I had prepared ourselves, as best we could, for the on slat. But I was pleasantly surprised. Other than having some allergy/digestive issues Hayleigh was an “easy baby” (for lack of a better term). She slept through the night from about 5 or 6 weeks old, followed a predictable schedule but was flexible to go with the flow if she had to, was hardly ever fussy, and never had separation anxiety. I did not feel an instantaneous connection to Hayleigh when she was born but very quickly after that I felt a bond to her that was indescribable. I felt, and still do, that we are connected in a unique way that I can share only with her. There was a guttural attachment to her, a kind of which I had never experienced before. When she lays on my chest I feel a sense of peace and rightness that I cannot fully express. It is like we are connected and all is right with the world when I can listen to her gentle breathing.

When Braxton came I felt a deep and instantaneous love for him, differently than I had for Hayleigh. I think this may have been because I had Hayleigh ay home and knew what wondrous connection was in store for us. I remember saying when he was only days old how I just wanted to hold him and never put him down and how I loved him so instantly in a way I didn’t experience with his sister when she was first born. I had a c-section with Braxton. My recovery was different the second time around. (I had Hayleigh naturally.) Actually the physical pain was less severe, but hormonally I was a mess from the beginning. I think one of the reasons was the c-section. When I was in labor for nearly a day with Hayleigh my body had time to adjust to the idea that she was making an exit. But with Braxton literally one second I was pregnant, not in labor, and the next-there he was! My body was a wreck. I ended up returning to the hospital 3 days after we left with stroke like symptoms. It was one of the scariest moments of my life. I was reading a book to Hayleigh and suddenly I could not speak. I could visually see the words on the page but I could not make out what they said, as in my brain would not translate them into words. I looked at the calendar and saw names of family members' and friends' birthdays or events and did not know who the people were. I didn’t even know my own kids’ names. It was one of the scariest moments of my life. Initially we thought that maybe I had gotten a blood clot in my leg from surgery and it has traveled to my brain. I literally thought I might die. I hugged and kissed my parents and babies goodbye like I might never see them again and went to the hospital. I ended up staying over night for observation and was told I had a Complex Migraine as a result of hormones.

In the weeks and months that followed I continued to have hormone related issues. I also struggled to bond with Braxton. He was a horrible sleeper and was very fussy and needy. I always knew I loved him, but the bond that I had felt initially had nearly vanished. It was hard to explain and painful to think about even now. I had to decide to love him. I thought I was a terrible mother. What kind of mother has to make herself love her child? Isn’t that supposed to be the most natural, unconditional love a human can experience? I had times where I resented him for “ruining” my mental health, sanity and time with Hayleigh. It makes me cringe to write these things, and even at the time I knew I was not myself thinking this way. Then I ended up beating myself up even more because I swore I would never be the parent who favored one child over another. I made up my mind to try my best to not act in ways that reflected my emotions of favor versus resentment. Knowing my history with Depression, I had expected to have post-partum with Hayleigh, but I never did. I had more clarity and mental health than ever in my life after she was born. This time around post-partum hit me like a ton of bricks, and it nearly buried me. I fought the idea for a long time, hoping that my hormones would regulate and I would be okay soon. As time went on, I grew in love for Braxton. It became less of a choice and more natural, as it “should” be. My Depression didn’t go away though. It worsened and turned into severe anxiety as well. So, recently I went on some anti-depressants. I have not been on them since I found out I was pregnant with Hayleigh. It was a bit tough for me to go down that road again, but I know its right.

As Braxton turns one next week I feel as if I am reaching a bit of a milestone as well. When we celebrated Hayleigh’s first birthday, someone said to me something along the lines of “don’t you just feel such a sense of accomplishment?! Like, we made it!” I smiled and nodded but honestly I didn’t completely relate to what the person was saying at the time. I was happy to see Hayleigh turn one but I didn’t really feel this sense of accomplishment for myself. As Braxton turns one I can relate to this so much more. I don’t want to pull any punches; this year has been tough. As his first year of life wraps up, I do feel a bit of what that lady was talking about.

I think one of the areas I feel that the most is what I have learned about love. I said before that Braxton opened my heart to love in new ways, and he did. I have always been a person who is too controlled by emotions. That is a struggle of mine. When it came to Braxton there were many times I had to fight against how I was feeling and choose to love. I still hate the sound of choosing to love your baby, but that is part of Braxton’s and my love story. And I have to say that the love I feel for him, while as deep as what I feel for Hayleigh, is very different. There are some sweat and tears there. I feel myself swell with joy now as I can naturally spill over with love for my boy. That is something I don’t take for granted. Our story is beautiful in its own rugged way. I often say that Hayleigh fixed me, and in many ways she did. But my Braxton-Boy did too. The process was not as pretty to see, but he changed me for the better. He expanded my heart and stretched my being in ways I didn’t know a person could. Every single day I grow in love for Braxton. Most days it comes easily and naturally now, but some days, as with any relationship, it is hard. I am still working through a lot of emotional issues related to my Depression, but as I face Braxton’s birthday next week, I look on it was new clarity and a sense of pride. Instead of hiding how we struggled this past year, I want to celebrate how God worked in my life to teach me a lot about myself and about love. I am more of a fighter now. I choose daily to battle my emotions, to battle the lies I tend to buy into and to put on love even when it doesn’t seem to fit comfortably (although sometimes I fall flat on my face).  God used Braxton to teach me that. I hope that someday if he reads this he won’t be insulted by my struggles in our relationship, but rather be validated that through the battle God helped me fight to love him and God fought on Braxton’s behalf to win a special place in my heart. And now as Braxton lays his head on my chest or puts his cheek next to mine I feel a sense of peace and rightness that I cannot fully express. It is like we are connected…one.

Sore throats, Sunshine and SMOOTHIES!

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We have had some sore throats in our house lately. Growing up whenever I had a sore throat my Dad would get me orange sherbet. Ever since we’ve been married Peter has taken on that role. (I know; I am spoiled!) I is just perfect to sooth a scratchy, sore, winter throat…and the winter blues. We haven’t had much snow at all and actually the weather has been unseasonably mild for Western New York. Despite that and although I am a fan of chilly weather even I have found myself feeling like a bit of a shut in-wishing we could play outside in warm weather. Today Hayleigh came down with a sore throat and even though she was feeling sick she was still begging to play outside too. I couldn’t blame her. The sun was beaming through the windows. In her world when the sun is shining it’s fair game to petition me (over and over) to play outdoors. Since it was too cold to play outside we had a bit of a picnic inside. And to soothe our sore throats we made some of my favorite smoothies-with orange sherbet of course! The recipe I kind of made up to imitate a favorite Freshens flavor. I call it my Winter Blues Beater Smoothie. Here is the recipe…yum!!

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For 2 20oz smoothies combine:
2 cups Orange Juice
1.5 cups Frozen Strawberries (fresh would work too)
a large scoop of Orange Sherbet
1 cup ice

That’s it! It is so yummy and a little taste of warmer weather! It is also perfect for winter because of the dose of Vitamin C and it has 3 servings of fruit per smoothie! Hayleigh enjoyed hers!

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I also enjoyed the sunshine streaming through the windows and could NOT resist taking (and sharing) a bunch of pictures I took of my babies. Well, actually I didn’t try too hard to resist. Please excuse any snot or drool. I couldn’t keep up with the fluids (gross!) and didn’t take the time to edit the pictures other than to turn some of them black and white.

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For me a yummy smoothie and these baby blues are a sure-fire way to beat the winter blues. Anyone have any suggestions other yummy smoothies or fun ways you beat the winter blues??!

Linking up at these fun parties!

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