Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Say hello to my little friends.

Chances are someone you know has made friends with Alex and Ani. But if you haven't been properly introduced, then let me be the first. 

Alex and Ani is an innovative jewelry company whose mantra is providing it's wearers beautiful symbols of positive energy and empowerment. They offer an assortment of jewelry, from rings to necklaces to earrings, but I'm most infatuated with their bangle bracelets. Their designs are simple and elegant and can be worn by themselves or layered with lots of different types of bracelets. And, for those of us with infamous "man hands," they were kind enough to make their bangles expandable for fuller figured hands! 

I'm loving these bracelets and the multitude of styles, symbols and finishes you can choose. 

Happy Shopping! 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The View (from 40)

It has been a summer of mini-adventures and milestones for the northern end of this blogging duo - family vacations, Bible camp, BBQs, birthdays, boating and minor home renovations. And like Laura, I too sent my youngest to kindergarten last week with feelings of "Now what?" and "What the HECK just happened?"  We are crossing the one week threshold today and my kindergartner still has a lot of anxiety walking through that door every morning. His feelings are simple and concrete: he's scared. New school, new kids and a lot of unknowns. I know that he'll adapt to his new school life like all kids do, but he wasn't the only one feeling anxious. I had a lot of anxiety about my ability to adapt to being alone! And for a minute, I think I actually wished he could stay home! Of course, the thought of home-schooling (and "new math") is still WAY scarier than being alone, so off he went. 

But my feelings of "What just happened?" continued and were compounded coming off the heels of another milestone: my 40th birthday. dun dun dun.... Yes, yes, I know what you're all thinking, "She doesn't look that old!" (That was what you were thinking, right?) But, thankfully, I am.  Thankfully? Yes, thankfully. 

I didn't put together a long list of things I've learned along the way, but I can tell you that the view, the overall view of life, family, love, kids, friendship is clearer. I've made it out of the cloud cover of my adolescence, the fog of my twenties and the sleep-deprived haziness of my thirties (and trust me, when you have a baby that didn't sleep through the night for two years, it can get very hazy!), and the view is more lovely than I ever imagined! It is so much easier to be who you are and say what you mean without apology, say "no" to the things you don't really want to do and, well, just be who you are meant to be. I'd be lying if I said being an empty nester (from 8 to 3 anyway!) and turning 40 didn't creep up on me a little, but I don't hear the haunting music or yearn to be the younger version of myself. I feel like I have a nice patina after 40 years of experiences and just enough years under my belt to look back with a little perspective. I'm thankful for the journey so far (even the messy stuff), for the mistakes I've made along the way and for all the characters I've met - especially the one I married. And the anxiety about the changes milestones sometimes carry is a welcome shot of adrenaline. 

"...if you've found meaning in your life, you don't want to go back. You want to go forward. You want to see more, do more." Mitch Albom Tuesdays with Morrie.

So to my last buddy entering kindergarten, I have anxiety and butterflies the same as you about all the changes. And just because I'm not the mom who cries at drop off don't think that I haven't reflected on what the closing of this chapter means. It's just that I have the advantage of knowing that butterflies are a sign of good things to come - new adventures, new discoveries, a new view of the world. It is human to look back, reflect and maybe be a little anxious about what is ahead, but hang in there because the view continues to get better, clearer and more spectacular the higher you go. And really, who doesn't love a good view? {Erin}

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

So That's a Wrap!...Now What?

If you are thinking what I am thinking..... that seems like A LOT of Saturdays, right!?! :) 

Today I put the last man standing on the bus to Kindergarten and although it's not an "empty nest", it will forever more be abandoned from the hours of 8 to 3! When searching for the perfect quote to start off what will be my synopsis of this chapter of parenting ended, I came across this one and had two very clear routes I could have taken.. And alas, I chose the route of least emotional lamenting because if we can laugh we just may not cry, right?!

I started this blog over a year ago, and still to this day some of my favorite posts have been personal ones. Maybe not for you, but for me, because this blog is for sure to share my passion for decorating but also if nothing else ever came of it I wanted it to somewhat chronicle my life as just an ordinary stay at home mom in case someday my kids wanted to know who I really was and what I was thinking the whole time I had the privilege of being their mom. I have written about adopting my son, raising a girl and what I've taken away from my life to date, you know, before mid life crisis sets in. 

Since Erin joined me sharing her crazy design skillz on the blog I have not written much on the personal front but today, before I dive back in to blogging after a long summers nap, I have to reflect on what it's like to put your last baby on the bus... Yes, for years I have been taking him to the bus stop but today they actually took him:)   One of the first things you think when you walk back into your house and get the door shut (and double bolted) is, holy shit, what just happened here?! You recall all those annoying older wiser, CRAZY TRAIN moms who say to you, in the middle of your toddler's grocery store breakdown, that it will all pass by before you know it. And I guess that's true and maybe part of the reason this quote resonated with me. It's a reality check, and yes it does go by fast (and I'm just speaking to the baby years here) but let's be honest, if you sit down too long in silence and really think about all that's happened in those years,  its not all that fast at all!! Especially if you put yourself through it several times in a row:)! 

In fact what makes those more dependent years fast is not some kind a miracle of time travel, it is a sense of humor! I realized what I wanted to really write was an ode to the kind of sense of humor you have to have to be a really great mom. No one ever talks about that but it's a survival method and it's developed with experience and aged in all of us like a fine wine. There are two very interesting things moms have in common, they all love their kids and they all have a sense of humor, whether they realize it or not, that only comes about by the "pull yourself up by your boot straps" mentality of child rearing through the early years. We all handle parenting differently, but we all laugh at the same parenting jokes that we deep down, wrong or right, know to be somewhat true! Some of my favorites...

So in good humor I will tell you the honest feeling that swept across me after the door was shut and bolted for long enough for me to think straight.  Okay time for recon! I should use this time to go to the bookstore and finally have the time to figure out how I can fix all the problems that I have diagnosed the kids with over the years. Then I should work out, yes, that's perfect!! The better I feel the happier I am to deal with, right?! If moms happy the whole village sings! Oh yes, and the blog I have been neglecting...I will write a post!! And so I wrote the post (and that's all I had time for mind you)... and somewhat like parenting it has taken a different direction than I imagined. It has turn out nothing like I planned but it's real and it's funny, the rabbit trailing and all. It's funny like all the parenting shit that has blown my way in the the years of wiping bottoms, cleaning vomit, holding my foot against the bathroom door, trapping myself in A BATHROOM, just to hold on to what little privacy was left! So today I'm not setting out to fix a thing, I'm not going to try to figure out what to do with the rest of my life like my job as a parent has ended at the bus stop and I'm not going to think anything more about what I should have done differently. Today I'll take time to realize I'm a human being, I'm doing the best I can. I am both funnier and wiser because of all of what life has thrown at me and celebrate that more than anything it's my kids that have brought this out in me. They have taught me more about myself than I will ever be able to teach them. 

So I started this post with a diet coke and am ending it appropriately with a wine! Cheers to milestones! To babies growing up and to parents finding their sense of humor and celebrating it every once in awhile. Its not easy being a parent!


To Vincey, "my sweet sweet"

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