Monday, February 27, 2012

Something SUPER.

One of my many projects as a designer is this. And in honor of Spring or being hopeful Spring is somewhere around the corner, I am offering a GIVEAWAY!

You can check it out HERE. Basically you could seriously rock your child's world by winning the cape of your choice, accompanied by 2 sweet hero accessories ($55 value). You have until Feb28h, Wed night at 9pm to enter!

You could win something like this...


 Good luck!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I couldn't resist. I pinned Ryan Gosling.

I fully admit this has no concrete value. I dedicate this to evening coffee, Pinterest, and crafty women.

It might just be because it is late on a Saturday night, but I just couldn't resist creating my own Ryan Gosling image to pin to Pinterest. For some reason, these images keep floating around with a variety of silly sayings. I realize I am perpetuating the problem, and for that I apologize.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Well-behaved women seldom make history {free printable}

I swam through a lava tunnel in Hawaii and
climbed on the closed off part of The Great Wall of China 
and brought a piece of the wall home. 
Add that to the 200 additional ways I might have slightly misbehaved
and I think I just might make history. 

{Free download below} Happy hump day!

Well Behaved Women 5x7

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Anyone who has brought a new baby into the mix and had a less than thrilled first child. This one's for you!

One of the first pics we were able to get of the two sisters...
only by coaxing Aislynn to sit  by her daddy and look at a fish.
I still remember bringing home my middle daughter from the hospital. I scooped Isla out of her infant seat and laid her in a "Moses" basket in our living room. She looked so tiny, adorable, sweet, asleep. We anxiously awaited my parents return with our oldest, Aislynn who was 2 years old at the time. Aislynn had not met her new baby sister in the hospital and I was feeling nervous. I still remember everyone saying to me when I was pregnant, "Is Aislynn getting excited to be a big sister?" I always thought that was a stupid question. How does a child know what it means to be a "big sister" when that child has been the only child for 2 years? And how could I answer, "No, I don't think she is excited, or will be excited. In fact I think she will be very unexcited to have a baby join our family. She seems to be somewhat afraid of babies and sobs when babies cry, so no, I don't think she's excited to be a big sister."

In those first few months
this was the best picture I could get
My parents arrived. I remember them opening the door and Aislynn running in. She looked so big, like she had aged 2 additional years in the last 2 days we were apart, especially compared to my 6 lb. 7 oz. little girl. We hugged, she looked at me, she looked at her daddy, then she looked at the moses basket and her new baby sister. Aislynn started sobbing and crumpled down to the ground and refused to look at her new baby sister. Then Aislynn escaped to her room, a safe, baby free zone. Although this response was about what I expected, it didn't make it any easier. A million things raced through my head, fears, thoughts, concerns. I knew in my heart some day, my little girl would love my even littler girl, but I was not feeling very optimistic at the moment.

Someone starts to come around.
The following next few days were filled with me running to the other room, out of sight from Aislynn when I needed to nurse her little sister, Isla. Aislynn did not want to have anything to do with the baby at all. If anyone tried to get her to interact with the baby she would run to her "baby free" bedroom and peek around the door. Sometimes she would even say, "Baby all gone." Excellent! One morning she crept into my room and peeked carefully into the moses basket next to my side of the bed. Normally Isla would be laying there and so Aislynn would run back to her room as though she had spotted a preditor and needed to escape. On this particular morning, Isla was in my bed. When Aislynn saw the empty basket she perked up shouting, "We did it, we did it!" Which I could only take to mean, "We got rid of the baby finally." She victoriously ran out of the room and back only to notice the tiny baby that had not disappeared, laying swaddled on my bed. She was clearly disappointed.

"Sleep overs"
Days past, weeks past, and slowly Aislynn moved from intolerance, to tolerance, to acknowledgement, to interaction, and it continued to get more positive. Slowly but surely, Aislynn grew to love her little sister. Now Aislynn is 6 and Isla is 4. Last night they both begged me to have a "sleepover" as they do every night now. They both already sleep in the same room, but a "sleepover" means Isla climbs into Aislynn's bed and Aislynn reads them books for 10-15 minutes. After I ended the sleepover, they both gave eachother a tight squeeze.

"You are my best friend Aislynn!" Isla said.

"And you are my best little slumbering buddy Isla. Sisters forever!" Aislynn replied.

It was like a scene out of a family movie. They both laughed. And 6 years flew through my mind and I truly felt grateful to see how far we have come.

13 Days.

I got on the computer to google "Can I freeze shredded zucchini?" and then my mind wandered and I thought 13 days. I keep thinking, 13 days sober, and then I remind myself I am NOT an alcoholic sobering up, but that this might be what it feels like if I was one. After the first day, then the third day, then the first week, I wanted to share something about this journey I am on but it's hard to get really real. It's hard to be the kind of "real" that invites judgement. Nobody likes to be misunderstood. I feel like I am experiencing a life changing event, a self mandated "wellness revolution." Some people hear that and think, Are you on a look fine. But sometimes "looking fine" or "OK" doesn't mean you are "fine" or "OK" inside. It might be a physical struggle, an emotional one, a spiritual one you are going through. But all the time people say "I'm fine" or "OK" when nothing is "fine" or "OK" at all.

Its hard to condense a 7 year journey into a meaningful "blog post." I challenged myself a few weeks ago to ask this question about my life: Where do I want to see changes, and where do I want to look back 4 years from now and be amazed by God's grace and provision? The specific areas were my health and spiritual life. I vaguely referenced that I have dealt with stomach problems for nearly 7 years with no real answers from doctors. The struggle has been emotionally, spiritually, and physically draining. Those close to me have an idea of what I have dealt with, but for the most part I feel like no one has known what I really have been dealing with because I did not want anyone to know what I was dealing with. Isn't that how it is sometimes? You want to be understood. You want people to know what you are going through and at the same time you do not want anyone to know what you are going through. I didn't want to have to explain myself, be diagnosed by everyone, open myself up for judgement and misunderstanding. While I wanted someone to ask me, "How are you doing?" I did not want anyone to ask me, "How are you doing?" 

In "Cliff's Notes" style, I started having stomach problems 7 years ago unexplanably when I was pregnant for my 6 year old. I started feeling sick after eating, like my food was sitting in my stomach and going nowhere. Then I would feel worse, like the food was actually rotting in my stomach, eventually I would end up throwing up because I would feel that sick. It didn't happen all the time at first, but I definitely didn't feel "normal" anymore. Then I started feeling that way everyday. I had every test imaginable done from my neck down to my intestines. I swallowed a pill with a camera, had stomach biopsies, upper GIs, esophagus biopsies, swallowing studies, scans. I visited an osteopath, allergists, had blood work done. I changed doctors and tried a bigger city, Indy. Then I moved and did it all over again at UIC in Chicago. I tried drug therapies and went to a nutritionist. No real answers, mostly "guesstimations." Everything came back "fine," but I felt far from it. I desperately scoured the internet for answers or someone out there like me. It was like a roller coaster-peaks of hope, followed by feelings of hopelessness, then numbness and acceptance and denial mixed together and I unwillingly accepted that the way I felt was my new "normal."

7 years flew by and passed slowly all at once. A few weeks ago I thought to myself, I have been throwing up almost every day for 7 years.  For at least 95% of the past 2555 days I have become physically ill at least once in a day and felt sick every day. When I say "stomach problems" most people think heart burn, or acid reflux and I let people think the best. Everyone hates throwing up. I do to. But over time I accepted the sad realty that I would passionately love food, love to make it for others and myself, but that it would make me feel sick maybe forever. I was either in crusader mode desperately obsessed with finding an answer, or processing my reality emotionless, like a robot. When I couldn't find answers the latter was the only way I felt like I could deal with the situation. 

I remember the time I vaguely shared my  realty with some friends and someone asked, "Are you sure its not in your head?" I remember the time someone (not a doctor) suggested I had an eating disorder. And I remember the time someone said, "You need to choose to not throw up," like it was cut and dry and that simple. That's why I held on to this struggle so privately, and why most everyone that knows me would be shocked to know that this was going on. I became very good at appearing "well."

But now its been 13 days in a row of eating food and not thrown up. For 13 days I have felt like I am on the start of a journey that is going somewhere. And so I decided to open myself up here for judgement. How could I not share this journey? For the first time in 7 years I feel like there might be an end to this struggle. I came across a book a few weeks ago called The Body Ecology Diet: Recovering your health and rebuilding your immunity by Donna Gates. And for the first time ever, I felt like everything in the book applied to me. I will definitely write more at some point, but the book addresses the issue of an extreme candida infection, an internal yeast overgrowth infection, and all the repercussions this kind of infection can have if left to grow inside the body and if untreated. The book also addressed clearly how to recover and heal from this type of infection, information I had never seen before, and definitely nothing that had ever been addressed in my many doctors appointments. 

And so 13 days ago I decided to take a deep breath, trust God, open myself up to possible disappointment, start to really feel the emotional magnitude of this situation, and begin a plan that will hopefully result in healing. Right now I am sugar free, gluten free, and mostly dairy free (the first phase of this plan) in an effort to kill the candida infection so that I might begin to recover my digestive system. Some people might say, "I could never do that...go without sugar, even most fruit, no carbs or dairy!" But I say, "If you threw up every day for 7 years and doing this for even 5 months meant you might stop throwing up, I think you might be able to find a way." For me its all about trusting in God and remembering how He has sustained me until this point, being determined, choosing to be intentional, and staying committed to this goal. 

Tomorrow I will wake up and it will be the beginning of day 14. 2 weeks ago that I took action and started to see results, started to feel confirmation that this was the right track. Every day that I eat all my meals and everything stays down feels like a gift. I don't care how "restricted" my diet is right now. I feel joyful. I feel free. I feel hopeful. 

2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Doll Makeover. Because even a doll sometimes needs a makeover.


I myself could use a hair "makeover." I last had my hair cut and colored in JULY. Yes, July, roughly 2 seasons ago. Thankfully I will be getting my hair makeover this Saturday. Don't sit on the edge of your seats, but maybe I'll take a picture...

On to more  or less important matters, like doll makeovers. Now I found this hot mess via pinterest Here:

The claim was that Rapunzel, who looks like she enjoyed getting out of that tower a little too much, 
could go from this to this with some fabric softener and water:

I was slightly intrigued as a mother of 3 girls and LOTS of dolls. I don't particularly like children alive or fake to have hair that is NOT completely out of control. I thought that we should give this "pin" a whirl.

Here is our test subject. We'll call her "Emma." Clearly she is a hot mess. She claims she got this wild hair at "ballet practice." Yeah...I don't buy that, but we'll see if we can help her with some fabric softener & water. 

I mixed a few TBSP of fabric softener with about 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. You are supposed to acquire a wire bristle brush, I had a plastic one that didn't have little balls on the end-the next best thing. I wasn't looking to invest to heavily in this project. Then I started spraying and brushing. 
Quite the arm workout. We started to make progress...

We made it through all the hair, but Emma had a bit of a "fro" situation at the bottom of her hair, so I gave her a slight hair cut. Be careful NOT to do this in front of your children 
unless you want them to start cutting all the hair they can find!

Then some slight styling in the front with some braids to hopefully avoid further CRAZY hair. 

And here she is. A new girl: Emma. 

Hopefully the next few "ballet practices" will be a bit tamer.