Thursday, February 25, 2010

Yay! More Great Deals!

Wellll...I made the big mistake of going back to Kohls today, lol! There are three near me - one a couple blocks from work, one on the way home from work, and one near my house. Yikes! I ended up buying 5 more frames. I know! I am a frame-a-holic, and I have a problem! I need a 12 step shopping program.

Unfortunately though, the comforter I saw for $22 on clearance and wanted soooo badly was gone today. Sigh. Oh well. My husband even took me to the store near our home tonight to look, but alas, no luck. So today, I've been to 3 Kohls stores. Haha, even I'm laughing at myself about that! But the frames were even cheaper at this Kohls, so I'm sorry - I had to purchase! And I found word art for the wall, discounted to $5.99. Did I mention I also had a 15% off coupon?

I also went to Target - they are having a great clearance sale. All their clearance stuff is a really bottomed out price. I got new kitchen curtains for two windows (each set of two was $2.48) and a new curtain for my haul window (silk, $3.48). And two very cute pink pillows for my daughter's room, and they were $2.48 each. Not a bad day's shopping ;)

I have been changing out photos all night, adding them to the new frames, cleaning, rearranging, organizing, etc. I think I've driven my family sufficiently crazy! But I'm happy with the results. I rearranged the pieces above the mantle and added the word art (thanks for the suggestion honey!) and while it is still missing that center piece, I'm happy with how it looks. I also love the crazy picture collage I made on the wall in our dining room. The hubby will probably question why I did it how I did it, but I'm going to use the response that his arty-self always uses on me: "It's art. It's my interpretation. Deal with it."  :)

Now my next project to tackle is my built in bookshelves (please ignore the laundry basket and chaos on the right). I LOVE them, and they are really the reason I wanted this house (seriously. I love built-in's that much!)  But I am a photo fanatic and I have bombarded them with photos. I think I need to thin it out, organize the books, and add some finishing touches here and there. It's probably going to take me an entire day ;)  I'll go through my normal routine of rearranging, standing back and looking, rearranging, standing back and looking again. Double sigh. I'm such an artist, lol!

So, hit up your local Target and Kohls - awesome sales going on, and lots of great items in clearance!

And on a final note, I finally put my caregiving story up on a blog. It was a chronicle as we went through the cancer journey with my mom, and then I went back and really detailed my thoughts and feelings over the past few years. So if you're bored, and want to read, here it is! Keep in mind since it's a blog, you have to read from the last post to the first ;)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Amazing Picture Frames from Kohls - and even more amazing price!

I stopped by Kohls today for a little "me" time ;) Doesn't every mama deserve that?? It was a big sale, 40 and 50% off of a lot of items. I ended up back where I always do (after first perusing the clearance racks with women's clothes) - the home goods section.

I swear, that section is my downfall!

There were sooooo many pretty things, and such great deals. I bought four picture frames (and put back the dress I had picked out. I thought perhaps I wouldn't feel so guilty buying the frames if I didn't spend the extra $5.60. I know, it sounds ridiculous to me, too, now that I'm sitting at home.) (P.S. the pictures in the frames below are not my family, lol, I hadn't put the pictures in yet!)



They were such an awesome deal. Two of them were $11.99, one was $5.99, and one was $4.99. How can you beat that? They were exactly what I was looking for for my living room above the fireplace. I put the pictures in this evening, and then put the frames up. Now, I have just one dilemma left -- I need a finishing touch for the center of my mantle! Any suggestions? Two walls match the tan in this picture, and two are the red of the fireplace. Hmmm, maybe another trip to Kohls is in order?!?! Or perhaps Homegoods - I love that store too! I've got my eye on a comforter set at Kohls too - I meant to go back and pick it up tonight (had to check with the hubster that it wasn't too girly - lol, do men actually care about bedding?? I must have the only one who does!)



I've also found lately that TJMaxxhas the CUTEST things for decorating. And completely inexpensive as well. I bought these mannequins for hanging necklaces on (by the way, how do you even spell mannequin? There are a hundred different ways. I just googled it, but seriously, it still looks wierd to me!). I absolutely adore them - I have them on a little lingerie dresser. I only have a few necklaces on them right now, because I'm utilizing them as decorations. Previously though, I have all my necklaces hanging from them. They were originally $16 each, but I bought them on sale for $10 each - awesome!

Well, if you have any good ideas for my mantle decorations, let me know. I'm trying to picture what I'd put there. Has to be kid friendly (as there are normally toys and footballs flying around my house) and I don't want anything truly breakable.

I'm off to bed to dream of my next decorating project. I finally feel like this house is becoming "home".

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Thoughts for Today

I'm following @LaylaGrace twitter posts, and her time is drawing near. What a sweet little girl, another warrior taken far too soon by cancer.

Let's show Layla's family that she has affected us positively, and pledge to do something in her honor as we move forward with our lives.

I for one, pledge to take time every day to tell my kids how important they are to me. Sometimes, I realize after they've gone to bed that I've hugged and kissed them, but haven't told them I'm proud of them or thankful for them - and I won't let that happen again.

I also wanted to share a creative idea I came up with, that will help connect you with your kids in the future. This started because I lost my mom at 25 to brain cancer. I had hoped she had written something to me before she lost the ability to write, so that I'd have that solid object forever. But, she never had. I also realized, when the florist asked me what her favorite flower was so that the big arrangement could be made of those, and I had no idea. I just picked lilies because they were beautiful. There were so many things I wanted to know about her and about our family and I never asked because I thought we'd have forever, so I never did.

I do not want that to happen to my kids. I know every day is a blessing, and at any given time we may find our time is up. I don't want to take my days for granted. I figure that if something happens to me today, tomorrow, or while they are still young, they will have this keepsake from me. And if (hopefully!) I live to be 112, then this will simply be a nice reminder everyday of how much I love them.

I purchased 2 journals (left) that reflected my children's personalities. One says Hope, and the other says Imagine (you can find these at almost any store). On the inside cover, I secured a picture of the two of us together, and on the first page, I included a message about the purpose of the journal (a very upbeat message, not a "in case mommy goes away" type message!). Then, once a month (or more, if I have something important to write about) I write a page in there. I also add pictures when I can, again of just them and I, to show how we are growing and changing.

Some of the things I write about include:
  • How much I love them
  • How proud something they do makes me
  • My favorite things to do together
  • My hopes and dreams for them
  • Wisdom and advice my parents passed onto me, and I pass onto them.
  • My favorite things, and all about me
  • How important things like education, faith, and love are to me and why
  • Mistakes I've made (haha, maybe not all the details of said mistakes) and what I learned

The list goes on and on.

My husband also recently bought me this journal from Barnes and Noble (it's not on their website, but it was in the store). It is a journal with proverbs written inside, and room for you to add additional notes about what those mean to you. It covers topics like faith, hope, wisdom, understanding, etc. I love that it has examples on the side (both biblical and non-biblical) and then I can provide my own interpretation for them, along with my hopes and dreams for my kids related to this.

I don't think my biggest fear is dying; I think it's that I'm so scared my kids wouldn't know me if I did. I have so much fun writing in these journals, talking about our inside jokes and the sweet and funny things they do. I find that writing once a month isn't that hard either - I keep them propped up on my nightstand so that I can constantly be reminded, "Hey, did you write in there this month?"  I hope that when they graduate high school, I can wrap up the journals (which will hopefully be a few journals by then) as their graduation gift, so that as they go off to college they can have something to read that reminds them of home. And, it will reassure them every step of the way that no matter what, Mommy loves them.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Patterns? We don't need no stinkin' patterns!

Last year, I decided on a new mission - to learn to sew dresses and clothes for my daughter. Why? Honestly, for the simple reason that it was something new to accomplish. I am a short-attention-span type of girl - I get interested in something, work on it awhile, then once I've sorta mastered it, I move on to the next thing. There's really only a couple things in life that I aspire to be GREAT at - and then I'd like to just test and try the water on lots of different things and be good at them, and experience alot of what life has to offer.
Some people consider that a slacker, I simply consider it unique ;)

Let me say that:
  • I don't use patterns. Part of the fun is learning to create, draft and complete something on my own. Yes, I mess up; yes, most of my things aren't perfect (okay, well, none are), but they are MINE and mine alone, and I like that about them. They are unique, they don't look like everything else, and they look like I made them, which is important to me.
  • Thankfully, my daughter is only 1, so I am able to mostly buy scrap fabric (cheap) at the local fabric store and it's just enough to fit her. This allows me to make a dress, and combine fabric and patterns to make interesting looks for a relatively low price.
  • I invested in a good stitch ripper, because let's face it: new to sewing + no patterns = quite a few mistakes!
  • I have more fun sewing than most things that I've done. What a challenge to actually draft something and see it come to fruition! I love it, and I have not once gotten upset or angry when sewing. I love whipping out a dress for my tot in a few hours at night. So much fun!
I started sewing with a pillowcase dress, because it seemed a simple pattern. How do I make sure they are the right size? Lol, I use one of her current outfits, cut it slightly larger, and pray that it fits! Luckily it is the age of the tunics in fashion, so if the dress don't fit - well, then you can just call it a tunic and slap some leggings on her ;)

And when she outgrows the pieces? The nicer ones I put into a box to save, the others I put in her dress up box for later on, when she starts playing with dolls more and the dolls can wear them! And, by buying stretchy materials, I'm able to utilize the dresses as tanktops the next year, and pair them with shorts - a very cute and in-style look for little girls.

I even made a quilt for her birthday, made from clothing she had worn throughout her first year, and which I found special. First holiday shirts, I love Daddy shirts, outfits from Grandma, and the center piece - a onesie I had bought long before she was conceived, in the hopes I'd have a girl who liked pink someday, and it said "Worth the Wait." This was particularly pertinent since Peyton was born after having suffered two miscarriages. Every day I tell myself that she was definitely worth the wait.

My next venture? Trying to make a back that buttons up or zips up - yikes! I've started the drawings, and hope they come together. I also want to try and make myself a dress, and am looking forward to that challenge. Maybe I'll make some new pillow covers for our pillows, or make quilts as Christmas presents. The sewing world is at my hands!

I'm simply happy to have found something that is a stress reliever for me, and allows me to just focus intently on something that is just for me, and makes me proud of myself. It may be little and it may seem silly, but when I see something I made and people comment on Peyton's outfits and then I tell them that I made it, it's awesome. I'll admit it: I love it!






Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Learning Not to Take Things for Granted...

Tonight when I came home from work, I cuddled my kids on the couch. Held them in my arms, admired their smiles - and their whines after awhile when I just couldn't bear to put them down. I wanted to hug them forever, because I'm learning that we are never guaranteed tomorrow, and time goes by far too fast.

I've been keeping up on the story of Layla Grace, a little two-year-old who is quickly losing her battle with cancer. She has a very short time left, and she has been so very tired that she has been sleeping 18-20 hours per day. When she's up, she doesn't want to be held much, and her poor mother's heart is just breaking. All she wants to do is hold and comfort her little girl. She noted today how she is able to do laundry and clean the house - things she wishes she was back to the days of having no time to do those things - and she regrets all the times she said her little ones were underfoot and she couldn't get anything done, because she'd give anything to have those times back.

I came home to my sweet little Peyton - the same age right now that Layla was when she was diagnosed. I look at Pey's sweet chubby cheeks and mischevious grin. There are days when all I want is for her to nap so I can sleep a little longer, or for her to hurry up and talk so I know what she's saying.

But today - today I looked at her through different eyes.

Today, I held my sweet girl, took in her scent, got as many drooly kisses as I could. I hugged her and smiled with her, and read her a book. I cannot imagine what Layla's mother has gone through, because if either of my kids were sick I think it would honestly take my heart away.

I remembered my mom's last days. The whole year she was sick, we knew she didn't have a lot of time. It wasn't until those last days - the days when she was not aware or awake at all - that I truly understood what it meant to be at the end. I prayed for another day, another week, another month. All of the caretaking and schedules and medications and everything else - I all of a sudden wanted to do that forever, because I realized that very, very soon I would no longer have the opportunity.

All I wanted was to hold her, but by then she didn't know I was there.

So if it was that difficult with my mom, what is poor Layla's mother going through?

I have wondered now for six years why God chooses the people He does to go through cancer. Most of them, like Layla and my mother, don't deserve it. I've been angry at Him, I've yelled at Him, I've walked away from Him. I believe in God, I believe in religion because I believe there is something greater than us...than me. However, I found myself questioning why again today when I was reading about Layla, and a thought just came to me.

No one wants to see good people hurt. No one wants to see our loved ones suffer. It is certainly unbearable. But maybe, just maybe, the stories of people like Layla and my mother serve a great purpose. It took one man, Jesus, to change the lives of so many; to teach them right from wrong, as well as truth and love. So maybe it is the same for Layla and my mom - two people who many of us feel are too unknown to make a difference, but whose stories will forever change for the better our lives, and the lives of so many others. Over a thousand people came to the wake for my mom - 1,000 people. If those 1,000 people thought enough of my mom to come there, then perhaps they brought away from her loss the innate desire to love those around them a little more - and that definitely shows me that her life was not lost through the cancer.

I know that Layla's story made me stop tonight and think about all of the times that I beg for a break from Peyton's curious mind, and how frustrated I get with her tantrums. I thought about how I have to ask Alex 20 times to go to bed before he finally does. And then I thought about how, in a week or a month, Layla's poor mother will start the process living every day for the rest of her life wishing she was able to be frustrated or happy or worried about her little girl. Every day of her life, she will be missing all the things I will get to see about my babies, like their first day of school or their senior prom. My heart is broken for her, and aches for her and I am not even in her shoes, so I cannot imagine how much she is hurting right now.

I hope that somehow, she can find some comfort in the fact that Layla is now permanently engraved in my heart. This beautiful little child will be thought of every day when I see my own children, and I hope her mother knows that Layla has made me want to be a better mother. I won't take for granted all of the aspects of motherhood, be it good or bad or happy or sad, because I get to have those moments -- and that is probably the greatest joy a mother can hold. Layla's story has made me stop and realize that each moment is precious, and that it isn't about all the material things we can buy or how much we can give our kids through monetary means. It's about the love and the moments we share together with them.

I believe that tonight, throughout the country, there are a thousand parents paying a little more attention to their babies in honor of Layla Grace. I know I am - and while it is never fair that she's had the battle she has, she's probably saved more souls than most of us could ever hope to.

Prayers for you, sweet Layla Grace.

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