Defining Love & Happiness

I planned to write a Valentine ’s Day blog about love, but I couldn’t. Instead I took pictures of my loves. I thought maybe I could find words by St. Patrick’s Day, but still, words did not come.  Instead I showed love with food on my husband’s and grandmother’s birthdays. I have been trying to find the words to write a lovely love blog, but I can’t.  I have been thinking about writing and how to write about love and happiness without sounding sappy or corny, and I’m bad at it. I’ve also been wondering why happiness is so boring. There are no great novels or wonderful movies about everyday love and happiness because it’s boring.  There’s always a happy ending, but what about the happy existence afterwards? All we ever want to see is the struggle up to the happiness.

IMG_1643

It is so easy to describe hate, anger, frustration. There are so many more words and combinations. But love is different. Love always sounds corny and cliché because we’ve heard it all before. There are only a handful of words I can use to describe the love I feel for my children, and that is no way the same as the love I have for my husband, or my mother and father, or my sisters, or my dog, or my friends, or even the love I feel for nature and animals, yet the language is the same. How can I describe it all differently?  I truly love all of these people and things, but in no way is that love the same.  I can go to a thesaurus and look up alternatives for “love,” but there is still no differentiation between kinds of love.

IMG_1815

Blush, brick, wine, burgundy, salmon, cherry, fuchsia, magenta, rose, maroon, pink, scarlet, rust. These are all distinct shades of red that are not interchangeable. A cardinal’s feathers are not the same shade or red as a glass of merlot. With colors it is obvious. We can see a difference.  But with feelings it is not.

IMG_1898

Why is it that we have dozens of names of colors and only one word for love?  There are actually no words.  It all sounds the same.  The language of love is boring, and likewise the language of happiness is corny. It’s actually very hard to be happy. It seems easy because we don’t have the same depth of language to express positive feelings. Everything sounds so cliche. When people are happy, they might seem brainwashed or in denial, especially during such volatile times in this world, in part because the common vocabulary used for happiness is much less varied than the weighted words of negative thoughts. It’s easy to explain how scared I might be of threats outside of my control, but difficult to explain how I can, at the same time, be happy and hopeful imagining my children making the world a better place. There are no shades of love and happiness to describe the in between time, the time when you’re scared, angry, blissful, and hopeful all at once.

IMG_1564

Then there are kinds of love. When I was a kid, there was a tree outside my home I climbed almost every day. I’d hide in the leaves for hours and read, or daydream, or eavesdrop on the conversations below. There was one spring when I’d sit up in my tree so regularly a family of birds nested just a few branches above me. When it was cut down, I was devastated. I went to my room and cried and cursed my family for killing my friend. It was a tree, not a person to talk to or pet to cuddle with, yet I was still so overcome with the loss my mom had to lie and say the tree men did it on accident and felt terrible just to calm me down. I am still sad that the tree isn’t there for my children to climb.

IMAG4732

How could that level of grief be caused by anything other than love? I loved my tree, I truly did. But how can I explain that love without sounding ridiculous when I have to use the same language I to describe the love of my children or the happiness my dog brings? I love my mother. I love my children. I love my house. I do not love all of these in the same capacity, but I am limited as to how to explain the difference.  I have been trying to find words to describe my different kinds of love and happiness without sounding like every other proud mom, wife, daughter, woman. I realize I am trying too hard.

IMAG4940_2

I will never find the words because I am no brilliant writer, but I can see the look of affection my children give each other the first thing every morning. I can smell the warmth of my small flower bed as I open my front door. I can feel the plush comfort of a blanket during a thunderstorm. I can taste my Mama’s pizzachene while hearing her sing lullabies to my babies.

IMG_2138

The problem with happiness is it can’t be described in a word or two. It is best described in a story, a photo, a color or feeling. Love and happiness are too good for words. True happiness and love transcends anything we can ever put into a language. I hope you enjoyed the photos that show my happiness!

IMG_1895

Advertisements

Baby Feet

imag2202

I am absolutely revolted by feet. The idea that there are people who have foot fetishes turns my stomach. The person who invented this is a damn lunatic.

foot-pillow

Feet are repulsive. I hate looking at them and I especially hate touching them. I know I’m not the only hater of feet. There are others out there like me who cringe away on beaches and in swimming pools.

But then there’s baby feet. Not just any baby’s feet, your baby’s feet. I know it sounds like a given, but even when you hate feet you love your baby’s feet. I didn’t think it was possible. My mom told me I’d be kissing my baby’s feet all the time. I told her she was disgusting. It turns out she was right and I was wrong. As gross as adult feet are, baby feet are that much more adorable. They are the sweetest part of a baby’s tiny body and oh so kissable.

imag2205

Whenever I hold my children, my hand naturally falls to hold a tiny foot. Daisy’s are so small, I can hold both in one hand. Her little tiny toes are smaller than peas and in constant need of kissing. Sometimes when I play with Jack I put my foot against his, and apparently the size difference is hilarious. The other day I put his foot against Daisy’s. It must have been the most amazing and funny things he’s ever seen. This time it was his foot that was bigger! He laughed and laughed while he touched her toes and tapped his foot against hers.

imag2321

My mom recently bought him dinosaur feet slippers. He stomped around the house roaring and growling at anything in his path. A few days later we stopped in the store for clothes and Jack spotted little pink dino slippers that matched his. He grabbed them from the shelf yelling “Daisy! Daisy!” and I couldn’t leave without them. Their matching dino feet must have been the second most hilarious thing he’s ever seen.

img_8683

At some point seeing Jack compare his feet to his sister’s hit me. His feet were once as small as hers. I could hold both of his in my hand. Now only one fits. I still kiss his tiny toes and hold his little foot, but those feet get bigger and bigger every day. I don’t know when his feet will no longer be cute to me, but that day will come (probably with athlete’s foot).

img_8756

Being a parent simultaneously freezes and quickens time. Some days Daisy is only four months old and Jack is only two years old. I worry so much about them meeting their developmental milestones. I try so hard to teaching and engaging with them making sure they are where they are “supposed” to be.  Plus I feel like I’ve known them forever. Life has adjusted to them, and I am in a comfortable space of understanding their needs. Then suddenly only becomes already. Jack is already two! I was just throwing his first birthday party and then all of a sudden I was planning the second. Daisy is already four months old. Didn’t I just take her home from the hospital yesterday?

imag2420

It’s both beautiful and heart wrenching watching them grow. Daisy is realizing she can move on her tummy if she kicks her legs hard enough. The other day Jack figured out how to climb the playground “rock wall,” something he couldn’t do two months ago. I want them to stay little, but I love seeing them discover new things. I’ll enjoy their littleness while I can. It feels slow but time is going quickly, and those baby feet won’t be as cute as they are now. I never thought I’d want to savor my time kissing a foot, but here I am soaking in every toe filled kiss in.

img_8692

Welcome Miss Daisy

View More: http://momentsbymarie.pass.us/daisy_nbView More: http://momentsbymarie.pass.us/daisy_nbView More: http://momentsbymarie.pass.us/daisy_nb

She’s here! She’s home, healthy, and oh so beautiful! I can’t believe she’s mine, that I made someone so pretty and sweet.  Giacomo adores her too. Before I had her I was so afraid that he would be resentful or upset because of the new baby and/or because of my surgery. I underestimated him for sure! The first thing he does in the morning is give her a kiss (if I’m lucky, I get one too, but she is #1 to him). I did cry, though, looking at how tall and grown he looked next to her. It didn’t help that he is so tall (he isn’t even 2 yet and is in 3T clothes). It’s so bittersweet, watching him grow, and now I get to have the emotional rollercoaster of mommyhood twice over with my little Daisy girl.

img_6704

When I first saw Daisy, I was in complete awe. I couldn’t believe that I made someone so perfect. I couldn’t hold her in my arms for a long time (the wait was much longer than when I had Jack), but I was able to touch noses with her little button nose, kiss her sweet soft cheeks, and laugh as she blew raspberries from her perfect plump lips. I know every mother thinks so, but I just couldn’t, and I still can’t believe how beautiful she is.

img_7773

My Daisy girl has been here a month and a half. But I feel like it’s been much longer. I feel like I’ve known her forever. I think because now I am constantly going. I’m pretty sure Jack and Daisy are in cahoots. Once one stops fussing the other needs my attention. It is tiring for sure, but never boring. And on those rare occasions where they both have naps in sync, the time is all the more blissful.

Mommyhood part 2 is much different. I remember spending most of my time with Jack holding, rocking, and soothing him, and on the rare occasions when he did sleep, I just watched him. It was a very sweet time, and it does not exist at all now! Not that I don’t want to hold Daisy all day and watch her sleep, but time is divided now. I have to put her down to play with Jack, and I have to make him wait when she fusses. I think he has adjusted better than I have. Jack has learned patience and he has not one ounce of jealousy in him, so I can tend to Daisy when I need to and he will wait for me to play with him. I also learned that my baby can cry for longer than a few seconds so I can finish feeding or changing my toddler.

img_7640

They are better at handling my divided time than me. I wish I could split apart and tend to them both all day. I’m sure that’s something all 2nd time moms think. But I knew this was coming, and it’s why I wanted to have children close in age. I knew they’d be better at adjusting than me because they are so young. I’m just anxious for the time when I have adjusted!

I took to using a baby carrier for Daisy. I tried with Jack but it didn’t work, I think because I didn’t have a “good” carrier. The one I have now is much more comfortable and made with small framed people in mind, so it’s much easier to use. Plus I get more done, and it’s a lot easier than lugging out the double stroller. The only downside I see is that Daisy isn’t as visible for pictures. (I know that sounds silly, but you know how I love my photos!) This weekend we went pumpkin and apple picking. I have some adorable shots of Jack but Daisy was too tucked away for pictures. (In reality, I wouldn’t have taken her out of her stroller for a picture, I’m just being whiney).

The night before Daisy was born I wrote them each a letter telling them how much I love them. Up until a minute ago, both of my babies were sleeping, something that rarely happens. But now I hear Daisy, so I guess blog and journal done for now. I should have been cleaning my house, as it is a complete disaster, but instead I thought a few minutes of journaling and blogging would be nice because I hope one day both Daisy and Jack can read the letter I wrote and look through my blog and see how much I love them.

Glittered Wine Glasses for President’s Day Weekend

After a break of a few years, we finally resumed our annual President’s Day weekend family reunion ski trip (or, for many of us, sit in a cabin in the mountains and hang our trip). My sisters, parents and cousins rent two side by side houses so we can bounce back and forth from the houses.

IMG_4538

I used to go snowboarding with my husband several times a winter, but I haven’t been able to since I hurt my knee. I’m so glad that this year all my gear was finally put to use; Matt took my niece Jenna out to try boarding. She had a great time with her dad and uncle on the mountain.

12710708_1201307933231033_8126977139350135232_o

To celebrate the re-start of our festivities, I made some pretty wine glasses for all the ladies in the trip.

image

The glasses are pretty easy to make, and as with anything with glue, the hardest part is the waiting between layers. I used the Cricut machine to cut out everyone’s initial and name in vinyl lettering for the wine glasses. I also glittered the stems of the glasses. If you don’t have a Cricut, you can still make glasses with glittered stems. We had a great time, and the glasses were a hit!

IMG_4553

 

For the monogram glasses:

  • I wanted contrasting fonts for the monogram letter and the full names, so I went with a full, swirly monogram and a thin, hand written font for the names.
  • I applied the whole name on the glass in gold vinyl in MV Boli (a system font already on my computer).
  • image

  • I applied the first initial on the opposite side in purple vinyl (to match the glittered stems) in a monogram font I found on dafont.com called Monogram kksc . You can download the same font here. 

 

 

image

For glittered stems:

Note – you want all of your coats of glue, glitter, and sealer to be thin. If your layers are too thick, they will eventually crack

  • First, wash and dry your glasses and use rubbing alcohol on the surface of where you are going to apply the glitter.
  • Apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to the stem and base of the glass.
  • Sprinkle on superfine glitter.

Purple Glitter Stems 1

  • Allow to dry for several hours or overnight. You will know the glue is dried by looking at the underside of the glass. If you see any white, the glue is still wet.
    Purple Glitter Stems 2
  • Apply another thin coat of Mod Podge and reglitter.
  • Allow to dry again.
  • If you need to, repeat the glue and glitter layers until your desired coverage. I only needed two coats of glitter, but you shouldn’t need more than 3 or 4.
  • When your last layer is dried, apply a very thin coat of Dishwasher safe Mod Podge*** and allow to dry. If you think you need to, you can apply a second coat after the first has dried.

Purple Glitter Stems 3

 

***Many people seal their glitter glasses with Triple Thick. I tried it with my glass, but it reacted with the dark purple glitter I used. I wasn’t sure if I did something wrong, so I asked about it on a crafting group page. Apparently certain glitter brands/colors will muddy and react the way mine did. I really like the feel of the triple thick sealer (it feels more like glass) so I will try to use it with another brand/color of glitter in the future and post if there’s a difference.

TT vs MP

Don’t Chew on Jesus, The Joys of Stock Photography, and Other Reasons to be Grateful

2015 was a difficult year. I suffered more than one loved one having passed, I had terrible separation anxiety from Giacomo, my father had a serious health scare, and the year ended with a such devastating loss for my young niece. I am still too upset over some of these to really talk about them openly. I realized though, that these tragedies really didn’t define the whole year. A lot of them happened so quickly together and at the very end of the year that they overwhelmed my memories of 2015. The reality is that 2015, like most years of our lives, had its ups and downs. It was actually a wonderful year. We got to see Giacomo grow and learn (I am only beginning to understand how wonderful it is to be his mom), we celebrated an the amazing birthday of my beautiful cousin (a milestone many did not think she would make), we took an amazing vacation, and we spent a lot of time with family and friends making beautiful memories. There are some things that will never have a bright side, like the loss of a child or a dear friend, but if I never stopped to appreciate my son’s smile, my nieces and nephew’s humor, or the memory of a friend’s laughter, I would be in a much darker place.
All the ups and downs of the year made me realize it was time for me to make a change. I saw this quote, and realized how completely  true it was.
.:
So I am ready for a new chapter. I decided I want to focus more on my teaching. I want to do something that empowers and helps people, and at this point in my life the best way I can is through teaching. Today was my last day at my marketing job. I was everything at once. Scared, nervous, happy, and excited. This was not a decision I took lightly and it was not easily made. It’s done now and I can’t help but think I did the right thing.
When I realized that I forgot the joy of my year, I decided to make another change, a new resolution. I hope it will remind me to appreciate all I have been blessed with throughout the year. I got the idea here. The point is to document something you are grateful for every day. Obviously, we are all grateful for our family, our home, our opportunities, but for me the point here is to try and see the little things. For example, I am grateful for over hearing conversations with a one year old “We don’t chew on Jesus.” (He was actually chewing on St. Jude, but whatever).
IMAG0114.jpg

Don’t chew on Jesus

Today, on my last day of work, I was grateful for stock photography. I left this gem in my drawer for the next worker to find. I only wish  I could be there to see the reaction.
IMAG0111.jpg

Rawr

It’s not something I plan on publicly sharing, but I still encourage everyone to try this exercise. I write my private journal with Penzu, and I made a separate journal just for my once a day grateful posts. Even if a daily journal is too much, try a regular journal (it doesn’t even have to be a “grateful” one). I hope you all have a wonderful year, and I hope I can make you smile at least once this year!

Grinch Ornaments for Giacomo’s 1st Birthday

It’s crazy to believe a whole year has gone by since my Mr. Man came into the world. I always say that the day he was born it felt like an explosion, that my heart grew 3 sizes that day like the Grinch. So for his first birthday, we had a Grinch themed party. Giacomo had such fun playing with his cousins, family, and friends.

Jack s party 2

I would have just had pizza and subs, but my sisters and mom took over and insisted on cooking a feast of antipasto salad (Truffula Salad), chicken cutlets (Roast Beast), sausage and peppers, kielbasa, pierogies, baked beans, pasta, potatoes and peas (Who Hash), and a 6 foot sub.  For I took over and went crazy.I couldn’t have done any of this without their help. I definately have the best family!

Jack s party 3

For dessert nieces made chocolate dipped marshmallows and decorated sugar cookies, while I went nuts making cupcakes, chocolate pretzels, Rolo pretzels, Oreo balls, pumpkin cheesecake, Rice Krispie Treats,  a regular cake and a smash cake for Jack, and Who Pudding. The kids even enjoyed a Hot Cocoa bar.

Jack s party 4

To thank everyone for celebrating, I made Christmas ornaments of the Grinch and his heart.

IMG_3680

For the Grinch ornaments, I swirled green paint inside the ornaments and left them upside down to dry. After two days I had to recoat. I let them dry about a week before adding the Grinch face.

Grinch

I layered yellow vinyl over black vinyl cuts for the ornament. Using the Cricut Explore, I cut the Grinch face by uploading  as a simple image. (I uploaded it twice, once for the face and once for the eyes). grinch clipart

I’ve made glitter ornaments with Glitter-It in the past, but I finally decided to try the mop & Glo method I’ve seen on craft sites and Pinterest. It does work, and it’s super quick! Just swirl the M&G in the ornament, drain out the excess, add in glitter, shake it up to coat, and tap out the extra glitter. Glitter-It works great, but so does M&G, and the giant bottle is way cheaper.

IMG_3227

I feel like the heart ornaments went with my whole year’s theme. All year I’ve been writing about the joys of the heart as well as heartache. The year started with my heart growing with Jack’s birth, and since then I’ve written about the joys of being a mom, the heartache of leaving baby, The Mighty Quinn’s Heart surgery, my dad’s heart attack, and now again, the joys of being a Mom.

Jack s party 1

I was driving home from the party, I was thinking how it was the first time I did something really “Mom,” and it was the first time I felt like Mom. Feeling like mom is subtly different than feeling like a mother or a mommy, and I’m not sure how to explain it, but giving my son a fun birthday made me feel like a Mom, and I loved it.

Our Halloween in Florida

Monsters Inc for Halloween on the road.

Monsters Inc for Halloween on the road.

Myla's Surprise Party

We gave Myla a surprise party, and oh she was so cute! She really was surprised.

It’s just 2 weeks after Halloween, but if you walk into any store you’d think Christmas is next week. I even got sucked in buying a Christmas book for Jack and catching myself planning Christmas decorations. So, I’d like to regress and talk about Halloween, my vacation, and how Christmas can wait so it doesn’t get stale by December 25!

Jack, Sally, and Zero

After driving down to Florida (about 18 hours), we started the vacation by going to the Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. It was a blast. Adults are allowed to dress up and the park is open until midnight.

Splash Mountain in Costume

Since most people crash around 10, the park became pretty empty for the last 2 hours. We even met the Seven Dwarfs, a very rare occasion that only happens on Halloween and Christmas.

The Rare Seven Dwarfs!

We found out that the secret to going to Disney’s Not-So-Scray Halloween party is to go the day after Halloween. That way, we still trick-or-treated, there was (I think) less of a crowd, and the tickets to the party were less expensive

We all dressed up as characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas. For the most part, I made the costumes. My favorites were The Mayor (Jenna), The Boogieman (Olivia), and Dr. Finkelstein (my mom, though she didn’t take many pictures in the wheelchair).

Boogieman & Mayor Dr. Finklesforth & Ax Head

The three little ones were Lock, Shock, and Barrel, my dad was the character with the ax in his head (We gave him the most minimal costume), and Angelina was the demented vampire toy. Jack was Zero, but it was so hot he could only wear his hat in the park. When I post how-tos, I’ll post the whole of all the costumes.

Happy Halloween!

Matt was Jack Skellington and I was Sally, and they were the only costumes I didn’t make. I bought my dress at Hot Topic rather than a costume store. It was the same price, much more comfortable, and the pattern went around the whole dress, not just the front like the costumes. The most home made thing I did for my costume was my makeup and nails.

Sally's Dress Nails

We went to all the other Disney parks and Universal Islands of Adventure, and met some celebrities. Did you know Mickey Mouse TALKS when you meet him in Magic Kingdom!? I was starstruck!

Mickey Mouse

Then we finally crashed at the beach in Daytona for a few days. There was a heat wave our whole vacation, so it was about 100 degrees, but by the beach, the breeze felt awesome.

We needed some beach time!

On the way home, we spent the day in Charleston, South Carolina and spent the night in “The South’s Most Haunted Hotel,” Charleston Embassy Suites. We didn’t witness any ghosts, but there were some noises and creaks, and all the drawers in one of the dressers were inexplicably open (Ok, so maybe Giacomo opened them when I wasn’t looking, but that’s not fun.)

Haunted Hotel

Now that I’m home, I am in full end-of-year mode. I’m playing around with some recipes for Thanksgiving, and I’m starting to get ready for Giacomo’s first birthday! I can’t believe a year is almost here! I’m so excited to give him a fun birthday, even if he won’t remember it.

Texas Craft House

blood, sweat, and glitter y'all