Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Merry Christmas!

We have an Elf on The Shelf, but he's not staying on his shelf! Elfis (cute, right?) is very mischievous! Here's what the little guy's been up to since he moved in.

Elfis has been really fun to have around for sure, and Jake cannot wait to see what he's been up to while we've been away all day.

I'm enjoying preparing for Christmas this year much more than last. My tree is up and decorated, and I've actually finished with Santa Claus already. Still have other gifts to get, but I feel good knowing Jake's all taken care of.

I found these snowflakes at Publix really cheap. I think they look cute in the window.

My other grandmother will turn 90 in April. This past Sunday she hosted her traditional Christmas dinner for our extended family. There's usually anywhere from 25 to 40 people depending on who makes it. This year I think I counted 37. She cooks all of the food herself still, but does let my step-mom bring a couple of dishes and desserts. Everything was delish as usual, but dang it, that tradition of letting the men prepare their plates first has got to go! Most of the piggers are back in line for seconds before us gals get kids' plates prepared and then our own! Seriously, I believe her mother did dinners this way and she's kept that tradition. I'd like to think it's to get them out of the way and hush them up! Ha!

Green beans, potatoes, corn, turkey, sweet potato souffle, dressing, gravy, nom nom nom!

My cousin, Hope, has connections with the big guy from the North Pole. He made an appearance at my grandmother's! The kids were very excited!

Hope, who made Santa possible, with her hubby Curtis. Thanks, Hopie!

All the kids with Santa.

Another good time at my grandmother's and we're all hoping next year is just as nice!

It's only going to get busier from here. I have to finish cleaning the house for this weekend when us girls get together for my great aunt's birthday. We're all meeting here, and I'm very excited for some of them who will see my new place for the first time. I also have Christmas dinner at my dad's Saturday evening. Jake's out of school after this week and then it will be Christmas Eve before you know it! We'll go to my mom's and then Christmas morning to my grandmother's again. Hmmm...I feel the need to make a list. I have way too much to do!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Our New Place-The Living Room Part 1

I know I've posted pictures on Facebook of our new place, but I wanted to share what ideas I have for decorating and see if anyone out there has some suggestions or some assurance that what I'm doing looks good. I do have a problem though and that is I love too many different styles. I'd have to have a 100 room house to incorporate all the styles I love. I love French country and sorry, but shabby chic still remains on my list, but maybe only certain elements of it at this point. I love the look of a warm cabin, a sweet cottage, or the retro look of a 1950's Formica and chrome kitchen table and chairs. I love it all and that makes it really hard to pin down MY style and exactly what I want in my own home.

This is so cozy and warm. I can hear the rain on the roof.

And this little cottage is perfection.

Do you know what I'd give for this retro pink fridge??

I love the cleanliness and crispness of white, but I must face facts that
white furniture and an 8 year old boy do not mix!

Just look at this French country kitchen design. I don't even care about cooking!

This farmhouse style calls to me, also.

I can remember my grandmother's set. Why is this so awesome??

This is so Samantha Stevens! Simple? Linear? It just appeals to me in a big way. Not the color scheme mind you, but the style of the furniture.

Do you see what I mean? How on earth could I incorporate all the styles I like into one cohesive design? Possible or impossible? And, do I have to stick with a decor that "fits" the townhome we live in now? If you didn't see the pictures, here's our new home:

I love the kitchen. The cabinets are a cream, not white.
Sure, I'd love granite counter tops, but down the road maybe.
I'm thinking an island since there's plenty of room and of course, there's
a refrigerator now as well as some items hanging on the backsplash walls.

So here's the outside. I like the stone and brick combination
and the shrubs are gardenias, which are a big favorite of mine.

I definitely need updated pictures, but the living room is more rectangular than square with patio doors on the left of the fireplace, the dining area entry to the right. There's also a double window on the left as well. My one dislike? The flooring. It feels and sounds like plastic. I hate it. But that's another something I can live with for a while and perhaps an area rug will help.

So, I have my first real purchase coming and that's my sofa. I saw it a while back at Pier One and fell in love with it. My first choice in color was going to be the sage green, but now I've decided on taupe and that's what will be here in two weeks! It is also on sale for $100 off until the end of September. Here's a picture:

I love the shape of the back, like a sweetheart neckline on a dress, giving it a feminine look, but not too much. I think it also has a retro feel with the clean lines. It's also firm without being too hard. I don't like sinking into a sofa and not being able to get out of it without the assistance of a crane.

So, my next purchase at some point will be a storage piece/bookcases for (of course) my books, photo albums, and other items. My first choice is an Ikea piece. It comes in white, which is probably my first choice since there is white moldings through the house. I'll show you a little trick I found to liven it up though further along in the post. I do like the gray/brown pictured first, but I think it would be hard to find other pieces that go with it color-wise. The chocolate brown is way too dark, I think. What I like about these are the drawers and doors that could hide things I don't necessarily want on display such as pictures not yet in albums, some old books that don't need to be subject to the light, etc.

So, I saw this idea that gives the white bookcase some pop, and I could do something like this, adding my accent color, which I think is going to be a shade of blue.

See how they painted the backs of the cases?
I love it! Not so stark, especially if the piece is bright white.

Then there is always a much more inexpensive way to have what you need. The description of this says these are wine crates stacked and secured together to make the unit. You can also purchase crates unfinished at Micheal's or Joann's, stain them, and assemble them like so. Instant bookcase/storage. Can you get wine crates around here? Is this too rustic for what I'm going for? I'm thinking maybe it is, but I could live with it.

One more shelving option is to take inexpensive bookcases, say 3 of them, stand them as close together as possible. Secure them together and add inexpensive molding at the top and to hide the joinings, making them look like one unit. If I want them white, this would more than likely require painting, which means more labor. Here's an example someone put together for their craft storage:

Pricing for the bookcases? Ikea's piece is $910. Really expensive and out of my price range if I'm honest. Perhaps I can find something similar at a lesser price? The crate system is cheap! The crates run about $5, add in some screws and paint, and I bet you could come in under $100. The other idea, with bookcases I saw at a surplus store here in town for $47 each would total under $200 once you purchased 3, the hardware and moldings, and the paint.

I'm going to ponder on this for a while and make a decision. I'd definitely need some help with the crate system or the 3 bookcases idea. I'll look for similar pieces to the Ikea item as well, to compare pricing. It would be nice not to have to do all the work and painting involved in options 2 and 3. LOL

Suggestions? Ideas? What do you think?

Back in the Saddle

I have ignored my little blog and other things I enjoy doing for way too long now. The past year and a half has been tumultuous, stressful, and full of changes, and I’m still praying for things to settle down to anything close to normalcy for Jake and me. But what is normal, right? I know what it used to be, but who knows if it will ever be close to that again.

To recap:

May 2010 Jake and I moved out of our home with Pat into an apartment that Jake and I ended up hating. LOL! There were a few good things: the pool, Jake won a Halloween costume contest; things like that. Overall, the apartment was too small for us and I felt closed in. I guess Jake picked up on that.

If it weren’t for my parents, my good friends Lisa and Mandy, and Kelly P, I’m not sure what I would have done. My cousins helped me through it by letting me vent endlessly about the breakup, the apartment, money issues, and I’m sure it felt like on and on and on to them.

Around June 2010, I realized Pat had met someone else already. Interesting to me considering it happened so quickly, and they were already seemingly “in love”. (Gag me with a spoon!) However, the denial of any cheating again was made, so whatever! I did speak my peace concerning this person interacting with Jake at this point, so hopefully we are on the same page, and my wishes will be respected in that regard.

We actually worked out a support agreement between the two of us concerning Jake and expenses for school, medical bills, etc. for him, and so far that is working out well. Honestly, I never expected us to agree on anything and for this, I’m very grateful.

Jake and I made it through our first holidays. Pat came over Christmas morning and watched him open his gifts. Jake wasn’t happy when she left and didn’t do anything else with us.

During the holiday time, I was VERY blessed to have a lady at work and her parents sponsor Jake and me. They helped out so much with gifts for him, groceries, gift cards for me to spend on anything else he needed, and even cash. This really got us through the holidays and I felt so much better knowing Jake had the things he wanted from Santa. Despite that I never really decorated our tree and my mood was a little somber, we got through it.

Jake finished up 1st grade in the spring of 2011. I could not believe my baby would be headed to second grade come fall! This summer he really enjoyed summer camp at Kickin’ Kids. He met his first best friend, Don Criss, and two other boys he enjoys playing with, Noah and Emerson. We still need to set up play dates for Noah and Emerson, but Jake and Don Criss are very insistent on seeing each other outside of school! They are best buddies and it’s really cute to listen to Jake’s side of the conversation when they talk on the phone. I think at one point, he was giving Don Criss a virtual tour of our place over the phone! Too cute!

Once our lease was up at the apartment and after looking for a new place for us, I found a townhouse that I am renting to own. I guess it was meant to be since it all came together the way it did, but the worrier in me is concerned that I did the right thing, that I can afford it, and that at the end of the three years I can actually purchase the home. Luckily, the owner said if I needed extra time, it was no problem.

We moved in at the end of June. My sister was a huge help along with my parents and a friend of my dad’s. Lisa B. came over and helped me unpack the kitchen and set it up. Kelly P. helped me move boxes around, up to the attic, etc. And a friend of mine, Joan, was amazing helping with moving boxes from downstairs to upstairs as well. I’d recently been in a walking boot after hurting my ankle so her climbing the stairs for me like that was a godsend!

We’re settling in slowly. There are still boxes in the garage that need to be unpacked and an organized stack of them in the living room waiting for bookcases. We need furniture, storage type pieces as well as a couch (more on that later) and a few other things. It’ll all come in time, and I’m hoping to create some artwork of my own for the walls.

Things are better than they were all the way around. Pat and I get along for the most part; we have our agreement on financial support as well as visitation so I guess we’re okay.

Jake isn’t enjoying 2nd grade as much as 1st, but hopefully that will change. He’s been back for about a month and a half so I’m hoping it’s a matter of him adjusting to the increase in schoolwork as well as homework, no naps or rest times like in kindergarten and first grade, and a lot more structure thrown into the mix.

My mom has been a blessing for us as well. She helps with Jake when she can, and I enjoy spending time with her and wish we could spend more together. Thanks to her, my wonderful Pier One Imports sofa is on its way and should be in our home in 2 weeks. I’m so excited to know it’s coming- a good start to decorating our new home. I’ll definitely be posting my ideas on decorating soon.

I’m seeing a little more of Amy, (my sister)not like I’d wish, but more than in the past. I hope she’s doing well and can accomplish some of her goals, too. She deserves to be happy, and I think if the two of us can overcome our own self-doubt, it make work out for both of us.

My dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer and is over halfway through his radiation treatments after surgery. I’m so glad he’s doing so well and pray every day that he is cured from this. It’s been so hard on him and my stepmom, but also on my grandmother. She has worried herself so over her son, and who can blame her? Overall though, my dad is great, feeling well with no radiation side effects, and we are so grateful.

I still enjoy my job for the most part. There’s really no room for advancement of any type, and this company really isn’t known for giving raises, but I have insurance, the pay could be a lot worse, and one thing that gets me through it is I have my own office. Although people come in and out during the day, I’m basically alone and that’s how I like it. I’m hopeful that next year I will not use up all of my PTO time on Jake or me being sick. We both had the flu, I hurt my ankle at work, but still had to take PTO time to see the doctor, which I think is wrong, but oh well, and I’ve had some other health issues so not one of my 128 hours of PTO was used for any fun. Jake and I have started a vacation $ jar and we’re planning on no sickness to use up my PTO and a fun vacation for us, even if it is a trip down to the beach for a long weekend. I’d love to take him to Disney because I think he’d really enjoy himself, but I may be reaching too far.

My friends, Lisa and Mandy-what can I say? They are wonderful to Jake and me, and I appreciate them so much. Kelly P.-gosh, he's helped us so much and Jake has a Wii competitor, too.

Lastly, and I’ll write more about this later, I have discovered something about myself. I may have blogged previously about seeing a counselor and dealing with weight/eating issues. After changing counselors (because the previous counselor was one that Pat and I both saw for couples’ counseling as well as individually), I know now that I have a true eating disorder. It’s really hard for my family to understand. I think they just see me as someone who enjoys food and over eats. Well sure, I do enjoy food. Who doesn’t? But, they don’t understand the binging, the night eating, the compulsiveness about it all, and how it is much, much more than overeating and not exercising or needing to diet. Perhaps also they think I'm just using that as an excuse? I think my cousins understand and are very empathetic because they too struggle with food issues. I think my friends understand although perhaps they think it’s simply a lack of willpower? I’m not sure. Hopefully, I can explain enough in later blog posts to help them understand more about eating disorders.

For now, I’ll leave off here. I can’t catch up a year’s worth of events and changes in one post, but I’m planning to start doing the things I love again, the things that keep me going on another level, things that allow me to be creative, and that inspire me to be a better mom and a better person all the way around.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Project Comfort-Still Here and Crocheting!

I'm almost finished with a beautiful yellow shawl for a co-worker. I can't wait to finish it and give it to her! I used this yarn mainly because it was the perfect shade of yellow, but it does unravel easily and splits like the one review on the site says if you aren't careful.

I have a pink shawl finished except for fringe and I have got to get that finished. I think I'm finally back in the crochet groove so hopefully I can take care of that pretty quickly.

Remember, if you'd like a shawl for someone send me an e-mail. I've reprinted the paragraph below from another post that tells you what Project Comfort is if you're new to my blog.

I started Project Comfort when I learned about the Prayer Shawl Ministry. About the same time, I learned of a woman diagnosed with cancer, someone close to my age, and it made me realize how fast things can change in our lives. Half of the proceeds from the sell of any comfort shawls go back into Project Comfort so that shawls can be made and donated to anyone undergoing a difficult time in their life such as chemotherapy, dialysis, or grieving of a passed loved one. Many choose to have the shawls blessed by their pastor or priest before giving it to the recipient. My crocheted shawls may have slight imperfections, but these should not be anything you notice. Items are from a smoke-free and pet-free home. If you have any allergies to yarn materials such as silk, alpaca, wool, etc. please let me know and I can choose a yarn made without any of these materials.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Trailing Roses

I have always wondered what our dreams are saying about what's going on inside us and/or what they mean. I have been dreaming weird, scary, reminiscent, and even repeat dreams for quite a while now. Last night I was completely in the past.

At first I was with someone who I realize after this dream probably contributed more to my self-esteem issues than I ever realized. I lived with a home-away-from home family in Atlanta for one semester, and I can remember before I even met them, the husband saying to me they wanted someone to be a part of their family and not close up in their bedroom all the time. Didn't take me long to figure out WHY their previous students shut themselves in their room! His wife was awful! Doing chores in return for being given a free place to stay is NOT a problem. Being forced to do certain chores like "Cinderella" is another. I said "no thank you" to something at dinner one night and got a lecture in my room about how I should eat whatever she cooks so that her kids will eat it as well. She wasn't that great a cook, and I was a picky eater. I already stashed food in my dresser. One day, they grilled steaks and we're eating outside, a very nice day. I take a steak from the platter, and she says asks me if I'm going to eat the entire steak. I know I turned beet red, cut the steak in half, and put half back on the platter. It was demeaning and hurtful and she was a bitch to even ask. Here I was, away from home for the first time. I was trying to act like an adult and take on my new responsibilities at a new job as well as being a good student, and no matter what I did, this woman had something negative to say to me. Needless to say, I shut myself in my room and ended up getting an apartment for second semester.

As far as the dream with her in it, sorry for digressing, she was letting some auction company take all of my grandmother's things that were stored in an attic. My mother and I had been trying to get rid of everything, but we were also going through it all in order to keep things like photos and other personal items. I spoke to the woman in charge of the auction, explaining everything and she promised I'd be able to go through everything. This didn't happen for whatever reason, and all through the dream I was doing my best to get through every section of this huge building where they were selling my grandmother's belongings. I was finding things that in reality I don't have and I know are not in my grandmother's attic or home, but it was as if I was completely reliving my time with her. I was picking up pictures I'd never seen before (and have never seen in real life). I was finding old toys that belonged to my sister and I. I came across items that hung in her kitchen or living room. The kitchen cabinets and drawers were in a room and I knew I wanted the drawers for some reason and I pulled four of them out and put them in a box with all the other things I'd collected. I had the worst time in the dream keeping up with my boxes, my sister and my son. I'd go from one thing to the other, leave a box somewhere and have to get back to it before someone took it. It was so unnerving and frustrating. It felt like I did this all night long, fighting to keep what was my grandmother's and see what every item was they were bringing out of the attic. I remember being half awake and still fighting to keep up with everything before completely waking up.

It's hard not to wonder what all of this is about. Yes, I miss this grandmother terribly. I miss being able to go to her home and talk to her. I think how I'd like to talk to my mother and her siblings about possibly tackling the HUGE project of fixing up the small house and bringing it all back to life again right down to the barn and the chicken coop so that my son can grow up in fresh air, and play in the barn and pick the blackberries and where we can have a garden and plant the entire front acre in corn. Perhaps this is just a longing for simpler times, but gosh how I do long for that. I'm not sure my mother's brother would be amenable to this since he feels he should "inherit" it all once my grandfather, who lives with him, passes away. Oh, what death and greed does to people. Do I dare ask? Could I take on such a project? Would I want to live so far away from everything? Would I be just as happy if I could create this simpler life somewhere else?

Another part of the past crept into my dreams last night. For a while, way back when, I did some wedding photography. Most was done for people in my family, but there were a few people I photographed their weddings who I didn't know well at all. Last night I was AT a wedding that I had photographed and I actually had the photos from that wedding with me. In other words, I had taken the pictures, the couple had gotten married already, but for some strange reason, it was all happening again. I had to keep the pictures in my hands hidden so that no one would see that I already had all the photos. Strange, I know. I had originally attended this wedding with my other grandmother (in the dream), but this time was with my bestest friend, Lisa. As we were leaving the wedding, I was gathering up boxes and boxes of photos, all photos of weddings of family members and friends. Again, it was a constant struggle to keep all my boxes together and get them all in my car. This dream continued on and on, and all of it seemed to be a repeat of a dream I'd had before. So strange.

Now, I guess you would like to know where the trailing roses comes into play? The grandmother I spoke of whose personal things I was trying to collect in the first dream? In real life, she had these gorgeous pink and white roses in her yard. They were small, cabbage-type roses. When I first started my photography classes, I would come home on weekends and click away at the roses and the barn, the tractor and the chicken coop. Somewhere between sleep and wakefulness, the image came to my mind of her with the roses. She didn't "prune" them, but when the trailing branches become so long, she would simply take a large rock, pull the branch to the ground and place the rock on top. She told me the rose branch would create a new rooting system and simply start new growth. Her rose bush was huge and full of roses, so I guess she knew what she was talking about. This makes me I hold on to the original rose bush or do I create a branch of my own? Do I grow off in another direction and let the past go? Or do I need to take a step back into my past to find what I'm looking for?


Leah Crowe said...

While reading this it feels like you are fighting to hold on to something, or struggling to keep what is yours. I feel this way when I go to my mom's house now. She was 2/3 of the way of kicking her husband out, and in he waltzes the morning she passed away and moves back into her house. Feel like I'm fighting to get anything of hers, because none of it meant anything to him. Eeeks. sorry for venting here... I loved hearing about your dreams, and your grandmother roses.

January 17, 2011 5:10 PM