Happy Shark Week!

IMG_6303 (2)

Are you huge fans of Shark Week like my family is?  We just love it, even if all the shows make the ocean a wee bit scary!  *cue Jaws theme*

I made this fun snuggle sack for Noah last summer, it was the perfect project for summer time, and it kept him warm all fall and winter.  It is made with Bernat Blanket yarn, so it is super plush and cuddly!

Every night when I tuck him in, I tell him to “Feed the shark!”  He giggles and then climbs right in.

You can find the pattern for the Shark Snuggle Sack from Yarnspirations by clicking HERE.

Enjoy Shark Week, and don’t feed the sharks!  Unless they are made with fluffy yarn!  😉

 

I won a giveaway!

I was completely surprised and totally stoked when a YouTuber I follow hosted a giveaway and announced my name as one of the winners!

*happy dance* 

I am a new YouTube addict, only recently watching it for more than just Toby Turner silliness or cute kitty videos.  When I realized that it was also filled with crafty goodness, I started following lots of creative people who I felt connected to in some way.

One of the very first YouTube hosts that pulled me in was Josie, over at Life at 50 and Beyond.   She is first and foremost, completely lovely.  She comes across as very sweet and kind, and just listening to her chat is like sitting with an old friend over coffee.  What got me hooked on her videos, is her super cute designs created on a budget!  A lady after my own heart!

Many of her tutorials gather supplies from Dollar Tree, another new obsession of mine, but I digress.  She creates adorable, unique home decor and gifts using supplies that anyone can afford and that look like a million bucks!  It doesn’t hurt that she also seems to be obsessed with my favorite color, teal.  Hee hee!  Match made in heaven, I tell ya!

Anyway, here is a photo of the super generous prize package that she sent me!

prize

 

How cool is that?!  A beautiful notebook, glittery washi tapes, clothespin clips, pretty paper tags, antique key charms, and a gorgeous Coach wristlet!  I feel like I won the lottery!  🙂

I already have lots of plans for my goodies, and I will forever think of my sweet online friend, Josie, when I use these fun treasures!

Be sure and check out her YouTube channel by clicking HERE.  And don’t forget to click subscribe so you can be notified when she uploads her great tutorials!

Do you have a YouTube channel?  Feel free to share links, I love making new friends and being inspired by awesome, creative people!

It can always be worse…..

Having a crappy day, where everything is going wrong, I feel like a failure, I am so crabby and so defeated I want to scream and then sob.

Took car in for safety check to renew plates, hit with a $1000 completely unforseen repair bill.  Finally ready to renew the plates online, don’t have my property tax receipts, don’t even know if they still exist in our possession, or if they are forgotten ash from the house fire.  Rushed to get daughter off to dance class over 30 minutes away, find out she does not have dance on Monday nights.

I can rattle off a thousand more reasons for my foul mood, and in the back of my mind, I can’t help but realize that things could certainly be worse, as the universe has proven to us more than once in the last several months.

Does that make me feel better?

The answer is no.  I still feel like screaming and crying and hiding under the covers until all the adulting is done and over with.

Being responsible blows, folks.

Back to School Times Four

emptynest

I knew it was coming, that I could not escape it.  It was inevitable, but it still took my breath away and has me typing this at one in the morning.

This year, our youngest baby starts kindergarten.  For the very first time, in the history of sending our babies off to their first day of school, I will be coming home alone.  No little hand in mine, walking home together, collecting leaves and planning our day.  No little voice singing along to the radio as we drive the older kids to school.  No kids shows as background noise.  No little shadow following me around the house.

Just me.  And the fur babies.

Every single last piece of my heart will be leaving me at home by myself all day.  Just the thought has me sobbing and in tears.

For over fourteen years, my life has been my children.  I went on maternity leave with my eldest and once he was born, I never looked back.  My entire day centered around my babies, it’s all I’ve known for so long, I feel lost knowing this chapter of my life is closing.

Sara still feels like a little baby to me, not ready to be sent away all day.  She still says words that take us several minutes, to her great frustration, for us to understand.  She just barely turned 5 a little over a month ago, and already, she has been stamped as ready for school and will be starting her journey outside of our home.  Away from me.

This all feels greatly rushed, especially not being in our own home, still living in a rental house as our place is in the process of being put back together from the fire.  I feel cheated out of our last summer.  I had so many plans, so many dreams of the perfect summer vacation with my babies before school started.  I allowed our circumstances to steal that away from us.  Shame on me.

Already, the hectic school year schedule has started, with dance and marching band kicking off earlier this month.  The days are flying by, I am running out of summer, and there is nothing I can do.

So I cry.  And I type at 1 in the morning, trying to make some sense of my sadness until my brain is too tired, too exhausted to think one more sad thing, and I finally drift off to sleep.

Tomorrow, I will hold my babies.  I will kiss their sweet, chubby, little baby hands, and I will cherish every last glorious minute I have with them before the school year steals them away from me.

I don’t know how moms survive this.  It feels unbearable to me, watching my babies grow up so quickly right before my eyes.

We didn’t start the fire…..really!

flame-1345507_960_720

Been a while, friends!  Just as I left you with my idea of video blogging PCOS related content, I up and vanished.  I have a really good reason, I promise!  We had a house fire and have been out of our home since mid April.

It all started on laundry day, with my very last load of laundry.  The dryer had just buzzed about 15 minutes earlier when I noticed a burning smell.  I happened to look outside the master bathroom window and saw smoke coming from the dryer vent.

Immediately, I ran downstairs to investigate.  The first thing I did was unplug the machine.  I noticed a very small amount of smoke coming from the left side of the dryer (we have or should I say had, a stackable unit, to help you visualize) so I opened the dryer door, still full of freshly washed and dried clothes.  I pulled out the lint basket, and could see flames inside of the machine.  (Side note, I am super OCD about emptying the lint after every single load, always, and we had even recently taken apart the whole dryer and vent to vacuum every little bit of dust and debris!)

I ran and grabbed a cup of water, throwing it on the flames, which seemed to do absolutely nothing, meanwhile the smoke was filling the laundry room.

The power ended up going out, so I used my cell phone to dial 911 as I rushed to get the dogs outside and then ran out onto the porch with Sara while we waited for help.  It was pouring down rain, I was soaked, and completely freaked out.  We had no shoes on, my cats were still in the house, and by the time the fire trucks arrived, our house was billowing smoke.

I called Abe frantically after calling 911, telling him what was happening, and ultimately hanging up on him as I rushed around trying to figure out what I should be doing.  When he later showed up, I was shocked, it hadn’t even crossed my mind that he would leave work, that’s how scrambled my brain was, trying to digest what was happening.

I hurt myself, running barefoot up a wet, grassy hill to secure the dogs for the firemen.  I heard and felt a big POP, and was suddenly in excruciating pain.  It turns out I tore my calf muscle, pretty badly, and was in an insane amount of pain for several weeks to follow.

The cats were rescued by the firemen, and Abe, who had to collect Brady and Katie.  Moriarty was all chill, and let the fireman carry him and bring him straight to me.

The fire broke the main water line, which the fire marshal says helped to put out the fire.  I knew we had a lot of damage, but I honestly expected to be back in the house within a week or two.  That is, until the contractor told us his estimate for finishing was 3-4 months.  *insert jaw dropping shock here*

The amount of things we lost is mind numbing.  Nearly all of our clothing, I mean everything for everyone of us!!  My craft room and Abe’s office were completely destroyed, nothing left.  The vast majority of the kids toys, all completely gone, lost to the fire and water damage.

The playroom where we spent so much time, where we recently renovated with new flooring and built ins, completely destroyed.

Handmade gifts that took hundreds of hours to make, the kids artwork, photos, books, collectibles from childhood and little keepsake memories, all gone.

But you know what wasn’t gone?  My family.  My kids, my furbabies, even our aquarium full of fish!!  We are all safe, and other than my torn calf muscle, all completely unharmed.

What a BLESSING!!!

Our friends, our neighbors and our amazing dance family took care of us when there was no one else there to help.  When I woke up in the hotel room, hearing one of my babies coughing and then began to cry because I had no medicine, nothing to give them, our dance family answered with cough drops and toys and clothes and toiletries.  I cannot count the tears of gratitude I have shed, being lifted up by all of our adopted family members, when we had no one to turn to and no answers.

Yes, we lost all of our “stuff”, but it turns out we were rich beyond measure and never even realized it.

We spent about 6 weeks in the hotel, before the insurance company found us temporary housing at a rental house near our home.  On the second night in the rental home, we found ourselves once again surrounded by firemen.

A carbon monoxide alarm starting going off, just as we were preparing to go to bed.  Thank goodness, because when the fire department came out, and the fire marshal assessed the home, he told us had we gone to bed that night, not knowing about the leak, we would have likely never woke up the next day.

Take a moment to digest that.

After walking away from a house fire unharmed and living in a hotel for 6 weeks, we nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning.  All of us, the children, the dogs, the cats, we all could have died.

Well, if we weren’t insanely thankful to be alive before, we certainly were now!!!

Can you imagine?!

So back to the hotel we went, for about 4 days, while the water heater, which was the cause for the leak, was replaced.

Having endured so much, and roughing it with so little, we got a letter in the mail from our insurance company.  What we had expected to be a reimbursement check, turned out to be a non-renewal notice.  The insurance company decided not to renew our policy, right smack dab in the middle of a huge claim!!  The house is demo’d and awaiting construction, and now we had to worry about finding coverage for our home that was unoccupied and destroyed.  Let me tell you, it is not possible.  The answer, is lender forced coverage which can cost 10 times as much for less coverage!

This is when I officially shut down and started having full blown panic/anxiety attacks.  We’re talking, not able to sleep, constant fear and stress, worried we will lose our house!  I started imagining having to rent a trailer, losing the perfect home that we loved and worked so hard for.  It was extremely painful, and excruciatingly traumatic on top of everything else.  Absolutely the straw that broke this camel’s back.

We immediately called our agent’s office, who was shocked that we got the letter in the first place.  They vowed straight away to “rattle cages” and find us answers.  This all sounded good, but weeks went by and time was running out.  I wasn’t sleeping, I wasn’t leaving the house, I was super depressed beyond words.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, we got the amazing news that they were able to get our policy renewed…..for a higher premium and higher deductible.  But still, the amount of amazing, sweet relief this gave us…….immeasurable.

So here we still sit, in the rental home, no construction started yet, grrrrr, waiting for some good news and very cautiously able to breathe again, hoping to have nothing but good news and happiness in our future.

We usually have big birthdays for our kids, something I absolutely love to do, but have not been able to do with the two kids who had birthdays since all this madness started.  And we are gearing up to have a third birthday away from home, along with starting the new school year.

I had really hoped we would be home by now, I miss our beautiful home, I miss our veggie garden and spending the days outside swimming or playing or just relaxing on our own furniture surrounded by our familiar things.

I hope we have big news on construction soon, and maybe the contractors will surprise us and finish ahead of schedule.  I won’t nit pick and get into all the other problems we have had with various companies, etc during this experience, because in the end, it just doesn’t matter.  What matters is family, and we are all still present and accounted for.  We will embrace this adventure, and I’m sure we will speak about it often in the future.

In the meantime, hug your babies and furbabies and spouses, tell everyone you love that you love them, and just be happy.  Life is too short for misery, and you never know which day is your last.

Love and blessings!!  xoxoxoxo

Now you see me….maybe…

Seriously flirting with the idea of vlogging, adding another element to my blog here, and a new way to interact.  I’m implementing a lot of big changes in my world right now, and as I’ve mentioned before, re educating myself on all things PCOS.  I’m learning even more than I did before, 8 years ago, when I first dove into my research, and feel like it could be helpful to share what I find.

Speaking of 8 years ago……

So, it never fails to hit me this time of year, as the date approaches, and this year is no exception.  Next week, on April 13, marks what would have been my third baby’s birth date/estimated due date.  I was so stinkin’ excited to have a baby with diamonds as their birthstone!!  Not to mention, we don’t have any April birthdays in the family yet!  This year, I would be celebrating 8 blissful years, but the universe had another plan for me.

I lost my baby early on, and went spiraling down into my unexplained infertility battle, that I would eventually find out was caused by PCOS.

I am fighting PCOS to this very day, and have recently gotten so over it, I have decided to really do everything in my power to show this nasty condition who’s boss.  (Spoiler alert: I’m the boss!!  The power is in my hands, and yours too, if you are in my boat!)

I want a happy ending to my tear filled journey, and if I can give even a tiny glimmer of hope of help to someone who feels the same way, who is going through the same thing….well, then I feel like it’s my job to offer a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on, or even just an ear to listen.

That’s why I have been seriously considering vlogging, since I feel like I can better emote to you and speak like your friend, rather than just type the words to try and convey what’s in my head and heart.

I’ll have to see what my tech guy says, because I am thinking of just hitting record, spilling my guts, then sharing the video.  I get annoyed at the idea of editing anything or doing anything technical because, blah, it’s boring to me!  I am not a patient girl, I just wanna talk.  🙂

 

An Update

sick

I ended 2015 feeling super run down, my body was working against me to say the very least.  I spent so much time  being stressed and worried about situations out of my control that it spiraled several of my regular conditions into pure chaos.  My rosacea flared angrily, and my hormones were so out of whack, my PCOS symptoms were hugely aggravated.  In a nutshell, I was stressed to the max and my body was sending me every warning signal possible that something was very wrong.

Here we are, more than half way through February, and I feel like I still can’t seem to catch a break health wise.

I had accepted that I could not change the situations and people that were causing me stress, and made it a priority to focus on myself this year.  I started by doing a mental and physical detox which may or may not have helped to start a missing menstrual cycle that showed up nearly 6 months later that expected.

Let me tell you, this belated period was ridiculous beyond belief.  Heavy, full of huge clots, and lasting over three weeks.  I felt like I was literally bleeding to death, it was intense.  A few days into this miserable cycle, I came down with what I thought was a simple cold from the kids.

You know how it is, middle of winter, stuck inside, germs just seek you out.  But this cold kicked my butt big time!  The second week in, I completely lost my voice.  This isn’t unusual, I almost always lose my voice with a particularly nasty cold.  But then, it got worse.  The cold moved to my chest and I came down with bronchitis.  I was wheezing and coughing up grody gunk for weeks.  In fact, I am still tapering off of the cough and finally stopped wheezing within the past week or so.

My ears became painfully clogged and I could not hear out of them, my stuffy nose turned into a nasty, brain pounding sinus infection, and I just felt absolutely miserable for weeks and weeks.  So many tissues, so much vapor rub, so much yuck.

And here I sit, the night before the very first dance competition of the season, and I have a fresh new case of pink eye.  Yes.  Super contagious, super grotesque, super ain’t nobody got time for this, pink eye.

pink eye

*le sigh*

It’s so ridiculous, I have to laugh or I’ll cry.

Yes, this will be the year of Angie!  Being sick and miserable with some ridiculous ailment for every single day of the year thus far!  Woo Hoo!!

Wah, wah, wah, whoa is me, I hear ya.

I absolutely refuse to let this define my year.  Perhaps this is just getting all the crap out of the way for all the good that is coming my way?  I won’t lie, in a meditative and raw kind of way, all of the bleeding and coughing up crap, etc was sort of like a physical, tangible proof of getting rid of all the toxic, bad energy from last year and a way of feeling the slate being wiped clean.  I mean, yeah, why not see the silver lining, right?

meditation

I am determined to fix myself, little by little this year.  Still working on fixing my annovulatory cycles to reclaim my fertility.  Not much can make you feel like less than a woman than losing your ability to conceive.  It sucks and it’s stupid and I am way over it.  I have just recently started drinking Yogi’s Women’s Moon Cycle tea, which contains several herbs that are often used and that I am familiar with for regulating cycles.  I am also taking Innositol, something that has promising results of PCOS issues, one of which happens to be ovulation.

In addition, I have been using sunflower oil for oil pulling, and taking a shot of raw apple cider vinegar with the mother every day for the health benefits.  By the way, if you research using raw apple cider vinegar with the mother and happen across any articles about vinegar eels, do not read about the critters.  They are harmless, but knowing they exist will induce major heebie jeebies.  Trust me on this, friends.

I will absolutely be updating with what, if anything helps with my PCOS symptoms.  Besides the supplements, I am also being more mindful, meditating, making fitness a priority, and taking a multi vitamin daily to fill in any gaps.  Right now, all I can tell you is that I have been sick or ailing with something every single day this year thus far and I am waaaaaay over it.

To happier, healthier days ahead, my friends!  Be well!

 

Teacher Gifts

Teacher gift 2

Can you believe that December is already here?!  Craziness!!  I like to get all the grunt work done as early in the month as possible, so I can try and enjoy the fun and traditions with the kiddos without worrying about last minute shopping, baking, etc.

Yesterday, between our water being turned off accidentally by the water company (new computer system apparently, but holyhell was that a major headache!!), a sick baby coughing her cute little head off, and our internet not working for most of the day…….I happened to hop online and quickly had my holiday spirit squashed like a bug.

I’m not sure exactly what I had searched, but I happened upon a blog with a list of items teachers really want for Christmas, along with a very long list of things they apparently hate getting for Christmas.  Basically, it boiled down to giving them cash or gift cards because they hate anything teacher related, handmade, or simply bought out of the goodness of your heart.  The post had soooooooo many comments from real teachers, agreeing with the list and groaning and moaning about all the tacky stuff they get each year.

Wow.

It got real ugly real quick, and the overwhelming vibe was how ungrateful the list and the people replying to it really were.

Now, valid points were made.  I guess.  Of course, the teacher won’t like every single lotion or candle or goodie that they receive.  But shouldn’t they love the thought behind it??  The love and the intention of someone carving out precious time and money during the holiday season to show their appreciation??

If I were swimming in money, oh the gifts I would give!!!  I would spoil every single person around me!  Being without oodles of cash, I still make a point to try and show our love and appreciation to our loved ones and the amazing teachers we have in our lives.  Isn’t that enough?  Shouldn’t the recipient of any gift at all just be grateful that you thought of them and made sure to include them?

This one little post soured my mood and filled me with more bah humbug than I care to admit.  Of course, I want to believe that we are the exception, and that anything we ever give is greatly received and appreciated, but now I am filled with doubt.  One thing this girl can’t stand to be is unappreciated.

Blah!

For the most part, each year, we give a gift to the main teacher, and then I have my kids make hand drawn cards for all the extra awesome people they encounter daily, like the special area teachers, the lunch ladies, the bus driver, janitor, school nurse, everyone we can think of that is a part of making each day awesome.  Along with the homemade cards, we usually attach a piece of candy or something of the like.

The response from all of the usually forgotten people has always been amazing, and we will continue that tradition for sure.  But I find myself on the fence now with the teacher gift because, well, I want to be appreciated for appreciating!  Is that so crazy?  I have four kids who are all very busy with school, scouting, dance, band, etc.  For me to carve precious time and money from our already overstretched schedule and pocketbook is a big deal to us.  I want to give a gift that is appreciated and makes the teacher feel loved and cherished.  I don’t want to imagine them rolling their eyes and throwing our gift in a pile of perceived crappy gifts.

I guess really, I will give them whatever the heck I want to, try and forget that crappy blog post I read, and just hope that the people in our lives are not as ungrateful and awful as the people that felt the need to trash the things they get for Christmas each year.  It’s hard to feel sorry for people who are showered with gifts, whether they are up to their snooty standards or not.

I choose to believe that we put good thought and intentions with our gift giving, and if the people want to be jerks about it, so long as I don’t hear about it, I don’t care!  Pffffffffft!!!

I guess I should get off this soap box before it splinters…….

Last thought, and something I am constantly saying to my kids since they were teeny tiny:

You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.

Rant over.  🙂

 

The Day I Woke Up Vegan

I have to start this post with a promise and a fact.  As I stated several times before, I don’t judge anyone, I think everyone should live their life exactly as they see fit.  Be happy and smile, ignore the negatives, spread the love, etc, etc.  And I sincerely mean that from the bottom of my heart.  No matter what my choices are in life, I am never looking around me and judging others for making different choices.  That is craziness, and most assuredly, not me.  I decided to share this with you all, my awesome readers, because I like to think if this little blog as a friendly place to chat and vent and share a little slice of me.  No need to be offended by anything I ever say here, because I can promise you that if I knew I offended you, it would break my heart.

Okay, now where were we…………..ahhh yes…….

The Day I Woke Up Vegan.

So this will sound super hippy dippy to a lot of you, I’m sure, but I have been researching and learning to take charge of my newly realized empath abilities.  If you don’t know what that is, it’s not vital to the story, but it’s an interesting condition, if you are so inclined to Google.  🙂

Basically, I am a super emotional person, and I have found that I am hyper sensitive to the emotions of people around me.  A lot of empaths are written off as being too thin skinned and overly emotional, and a lot of empaths just accept that as the truth and feel like a loser all their lives.  What a crappy way to live!!

I decided to go with the whole “knowledge is power” theory, and decided to do loads of research on it all.  Like, all of the research, exhaustively.  It’s how I do.  As I learned more and more, I have found myself becoming more relaxed and more in tune with what is happening around me, instead of constantly bombarded and stressed.  It also, happened to push me intuitively, to start watching a series of films through Netflix that greatly contributed to my total food revolution.

Perhaps a catalyst to all of this, was at my 3 and 5 year old’s recent dr check up.  Noah, at 5 years old, weighs exactly the same as Sara, my 3 year old.  My skinny little Noahbean has been instructed to put on some serious poundage in the next two months, when he will go in for a weight re check.

My kids are all very healthy eaters, and Noah certainly holds his own at meal time, often times finishing off anyone’s plate that has any leftovers on it.  What the doctor recommended, to aid in his weight gain, is Pediasure.  Now, I don’t know about you, but looking at the gross list of sugars and chemicals on the label of the Pediasure drinks, sure didn’t sound like a healthy way to get added nutrition.  I waffled back and forth with the idea, but ultimately decided I couldn’t serve my baby the chemical laden goo with a clear conscious.  I decided that I would treat him myself with healthy, whole foods.  Added fat and calories from real food like nuts, and smoothies filled with fruits and veggies, so sugar and no unpronounceable chemicals.

It seemed no coincidence when I was drawn to the Netflix film Fed Up, and subsequently, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead; Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2; Forks Over Knives; Food Inc; and Vegucated, just to name a few.  The two that really jolted me to my senses were Food Inc and Vegucated.

Now, I’m not a stupid person.  Every time I ate a burger, or bacon, or chicken, etc, I knew exactly where it came from.  I knew an animal died, and said animal was on my plate.  There was still a massive disconnect though.  To see the conditions that commercial animals are held in…….Well, it was eye opening, and that’s all I have to say.  It is super easy to look up this information for yourself, if you are so inclined.  If you are not so inclined, that’s okay too.  🙂

So the morning after watching these films, and yes, I absolutely binge watched them, thank you Netflix, I woke up realizing that I couldn’t support this lifestyle anymore.  My heart was just broken, I couldn’t imagine carrying on as if I hadn’t seen what I had seen.  That day, we stocked up on all 100% vegan foods, mostly fresh produce, grains, legumes, real food stuff that is pure nutrition, not chemicals and much less murder-y.  lol

The amount of choices available for a vegan lifestyle is pretty overwhelming.  It’s awesome.  Also, I feel good knowing that I am feeding my family foods that can nourish and heal them.  There are so many studies supporting a plant based way of eating, the health benefits, the disease curing, ailment curing, you name it.  It just seems silly for me in my life right now, not to do this.

So yes, as of this moment, and having started on April 25, 2015, this mama is 100% veggie fueled.  And I did it all cold turkey…..errrr….cold tofurkey?  lol  I can tell you that I feel good.  Really good.  And I will definitely be reporting soon on how my whole food fix works on Noah’s weight gain.  He is definitely loving all the fresh food and yummy smoothies, so I don’t predict any problems with him happily enjoying the change.

UPDATE May 28, 2015:

It has been over a month since I have plunged into this new lifestyle, and I am very happy to report that my entire family has jumped on board with me.  I will admit, we have not been 100% vegan, but we have been 100% vegetarian.  And my skinny little Noahbean, who needed to gain weight and was prescribed Pediasure?  Well, I am ecstatic to report that through all whole, plant based foods, I have been able to stack on a good 6 pounds of weight on him, in just about a month’s time!!  Mama has dropped a few pounds as well, and everyone is enjoying the new plant based menu.   I’m looking forward to where this journey takes us in the future.  So far, so awesome!!  🙂