Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Kick off to a (loooong) Labor Day weekend!

Good LORD, my last post was terribly depressing!

I've still had my moments here and there, but there is some good on the horizon. My "vacation" starts from work now and not back till September 5th.  And we're camping with friends this weekend! 

And on top of that? The weather is absolutely GORGEOUS. 

As in, golden sunlight washing everything in it's happy glow, warm temps mixed in with the cool hint of Fall right around the corner...and I'm loving it!  Due to the cool early morning temperatures, I can literally FEEL Autumn gently creeping into the lingering shadow left by Summer.

So, what am I doing?  Why, making homemade apple sauce in the crock pot, of course!
I promise you, it smells a billion trillion times better than it looks in this crappy cell picture.
And it still has two more hours to cook!

The comforting scent of cinnamon is wafting deliciously through the air. And I am pinning everything pumpkin/foliage/Halloween related that I can find on Pinterest.  All mixed in with packing for camping this weekend. Shorts and tee shirts for the days and long pants and short sleeved shirts for the cooler nights.


It feels so good to finally have something to look forward to. 

My stress has certainly not gone away (we went to a not-so-great doctor's appointment for Daryl yesterday, and one of the patients at my work is terminal with cancer, bringing up waaaaaay too many sad memories of going through a similar situation with my Dad...but more on all of that later) however for a few days at least, I can try to "forget" about everything and just enjoy myself and my beautiful, SILLY family!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I need ME.

It's been a rough two weeks.

Lots of stuff going on in my corner of the world, both good and eh.

Medical issues with my mom, missing a couple of days of work (and therefore missing some $$$$), pissed off friends (this deserves a post all it's own), sickness in my family (holeeeeee CRAP, am I sick of snot, or what?? But also proud to say my 17 month old little diva blows her nose--with Mommy holding the tissue--waaaaaaay better than some kids I know double her age! Yes, the strange things we Mommies are proud of...), out of town house guests who I reeeeeeally missed, getting my bow-crafting back on after an annoying hiatus, a big boo-boo screw up in the checking account (my fault...SIGH), worry over a husband who doesn't take proper care of HIS health, an 87 year old Grandma-in law who is living with us for the summer (and driving me insane) and bratty, bratty toddlers!


Doesn't that sound swell?

And amidst it all, I just keep bottling up any stress and anxiety I feel, knowing that those little bubbles would eventually rise up to the surface and burst (okay, ERUPT) from the bottle that is ME. Yes, today was that day. When Avery was down for a nap and my husband, son and GIL left to go pick up steaks and some fresh corn for a little family shindig dinner at our house today, I was scooping up the cordless phone into my sweaty, dirty (I needed a shower) fingers and hastily dialing the numbers before the car had even cleared the edge of the driveway.

"Mom? What are you up to?" My voice trembled on the last word. And I just suddenly let LOOSE with all my anxiety, all my stresses, all my worries and anger at certain people...letting it all gush out of me with the violent turbulent force of a swirling, raging rapid. I cried and gasped and said how much I was "Sick of it! So fucking sick of it all!" and listened to my mom give some much-needed and wanted words of advice.

And then once it was all out, and I came to the realization that maybe I DID need a little bit of help (despite my resistance to taking any kind of pills anymore), it was like a small, promising chip was knocked out of that huge weight on my shoulder. Something to help "take the edge off" and to help me get through when too much has become TOO MUCH.

And another realization. I need to start asking for help more. Saying "NO" more. Taking care of myself MORE (and that's saying a lot, since I haven't really been taking care of myself at ALL). Make time for a ME-TIME more even if that is just reading a couple of chapters on my kindle, or sipping on a glass of red wine while staring out at the soothing lake waters. STOP WORRYING ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK and realize that MY family comes first, plain and simple.  My family will ALWAYS come first.

And love on these little people so much more.

I feel like I take them for granted and that makes me feel like a shitty mother. I've been hearing so much lately (from friends, strangers, blog posts, Internet articles) that it goes by "so fast"  and to cherish the moments I do have with my children before they grow up!

I vow to kiss more cheeks (is that possible? I DO kiss them an awful lot), color more pictures, stick more stickers, dance more crazy jigs in the kitchen, enjoy MORE "everyday" moments.

And one more thing? It's time to feel like ME again. I know I've said this before but I'm reaching the end of my rope here...I need ME back. I need kick-boxing and dates with my hubby (who I barely ever get to see) and coffee dates with my friends and window-shopping at the mall and walks in the late summer-early fall sweetness of air. 

I need it all.  I need me.

I need my family.

 I need relief.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hunter's Pirate Parrrrrrrrty....Shiver me timbers!

Warning! This is going to be a looooooooooong
picture-heavy post!
So fasten your seat belts and let's go....

Months and months (and months!) ago I gave Hunter an option (two of his favorite things) for a theme for his 3rd birthday party. Pirates or Firemen? Without skipping a beat, my huge fan of Jake and the Neverland Pirates shouted out "Pirates, Mama!"

I did a LOT of planning for this party.  I made as many decorations as I could, which includes decorating the goody bags, making the cupcake toppers, the birthday banner and some paper decorations to add to the fun.  I hit up dollar stores and discount stores, online shopping and I used coupons at the craft store to get all the supplies that I needed.

And it has been a process of creating stuff over the past few months in any spare time I could muster (after the kids were in bed)...cutting, gluing, sticking, poking! For a bit, I was feeling sad becuz the weather forecast was NOT promising. My fun outdoor activities (walking the plank, digging for pirate treasure in sand) had to be scrapped. So the night before, I made the executive decision to set up inside and I'm SO thankful I did. At one point, before the party began, there were torrential downpours and wind. And even though the sun was in and out all afternoon, everything was soaked outside and the humidity made it SO steamy. We were nice and cool indoors in the a/c. A little cramped, bu happy!

And I'm pleased to say the pay-out was WELL worth it. I only wish I had gotten a picture of Hunter's face yesterday morning when he came down the stairs and SAW all the decorations Mommy had set up the night before...his expression was like Christmas morning!

So without further adieu, welcome to Hunter's Pirate Parrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrty! (I'm sharing ALL the details so if you don't care about the decorations, just scroll down to see the little pirates and the birthday boy.)

Welcome to Hunter's Pirate Parrrrrty! X marks the spot!

The birthday banner I made, although I ended up moving it from the mantle and putting it elsewhere.

I scattered gold doubloons and jewels everywhere!

The pirate face sitting on our wood stove is the pinata. I still buy the pull-string kind just becuz a
majority of the  kids are still little.

One of my coupon-purchases from Michael's (craft store) using my coupon. They literally were setting up
 their Halloween stuff as I was shopping that day. Halloween decorations? In late July???

Some of the birthday decorations I made, using my Cricut.
I was especially proud of the goody bags! I bought brown bags from the craft store, then embellished with skull and crossbones cut-outs made with my cricut. I glued them on, and then tied on a skull and crossbones ribbon (from Michael's) attaching a red tag that I wrote the kids name on. Then I filled the goody bags with pirate-y treasures. Some gold doubloons, a skull and crossbones pencil, a cardboard/paper hat and pirate eye patch that I purchased online from Amazon, a little rubber skeleton, a string of beads (like mardi gras beads) from the dollar store, a glow stick (from the Target $1 bins), pirate stickers from Amazon (they have the same ones though at Oriental Trading company or Birthday Express), and one piece of candy. Didn't go crazy with the candy becuz I knew that they'd get plenty from the pinata!

One of my favorite finds! This "treasure chest" was in the house decorations section at Michael's and retailed normally for like $21.99 or something like that. It was 70% off so I scooped it up for I think, $6.50. And now I have this cool vintage-y looking box to use for whatever I want! To complete the look, sparkly "jewels" from the craft store and more dollar store beads.

Big D, my master cake-decorator! He is in charge of piping on the frosting for all the birthdays. :-)

I tried to add in little pirate-y touches where I could, to tie it all together. These cut-outs were stuck onto lollipop sticks to make "sails" that I stuck in the utensil cups (the tin cups are from the Target $1 bins!).

My delicious Oreo Pirate Pops! They may not look professional, but the kids LOVED them. And they tasted yummy.

This is the same (one of the two) cake stand I made for Avery's 1st birthday party last March!  I just spray painted the (pink) bases now a nice dark red. And the awesome part? They are now the perfect color for Christmas! I will get lots of use out of these inexpensive, easy to make cake stands.

My adorable little pirate stinkers!

The birthday boy!

Argh, mateys!
My silly family! And yes, I made Big D dress in a pirate tee shirt as well. LOL

The sweets table! I tried to keep the food low-key this party (for my own sanity) so we had: cupcakes, brownies, Oreo Pirate Pops, fish and chips (gold fish and potato chips), grapes, watermelon and cherries. And a friend brought her taco dip and tortilla chips. For the kids, I had a beach bucket filled with Capri Suns, and for the adults we had soda and coffee.

The birthday boy's cupcake!

Hunter LOVES this pirate cup I got for him. It is from Birthday Express. He made sure to show it off to everyone.

My cousin's daughter Corrina came in her pirate-y best! Hunter was totally infatuated with the "parrot" (crow! LOL) on Corrina's shoulder so I could not get him to look at the camera for anything.

Even the big kids got in on the fun!

Me and my Big D.

Time to sing!

I'm thinking maybe Hunter thought we all sounded off-key?

Love the card that K (The Captain's Wife's daughter) made for Hunter!

Already fighting over (new) toys. Sheesh.

Pinata time!

Pirate Princess Avery showing off all her "bling" from the treasure chest.

Yes, my husband has a pinata on his head. He is a dork.

Baby snuggles! Awww!

A lucky little boy got an AWESOME gift from his Grammie and Gpa.

Wow! That was seriously such a fun and cute party! Even though some of my friends and family (the non-crafty ones) may think I'm crazy, this kinda thing makes me happy. And like I told Big D, seeing the joy on Hunter's face from how much he enjoyed his Pirate Party? Well to me, that is priceless and worth every single moment I put into it!