A place for the mud.

I’ve never been very good at sending thank you notes.

Ok, that’s putting it generously. I SUCK at it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a very grateful person. Just not so good at picking up the phone, sending a thank you card or responding to kind emails/comments in a timely manner.

I have been so overwhelmed (in a completely awesome way) by the response from the last post on Unconditional Love. That was one of those posts where my finger hesitated over the ‘publish’ button for a good bit. It’s hard to put your heart out there, especially when you yourself don’t really understand what you’re saying! I turns out however that you have felt the same way too. And that, that my friends is a very very good feeling. Makes my heart all sorts of warm & fuzzy!

Things have been very up & down, as things usually are in life, albeit much more up than down which is very hopeful. There is still a lot to happen. More understanding of each other, more healing of wounds. They may never fully disappear but a scar that is just a reminder of the past verses the scabbed over sore spot that still makes you jump a bit when it gets bumped will be a welcome change.

When people are going through times of change or chaos it’s very interesting to see how they cope. For P, when he feels out of control in one part of his life he’ll sometimes throw himself into perfecting his work. For others maybe they’ll go crazy cleaning or organizing their physical space to make the inside space that’s in disarray feel a little less erratic. What do you do when the things that are out of your control become out of control? Can you recognize that you’re doing it? I’ve figured out one of mine…

It sounds a little silly but I nest when life feels out of control. You know when you’ve had an absolutely crazy day, perhaps you bustled around town, was held hostage by gridlock traffic or just had a day where the world felt like it was against you…but then you turn your key, walk into your home, plop down on your couch & let the warmth & coziness of your place envelop you. Well, I have been on a non-stop mission to do whatever it takes to make our new house become a place of refuge for all four of us. I have a good four rooms in the process of what could be some pretty great additions to the before/after files on LPM but this past weekend I officially finished one. And it’s kind of an ironic room considering we’ve been talking about life being so messy…it’s the Mud Room. A place meant to be a holding spot for all of the dirt, clutter & crazy that we bring in from the outside world everyday!

I only have one before picture of the space but for this room there really wasn’t a whole lot to show. The previous homeowners put up the great built-ins & also had a desk under the cabinets on the right hand side. It was a great kitchen work/homework station, super cute, but for now we’re running short on furniture so instead it’s serving as a great place to hide the giant water cooler. (On a side note, Deer Park delivery is the BEST money I spend on a service every month. We drink SO much more water now not to mention the hot water valve puts out teabag ready hot water instantly! (with a safety lock on it of course.)

mudroom before:: little pink monster

mudroom makeover:: www.littlepinkmonster.commudroom makeover:: www.littlepinkmonster.com mudroom2mudroom pinboard :: www.littlepinkmonster.com

Paint: ‘Indigo Batik’ by Sherwin Williams (West Elm Collection), Wall decal, Bear Pillow , Stars Decals

The “I love you to the moon and back” poster/re-positional decal that I found at Land of Nod served as the inspiration for the room. It reminded me of a book that I read to Sam a million times when she was a baby…it still makes me tear up! Damn hormones.

on the night you were bornOn the Night You Were Born

I can’t say enough about how much I love love love the wall color. I almost never choose dark paint colors, they’re kind of intimidating & just not what usually comes to mind when I’m putting together a room. This beautiful inky blue however, UGH! Can’t get enough. It gets compliments from almost everyone who walks in the room. Except for the Verizon guy who came to fix the router that’s tucked away in there. He didn’t seem impressed.

Nowadays it seems like every major decor company has their own line of paints. This one is ‘Indigo Batik’ from West Elm & is available through Sherwin Williams. I immediately ripped the picture below out of a West Elm catalog I was flipping through. One day I’m so going to do that exact pink & blue trim paint combo…one day when my husband seems to be in a generous and/or overly distracted disposition. I think he’d actually be more terrified of me painting the trim & doors a color than of the pink walls themselves. Baby steps though…baby steps.

pink walls with inky blue trim...lovely! www.littlepinkmonster.comSo that’s what’s been up at my house. How about you? What’s your subconscious go to behavior that makes you feel a little less out of control when life is putting you on a road that’s more twisted than a twizzler?

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Unconditional Love

These last six months have been a very teachable time for me.

They say to take hope during the trials because those are times in your life where you can truly grow. If that’s true I should be about 18 feet tall by the end of February.

There have been so many times where I’ve wanted to write to you. It’s also been a very wide range of topics that have tempted me to post. Sometimes I felt like I could just unzip my heart & let it all come splashing out onto the page. Maybe by sharing I could get some relief from what felt like an enormous amount of pressure that could make me burst at any moment. But before I could get the words onto the page I realized I had no idea how to say what I was going through. It’s one thing to confide your every thought in a best friend who you know is a vault, it gets a little trickier however when that friend happens to be listening to you through a completely public post on the world wide web.

Other times I have just wanted to share the simpler, mind escaping things I was doing like painting our kitchen the most perfect shade of a pink tinged white. Once again however I became tripped up when my fingers hit the keyboard. Somehow it felt like I was being inauthentic. Sometimes with lifestyle blogs where you only see the beautiful surface I’ve found I can be left with the feeling of why doesn’t my life look more life hers? If she can do it why can’t I?

I have always felt passionately that with this blog you know that what’s pretty or fun is great but that I have my problems just like you. It’s messy & beautiful all at the same time. So sharing the paint colors without ever mentioning the hardships that are so prevalent in my life right now just felt unbalanced.

So I opted to say nothing.

I still have been posting little snipits on Instagram & Facebook but I decided I would wait to write here until I felt a peace that I knew what to say. Today ((smiling)) I feel like I know.

Me & P

Unconditional love is known as affection without any limitations. It can be also love without conditions. 

This April will mark 8 years ago that Peter & I were married.

On that beautiful warm day in Florida we both looked into the others eyes & said the vows millions before & after us have recited to one another…

I, Natasha, take you, Peter, to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

wedding day

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 10.59.31 AMLooking back now, with all the experiences of the last 8 years, the sharing of my life with someone…sharing a home, a bed, a checking account…having that person be the other half of who would bring our two beautiful girls into this world, & sharing with that person everything that comes after they are born as well. Those incredibly amazing yet trying times that come from experiencing parenthood together. The hardships, the disagreements, the disappointments but also the incredible rewards, the realization of true intimacy, compassion, compromise & that profound subject we vowed eight years ago…unconditional love.

Looking back now I get why some people decide to live a life together without getting married first. There is something beautiful & dare I say, more meaningful about committing those vows to your partner after you’ve been through the sickness & health. After you know not just what the ‘for better’ but more importantly what the ‘for worse’ is like & you still want to say those vows. Sometimes I’ve wondered if that twenty seven year old girl in her beautiful white dress really knew what she was saying, because really, how could I have known what it was going to be like, how far those vows would be asked to go…

wedding day

Over the last 6 months I have reached a point where I thought about breaking those vows. I wanted to believe that no matter what he did or didn’t do, I would still be in it with him. No matter how hurt or resentful we could become I would stick through it. Turns out there is a place where I could go no more. A place where keeping those vows to him would mean choosing to allow a wrecking ball to continue to knock down what was left of me. It really becomes an issue of at what point do you choose yourself instead. Is there ever a point where you can plea ‘self defense’?

In the heat of an argument or even a long lasting ‘rough patch’ we’ve all said it, “That’s it! I can’t take anymore.” But deep inside we knew we could. We knew there was still room. It wasn’t really the breaking point. It certainly felt darn close, but it wasn’t the end…yet. If I picture my marriage as a road that I’m on this was the part where I suddenly stopped because taking one more step on that road would be falling into a ravine where I feared I couldn’t come back from.

I don’t think I need to share all of the specifics of what we’ve been through the last few months for this to be a post of not just honesty but hopefully inspiration or comfort as well. However, if you listen to my husband’s show then you might know that P has bravely decided to share about his recent diagnosis of severe OCD & ADHD on the air in the last few weeks. Until he found a doctor however that could shine a light on why he felt the way he did, & more importantly how he could help my husband, those anxiety causing disorders controlled much of our lives. (people often use the term “OCD” to loosely describe how they are a bit of a perfectionist or a type A personality. True Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is so much more & now that I understand a little more about how P’s brain works it really isn’t being a ‘germaphobe’ or perhaps a bit more ‘tightly wound’ than others, it’s an anxiety provoking disorder that you can’t control.

The International OCD Foundation describes it as:

Imagine that your mind got stuck on a certain thought or image…

Then this thought or image got replayed in your mind over and over again no matter what you did…

You don’t want these thoughts — it feels like an avalanche…

Along with the thoughts come intense feelings of anxiety…

Anxiety is your brain’s alarm system.  When you feel anxious, it feels like you are in danger.  Anxiety is an emotion that tells you to respond, react, protect yourself, DO SOMETHING!

On the one hand, you might recognize that the fear doesn’t make sense, doesn’t seem reasonable, yet it still feels very real, intense, and true…

Why would your brain lie?

Why would you have these feelings if they weren’t true? Feelings don’t lie…  Do they?

Unfortunately, if you have OCD, they do lie.  If you have OCD, the warning system in your brain is not working correctly.  Your brain is telling you that you are in danger when you are not.

When scientists compare pictures of the brains of groups of people with OCD, they can see that some areas of the brain are different than the brains of people who don’t have OCD.

Those tortured with OCD are desperately trying to get away from paralyzing, unending anxiety…

Much like how my connective tissue disease & Fibromyalgia have affected the whole family, his has too. That’s a lot of ish to put on a couple.

Up until a few weeks ago we didn’t know about the OCD or ADHD. For years I’ve thought that he had a anxiety problem but he didn’t. He thought the way he felt was how most people felt, it was just ‘stress’. It’s funny how our partners often really do know us better than we know ourselves. I have often felt like the girls & I weren’t enough of a priority or maybe he didn’t love me as much as I loved him. I now know however that it wasn’t that he was choosing other things over us, he didn’t have a choice, the anxiety provoking compulsions trumped everything, even us. The thing is, if you just take the behaviors someone with OCD & ADHD exhibit but you don’t know anything about these underlying disorders that are causing the person to act the way they do, it can destroy a relationship. Mundane things for most couples like a vacation without the kids or even just a Friday night dinner & a movie out are things that the OCD took away from us. It’s sad because now, in hindsight, I can see how much both my & his disorders have hurt us. I felt neglected. He felt frustration. We both went to bed feeling like the other just didn’t understand.

I feel like I need to say, to snuff out any speculations, that P has never cheated on me. Not even close. He is an extremely loyal man, almost to a fault. He is also a wonderful father. Those girls adore him. Their little hearts are stuffed full with affection, love & experiences that only their Daddy could give them. He also loves me, I know that, he just couldn’t show me the way I needed.

I wish the unconditional love we have for our children came as naturally for our spouses. No matter what my kids do they could never even come close to changing how much I love them. With a spouse however no matter how much you love them, the way they treat you, especially when it chips away slowly over the years perhaps without you even realizing it, can affect the love you have for them. Resentment could quite possibly be the most harmful thing to happen to a relationship. It’s a nasty invasive parasite that slowly ingests the adoration, crazy love, generosity & respect you have for your partner. It’s also terribly resilient & can prove hard to unravel.

If only we had the limitless love for our spouses that we have for our children…it is what we promise them after all…

…to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

Before I had what I can only describe as the key that unlocked all the ‘whys’ I had for the way my husband was acting, I reached a place where I could not take anymore. The situation was hurting not only my heart but also the health of my body. It was affecting our girl’s lives & something had to change but the reality was that change was completely out of my control. It was in those moments, those ones you hide from your children where you break down, fall apart & cry out on the bathroom floor that the only way I got back up again, the only way I didn’t end my marriage was by having faith that this was in God’s hands. There was truly a reason. To remain on the path that staying in my marriage would take me looked through my eyes like walking right off a cliff. The end of the road, remember? But it was in those moments where my faith in God & his perfect plan for me was the only thing that I could hold onto.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” -2 Corinthians 4:18

And you know what? After months, years really, of both of us being scared that perhaps it could always be like this, things changed. P sought out help for himself & through him reaching a point where he was ready to look inside he found a great peace that for the first time he understood why he was the way he was. I don’t want to speak for him but I do know that even though it has been an exhausting few months of therapy & self discovery for us both individually & as a couple, he now has answers. And with these answers come new hope. That hope then brings motivation & energy to try again. To stay on the road longer & begin to treat & eventually heal the gaping wounds on both of our hearts.

Now when I look at my husband I don’t first feel anger or frustration, emotions that both are often a manifestation of hurt & sadness, instead I feel a bond to him that is so much better than the fleeting butterflies that come with being “in love“. (a term which I think has a lot more to do with infatuation than real love)

I see a person with whom I’ve been to war. And we both know how lucky we are to have come out of it together. I now have hope that we’ll be stronger for it.

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Welcome to the Treehouse

Blogging is a very interesting experience. When I first started it was just a way for me to document the new life of motherhood I was experiencing with Baby Sam. It started to evolve into this great network of women (and a guy or two sprinkled in) where I felt like I was helping others by sharing the good & the bad, along with projects & recipes that can make the day a bit more fun & interesting. When I started to get sick I learned that blogging was not only a way I could feel good about helping other women know they’re not alone in this crazy life but it also became this amazing way for me to receive it in return. All of the support & sharing of your stories & well wishes, it’s been like having a great friend who’s always nearby.

Over the last few weeks this blog has forced me to gut check myself.

After we moved in the beginning of November I figured I’d need to take a week, or maybe even two, off from blogging to let myself get settled into our new house. Somehow those weeks have turned into a month & honestly if it weren’t for that uneasy feeling I get in the pit of my stomach that comes with the thought that I’m letting this amazing “place” be neglected I think I could have easily found myself stuck. Blogging here, today, is forcing me to push myself back into life again. I hate complaining outloud, or even in my head, too much because I know how fortunate I am. We truly are incredibly blessed, but I do think it’s ok to admit that the last few months have been much harder than I expected. If I didn’t feel the need to blog I think I would just slip from one day of hiding out at home while the girls are at school to days, weeks & who knows, maybe even months of not getting back to what I love. To being happy.

This blog insists on one thing, being honest. If I’m honest with myself I know this is one of those times where I can’t hide under the covers any more, it’s ok for a little while, it’s not ok when you can’t get out of them. Today, I’m getting out.

So, with that said, I’m happy to say (finally) welcome to what we lovingly call, “The Treehouse”

the treehouseWhile our old neighborhood & house had so many amazing qualities we always hoped for a home that reflected more of our own personal style & also was surrounded by nature. It’s hard to believe that after years of daydreaming, saving & searching we actually live in exactly that.

treehouse2the treehouseSo far so good, right? Well this is the part of the story where things might start to look a little wonky. No, you’re not drunk. (at least to my knowlege, but hey, if you are no judgement here. Well, maybe a little, come on friend, it’s not even noon!) I have yet to unpack everything which includes my real camera’s battery charger, so I had to take multiple shots with Sam’s ipad & then splice them together with picmonkey. Just gotta do your best, that’s my new life motto. TreehouseKitchenSee that wall on the right over the stove? That’s the other side of the soon to be gallery wall, one day we want to open this wall up so we can go back to having a open kitchen/living floor plan. I don’t like being separated from everyone else while I’m cooking dinner. Although saying that outloud now sounds quite crazy. What? A legitimate excuse that you can’t see/hear the ruckus in the next room?? Blasphemy.

TreehouseKitchen2the treehousethe treehouseThis giant picture window is one of my favorite places in the house. I love to look out & watch the deer families while I drink my coffee & get my head ready for the start of the day.the treehouse How amazing would it be to one day admire the view from a DIY built in banquette like this??Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 12.07.44 PMvia homedidit

There are so many sun filled special spots in this house, it’s neat to think about which ones the girls will remember as their favorite nooks…the treehouseSpeaking of, on the other side of the kitchen is a narrow set of stairs Sam & Soph haved named “the little girl stairs” since they’re pretty much the only ones who can use them! I’m thinking about doing something really fun with these since we’re the only ones who see them. These ombre stairs from Pinterest have been burned in my brain for years!the treehouseombre stairsvia pinterest

And a quick view of upstairs, this is turning out to be a mammoth post!

Ok, this picture looks like we live in a jigsaw puzzle but cut me some slack, I’m working with limited resources here!the treehouseI’m going to leave you with Sam’s room because the picture quality is going downhill quick!

The first time we walked through this house she walked into the pink bedroom, covered with horse decor, rosebud curtains & a canopy bed & said, “Ok. I’m cool with moving now.”the treehouse

I love you guys so much for your patience. Hopefully life gets a whole lot more serene from here on out for us both. (:


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Duhnuhnuhnah…BAT GIRL!

bat girl costume by little pink monster

Just to clarify, she’s not actually BatGirl…she’s a BAT that happens to be a girl. Get it? I just can’t help but sing the Batman theme song every time I see her in her costume.

For those of you who helped me figure out how to whip this costume up last week on Instagram a big fat thanks! There really is something so special to me about homemade Halloween costumes. I love their imperfections & unique charm. Now don’t get me wrong, Sam’s Dorothy dress from Target is beyond cute (tell me she isn’t a perfect little Dorothy) but there’s something about a homemade, albeit slightly wonky, Halloween costume that takes me back to my childhood.

 Girl's Easy Bat Costume by Little Pink Monster(FULL DISCLOSURE: Dealing with that faux fur was almost the death of me!)

 What are your little munchkins dressing up as this year? If you’re still trying to figure it out than take a deep breath, maybe these posts from the past give you any ideas…

diy minion costumes by little pink monsterDIY minion costumes

diy siamese cat costumes from lady & the trampSiamese Cats from Lady & the Tramp

homemade baby octopus costumeI showed Sam this pic and she goes, “Who’s that??” Cutest little Octopus made from stuffed tights, LOVED it on her wobbly little 2 year old self!

Happy Halloween!

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Monogrammed, Chevron & Glitter Pumpkins…Oh My!

Wow, where the heck has October gone? Is it just me or has it seriously flown by?

That’s actually my thought behind these pumpkins. While I love some creepy crawly Halloween decorations sometimes I just feel like I don’t get to enjoy them long enough. These pumpkins on the other hand are working double duty. Halloween straight on through Thanksgiving. My kind of craft.

monogram chevron and glitter pumpkins:: by Little Pink Monstermonogram chevron and glitter pumpkins:: by Little Pink Monster

Two of the three pumpkins are actually revivals from last year, joining the bunch this time is the monogrammed pumpkin. Shhhh, don’t tell chevron & glitter but I might have a new favorite… (Reason #532 that you know you need to book a sitter & get out, you start referring to pumpkins as if they’re your kids.)

Last week on my Let’s Talk Live segment Kelly & I got you started with the chevron & glitter ones but we chit chatted too long & ran out of time for ms. monogram.

If you’re more a picture instructional kind of girl you can find more on the chevron pumpkins here. For the monogram, keep on reading…

This was one of those projects that I actually found the process to be very therapeutic. I guess there’s something about getting to poke perfectly lined little holes in styrofoam. Does that make me weird? Oh well, let your freak flag fly!

Super simple my friends, all you have to do is in a text file choose your font & play around with the size of the letter you want. It’s going to be pretty big, I think mine was around size 700. After you print your chosen letter simply cut away the negative space so you can fill in the space with your thumbtacks. While I’m at it I should clarify that these aren’t actual thumbtacks, they’re ‘brads’ from the scrapbooking aisle at Michaels.

monogram chevron and glitter pumpkins:: by Little Pink Monster

The pack I chose came with a variety of gold, black, bronze & silver. I LOVE the way the variety came out in the finished product. I used a little less than 3 packs of brads for the letter “S”. While the styrofoam pumpkins are fairly easy to puncture I found that I was bending too many of the brads by trying to force them through, what worked really well was to use a sharp pair of scissors to make a few holes, then insert the brads, make a few more holes, fill in with brads…you get it. I started with the outline of the letter & then to get the nice lines I worked in vertical stripes to fill in the “S”.monogram chevron and glitter pumpkins:: by Little Pink Monster

 That’s it! Can you believe Halloween is ONE week away?? This is the first year the girls won’t be going as some sort of duo costume. In fact, Soph is the only one who would let me make their costume. My little girls are getting big TOO DARN QUICK. Things are still crazy here but moving day is quickly approaching, I seriously cannot wait to have some order back in our lives! Well, let’s be honest, was there ever really order?

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Home is where the heart is…

…or at least that’s what I’ve been telling myself lately.

I think this might be the longest lapse I’ve had in posting. I’m so sorry.

The last month has been insane. There were lots of days where I wanted to sit down and write but when I would go to I just didn’t know what to say, have you ever felt like that? So overwhelmed with what you have to do that when you finally get to do what you want to do you just don’t have the energy or clarity to execute it. Before you know it tomorrow becomes next month…one of the many blackholes of motherhood I suppose. I think when I look back this will be one of those chunks of time where I selectively erase it from my memory. It’ll all be worth it in the end, right?

So…here’s our big news, and very much why I’ve been a robot for the last month…

We’re moving!

After 8 years of waiting & saving & waiting a little more we finally are ready to move into our dream home. Or as P & I call it, “Our grow old in house”

Remember in The Notebook (aka the fiction story that I secretly think is somehow about P & I, and I watch it whenever I want to wring his neck because I know I can’t stay angry at him after the characters take an eternal nap together.) Noah built the big white house with blue shutters for Allie with the hope that they would grow old in it? Ryan-Gosling-as-Noah-in-front-of-house-in-The-NotebookI thought about showing you the outside of our new home because it’s so beautiful & I desperately want to share it but then thought that creepy creepers might be able to figure it out. NO, I’m not paranoid…wait, did you hear that?

SO, all that to say I have been in way over my head handling not only the purchase of the new house (Oh the paperwork!) but also getting this house ready for it’s new family. Someone should seriously write a manual on ‘How to sell your house when you have kids still living in it’ because it has been BRUTAL. And we’re still not completely done with the process but we’ve made our way through enough that I can pull myself up & out long enough to catch a deep breath, let my shoulders drop a bit & do something else for just a minute. Like blog.

The last month has been like a blackhole. Between the houses, starting a new school & well, I’m not quite sure what else I’ve been doing come to think of it. Maybe a fresh start will be good for everyone.

I have to say, it’s going to be so weird to not live here anymore. We’ve been here for 8 years. We brought two little girls home from the hospital to here. There were so many nights where the growing pains of motherhood & marriage created memories of plopping down & having a fantastically dramatic ugly cry right in the middle of the floor here. Pets have come to live here & have also gone to heaven here. There have been birthdays & everydays.

So. Many. Memories.

little pink monsterlittle pink monsterlittle pink monster  little pink monsterbaby sam little pink monster little pink monster nurserylittle pink monsterlittle pink monster little pink monster little pink monster(Oh man, remember when we found the baby buns in the flower pot out back?!)IMG_2269-1001x1024

little pink monster little pink monster

It’ll be hard to leave.

Before we go I do have a few more before/afters that I really want to show you. Am I the only one who has waited until it was time to sell the house to spend the time & money on fixing it up? In fact if there’s one thing I want to leave you with today it’s if you can, and more importantly if you’re already planning to, go ahead & do *blank* now why you have the time to enjoy it!

So do you forgive me for deserting you?

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The last 48

48 hours that is…

(Well, actually the last 6 months is probably more like it)

It’s hard to explain exactly what has been going on with our family when I can’t really divulge everything, can you imagine some people don’t want to put their entire personal life on the internet?! Bizarre. What I can say is this, we have been changing. I don’t know when it started but somehow I can in hindsight see that through trials & blessings our family has been in the process of being carved & molded into something new, something stronger yet also very humbled.

Everyday life has been very consuming lately, I’ve had a few flareups that have set me back quite a bit, also an ER trip in there which always has ramifications, everything stops when I get sick. (For those of you who are also battling your own bodies & want to chat about details I can tell you more about it in the comments section but basically my connective tissue disease is screwing with my jawbone giving me a TMJ flareup that’s setting off some vicious headaches that my migraine medication doesn’t even touch.)

I’ve been horseback riding a few times a week over the last year for exercise, & honestly it’s extremely therapeutic, but I had to take this past week off to ‘rest’ which I hate. Now though, enough rest, it’s time to literally get back on the horse again. So cheesy but I just couldn’t resist. I’m starting to think life might always be like this, a series of 3 steps forward, 2 steps back, 3 steps forward, 2 steps back…but as long as I keep choosing to move forward after a setback it’s still progression, right?

little pink monster

Then there’s my relationship with my husband, which is by far the most exciting & treasured change in my life right now. There are lots of changes going on in our life that I can’t wait to tell you about (I’m literally squealing inside & completely panicking all at once) but by far the best change in my life is my relationship with P. It’s crazy, after 7 seven years of marriage this past month has shown mean that we really haven’t been doing it right & this new ‘us’ is what I always wanted. Our relationship over the last, geez, 16 years, has always had a good dose a drama. Passionate relationships often do. In hindsight I think I spent the first few years focusing on me, what I wanted out of life, what I was or wasn’t going to allow…I seemed to think that for some reason I needed to establish boundaries of what was going to be acceptable or not in our life, it was almost like a pet training mentality! It was all about me. You’re so selfish in your twenties, or at least I was. It takes a long time to crack the “what I want” mindset & actually think of someone else first. We have been through so much the last few years, aside from my trials P has had his own path he’s been trying to figure out. His show may sound so funny, easy going & give the impression of being off the cuff but it actually requires a tremendous amount of behind the scenes work. He works harder than anyone I know & gives his job beyond 100% dedication. Of course he loves his family even more…I can’t imagine what it’s like to be the ‘breadwinner’ of the relationship. I have my own challenges but he’s constantly being pulled in the opposite directions of wanting to spend time with family but also doing what is needed to provide for that family. Can’t even imagine.

I can’t really explain how it happened but somehow in the last few weeks we both have had a ‘come to Jesus’ moment where we realized we had drifted down our own paths. We were living in the same house, sharing a life, but also very much living our own lives. Simply co-existing is an easy trap to fall into during a normal time much less the daily storms we’ve been getting. Then something beautiful happened, through different circumstances we both were faced with a moment where we could pick the other up & offer them complete forgiveness & unconditional love or could choose to continue to limp through a life that was laden with resentment.little pink monster

I believe that it is only because we both have been going through trials that have showed us our weaknesses we were able to say, “It’s OK.” I hope one day, maybe even further down this road I’m discovering I can share more because it is a beautiful story but for now let’s leave it at, even though this stage of life is hard, even though you might have wounds from the past if you can get to a place to look at someone & say, “It’s OK.” and mean it, it can truly free you.

“And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:9

So that’s the last 10 days. A certain relative has told me I need to post more happy stuff like I used to & not as much deep, heavy posting. And you know what, there’s so much more that I can’t wait to share with you like Sophie’s Queen Elsa Ballerina Party, some decorative makeovers, cute videos of the girls & all of the fluffy, yummy, sweet stuff in my life but I also feel very compelled to make sure that I always share the ‘real stuff’ too, because too often that gets left out & we go through the same trials side by side but feeling alone because we don’t know that the girl beside you has been there too, or maybe is in the thick of it now.

Now, off to give my 4 year old the best Frozen Ballerina Birthday Extravaganza ever!

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Mean Mommy

That’s what I call what I’ve been lately in the morning…”Mean Mommy”IMG_2962

I don’t wake up that way. Although your alarm clock being a 6 year old who’s internal clock is permanently set to 7:00AM on the dot who then decides to wake you up not with hugs, snuggles & whispered “wake upppp…” but instead chooses physically pulling your eyelids open & saying “C’MON MOM! TIME TO GET UP!!”. Or her new trick is a clever one indeed, we keep Sheldon in our bathroom overnight with a baby gate on the doorway, she’ll go to gate & call for him, waking him & riling him up “C’MON BOY! Want to go out?! Huh?! HUH?!” which of course solicits incessant dog barking from a very full bladder filled puppy that I know only gives me a limited window to get him to the backyard before my morning chores will also include cleaning the floors. SO I usually go from dreams of Ryan Gosling my dear sweet, handsome husband to wide awake & trying to bolt down the stairs. Oh & did I mention that there is usually a 3 year old who has crept her way into our bed during the night & curled up into the perfect ‘little c’ shape next to me & she does not feel the urgent need to go downstairs, she wants to wake up slowly, like normal people ((hand in the air waving wildly)) do. So in the midst of the barking & begging,  she starts crying that her snuggle buddy has jumped out of bed & before I can get to the stairs she’ll cry from the bed “Carrrry Meeeeee!” & I’ll swoop her onto my back like a baby sloth, all the while I’m timing in my head how much longer I have until the pup who’s already made it to the back door bladder explodes. ((TICK TOCK TICK TOCK POP GOES THE BLADDER CLOCK))

I feel fairly confident that I could stop here & have most of you uttering, “Amen Sister!” but that’s actually not what tips me into the dark side. Once we get downstairs the girls grab their cups (a sippy cup of yogurt & milk that either P or myself make the night before & having waiting on the bottom shelf of the fridge) & head to the couch to watch their ipads for a short while. I do actually get a chance to have a cup of hot coffee, sit down, & watch a bit of the Today Show. It gives me a chance to wake up & is quite nice…until it isn’t.

Here’s where things go bad…

I tell the girls it’s time to go upstairs & get dressed. They whine & complain, “just one more minute! I didn’t even get to see the fluffy kitty get into the spaceship yet!” ((note to self: check to see what are those kids actually watching online anyway)) After 2 or 3 “I mean it!” sent their way they begrudgingly make their way up the stairs. After that every single movement that gets us towards leaving the house is a battle. Somehow that perky, bouncy 6 year old now turns into a limp piece of spaghetti when I’m trying to help her get dressed. Have you ever dressed spaghetti? It is not fun. Of course as soon as I get one dressed & turn towards girl#2 the first will dive into her bed. “No! Do not get back in bed, go brush your teeth! Seriously, c’mon! Please?

Every single little thing takes effort…

Shirt over head, fixing pants that have been put on backwards, sending them to brush hair & teeth, having to go back & brush hair & teeth because as I’m trying to dress myself in my morning clothes (these are clothes that closely resemble & sometimes even include a piece of the pajamas I was previously wearing. Morning clothes will soon be swapped out for presentable attire & will be hopefully hidden from anyone who might know my name until kid morning dropoff is complete) I see this:

‘Little one who’s supposed to be “brushing teeth” is actually just creating large amounts of foam in her mouth & growling at the mirror like a rabid dog while ‘big one’ who is supposed to be brushing her hair, hair which she refuses to let us cut & is coming dangerously close to dreadlocks, is actually just passing the hairbrush through the air that hovers just over her actual hair. I give a deep sigh & look over at the bedroom cablebox to see that we were supposed to be in the car 5 minutes…ago.

THAT is when ‘Mean Mommy’ takes over all of my awareness. Now, let me clarify, I’m not talking about head spinning, corporal punishment type of parenting but Mean Mommy is someone I hate becoming & don’t want to be a daily part of my girl’s childhoods. She raises her voice, “PUT ON YOUR SHOES! SERIOUSLY, THIS IS THE LAST TIME I’M GOING TO TELL YOU TO STOP DOING THAT & PUT ON THOSE DARN SHOES BEFORE I TAKE ALL OF YOUR DOLLS AWAY! FOREVER! Mean Mommy is forceful, anxious & begins both her & her children’s day off with a less than loving start.

I’ve often thought that if I woke up earlier, before the kids, & started my day with some quiet time & peace I’d be better equipped to handle the chaos of the morning but the truth is I love my bed. I love being in my bed & it truly takes an army, or a least a pee filled dog & very loud little girl, to get me out of it.

So I wonder, what makes you become ‘Mean Mommy’? Or maybe I should ask, do you become ‘Mean Mommy’? What’s your trigger & have you ever been able to find a way to prevent the transformation?

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Kid Craft! How to make your own puffy paint

how to make your own diy puffy paint kid craftToday we’re going to be on TV. Yes, I said “we”, the girls are going with me to ‘Let’s Talk Live’ today so they can help me demonstrate 3 fun DIY projects to help keep your kids from uttering the dreaded “I”m BORRRRED!”

Although right now all I’m hearing from upstairs as I type is this,  “SOPHIE NOOOOO! Get out of my room! MOM!!!!!”

This should turn out to be an interesting morning! You can watch the show on News Channel 8 if you’re a DC area gal or online streaming live here, the show starts at 11a & we’re usually on somewhere around the middle. When I opened my eyes this morning I sat up & thought, “Oh geez, please don’t let Sophie call anyone a ‘Nut Squirrel.‘” like yesterday when she called daddy’s show to wish Mr. John a happy birthday. She got quite the reaction, not to mention Sam was crazy angry that Soph stole her thunder because SHE wanted to say ‘Nut Squirrel’ first. I assure you I have never used the term ‘Nut Squirrel’. So let’s just hope the focus stays on homemade play-doh, slime, puffy paint & not….”Nut Squirrel” revenge. Geez.

On to the craft! (look for the slime recipe & tutorial tomorrow)

This is SO simple & a ton of fun. If you have a bottle of glue, 1 or 2 cans of traditional shaving cream & some food coloring you have ‘DIY puffy paint’!how to make your own diy puffy paint kid craft how to make your own diy puffy paint kid craftThe recipe is pretty simple, first in a cup (I used small disposable ones so I could, well, dispose of them when we were done.) I added a nice big squirt of shaving cream (go for the traditional, striped can, puffy creamy kind) & then close to equal amounts of white glue. It’s kind of hard to compare shaving cream ratio to glue ratio but I’d say it’s about 1 cu shaving cream to 3 or 4 tablespoons of glue, you really can’t mess it up. The only problem you might run into is if you don’t have enough glue it won’t really dry…also add a few drops of food coloring & if you want a sprinkle of glitter that could be fun! We haven’t tried that yet but it’s definitely next on the list. For the ice cream picture I painted the cone first with regular paint & then dolloped the mint green puffy paint paint on top, after it had dried a bit I sprinkled on actual candy sprinkles. I’m kind of in love with it! The watermelon is made by first painting the pink half circle shape, then the green rind followed by little black regular paint “seeds” after it had dried a bit.how to make your own diy puffy paint kid craft

Wish us good luck today! Happy DIYing! That’s so not even a word.

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A MONSTER BASH! Sam’s Monster High Birthday Party (including water proof face paint!)

I can’t believe it, my sweet little Samster is officially a big girl, on Monday she turned 6 & over the weekend all of her little ghoulish friends joined us for a ‘Monster High’ Birthday Party at our local pool. Who new the prissiest of all girly girls would want a goth party?! It was actually pretty darn fabulous, here’s a short video P made to give you a little taste…

I know they’re my kids & all but I really could watch the videos he makes for me all day, such a talented one that Mr. is! Also, in case you’re wondering what the heck all this ‘Monster High’ nonsense is anyway, it’s basically a bunch of teenagers that go to High School…

Oh yeah, and they’re monsters!monster high birthday party bash! (monster high water proof face paint)

It’s actually a really cute concept, Dracula’s daughter is “Draculaura“, Frankenstein’s is “Frankie Stein“…you get the picture. The inspiration for turning all of these little girls into ghouls is a young lady who has a hit youtube channel that Sam adores, I printed out all of her transformations (I also included the standard skulls & zombies for the boy guests) & stuck them in some notebook sleeves & then let the kids decide which character they would like to be transformed into. The tough part was finding a face paint that was water-proof, this was a pool party after all. After doing my homework I decided to order the ProAiir Hybrid Airbrush Makeup kit off of Amazon, the product has multiple demo videos & great reviews. They are a bit pricey but since aside from swimming the face painting was going to be the sole entertainment for the party I felt it was justified. After I finish this post I’m definitely going to make my way over to Amazon & give my own 5 star review because these paints ROCKED. They went on smooth, coverage was beautiful (especially once I switched from the cheap triangle cosmetic sponges to those crazy rolley polley makeup blender sponges, those were wonderful!) & when it was time for the monsters to return to their sweet angel faces (::snort, gag!:: ahem, excuse. frog in throat) the makeup easily came off with face soap.monster high birthday party bash! (monster high water proof face paint)

monster high birthday party bash! (monster high water proof face paint)monster high birthday party bash! (monster high water proof face paint)

monster high birthday party bash! (monster high water proof face paint)(you know you have a very kind MIL when she volunteers to be your practice monster muse!)

monster cakeThis is our 3rd year having our family friend Oby from Bim’s Flavors make Sam’s cake. This year was yet another hit, she used a monster high doll & baked a fantastic pink velvet cake for the skirt. She also included plenty of the signature Monster High skulls made out of fondant both on the cake & adorning the mini cupcakes. Although P sweetly disagrees I feel like I really toned it down compared to Sam’s Katy Perry Party or Sophie’s Messy Party. Of course there were balloons & traditional party decor but when in the past you’ve included a shaving cream slide or a wig bin this was downright tame.

Don’t count me out yet however, I still have child #2 coming up in a few short weeks. She’s requested a “Frozen” party. Probably the most popular party theme of the year & yet the hardest to find when it comes to themed party supplies. I’ve literally been hoarding Elsa & Anna randomness in my garage for the last 6 months. Sophie’s party will have a bit of a twist that it’s a “ballerina Queen Elsa party”, I’m so excited I’ve found a ballet studio that not only is more than happy to turn their studio into a glistening ice crystal ballroom but they also might just have a personal connection with Queen Elsa herself. Now I’m not making any promises, I’m just saying…it could happen. (;

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