Archive for ‘daughter’

December 31, 2015

~*happy new year’s eve 2015*~

Joel in headlock with Cam on his shoulders.jpgJoel and Arden looking cozy on couch.jpgI don’t know about you, but for me, this was the fastest moving December in all of time. Like blink of an eye, it was gone! Thanksgiving ended, there was caroling with Arden’s Girl Scout troop (the cold rolled in just in time for that!), making holiday cookies & dough ornaments with Arden, festive Christmas cards, and the whirlwind of shopping. Suddenly, it was already Christmas Eve. Normally, I am super awful at getting the tree up. Most years, it has debuted ON Christmas Eve at like 3:00 a.m. (after we get back from Cleveland and wrapping presents) Seriously. This year, adamant that it show up a bit earlier (and to make amends for getting in trouble at school that day) with much muttering under her breath, Arden herself pulled out the boxes and drug up from the basement. All 3 pieces of our Christmas tree. It was heartwarming, sweet and I was super thankful since my tailbone still killed from falling on it (HARD) roller skating. Erin in front of old door in dining room.jpg

At the start of each new year, I swear I’m going to enjoy every.single.moment. Take it in as I experience it, instead of rushing from one thing to the next.  I’ve gotten better at making time for the important things, like fun and not just working. I suppose having a demanding toddler makes you do that. Sort of. (it also makes you feel crazy!) Winter rolls on for seemingly ever. Spring takes it sweet time arriving, but once it does, it’s glorious!  The school break in Summer goes way too fast, then boom, Fall is here and petal to the metal, one holiday after another and POOF! it’s over. That’s how my life feels.

This year, I tried to be more accepting, less critical. Embracing flaws and easing up on expectations of perfection, for myself and my family. I dare say, they like me a bit better because of it. I’m not quite as stressed and it teaches Arden that some things don’t need to be just so because migraines aren’t worth it. For now, I will strive to do better. To work hard, accomplish dreams and bring more happiness into our home. Wishing everyone the same for your 2016! Our house with Christmas lights.jpg

 

 

 

August 27, 2015

Arden’s Mom

Owl bag puppet copyYesterday began the 1st day of the new school year.

I was nervous.

And excited.

And it wasn’t even me starting school.

Last year, shortly after Arden started first grade. Picking her up after school one day, she told me that her Art teacher was going to a different school and that she was sad. Upon clarification from her teacher, the students weren’t required to have art all the semesters. The Art teacher would be back at their school mid-January. So in the meantime, the kids would have nothing. Arden looked at me so sad.  Honestly, the thought of school without it devastated me. I realize that sounds dramatic, but as a kid, that was my life. I LIVED for Art class. Each of my teachers were amazing and I loved them. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without their guidance and encouragement. At that moment, I knew I was going to have to do something.

I approached Arden’s teacher with the idea, which she was all for. Lo and behold, I would also be able to bring Cam. I’d like to mention that her teacher had the patience of a saint. With 3 kids of her own and being in her thirteenth year of teaching, she was so laidback, but firm, we couldn’t have gotten any luckier. I walked into the classroom the first day and Arden’s eyes just shown. She could barely contain her excitement. I, on the other hand, was hugely apprehensive. I’m used to just making things with one kid, not 20. I nervously waited for the students to finish their assignment before I launched into what we were going to do. The room was just buzzing!  So many wound up little people, wondering what was happening next. At some point, introductions were made, but the kids paid no mind and simply referred to me as “Arden’s Mom.” A title I’d never thought I’d be so proud of, but has come to completely thrill me to the being of my soul. Mama with feather art head dress copyNative american head dress with feathers and paint tree art copy art turkeys copy

And so, for the next 3 months I came in once a week to do projects with the kids in Arden’s class. I had tons of scrap cardstock that I was finally going to put to good use. Most of the other materials I had on hand and the kids already had glue, scissors and markers. While Arden was a whiz at cutting since she was 3, a lot of them still needed practice. I’d make up templates and have some things made ahead of time, while still leaving them to work on the skills they needed.

Some kids were more than happy to follow my basic instruction, but most often than not, their minds and creativity took over. Everytime, they’d swarm around me like baby ducks, asking for assistance or proudly showing off their work. One boy’s paper bag owl puppet, became a Minecraft-type owl complete with a sword for an arm. One kid, instead of making the porcupine out of toothpicks, asked to make Sonic the Hedgehog out of toothpicks. One girl, no matter what the project, always managed to turn it into something with a dragon. I wasn’t an Art teacher and we weren’t technically in Art class, so why not? We had that freedom.

Then there was Cam. In his carseat, he’d either nap or rock himself. He never cried. Maybe because, at all times, at least 1/3 of the class would be out of their seats to play with the baby. Doing silly stuff to get him to smile or try to feed him a bottle. As time went on and he grew, they delighted in seeing the new things he was able to do. The teacher would remind them to get back in their seats and finish. They would, only to be replaced by new kids eager to make the baby laugh.

My time there went swiftly. Once the actual Art teacher was back, I cried. When I would drop off Arden to her classroom in the morning, I’d still have kids asking when I would be back to teach them Art. I was able to come in a few more times after that, for holiday parties or for science experiments, just so we could have an excuse to make things together and play with a baby.

I think of all this as I drop off Arden yesterday and feel a bit sad. I hope I will have some opportunity to come in and work with this new class. To get to know the kids and see some of the returning ones from last year. Just then, I see Arden’s teacher from last year and ask for a hug, which of course, makes everything better. porcupine from art class mrs uncaphers copy

May 26, 2015

‘A’ is for Allergies & Assassins

Seasonal allergies hit us pretty hard this past weekend. Between the heat and the breeze, the seemingly innocent, white cottonwood fluff whirled around everywhere. We laughed at the black Chimney Swift that lives in our eves as it attacked a puff floating by. With it’s nest near, it turns out, it clearly had the right idea. Later than evening, while trying to escape a slight fever, sinus pressure so bad it made my jaw ache and a nose running like a faucet, I finally fell into a fitful sleep.

The next thing I knew, I am part of a small team of highly trained, covert, black-clad individuals planning a sneak attack. It turned out that one of our people had defected from our operation. There was a high probability that the perpetrator was going to deflect to the enemy lines. We had many adversaries, each being more deadly than the last, so we were sent on this mission to take out the rogue. Good intel led us to an abandoned mining entrance on the side of a mountain, where our former colleague was in hiding. We moved quickly, checking for possible traps and mines along the way. The defector didn’t anticipate our arrival, at least not so soon. Working together, my team was able to take her out adeptly.

In a stunning twist of the plot, it seemed not everyone in the group was apprised of whom exactly it was that we were hunting. Upon seeing the fallen female, a male member lost composure, suddenly turning and firing on the rest of us. We later learned that the two had recently begun seeing each other on the sly. Fraternization was strictly prohibited for this very reason. It was sad, but with heavy fire coming my way, there was no time for sympathies. I had to act fast, because at this point in the game, it was each person for themselves.

etsy Mystery intruige print copy

I stumbled out of the rocky caverns back into the blinding daylight just in time to see the new foe make his escape. Quickly starting my hidden ATV, I sped after him. He was surprisingly fast, using the rugged mountainside to his advantage. Seizing an opportunity when a lone flatbed truck passed by, I sped up and jumped my 4 wheeler directly on the back. The landing was a bit turbulent, but this option offered me a chance to focus. We engaged in a Western type shoot-out, me using my vehicle as a type of shield, while barely balancing on the edge of a moving truck. My gun was an odd combination of a taser and a mini-harpoon. It was around a turn when I finally nailed him. I watched as he fell down the mountainside and landed on the rough pavement. I’d have to send a fresh team to ensure he was dead. I didn’t need any surprise visits seeking vengeance in the future.

At this juncture, I awoke when Arden popped her head in our room, before heading to play with Cam in his crib. I excitedly relayed my adventures to a groggy Joel, then stumbled downstairs listening to Arden happily chat about the newest addition to her Camping/Planetarium diorama. Bathrooms with no toilets. Because she doesn’t know how to make a toilet out of paper and the villagers can just wipe it up as they go. (Ugh!) While Joel brings Cam down and runs to the store, I begin making fried potatoes for breakfast. In a few minutes, I check on Cam only to find that his diaper is so overly full that the inner gel balls are leaving a sticky trail behind him as as he quickly Army crawls along the floor. Scooping him up, I peel off his pajamas to wash him in the kitchen sink and resign myself to thinking that (for now) only in my dreams, am I a badass.

May 18, 2015

The TRUTH about LYING.

The other day Arden told me that someone close to her had confessed they had lied to her. She seemed confused about the scenario, so I had to do my best to talk it out. She asked if I had ever lied as a kid. I said I had. Her eyes widened. I explained that growing up we weren’t allowed to have treats. Cake, candy, cookies, pretty much snack food in general, was all off-limits except special occasions. Even sugar cereals were a rare occurrence. As a parent now, I get that they were trying to keep us healthy, but seeing my dad eat a bowl of Breyer’s ice cream every night, when we weren’t allowed to have any seemed unfair. Or when my step-mom baked cookies, yet my step-brother and I were told we weren’t allowed to have any, was kind of mean. So yes, we snuck into sweets. Most of the time getting caught and when I did, I totally lied.

For me, the problem was and remains that, I’m a terrible liar. I have a tell and it’s pretty obvious. I’m straight-forward, so when asked why I lied, I tried pointing out their erroneous ways of parenting. As one might imagine, it was not well received. There was a particular incident where my dad went to get ice cream out of the locked chest freezer and it was gone. He was completely dumbfounded. Listening his utter disbelief while having a discussion about it with my step-mom was practically comical. Like one of those kids movies, where the dad is a bumbling idiot and the mom totally clueless. Except soon enough, we got called before the judge and jury to confess our crimes. I hadn’t even eaten the ice cream, but totally agreed that it was a stupid move to finish it off and throw away the container.

good bad card pic for blog copy

What seemed to eat at my dad the most, was how someone got it the locked freezer. It required a special key, as the lock was oddly round. It’s wasn’t just left laying around either. This highly-prized, tiny bit o’metal was kept away from us at all times. One day though, when the parents were gone, we got creative and figured out a way. It required taking tiny sewing scissors and clamping them on the lock, then pushing in and turning in one fluid motion. It totally took practice, but I was dedicated. A few months earlier, in order to help myself to some Christmas cookies that were frozen for storage, I had gotten good.
After multiple interrogations this particular night though, I cracked. I retrieved the tiny scissors and demonstrated how the freezer could be opened. Part of me expected to be congratulated for my cleverness. For putting an end to the mind-boggling conundrum. Unfortunately, the belt didn’t see it the same way.

Being that Arden is 6, I give her the short version. Yes, I snuck cookies, I got caught, I lied and I got punished. What she almost hilariously fixates on, is the fact we weren’t allowed to have goodies. In Arden’s world, she lives for sugar. It’s permitted in moderation, but she’s a kid and often tries to negotiate more. My reasoning is that she hopefully will have a better relationship with food. To not gorge herself like it’s her last meal, like I did with a dish of M&M’s, at a rare slumber party I was allowed to attend when I was 12. I tell her that it’s hard to understand, but there is a very fine line with lying. Saying that you like someone’s cooking or gift they gave even when you don’t, is okay. That because the person is being genuine and thoughtful, it’s important to keep your opinions to yourself in order to spare their feelings. To purposely be deceitful and hurt others for one’s own ill-gotten gain, well that is not okay.

A few days pass and I’m not sure she understands my point, that is until I pick her up from school. She explains that a classmate/sort-of-friend (who has become known for taking other kid’s things) asked to borrow Arden’s play glasses, promising to bring them back the next day. Arden tells me that she thought about it and decided it was best to let the friend just play with the glasses at recess. Explaining to her that she didn’t want her to forget the glasses at home. She said “She probably wouldn’t bring them back, Mama. So I did not let her borrow them.” I tell her that I am proud of her and she asks “For making up an excuse?” To which I say “No, for not hurting another person’s feelings, while making a good choice.”

February 9, 2015

The Story of My Success.

quote-winston-churchill-success-consists-of-going-from-failure-to-759

I started out in life thinking if I could just turn 18, I would be an ADULT and things would be amazing! I wouldn’t have to follow rules, do chores and listen to parents. I knew better. If I could only get my own place. If I only had a car, I wouldn’t have to ride my bike everywhere, even in the winter. If college applications didn’t go off the parent’s income even though I lived on my own, I wouldn’t have to wait to start when most people were finishing. If I didn’t have to work AND go to school, it would be so much easier to graduate.

Life is supposed to go a certain way, right? The idyllic childhood, the partying, yet scholarly trip through college. Which of course enables you to land a perfect job, IMMEDIATELY, because that is what college is for. To ensure that you, me, people in general, succeed in life. All that money paid out, all that higher learning is supposed to give you an edge. A step up.

From there it gets even better. It’s TRUE! You just have to meet the ONE. The right person you will spend your entire life with. (But do it in your 20’s or it will be too late!)
Once you find THAT person, it will be magical! There will be singing and dancing (at least in my version) and everyone is happy and life is easy. If you really want to achieve ‘The American Dream’ , then you get married AND buy a house! To add a completely blissful cherry on top, have children. Then your life is truly complete. And apparently there are no more goals to reach until you die.

That was how the version in my head went. I’m not sure exactly where I came to have those exact standards or ideals, but it turned out it was all kinda bullshit. I lived my life in sort of earnest, trying to become something. Someone important. Once I made it to California, I would be an actress. Once I had my invitation business, I gave myself 5 years, then I was going to be featured on Oprah. I wanted public acknowledgement that I was good at what I did. If only I had more money for advertising. If only I could get more exposure. If I just had unlimited resources and time…

success-really-looks-like

I’ll say one thing for getting older, it’s like a fantastical discovery. There are no set rules, there is no “I’ve been through so much crap that I should be good and have it easy for the rest of my life’. Believe me, I wish that were true. If you are one of the few whose life has gone exactly according to plan, then kudos to you! For the rest of us, it’s about learning. Joel and I were just half-joking the other day, about how we felt like we were all filled up on Life’s massive learning experiences for awhile. Because you know, they are rather all-consuming and overall just plain exhausting.

For now though, success to me equals getting Arden to school on time, fed breakfast. Her lunch and backpack in hand along with finished homework. It’s helping her navigate all the drama of getting along and interacting with other kids. It’s getting Cam fed solids as he flops around in his Bumbo seat, then to sleep when he’s extremely irritable. It’s working on the orders I do have, while dreaming up new ideas. It’s getting the insurance to finally pay the claim that collectors have been calling on for almost a year. It’s jumping through all the hoops to file with the City for our flooded duplex. It’s getting another room in the new house repaired/organized/painted/cleaned/livable.

The secret of my success is never giving up. Forever and always, persistent, stubborn and determined. It’s appreciating what I do have and respecting how far I’ve come. It’s knowing that I’ll accomplish so much more, as long as I keep trying. It’s being thankful for the support I have from Joel, who’s always amazing. (and that there IS the singing and dancing that I’d always hoped for!) It’s excepting that while my life isn’t a made-up ideal, it is one heck of an adventure that I’m fortunate to be a part of.

November 13, 2014

The Bittersweet End~

Our little house! (THEN)

When I was little, my dad would say “That was another lifetime ago.”, when asked about certain topics that he’d rather not discuss. For the longest time, I had no idea what he was talking about. But as we get ready to say good-bye to Walmar Drive, it all makes sense. I moved into this house the fall of 2003. In November. Almost exactly 11 years ago. It was my first house after all my apartment living. After leaving the house I grew up in. I claimed the entire upstairs for my work studio. With it’s gloriously well-made, built-in bookshelves, it would be perfect for all my cardstock I was quickly acquiring. My budding invitation business would steadily grow here. I met with countless clients in this room. Brides and grooms bursting at the seams with excitement to start their lives together. I would greet them at the door, “This place looks like my Grandma’s house!” many would say. It was true. On the outside, it rather looked kinda like my own Grandma’s house. A simple Cap Cod, built in the 1950’s. Then they would come inside and love the decor. It’s always been bright and colorful and happy. (Photo taken by C-Bus Magazine, an article about my business: dfmi designs)

Dfmi Design article in C-Bus magazine

I’ve hosted many dinners here and parties and get-togethers. I was always paranoid when the guest list would swell, more friends wanting to attend than declining. I worried how I’d fit them all. I’d try to rationalize it in my head. Thinking back to when I went to college parties with friends, people always crammed together and no one seemed to mind. Of course, there was beer involved, which did nothing for me and my introversion, but worked well for everyone else. Now though, good food and camaraderie is what ended up bonding all these guests together. First, it was wedding planning. Nothing was better than discussing your dress or reception with a bunch of other girls that were headed down the same path. Eventually, over the years the talks turned to meal planning, how to save money, kids and raising families. (This photo is from January 2004, in the hallway going upstairs.)

KnotMeeting15_OH011704

I brought my babies home to this house. Cam will never know what it’s like to live here. Arden, however, is excited for a bigger room. She’ll now have a walk-in closet and lots of space for toys. (Which means they will no longer be threatening to take over my work space.) For her nursery, I had chosen a bright, cheery green. As she got older she begged for it to be blue, because that was her favorite color. I thought for sure when I asked her what she wanted her new room to be she’d now pick pink or purple. But she requested the same green. Some days she’s excited and some days she’s apprehensive. I think it’s to make it feel more like her other one. As long as she has a magenta door too. That is the stipulation. LOL

Arden with sandwich copy

arden and Cam, cam on bed sept 2014 copy

I had my wedding in the backyard here. It was intimate and lovely. Just our closest friends and family. It was tons of work to pull together, but even more worth it once it was featured on Apartment Therapy. Random strangers commented on how cool it was to see Columbus represented and it almost won for our region in the ‘Room for Color Contest’. Which was even more impressive, because it wasn’t even technically a room. (Wedding photos taken by Lisa Penzone)

Room for Color contest Apartment Therapy

ty3 cropped blurred

There are so many memories, so much time spent here. It is comfortable, but we have outgrown it. It is hard to say good-bye.

(AFTER) Walmar ready to sell copy

http://www.kingthompson.com/property/details/162760/MLS-214042813/3335-Walmar-Drive-Columbus-OH-43224.aspx

August 25, 2014

Jail Break! : aka the birth of Camden

Mama and Cam just meeting copy

At the end of the pregnancy, it starts to feel like you’ll be pregnant forever. At least it did for me. The lumbering walk where my legs felt like they were on fire and encased in cement, the not being able to find a comfortable sleeping position no matter how many pillows, the getting up to pee every half hour, I was certainly over it. Then on the last day of July, on the evening that I was finishing up writing my previous blog post, my water broke. I actually heard an audible ‘POP’ which felt like the baby had punched me HARD. Minutes later, the floodgates opened. Being induced previously, I didn’t know what to expect. What actually happened was very what.happens.in.the.movies-like, although I had read it was the opposite and very anti-climatic. It was like Niagara Falls came out of my nether region. All that fluid I had been retaining, well here was part of it. I couldn’t go downstairs for a towel because it continued to trickle down my leg for some time and I didn’t feel like leaving a gross trail through the house. I ended up grabbing some of the baby bath towels out of Cam’s dresser, which was only a few feet away until Joel got home from work.

With progress being made, it may seem like the next logical step would be to hop in the car and go to the hospital. However, I still had a banner to make for an Etsy order I had received just the day before. I had assured the lady that had ordered it for her daughter’s birthday party that I would have it done in time. Besides, I didn’t want to sit around the hospital waiting any longer than I had to, best to stay busy. We ended up leaving for the hospital at midnight. My contractions had gotten much closer together and sort of painful, so it was time to do this.

When we got there and got checked in, we were stuck in a little room to be examined to determine if my water really did break. It was annoying. Believe me, I would have known if I just peed myself. With this pregnancy, it happened more often than I’d like. One time, I coughed hard in Target and wet my pants. Nothing is more awesome than waiting in line with a wet rear end for all to see. Except maybe the times where, on more than one occasion, Joel would have me cracking up so much I would pee a puddle on the floor, which only made him laugh harder. (Those are the times that bond a couple, LOL.) While this might be embarrassing, in reality know that while pregnant, dignity becomes a thing of the past. Between food bits managing to find their way into my shirt or spilling down the ever-expanding real estate of my belly, Jabba the Hut had nothing on me.

After what seemed like forever, we were moved to the actual labor and delivery room. Now time really seemed to crawl by. Since I was making what they considered progress, I wasn’t given any pitocin. The nurses told me I was doing great, but whatever. I wasn’t allowed to have my regular crack-of-dawn snack, so I didn’t care how much they cheered me on. By 3 a.m. I was hooked up with a pretty sweet epidural, which started making this entire process tremendously better. My mood improved considerably. Every so often the anesthesiologist would check back to see if it needed topped off, which was amazing, because my body was pretty damn slow to dilate.

And so this went on for hours. Joel and I both fading in and out of sleep/delirium between being exhausted and famished. It wasn’t until a little after 2 in the afternoon of the next day that Cam was finally born. The umbilical cord looped around his neck twice like Arden’s has been. He ended up outdoing his sister by having it knotted around his neck like a tie. Coming out blue, he freaked out Joel a bit, but the team was on it and quickly revived him. After Cam was cleaned up, Joel plopped down with him and a bottle and fed his son like he’d been ready for this moment his whole life.

Before we knew it, we were home again. Another family member larger. It was surreal, having this baby. The mind is a funny thing. Even though I knew I had just had a baby, the pregnancy already seemed so far off. Then I look at him and hold him and think “Well maybe it wasn’t so bad after all.”

Arden and Cam at 3 and a hlf weeks copy

July 22, 2014

It’s THE FINAL COUNTDOWN.

And in case the title didn’t make you think of the fantastically 80’s hairband Europe’s song, here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jK-NcRmVcw

rubbing noses joel kissing belly use this one copy

This makes me feel a little better already.
Today I’m 39 weeks, 2 days. Basically, I’m due to have this baby any day.
To say I’m stressed about it is an understatement.
Well-meaning people ask me if I’m excited. The bizarrely, straight-forward answer is ‘no’. I’m about as excited as when I know something big is about to happen and I have absolutely no control on how the outcome will be. The apprehension, the fear, the suspense is not something I relish. Sure, other people are excited.
They also aren’t gaining 75lbs., sleeping only 45 minute intervals before either having to pee, waking up from pain, or experiencing the joy of acid reflux (all 3 have been going on for for the last couple weeks) OR having their body swell from heat so much that the skin feels tight and itchy and the only relief is going to be to have that darn baby.

The first time I read that to accommodate the growing fetus (ugh, I hate that word!), the mother’s ribs expand to make room for their organs. My mind was completely blown. Sure, the baby, ever-so-nonchalantly, can grow free and happy while the mother’s insides get squished and stuffed up their throat. That is some alien shit, right there though.

Arden hugging Cam in mama's belly copy

Sure, I had some of these issues while pregnant with Arden. With my rapid swelling/weigh gain that is a totally undesirable family trait, I was offered the sweet relief of being induced early. THEN, I was excited! I had an end in sight. Turns out though, that I was only dilated 1 cm. So that day, after 3 nurses and then finally my OB assaulted my lower half, I realized I had made a REALLY poor choice. Attempting to insert the balloon catheter into an opening too small, is extremely painful and that was only to get labor started. Pair that with not being allowed to eat and things got ugly.

There were some positives. The epidural was amazing. Then there was when Arden was actually born. Despite being covered in ick, I was in love immediately.
I’m sure that will happen again.
I wanted this baby for what seems like eternity.
It’s just been the 3 of us for so long, it’s hard to wrap my brain around what our family will NOW be like.
It’s challenging to try to comfort Arden when she says she feels left out because she has a different last name.
Joel has been wonderfully amazing and I’m going to miss my nightly foot-rubs.

Family pic on bench copy

Check back with me after the baby is born and we are all home safe.
OR after 4-6 months when I can (hopefully) fit into my regular-people clothes again. When I don’t spill food down myself at every meal. When I don’t eat chicken wings with such gusto that Arden says ‘Don’t eat the bone, Mama!’ When I only have to wake up every couple hours a night to care for a child instead of my current state. Then I hope to be able to feel completely different. Relieved that the anxious, exhausting wait is finally over. That labor is behind me and I will finally have that beautiful baby in my arms.

In the spirit of camaraderie, what was your most dumb-founding revelation about pregnancy or child-birth?

June 16, 2014

*~Ode to a Stepdad~*

day of regal roofing and restoration

It was just this past year that Arden started comprehending that Joel was her step-dad. Around the time when it was her turn to bring in photos to school for ‘All About Me Day’. Explaining to the class about herself, her family, her hobbies and favorite things. It was due to having to answer her classmates questions of who was in each photo with her. There was one of her and I. One of her and her dad. One of her and Joel and several of the 3 of us from our wedding. It was easy to say “Oh this is my Daddy or Mama’, but as it turned out, not everyone has a Joel.

joel and arden christmas day 2010

So I tried my best to explain this title of ‘Step-dad’ and in the end nothing much changed. She knows she has 2 main men in her life that love her. Except now she knows how to refer to Joel in case of introductions. Up until this point though, when she was 4, almost 5, she would tell me stories of how Joel held her in the hospital when she was born. I thought it was so sweet that I didn’t want to burst her bubble until I really had to. In reality, he came into our lives several months before she turned 2. So as far back as she can remember he’s always been with us.

happy

Joel and I got married right after Arden turned 3. While most of her youngest memories have been wiped clean, she still recalls that day all.the.time. “I remember holding Joel’s hand and waiting for you to come out to the backyard with us”, she’ll state proudly. (Referring to the music playing as I walked down the aisle.) It’s truly her memory talking, as we don’t have any photos of that actual part of the ceremony displayed in the house. Just this morning she asked me if she had been my flowergirl. When I said “Yes”, she demanded to know why she hadn’t any flower petals to throw, as that was what flower girls did. Honestly, at the time she was so busy entertaining the guests by running in circles and making funny faces that there really seemed to be no point.

wedding371 holding hands with Arden cropped

The first time Arden met Joel, she was so small, but took to him immediately. She called him by his name as soon as I told her what it was. Which was impressive, because she was just starting to really talk in 2 word sentences. In return, not having kids of his own or really being around any, he talked to her like she was an adult. He asked her how her day was or how she felt about something. Which thrilled her beyond belief. He made her feel special and never, ever excluded her. Whenever we’d hug, she come over and wiggle around to be picked up so she could get in on the hugging action. She still does. As she got older, she started calling him ‘The Joel’. When is ‘The Joel’ going to be home from work, or I have ‘The Joel’s’ nose, Mama. (Again, not looking to have to explain that in more detail, til I really have to.)

This past Father’s Day, while we are expecting our son soon, but also wanting to tie in our lives up until this point, I had this keychain made for Joel. The etsy seller, Bonnie of DieCutMetalCreations was fantastic and worked fast to get it to me. I am SOOOO thankful for her hard work. The look on his face was priceless when he opened it.

joels father day gift1 copy

To all you step-dads out there, that are entered into people’s lives and changed them in amazing ways. The world is a better place because of you. THANK YOU!

(Wedding photo taken by Lisa Penzone of Pellegrini Penzone Photography)

April 23, 2014

Our Mini Spring Break : Louisville, KY

It’s been weeks since I posted and I’m sorry to leave you all hanging! Between finishing Dresden and lots of orders for dfmi designs and getting sick (AGAIN!) the blog was the first to be put on hold. Something has to give, right? We did manage to spend a little fun time taking a trip to Louisville. We left Thursday night and drove down for all day Friday, coming back Saturday night in time for the Easter Bunny to arrive the next morning. At 3 1/2 hours away, it was perfect. I can’t handle much of a car ride anymore with this baby belly, everything is super uncomfortable.

What’s there to do, you wonder? Well, on several trips to Nashville there is a large dinosaur that you can see from the freeway inviting you to come to Dinosaur World. I’m not going to lie, I was totally into this! I wanted to be able to visit when we had Arden along though. They have 150 life-sized dinosaurs on display. You take a walking path through the woods and encounter all the creatures along the way. Some are better than others, with plaques providing information about each one. When Arden was in her dino phase a couple years ago, we learned about way more dinosaurs than I ever did in school. This place provides even more!

Dino 1 copy

Bronciosoris pic copy

They also have a “Fossil Search’ for little kids, which Arden was super into. Basically the children sift through a sand table with their little tools and discover fossils. There are tons, but they can only keep 3 favorites. Then Arden went to the Dino Dig, which is basically a faux dinosaur skeleton covered in sand that the kids (with their shovels and brushes) have to unearth. It was cute, she was into it. There is also a museum, a cave with a video about the life of a dinosaur and a gift shop.

Joel vs. the T-REX 1

Dinosaur World was about an hour and a half from Louisville and didn’t cost much. There are lots of other attractions like caves, ziplining and a Corvette Museum in the area to check out too.

family pic at dino world 1 copy

During the researching portion of the trip, I was really drawn to the East Market District of Louisville. What was once a small town that would look like any other that you’d pass through, this place has been revived with an edge. Lots of cool eateries and interesting shops line the streets. Some of our favorites was ‘Garage Bar’, a converted service station with an interior I could live in! Lots of reclaimed metal and wood.

Garage bar sign copy

Arden at bar  Garage copy

Garage bar doors up copy

A cute shop for coffee and treats was ‘Please and Thank You’, which is also a tiny record shop. Loved their sign!

please and thank you sign copy

Awesome street tacos were found at Taco Punk. How cool is this sign?

Punk taco sign copy

We also went to at Easter Parade on Frankfort Avenue, where Arden collected an insane amount of candy! It was almost Halloween amount of candy!

I super love this building photo taken while driving through the Historic District!

Awesome topography building sign copy

All the while, we stayed at Hyatt Place in Louisville. It is considered a 3 star hotel, but was really nice. The room was spacious, modern and had a handy mini-fridge. (I love this for drinks and snacks!) We opted for the king-sized bed and it was cool, because it also included a sleeper sofa in the sitting area and a stylish partition divided the two. So we could put Arden to bed and hang out for a bit on our side watching t.v that swiveled in either direction. The downside is that she was sick most of the trip (allergies are killing us at our house this year!) and kept me on my toes getting her ice chips and meds to soothe her constant coughing in the middle of the night. The BEST part of this place was the complimentary hot breakfast. Special breakfast sandwiches made fresh, sausage gravy & biscuits, oatmeal & cereal bar, fresh fruit and yogurt, muffins, pastries & bagels, plus a wonderful drink selection. Maybe I’m easily impressed or maybe I just really like food, but seriously, the spread was great! Perfect for a family stay, especially for this pregnant/hungry mama!

Here’s Arden setting up her bevy of stuffed animals she brought along.

Arden making her hotel bed copy

Overall, it was a nice little get-away. What fun things did you guys do over your long weekend?