Find Someone Who...
At A Crossroad
Accept What You Cannot Change
Be A Square In A World of Circle’s
Proud of What
The Next Generation
Living on the Edge
Each photo was taken from my point of view at a time I was processing a moment in my life. Use these photos and their headings to put yourself in a different perspective and try to see it with open eyes so you can help draw parallels in your life by seeing it in a bigger picture.
I thought I heard someone coming down the hallway until I paused and realized it was my own heart beat pounding inside my chest. With every thump I perceived the image of what my brain believed before my body could understand no one is walking down that hallway. It’s just me.
That part about humans intrigues me- it always has. The fact that we can be so mechanical and symptomatic, yet we don’t always read the signs right away or even right at all.
It sparked something inside me and gave me a new perspective I want to share with my readers.
Our bodies belong to us, yet can sometimes feel like a dungeon or small hell hole because there is no magic switch to change bodies or transform you into a superhuman.
The only way I could possibly understand what is going on inside is by pausing, and jumping on a deep breathe (inside my mind) that I follow down my throat, deep in my lungs and into my bloodstream.
I imagine passing by each organ, gently vibrating on the ones that need love and tend to the others like a garden, rinsing and watering toxins with each breathe.
This is how I cleanse my body from the inside out- with my imagination…you know that thing we used to use on the daily when we were kids…that thing can be more powerful than you could ever imagine.
Getting back in tune with my imagination is something I had to relearn during my spinal fusion surgery recovery and I want to share a story with you guys about how I got to that point of mental, emotional + physical healing by digging deep within.
Today would have been my aunts 50th birthday if she were still here.
If she were here on earth, I think she’d be sitting on a beach somewhere sipping the sweetest + strongest drink she could get her hands on. She probably rub raw baby oil on her tan skin and insist “that’s how us Cali girls get our tans” and would joke about how she is finally over the hill but doesn’t look like it….not to mention it’s a Saturday and weed is legal here ✌? we’d be besties.
But in reality…She wouldn’t slow down, she wouldn’t hit pause, she wouldn’t look in the mirror and look at her life from a different perspective. She dug her heels deep into her beliefs and wasn’t open to changing into what the world wanted her to be. She felt judged and different and wasn’t scared to be on her own. She pushed people away while she pulled other people close. And to those few I am grateful. ? thinking of my aunt today and all her death has taught me.
How perspective has proven to be an essential tool in my arsenal of life-skills. How proud I am to have been her only niece and how scared I was to admit how alike I was to her..how alike I AM. I think that today if she were alive she would be happy and free. She would be schooling me on all the mistakes I have made + show me the way to a happiness beyond myself.
I’m still not even clear honestly on how she passed because some dots just don’t connect for me in the bigger picture but the reality of her being gone keeps my focus on the things I can learn from her vs. all the things in her life I can use against her.
In all honesty…she was a recovering alcoholic battling mental health issues, probably bi-polar disorder, as it runs on the female side of my family (go-figure). She held the role of a single mother, a pariah and dedicated worker. She figured shit out on her own terms unapologetically while never really figuring out anything.
That last part sticks for me…she never figured it out…
What did she miss? What wasn’t she doing that she could have to save herself from the downward spiral she went on? I found myself thinking about that so much that it effected me. It felt like a burden I would carry for the rest of my life. A secret key to her life I could only find if I went on my own healing journey.
That year she died in her smokey one bedroom apartment laying on her back untouched by the fire other than a few singed hairs from the heat. She looked asleep and for whatever reason did not make it out before the smoke got to her.
I remember that morning. I was living on the east coast with my husband working for a small publishing company. I was editing a photo of a bird and I was totally in the zone, totally unaware.
My phone vibrated with a text message from my mom that read something along the lines of “I don’t know what’s going on but aunty rosas apartment is on fire and no one has seen her”.
Guys it felt like my heart exploded in my chest. It seeped into every crevice of my soul and it stayed there. I knew instantly- she had to be in there and there was no possible way she could survive what I was already googling at my fingertips.
I can’t describe how helpless I felt sitting in that New Jersey office staring at the screen that spoke louder to my consciousness and screamed “she’s fucking in there!”. There wasn’t a fire department I didn’t call or a friend I didn’t reach out to. In that moment I had wished I was home. I had wished I could undo my own life just so I could be in California a day or two previous and save her.
How? How can something that happened to someone else make me totally destroy my own existence in a matter of seconds? I couldn’t possibly do anything other than I already had.
You see, we had a falling out and she had cut everyone off from the family and moved a few cities away. Meanwhile, I got pregnant, married my husband and moved away. I started my own life and felt like that drama had no longer applied to me so I reached out to her to mend what was left.
That phone call was all tears. And if you knew my aunt you know she cries when she’s happy. She cried when my cousin got his drivers license, she cried on our graduation and I remember she cried on our first day of college. She cried out of joy which can tell you she was a really emotional person.
We’d get to the beach and set up camp near a life guard tower we’d remember because she wasn’t at the beach to play with the kids. She’d set up her chair, slap some fresh baby oil on her already perfectly tanned skin, toss a towel over her face and zone out to TLC as she tapped her red finger nails to “don’t go chasing waterfalls”.
We’d play in the water for hours, always looking up to make sure we hadn’t drifted too far from the life guard tower. Trust me…you didn’t want to be the one that got “lost” or you would hear about it the entire drive back.
Those are my memories of her- at least the good ones. Those are the times I believe she must have been happy. She must have felt the most like herself. Fast forward 15 years, what happened?
I have speculated for the last 3 years that her death was a suicide. Maybe she didn’t want to make it out. Maybe she was done. Maybe she had a really bad fucking day.
That year she died my life changed. I got sick. Then I scheduled my spinal fusion. I found out I was pregnant and then I was given the choice of what to do next…
If there was ever a time in my life to need my aunt, this was it. I had to make a really hard decision that year. To terminate my 4 week pregnancy and have an immediate 3 level spinal fusion with 2 disc implants in my lumbar right where that baby had just been.
Initially, I thought- God is trying to tell me something I couldn’t understand. I fought with it and struggled to be okay with my choice to choose the quality of my life over the creation of a new one. I went to therapy, I turned to my pain medication to numb pain only my emotions could heal. I got lost in what my life was supposed to look like vs. what is actually was and I had a realization. I am following in her path and I need to make a pivot.
I can‘ tell you the exact moment I had that realization but I know that I have always felt like her daughter in one way or another. A few conversations deep with my therapist gave me the epiphany that maybe she struggled with what I struggle with. Maybe she feels like me on the inside and maybe she didn’t know how to cope with the mountains of emotion + energy she’d absorb over the years.
So I turned inward. Over the last year I would pick a memory of her and dissect it. Try to remember why she ruined Christmas or always had to talk shit out the side of her neck when something didn’t go her way. I tried to have perspective.
I can tell you- it was like all broken pieces of my heart that had melted deep into my soul had started to mend back together. With each scenario I played through, I’d put myself in her shoes and try to understand, “what could she have been feeling or not feeling?”
The only thing I could think of was serenity. She couldn’t get a handle on that part.
You know that prayer mantra- “The Serenity Prayer”…”God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
I wondered if maybe she had given up on all the rest and just focused on the serene part. She threw away her courage to change, she lacked wisdom to accept the differences. She wanted the serenity more than anything and I can totally resonate with that.
I’ve never had this conversation with my spouse, but I wrote it in my Life Book, my second pregnancy and first child loss, I’d name her Serenity and recognize her as a person and not just a moment in my life I had to make a choice or an embryo that got lucky.
The moment I became aware was the moment my eyes opened to all that had fallen into the gray area. I detoxed from my pain meds, I focused on my health and I started to process each emotion on a real level. I’d welcome sadness with a hello and see where it was wanting to go, and then I’d kindly walk it out the same door and name it kindness.
Over a year of repetitive interpretation of what I was feeling, I was able to recognize the sources of my pain and heal them.
The one thing wish, is that I could have been able to teach this imaginative life-skill to my aunt, because I think it could have worked for her.
On another note, what did work for her was reaching out to people that understood her. Tuning out those that wished ill and giving her heart to those that saw the good in her.
I never got to say thank you. But if I could…I would thank her boyfriend at that time. I met him at the funeral with a handshake and sat near him while her children spoke of her and I just starred at him. I never knew him before that day but I knew one thing…he had come back into her life after many years and she had found a piece of herself I hadn’t seen in a long time. I truly feel that those last tears I heard on the phone with her weren’t only because she was so happy to hear my voice. The more I look at it, her heart was full and she had only one way to express that- by truly being overcome and filled to the point of tears and laughter.
I am so fucking grateful to have the wisdom to know the difference and the perspective to share what I’ve learned by walking in someone else’s shoes. Even if its only for a memory.
I found out 2 years after she died that I was pregnant again, unexpectedly in one of the worst years of my marriage. It was the most painful and complicated pregnancy, but the birth came almost as fast as my aunt went. I held her in my arms and cried tears of joy, I remember gasping for air as if she took my breathe away.
I named her Charly Rae.
We went back and forth a lot on the names. My aunts name was Rosemary but Charly Rose sounded more like a porn-star. I settled on Rae as in “a ray of sunshine” and decided to honor the spelling of her name after my aunts boyfriend, Charly. Who I am forever grateful to for coming back into her life and allowing her to die as herself. Helping her feel and process emotions and love that would make her feel the serenity and thrill she had been seeking her whole life as she’d ride on the back of his Harley.
I am grateful that he had the compassion within to reconnect with her and allow her to be herself. I strive for that connection everyday and am trying to merge that into my marriage. Where we see each other for who we were and not what we have become…
I definitely think about her every day. Any time I have a bad thought I think of how her death has effected my family and I go the other way.
I wish she were here to meet my children and I wish we hadn’t been fighting so she could have attended my wedding. But a wish is a wish.
The reality is that I have to and every moment to look forward to and my intention is to fill it with the people and emotions that I love.
Remembering my aunt for all that she was and all that she dreamed of being today.
With all that being said- if you love someone- fucking tell them!
➰ Dear Mr Trump ➰
I wanted to share HOW SAD it has been today reading all my friends posts about the fact that we will not be getting a paycheck and the reality that you don’t see how messed up it is not to pay a branch of the military that guards the coast every single day.
To share a bit of my own story- we are stationed in the most expensive city- the San Francisco Bay Area. Because of this economy, we have not qualified for food stamps or WIC since we moved here- and I can assure you, militarily families need that extra assistance, especially when our spouses are deployed. (you know- those unnecessary port calls…)
My husband deploys in less than a week and will not leave with a dime in the bank (unless change is made) so he can get the supplies he usually takes with him. Not only that- but he won’t be spending his time with me because I will be in my car…driving.
I happen to drive for #uber and have the capability to jump in my car and make quick money- but what about all the thousands of spouses who cannot do this?
This is so UN-American and it has absolutely nothing to do with being democrat or republican Mr. Trump.
Know that we see you and we hear you loud and clear- you. do. not. care.
The Life Book is a project I’ve created to give your journal and planning experience a blended outlook on life that you can put on a shelf and come back to one day.
The Life Book…..A book that is a journal, that’s also a notebook, that’s a calendar, that’s a planner, that keeps you organized, accountable, responsible.
It’s a life log, anxiety monitoring system, depression killing idea that you already have the tools to be boss at life, but need ‘a tool’ to help you be that.
A thought accountability subscription that helps you monitor, catalog and journal your thoughts and desires as they come, not as the world expects, but when divine intervention presents.
A safe space, a box outside of your head. Thought Box cards were created so you can put “those” thoughts in them without worry of who would possibly read those thoughts. And when that thought passes, lives it’s moment, or is forgotten, you can safe keep it, or trash it. But the option to move on is always there.
This is my true passion project. It may already exist but it’s something that I feel will help many many people if designed right…and lucky for ya’ll I’ve been designing for 15+ years. This idea is something I have been wanting to share but not sure how.
I invite my knots to join me in my Vibe Tribe where we battle shit head on and document it- for our selves or who knows..for our kids or that memoir we may write one day.
The point being, we worked through our shit, didn’t make excuses and lived life to the fullest.
If this sounds like something you can see yourself being a part of make sure to PRE-order your Life Book here.
Following your dreams is one thing…sharing them with the world is fucking scary. But hey- we are all here for each other right?
Did you know your body is made up of natural cannabis compounds it produces and consumes on a daily basis?
If you are like the majority of humanity then you are probably unaware that your body contains a version of it’s very own cannabis-based biological system that operates naturally, and most likely can benefit from using a CBD Hemp Oil.
Lets call them “endo’s” for short….
According to the endo WIKI-page, it’s a part of the human biology.
What exactly are endocannabinoid’s? How does CBD work? What’s the difference between it all?
Lucky for my knots, I’m teaming up with an all natural CBD brand to give you guys the 101 on CBD and all the info you need to know. This brand prides themselves with having the best “ultra high purity CBD” in their tinctures, as well as high quality manufacturing practices in Colorado. For this review, CBD BIO Naturals was kind enough to sponsor my CBD oil this month and I have been looking forward to telling you guys all about it!
Lets get into the details of CBD no one’s really talked about….YET!
[To keep things transparent, if you see something highlighted and click-able, that is the source where I found the information backed with my experience. The content in this article belongs to boxofknots.com- if you share this information, please link back to your source.]
What is CBD? It’s a compound pulled from cannabis plants (the hemp plant to be specific).
Yes, cannabis, pot, THC, CBD, weed, whatever you want to call it…it’s already in your system.
You might say- “well, why can I test clean for a drug test then?”.
If that is you, then this post is for you my friend! Let’s talk about it.
Your body is made up of two types of cannabinoid receptors – CB1 and CB2.
If you’ve ever ran a mile and then experienced a wave of euphoria at the finish line then you’ve just experienced a little gift from your CB receptors, naturally.
What’s happening is that your body is creating a type of dopamine chemical (the endocannabanoid’s) and then your endo-receptors give you a little “runner’s high” (you little stoner, you!).
So, what if you don’t experience that “runners high” after a big event?… Well, that’s because you’re like me.. and your CB receptors are damaged and “malfunctioning”.
With CBD therapy and some psychology tools, you can combat the storms brewing in your body if you listen to the symptoms.
To give you an idea, here are “a few” signs your CB receptors could be “malfunctioning”…
If you’re like me, you can check a few of these off the list (maybe all).
That wave of euphoria doesn’t show up when the fun starts, your appetite is gone when the food smells amazing, your body still hurts after pain killers or Tylenol. These are all symptoms that maybe you’re weed-biology could be a bit off. It’s okay though because lucky for us, there is chemistry to help us balance ourselves out.
Just like hormones and your pH balance…theres also a CB balance type system just waiting for your attention.
Your body is made up of a series of receptors scattered throughout and if one is a little off, it can domino your entire biological system.
Here are 6 different receptors pointed out by the writers over at vice.com. They pretty much fall in line with the symptoms of malfunctioning receptors.
There are dozens of cannabis-prone receptors that serve more than one purpose but here are a few to name…
If you’ve smoked cannabis before and don’t like it, your body is most likely well balanced to where the effects are quite the opposite of enjoyable.
You and THC are probably not gonna be friends, but you and CBD might be besties.
If you’ve smoked weed and consider yourself a pot head, then there’s good news. You more than likely have been proactive in your health without even know it.
By listening to your “malfunction-ing cannabinoid receptors” and supplementing for the lack of cannabinoids in your body, you are able to trick your receptors into being “normal” by combining both THC + CBD.
David Bienenstock over at viceland explaned it this way…”Think of the endocannabinoid system as your body’s “root level” operating system—a kind of central processing unit that regulates and alters the functioning of many other important systems and keeps them in balance.”
I suffer from a wide range of conditions that seem to uncover themselves year after year and CBD has been the one script I have never had to change.
Failed back surgery syndrome was the last diagnosis I got after my neurologist could not help me figure out what’s up. I had a 3 level spinal fusion and some made up syndrome is what they gave me. I call bull-shit and have been taking my health research and discovery into my own hands.
By using a personal journal/note taking system I created, now known as The Life Book, I was able to pin point what exactly was going on inside my body and I discovered that throughout the day I was constantly trying to reproduce more hormones that stress would basically eat up.
The best thing I can do for myself is to avoid the cycle and just give myself the CBD that it already thinks it should have.
There is absolutely no reason you should suffer from something biological. Point blank. CBD could be the key to that lock, it’s just one of those things where you have to try the key and see if it works.
Lets agree to disagree that not everyone’s tree grow’s pretty, does it? We all need to do what works for us, damaged receptors or not, the science is there and there is no denying that.
The real question is, will it work for you?
One of the biggest questions I get in my inbox is about the thousands of brands out there. I will say, in most cases, you will get what you pay for.
If you want to try out a CBD Hemp Oil but don’t know where to start I can make that easy for you, head over to CBD Bio Naturals, I use their 500mg bottle. (by the way…use code BOXOFKNOTS at checkout so they know I sent ya! – in return you get $15 off your order)
I put a dropper full under my tongue and in my coffee or smoothie 3-5 times a day depending on how I’m feeling.
To make sure “this worked” for me, I took it straight for 2 weeks and then stopped taking it for 2 days. I didn’t feel any mental change but I had a nerve pain return that I hadn’t felt in some time and it was enough to convince me to keep taking it. Everyone has their reasons, and that sciatica nerve pain is my #1 reason.
I like to stay transparent here on boxofknots.com and love to get your feedback on specific topics I talk about.
If you like what I’m sharing make sure to reach out or share it with a friend! Information is powerful.
Feel free to interact with me on Instagram and use the hashtag #knotlife to check in with the rest of us knots and share your journey.
Everything you need to know about CBD OIL by Medical News Today
The Science of the Endocannabinoid System: How THC Affects the Brain and the Body by HeadsUp SCHOLASTIC
My second pregnancy is actually my third, and that is something I’ve never shared with the world until right now.
You see, we always wanted at least two babes- if we could ever be so lucky.
We’d dream of an older son and young sweet daughter. Fast forward almost a decade and here we are…blessed to have them both…
Let me tell you a little about that journey and the roads, detours and road blocks we hit along the way.
I know it can be hard, all the time, but know that you are never alone. There is always another parent at that very moment crying those same exact tears of angst, resentment and unconditional love all bottled into one.
Know that I stand right here with you, anxiety wrapped around my eyes like a ninja-turtles bandana. Instead of walk blindly, we day after day take that blind fold off and choose to walk with our children. Day in and day out cause that’s what mama’s do.
Everyones break looks different so make sure to speak up along the way, no one can read your mind. Imagine driving to work without street signs to tell you when to stop or go…would you feel safe?
For me, my breaks are showers alone with the door locked or a few hours in the middle of the night to write these choice words for you.
These moments of motherhood are so kind, if you let them be. And before I do a little storytelling, I wanna share this part of a song that always sticks…
“All the good comes in waves.”QUINN XCII [Song:Another Day In Paradise]
Is that not the truth guys??
So here is the story you came for, I’ll just jump right in.
When I found out I was pregnant for the first time, it was the happiest I could remember myself being in a really long time. It was a boy and we were young but couldn’t wait to see what adventure was before us.
When I found out I was pregnant for the second time it was not only a complete shock, but it was exactly one week before my spinal fusion surgery. I’m sure you can imagine how a positive pregnancy test can throw a wrench into a surgery. It continued to complicate the situation entirely.
When I found out I was pregnant for the third time, I cried hysterically; from fear, pure anxiety, a rollercoaster of adrenaline. I could tell this time it was a girl. My blood was flowing all over, I was so in tune with my body and I was still scared.
Something we wanted badly for so long and I was fucking terrified. It felt fucked up.
“We finally get to have our baby girl”-he’d say, trying to get me excited, and I would totally melt down into tears and make my escape to the closest doorway.
Why was I like that? Why was it so hard for me after we had already successfully had our first born? Lets backup a bit to that second pregnancy…the one that haunts me.
It was a week before my scheduled spinal fusion I sat on the toilet with my phone in one hand while my anxiety entirely consumed me. I thought we were done with babies…
My surgery was on the calendar and we had family and friends taking time off work to fly to New Jersey to come and help my husband take care of our 3 year old.
At that time I was in dire need of this surgery. A three-level, dual implant, life or death kind of need to reconstruct what years of ignorance and physical labor did to my spine from childhood into my late teens.
After a really quick phone call and a comment along the lines of… “if you carry this baby you risk snapping your spine and then who will raise your son?”- scared me shitless into having the surgery, if that’s even a thing.
That was the conversation that made my decision final and real that this was happening.
A 50% chance I would survive was the statistic I was given over a heartless phone call.
It was the data I needed to make that judgement call so I wouldn’t be leaving my husband and son both wife and motherless on my quest for another child.
If you can imagine, my husband was in some type of limbo no one can explain, but I’m sure you can try to imagine. I mean— finally a second child but your wife can’t and wont carry it…
He didn’t judge me for my decision, in fact, he held my hand the entire way and made me feel like I made the right decision, even though everything inside me was saying otherwise, and sometimes still does.
You see, for my second pregnancy, we found out early and elected at 4 weeks to have an abortion through a “Medical Abortion” which is basically an oral supplement you take that tells your body to stop the pregnancy.
It doesn’t make it any better that it’s a pill..it’s still abortion. Its still awful. But I had to sacrifice that pregnancy for a shot at a life with the family I already had on earth. Call it what you want.
I took that pill on Halloween night before we went trick or treating, I cooked dinner and went along with the day. I felt some cramping, laid down for a little and then it was time to trick or treat.
I’ll never forget the huge baggy ass sweatpants I wore that night. No costume, just huge sweatpants clearly too big for me and hidden inside was what felt like 12 maxi pads layered into a bucket to catch whatever was about to happen to me.
I bled the entire time we trick-or-treated, so I went home before everyone. I changed my layering of maxi pads, took a pain killer- or three for the cramping pain, laid down for bed and that was that.
In those types of abortions the medicine tells your body to stop producing the hormone that keeps the pregnancy and then you pass it just like a miscarriage. I’ll be honest with you guys, I was 4 weeks along and I did not notice one clot that was in any shape of a fetus. It all looked the same, a dark red clotted blood.
That next morning we drove back out to the only Planned Parenthood in the area that did abortions and it happened to be 3-hours away. After a final ultrasound to confirm I was no longer bearing a child, we got the green light to proceed with my spinal fusion.
In total, I was sedated for 8 hours at Pennsylvania University Hospital in Philadelphia. I underwent a 3 level spinal fusion from L3-L5 vertebra. The surgery was intense and again, my husband was by my side the entire time.
We stayed in the hospital for over a week and started the day-to-day of what life would now look like for us.
Despite not being able to bend or twist for 3+ months, I was restricted to my bedroom and lived off my husbands compassion, massages and in-home pedicures. We began my recovery and continued to live in the solution at that moment in our life. It was changing.
I did intensive physical therapy, started working again, we moved to a new state, life went on…
For a while it seemed like we would be that couple that only had one child and we at one point even had “the talk” with my son about being an only child…little did we know, God had other plans for our family.
Two years after my surgery, I discovered I was pregnant…again.
This time I cried hard.
I think my husband thought I was crying because of the hormones and the fact that he would be deploying in a few months…but I couldn’t mutter even one word before my ugly cry would take over my face and I’d slip away to the closest doorway until I could compose myself in some way.
You might be wondering, “why all the tears? You guys finally get your chance?!”
When I found out about my third pregnancy, the immediate fear flooded me, quite literally. I had gotten so used to the idea of being the mother to an only child and had come to terms with my choice I made- I couldn’t help but ask “do I even deserve this child?”
After some self-guilt, a lot of conversations with friends and family…I knew this was game time. We got what we had been asking for.
The pregnancy itself was fucking awful. I’ll just tell you that.
The worst was that there was no real way to explain it because it was coming from every direction in my body and treating it was nearly impossible because we still didn’t really know what was brewing within me.
To give you an idea, I suffer from a slurry of side effects that stem from surgery, unnecessary procedures, failed western medicine practices and insurance deals to deter you from seeking real help. decided I needed at one point or another.
Fibromyalgia, Bipolar Mood + Anxiety Disorder, Lyme Disease, Muscle Spasticity Disorder with a sprinkle of asthma and ADD. Thats me 🙂
The result of the multitude of diseases and effect can be summarized by a few symptom and day to day descriptors.
I like to be transparent about the fact that I’m aware I will always live in some type of pain. There is no real cure for me yet. Only maintenence and self care that is how I live my day to day.
When I was pregnant it felt like my body was rejecting the baby, if I had to sum it up.
I would puke from pain in my stomach that was explained to me as a side effect of my back surgery, a double disc replacement I had done through my abdomen.
In my case, something went south and there’s a kink in the hose….meaning, my stomach now only holds enough food for a 4 year old and it hurts (like knives in my stomach hurts) when I eat too much food and ask my digestive system to do the due diligence + flush.
Having issues can give anyone anxiety, but having these specific issues was almost torture. A double double animal style no longer sounded good because I had to consider how I’d feel digesting it. My favorite foods soon became my enemy. I cooked less for my family, it trickled its way down…
Eating clean made me loose weight, 48 lbs in total from my highest pregnancy weight, 146 lbs compared to my most recent 98 lbs.
The last time I weighed 98 lbs. I was 10. And I’m not bragging…
Loosing that much weigh changes things in your mind and in your body you didn’t know were there. Your body becomes easier to communicate with.
When my daughter was one month old, my husband deployed right on schedule. He came back for a couple months around 5 months old and then again last month when she turned 9 months old.
I would cry at the thought of him, and I honestly still cry time to time. That part hasn’t gone away- but I also haven’t begun seeing a therapist.
I found that crying became really therapeutic for me. My ‘cry time’ is in the shower- because you can ugly cry in privacy and conveniently wash your ugly cry face off afterward and blame it on the shower. Crying is good for you, but therapy…getting that therapy in is really important.
I would cry and then I’d see my son developing this amazing relationship with his little princess sister and I would just melt, ugly-crying all over again.
For me, it’s been more of a headache… I went for my postpartum checkup, asked for what I call “help” and was given a phone number to call. I was told to press a number after the beep and I tuned out after that part.
“This” thing I was going through was bigger than me.
I still haven’t seen a therapist yet (I will soon I promise). But really, I get so much anxiety about the steps it even takes me to connect with someone, I end up not calling at all. And then I have to cross my fingers and hope that I picked a good name off the list….don’t get me started…
Instead, I’ve been dunking my head into growing my business goals, building real connections online with like-minded mama’s and really just doing the mom thing, and it’s working for me.
Everyday is different. Some days are good, some awful, but it’s a journey…right?
I know I’m not alone.
If you’d like to share your story with me directly, you know where to find me mamas!
Till next time…
Ever seen that movie The Help? Well, kinda spun off a little from that movie but I think giving your babe a mantra is a good idea ❤️
Here is ours…
“You are smart just as you are beautiful, inside and out.
You are brave and courageous so dream big.
you are loved and will one day meet true love
You were born with a purpose and will one day find it.
You are kind and worthy of kindness.
Love each day + dream sweet dreams.
The world is big and you are small but you are important.”
Thinking of throwing a Pirate themed party? Well, I have some ideas and tips for you!
With Halloween around the corner, I thought I’d dig through my archive and share some fun Pirate Party/Halloween Ideas that I tried out for my son’s 4th birthday party.
I’ll just throw this out there NOW, when those items at halloween time go on clearance…you better snatch them up!
With that being said…
I will admit, we kinda went a bit overboard for turning 4, but in my defense, it was transfer season [we are a traveling military family] so instead of a traditional ‘going-away party’, I linked up with his best buddy’s mom and we threw them both a Pirate Birthday Party they will never forget.
My mission for this party was to make it fun, crafty, memorable and cheap- of course. My phobia of throwing things away lingered so I did my research, played extreme couponer and raided any dollar-bin and clearance section I could find until I was loaded on more crap than I knew what to do with.
Here’s some simple tips to get you going…
Some of you know this as….hoarding. I call it collecting for purpose.
Anyway- when it comes time for those random things you WISH you had saved so you didn’t have to repurchase or overspend…guess who’s in luck? Me 🙂
You can always add your leftover decorations into your stock-pile but it’s a good idea to always keep your receipts for those instant buyer’s-remorse purchases or items you just won’t ever need.
I usually opt for Evernote because you can sync it to your phone, web and computers so it makes my life a lot simpler.
I still have post-it notes and lists in my notebook because I’m a physical-creative and need to tangibly sift through my thoughts but it does help to organize it all when you can break it into bullet points and check off as you go. If you’re confused, don’t worry, I’ve included a screen shot of one of the notes I used to plan this pirate party.
To give you an idea, here are the various ways you can use Evernote to plan your party. Start by creating a note or notebook for the following titles:
I think we can all agree that shopping is a big chunk of planning for a party.
It’s important to make an actual paper-pen list (or use whatever app) so you can visualize, prioritize and negotiate with your want’s/needs before you find yourself in the center of a crisis at the craft store because you “want” things you really didn’t plan for.
I advise setting a budget because I’ve been there, many times…but that’s when you have to throw on your crafty-mom hat and engineer an idea out of what you can find. For me it always ends up being something I enjoy but if you’re not the crafty type then you might have to opt for some nice handmade’s on Etsy or ask favors from friends.
And by “realistic”- all I’m saying is to remind yourself at the end of the day that its a birthday party…you and your child will survive if you have to say no to some streamers in order to feed your guests.
The best tool you can have in this scenario is the ability to rationalize. It makes the next party that much more fun to plan because you’ll have your spending in-check ahead of time.
I didn’t give myself enough time to prep BEFORE guests arrived, thus, causing the well-known domino effect of things that just don’t work out like you planned.
If I have any real-life advice I’d simply tell you to plan with your time and not with your money. You can buy all the cutest little party favors that Etsy sells but if you don’t remember to bring them to the party and put them inside the party bags, they loose their purpose. So avoid that headache and prep as much as you can at home, it’ll save you in the long run.
In my case we were limited to our options and held the party in a rectangular shaped room with a bunch of tables and chairs that happened to be an art studio.
Having an empty room made it easy for us to move around tables and dedicate areas to specific crafts and activities – essentially making clean up seem a bit easier because we were able to heard kids from one area to another with a new activity and my helpers assisted in “clean as you go”.
I did a lot of shopping at the Dollar stores and clearance rack since it was the end of the season but I was able to find a lot of items that were pirate-ish. A few items you can keep an eye out for:
If you are the crafty type you can try out these diy-pirate-scroll invites I made. It did help that I’m a designer so I was able to deal with that part but you can always use templates, Word or even Google Docs to type and print your design. The rest is easy-peasy. This was by far my favorite part of the planning because it’s a chance to basically create anything I want. For these invitations I shopped at Michaels Craft Store, kept it at a budget but ended up spending a bit more time with assembly than I anticipated because I made it up as I went and of course need to account for the dozen’s I basically hacked and tossed in the trial series. Each invitation was crafted with more love than my chubby glue-gun-burned fingers could handle, I can tell you that much. (Soon) You can see how I created these DIY Scroll Invitations here (link coming). My method behind creating DIY projects is to remember that these are tips and guidelines. There is no recipe to follow so create as you go and use the tools that you have (or don’t).
yes…I’m making “craftivity” a thing…
One of the things I did a bit different with this party was to create a party favor bag for our friends that wasn’t a traditional “give out at the end of the party” loot-bag. The difference with this bag is that it held an activity inside along with a few other fun items like an eye-patch, toy telescope and a headband.
The idea behind putting the activity inside of the favor bag was two sided because we needed an activity to do at the party but we also couldn’t spend a lot because we had about 30 kids to prepare for. We wanted to send them home with a favor bag so we killed two birds with one stone. By having tables set up with baskets of markers, jewels, etc, your guests can decorate a one of a kind craft they made at your event and get to take home with them.
This can work with pretty much any craft or activity! It also served as a great welcoming gift and introduction into making sure I said hello to everyone.
We went with jumbo paper lunch sacks and cut slits at the top to weave in themed ribbon I found on sale. I had found some halloween labels and made sure to leave out sharpie markers so everyone had their name on their bag.
I’m sure there are ton’s of brands and producers but I wen’t with Oriental-Trading and ordered their Papier-Mâché Mini Treasure Chests dozen packs.
I didn’t use any handmade props but do want to give a shout out to A Joyful Bow on Etsy- a fellow Coast Guard Wife and obviously brilliant crafter. If I had known her then, I would have opted for her handmade Pirate Set.
You would be surprised how simple this activity is to throw together! I scored on these paper skull treat bags and turned them into a treasure satchel to collect buried treasure and take home.
There are tons of ways to do this one. Here’s my rendition…
I literally painted over an old (ugly) painting from a drunken paint night and made the background to look like my version of a run-down ship parlor where all I had to do was let it dry and use double sided tape to stick on the tattoo’s.[A little tip: You can use chalk on dry acrylic paint to write out text or draw and then paint over]
Best advice, keep it simple.
This one here was a stretch but we got it done in time. A friend was able to cut and assemble for us so all I had to do was draw the design out and paint it. Here you can see the primer stage, draft and final…
The food is always a hover-point for many at a party so it’s important to give your guests options. Its not required but be mindful of who you invite and any food allergies they may have. You don’t want to have the party go down hill fast for no reason!
Sit back, grab a snack…or a drink.
To share your pirate party ideas use the tag > #pirateparty
Thanks for reading!
Today I will ask my husband of 8 years to be my best friend…again.
You see, we were friends first. We met in high school, my senior year and stayed friends. That friendship turned into two kids, a dog, 5 moves and a decade later, but what happened to that friendship?
Life happened, stress, financial burdens, health issues, drug addiction, postpartum depression, deployment after deployment.
A couple years ago we were hanging on by the thinnest thread, not sure what the fuck we were doing. The word ‘divorce’ would come up almost daily, and not in a spiteful way- more so in a “would it make more sense for our happiness” kinda way.
And if you’re married, that’s a really sad and hard point to come to.
I remember when my parents got to that point and I saw it happen over a period of time. They did less together, ate meals alone, and life happened…they grew apart and my mom searched for what she wasn’t getting in the home and found comfort in her best friend, who she has now been married to for 10 years.
He is 12 years her junior- and “that” part always got me…what was is about their relationship that keeps them together?…oh yea…they are friends…
I’m a firm believer that things that happen in life are lessons. Just like stories in the Bible, your life tells a story just the same. And for me, I took my parents divorce as a lesson to apply to my own marriage.
So what does that mean? It means that my husband and I have been in a friend-fight for a few years now and we are seeking a solution.
So today, my husband and I are leaving the kids with Yaya and heading into San Francisco for the day to reconnect. Today is dedicated on rebuilding that friendship we once had. That friendship we know is still there and will always be there, so long as we desire it.
Today I will ask my husband to be my best friend again. To allow me to talk without thinking of the bills, or our crazy work schedules. To connect on a deeper level other than in the bedroom (because were honestly doin’ great in that department). To feel the freedom to chat for hours, or sit in silence together. To feel that bond aligned with our interests, like music and art, and not focus on the bonds my postpartum depression has destroyed. To just feel and be, instead of numbing my anxiety.
Today I will work up the courage and energy to recognize what’s always been there…underneath the loads of dirty laundry and dishes in the sink, sits two humans that once decided “let’s do life together”.
Marriage is hard work.
I’ll say it again…Marriage is hard WORK…You just don’t wake up and are glowing in-love. You wake up to a human in bed, or sometimes on the couch- and you make the choice to do life together, day after day. Those days don’t always look the same, and that’s ok.
The important thing is that you feel the same ❤️
And baby, I fucking love you ❤️❤️❤️❤️
While scrolling in my instagram feed I saw this offer for 1-free week of freshly made and delivered baby food and I had to try it. Initially, I was going on a trip and planned for the food to arrive during my trip so that I wouldn’t have to worry about fresh food for my 9 month old but because of YUMI’s schedule in ordering and making the food, I couldn’t plan for that unless it was a few weeks in advance.