All Posts2019-03-28T13:47:57-05:00

All of the posts about all of the things

Launched • Bragging Writes

When my friend Jenna contacted me for a logo for her custom birth statistic print design company, I was super excited. She wanted to have something that complimented her art. That meant bold colors, but with a classic or vintage-ish feel. She didn't want it to necessarily look childish, but it had to speak to the relationship between parents and their children. As her site name (MyKidRocks.wordpress.com) suggests, this was to be a blog attracting parents who want to scream to the world, this is my kid, and I think they are awesome! First we tried a design that included an ultrasound with headphones on rocking out in the womb before his "big entrance". We loved it, but it didn't pass the public testing. People didn't "get it", and my husband said it looked like the baby was in distress. Not good. So we went back to the drawing [...]

Change

Change is hard. It is uncomfortable, challenging, emotional and frustrating. Whether it is something small like where you drop your keys when you get home or what drink you order at Starbucks, or something big like a bad habit or where you live, it is still difficult. The bottom line of it though, is that it is necessary to change in order to grow. The opportunity to become something greater than you are is a big deal. I am forever trying to improve myself, and can become frustrating to others due to my constant and rapid changing. I don't wait around for things to get better, I actively pursue betterment. This can be seen as "intense", "determined", "overachieving", and other grey words that are neither good nor bad. The problem is when these words mean that I get in my own way, or hurt someone important to me, in [...]

The Cost of Clutter

You know that you have too much stuff, but did you know that that stuff was draining your resources? It really and truly is. I've done the research and you are being robbed blind, by YOUR STUFF! Check it out: So let me see here... Clutter makes me less effective & efficient, more chubby, stressed, & broke? Yeah. Clutter, you're out of here. Who is with me?   Did you think the graphic included in this post was wicked awesome?! I created it! If you would like my help on your graphic design project, check out PageLauncher.com, or email me directly!  Supplemental Source: Crown.org

Service

The military is more than statistics, strategy, politics, and war. It is a collection of men and women who train, live, and work in the service of our nation's freedom. It is their dedication and commitment to their duty that afford us all the way of life that we enjoy each day. Let us not forget that the number of persons serving our nation in its military are not limited to those in uniform. Remember their families: their children, their parents, their wives and husbands. Because if you think they are not also serving, you are mistaken. I couldn't help it. I had two I needed to include this week. Yesterday, my husband left for his fifth deployment in five years (Note: We are active duty Air Force. Our deployments are much shorter than our Navy and Army brethren, at least in the flying career fields.). As I stood [...]

Definition of Clutter

Clutter is more than just the piles of paper lying around your living space. It is anything in your life that you don't want to be there. It makes you uncomfortable. It gets in your way. It frustrates you. It isn't easy to get rid of because at one point, it meant something to you, or means you have to change something about your life. It stands between you and the life you want. It's time to get rid of it. Welcome to the Kicking the Clutter series. This series is going to be dedicated to all of the things we need to do to get our lives to where we want them to be. I don't know everything, and believe me, I have ways that I need to improve. For those topics, I will welcome outside guests to share suggestions on what to do if we have THOSE [...]

Relax

Go, go go. Do, do, do. Your to-do list is endless, and your life is demanding. In all the hustle that live throws your way, please take the time to relax. It really is easy. Just slow down and rest your mind and body. You deserve it.   Relaxing doesn't come naturally to everyone. It took me 30 years to figure it out, and admittedly, I am terrible at it. Whenever my time isn't full of obligations with/for others, I generally can be found working intensely on some project or another: designing a site, creating a graphic, organizing my home, volunteering, and recently starting my business. Oh yeah, and then there's the whole "raising kids thing"... Yeah. In a recent conversation with a wise friend, I had an epiphanie. I was venting about frustration related to being so close to feeling like I was "done", but being unable to [...]

Security

A dolly, a blanket, a hug, a hand to hold, a cushion, protection, whatever you call it, we all need it: Security. May you always feel safe in the knowledge that you are loved, and that there is always somewhere to turn if you need help. Girl carries around an entourage of dolls, blankets, and other security items. They make her feel comfortable and add a bit of stability to a world she is just starting to get to know, and can sometimes be scary. The most important groupie in her posse is this doll named Suzie Q. Iloveyou. Yes. That's her name. I know because I gave it to her. She is a Bitty Baby from the American Girl collection. She is my daughter's favorite doll. She goes with us wherever we go, and waits in the car "for safety" when we go out. She sleeps with Girl [...]

Launched • A Wedding in Beantown

I am so excited to debut my latest web design project, NicoleWedsJPinBeantown.com! The Story: In high school I met and became good friends with a boy named JP. He and I were in the band together. He acted in the drama club, and I made a fool on stage trying to keep up. He took my sister to the prom. Twice.  When I married Hubs in 2003, JP was the videographer that saved our memories on film. This truly saved our backsides because the "photographer" we hired turned into a nightmare of horrible images and missed shots. He went way out of his way to make the video include everything he knew that I'd want, including some video of Hubs and I during high school that I didn't even know he had available. Soon thereafter, I took off on the AF adventure all over the US while JP took off for [...]

A Table for Two

This is the story of how I made an old table into a new fun place for my kiddos to play. The issue: We had a table that we WANTED to use that was big enough for two kids to sit side by side and play on, but we did not have room and the table was too tall to use in its original state. We had a little table in the playroom that only had enough room for one kid [see: photo number 1: The Too-Small Table.]. The issue is that we have two kids now, and it wasn't going to get any easier to make them share the one space. We need room for two, at least. For a few years now, a large table has been standing in my garage or spare room collecting random items that belong nowhere else [see: photo number [...]

Organized

Stop and think about your life. The things you own. The time you spend. Do you know where it all goes? Getting organized can be overwhelming. Figure out what space and time you have available and then fill it with the things in life that you feel are a priority. Don't fall into the trap of using "the right" solution to "your problem". It's your life. Live it on purpose, and fill it with things you love, can afford to maintain, and mean something to you. This is my antique liquor box financial filing system for my family and business. I love organization because I am a scatterbrain. I have learned that I am all over the place within my mind, so getting organized in my world helps me to know where to access my resources when they are needed without too much trouble. Recently, my project has been [...]

Criticized for it Anyway

One of the growing trends that I see on lots of blogs that I love right now is conversation about feeling external pressure to be something other than what they feel they are intrinsically. They feel like everyone else has it together, and that they are somehow messing up. My favorite way that this has been stated was in this post by a woman I don't know directly: If you answered yes or no to even one of the above questions, then I’m sorry, but you clearly aren’t a good mother. Not as good as the mothers who either did or didn’t use one or all of the aforementioned parenting tools. You’re like, the Amber from ‘Teen Mom’ of mothers. Jeez. Why don’t you know how wrong your choices are? Both Eleanor and Heather had it right. Every Mom I know is out here trying to compare themselves, and [...]

Nature

Mother Nature is beautiful. In the haste of the modern world, take time to smell the roses. Literally. While you are at it, pay her some respect. As beautiful and wonderful as her creations can be, she also can be powerful and dangerous. Don't take that for granted. Do your best to leave the world as you found it, and play it safe whenever she gets angry. It can get ugly, but the regrowth shows that sometimes we have to knock down the tower we have built and start anew. In case you haven't been watching the news, Seattle got hit HARD this week with a boatload of snow, ice, and wind. In the area south of Seattle where I live (by Olympia), there were over 200,000 people without power for greater than 48 hours. (My readers in New England think that's nothing because they lose power for days, [...]

Moms are Superheroes

  Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Captain America, Dora, Barbie, Little Einsteins, Scooby Doo... You name the problem, and there is a super hero out there to solve it. I don't know where these people dream up their fictional characters, but they are pretty fantastic. Kids love them, and need them to bolster their imaginary world of security where the bad guys lose, and the good guys win. I like this imaginary world. In this world, the heroes make sense, and get recognized for their greatness. In the real world, too often, the heroes get looked over. There are so many modern day heroes in service to their communities that deserve thanks. While I recognize that there are too many to mention in one email and give them any recognition worthy of their efforts, I'm going to raise a sippy cup to the one group that I think underestimates itself: [...]

New Year • New Plan

New Year's Resolutions. Goal setting. Annual themes and projects. Whichever perspective you choose, this time of year is a time of reflection, reevaluation, and renewal. Personally, I am glad 2011 is over. Many of my friends seem to mirror my  view, based upon their Facebook status reports and the like. This year included life-threatening battles with post partum depression and viral meningitis. Nutritional changes, deployments, and the usual craziness abounded. Family and friends of ours dealt with cancer, car accidents, job loss, divorce and financial difficulty. The economy is in the pooper, and our officials are struggling to unravel the messy ball of yarn that we call our government. Those are all items that I like to consider complete and in my past. I'm glad that we don't have to relive them. On the other hand, 2011 brought with it the first full year of my son's life, and [...]

Don’t Believe Everything You See

Don't believe it 'til you see it with your own eyes. Right? No. Recently, I have read several articles (the best being this one) that show how ridiculously altered major media photographs have become. No longer is it acceptable to be beautiful. Now, you have to be bionic.  Even super gorgeous people get touch ups on the photographs so that they look like "perfection". Never mind that these people have an army of artists standing in front of them putting on their make up and making sure that there are no stray hairs out of place. Forget that these people do this for a living, have trainers that work with them hours every week, and then go to the gym on their own to maintain and improve their bodies. Ignore the whole "chef" or "prepared nutrition" aspect of things that they may or may not have available to them. Even if [...]

Mother Of The Year Moments

Lets all recognize one thing here: There is no mother of the year trophy. There is no actual contest, although there are some people would like to not only believe that there is but also that they are by FAR winning the competition! Those ladies scream it from the top of their lungs on a daily basis, and some of us schmucks believe them. It's not true. Everyone makes mistakes being a parent. All of us are attempting to do what we has never been done before: raise OUR kids! All kids are different, and need different things from their parents. There is no "best". Even if there were, all of us experience days that we definitely DON'T deserve the "trophy" as it were. These are the days when we go to bed exhausted thinking, "Wow. I hope when he talks about that in therapy in a few years, [...]

When It Gets Different

So often I hear myself and others say, "It will get easier when/after...". I am beginning to realize that we are wrong. Life doesn't get easier or harder. It gets different. One child isn't easier or harder than another. They are different. Marriages aren't easier or harder. They are different. The true difference is perspective. How willing are we to recognize and work with the resources we are given? Can we appreciate the blessings that exist in every situation? Can we joyfully adjust to new circumstances? This sounds lofty, but it really seems to be that simple to me recently. For instance, my son recently started to walk. Some people say that this will make things easier because I won't have to carry him. Others say that this will make life harder because now he is mobile. Personally, I don't think either is fully correct or wrong. It isn't [...]

Be Yourself • Projects for Progress

Click picture for source. I found this on Pinterest the other day, pinned by my friend Shawna. I love it. I love that it's colorful, I love the way that it is drawn, and I love the message it sends. Altogether too often, I find myself playing the role for other people. I try to do and be things for the "crowd" that I am not or cannot do. Why take all of your energy and pour it into being someone else? Its a waste. Take the energy you'd otherwise spend stressing over what others think, and use it to consider what YOU think. What do you like? Are you presenting yourself using YOUR style? Are you taking care of YOUR needs? Like on an airplane, you can't help others until you put your mask on yourself. Why? Because when the oxygen runs out and you pass out, [...]

inside my 14 month old son’s mind

I have often wondered what goes through my son's mind on any given day. This morning, it looked like it may have gone something like this: 0730: I hear my sister. She's up. Why am I not out of my crib yet? I think I pooped. Yep, I stink. On my goodness it's unbearable. Oh the horror! Time to scream. 0745: Diaper changed. Play peekaboo, Ma! I love it when you play peekaboo. You look so stupid I can't help but laugh! Oh my goodness. Tickles, too?! This is the best morning EVER! Now my stomach is an immediate concern. Scream again. 0800: Food. Oh good. She's bringing me the little donut cereal again. Don't skimp on the milk, Ma. I can't get this in my mouth fast enough. Shovel faster. These darn hands don't work right. I'm sticking my face in the bowl. 0900: Getting carried to my [...]

Living on Purpose • Paying Attention and Setting Limits

Recently, I made a very important decision: From now on, I am going to live life on purpose. For a long time, I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing. I was wasting a lot of time, talent, money, and energy running around trying to do whatever seemed immediately necessary, without considering my actions. Now, I plan on doing just the opposite. With that said, CHANGE IS HARD. It's a regular bear. No, it's more like a bear hug. I am in a huge bear hug that is just slightly too tight for my own good. Growing pains are good though, because afterwards you stand taller and stronger than you did before. Sometimes people avoid change and pacify themselves into accepting a life they would rather not have. They settle. I'm over settling. Here are some things that I found that need to change: Diet: I used to [...]

I Don’t Want To Lose Weight • Operation Muffintop

I found this poster on Pinterest, and it got me to thinking. I originally began Operation Muffintop, and set my weight loss goals, based upon the opinion of the individual who did my assessment at the gym. "130-140 is ideal weight to achieve your ideal body fat percentage" she said. I am at 163. I'm 5'9". I think 130-140 sounds awful low. I agree that my muffin-top has to go, but what does this number really mean to me?  Nothing. It is a guideline. Am I going to be thrilled out of my mind  pleased if my weight goes down? Sure. My pre-second-baby weight hovered around 152. I'd be happy with that number. I still am joining Weight Watchers this weekend. Why? Because Weight Watchers acts as a budget telling me how much I should be eating. It teaches me to have will power, make more positive food choices, and pay attention to [...]

The Easy Way vs. My Way

Image Source I found this illustration on Pinterest the other day, and I realized that in just about every way possible, this describes me. I don't do anything the easy or direct way. I try to. I have the best of intentions most of the time, but often I end up going back and revising my prior work. Call it perfectionism or call it learning along the way. Call it creative energy or call it having two kids. Life is just one big cha-cha lately. Two steps forward. Two steps back. Good thing I love to dance!

Knitting • An Afghan and a Baby Sleep Sack

Just over a year ago, when I was about to have my son, my friend Melissa showed up at my door with two blankets that she made for my kids. Each were made with the given child in mind. Girl's was ladybug themed. It had two layers of quality fleece (green and ladybugs), and her initials were sewn into the corner. Boy's was giraffe themed, as is our nursery. She brought them without any fanfare. She just wanted to commemorate the birth, and give Girl something to help transition her into big sisterhood. I never forgot this generosity or thoughtfulness. A year later, it is Melissa whom is about to have a baby. Her little girl will enter the world in the coming month, and I knew just what I wanted to do for her family. I took Melissa out shopping this past Saturday, and purchased 10 skeins of [...]

a girl on a mission • operation muffintop

Do you remember the episode of Seinfeld where Eileen convinces her boss to start a chain of muffin top bakeries!? It was awesome! It was also the last and only time that muffin tops were cool. In my case, I'm not referring to the delicious bubbly top of a pastry. I'm talking about the super attractive bump of extra body that flows over the top of your pants (which ironically can be caused by eating too many of their namesake). When the muffin flows over the wrapper: awesome. When I flow over the side of my pants? Not. Cool. It makes me look like either I can't afford new pants or that I'm trying too hard to be under my age. It looks vaguely like a tube of toothpaste that has been squeezed too tight or an overstuffed teddy bear pulling at the seams. Super. Attractive. Mine isn't bad. [...]