Dissapointments

When I was young my parents took my sisters and I to a lot of weddings.  I don’t remember a lot about the decor or the food but what I do remember are the people.  Most especially all of the couples.  Not just the couples that were getting married but those that already were.  It seemed to me that almost every couple met at the altar so in love and so happy and only a few years after this joyous occasion they melted into these other couples who could hardly talk to each other, who never held hands, who rarely kissed.  It was heart breaking.  I promised myself a different kind of love.  A holding hand, frequent kisses, smiling all the time-kind of love.  I promised not to settle for anything less.  Thankfully Mr. Wonderful and I are incredibly close to my little girl fantasy.

But life is full of disappointments, usually brought about by others.  We invest so much in other people, especially those we love and when they fail to be perfect we can’t understand why.  Mostly these disappointments are just honest mistakes and miscommunications, but other times it can be much worse.  A terrible childhood, or abuse, or depression.  It’s so hard to look at a person and understand why they make the choices they do, why they fail to see the world as it truly is.  But in the end we all have something that has happened  to us that makes us just slightly different than our neighbor, our friend, our parents.  For me…it’s a lot of things, things that are hard to get over but that I’m still working on.

In the end life isn’t perfect, it’s hard and at times unforgiving and extremely confusing.  People hurt us and we hurt others.  What I have learned though is that we make choices everyday.  We make the choice to be different than our pasts or to wallow in them, we make the choice to work harder or to be lazy, we make the choice to follow God or to deny him, and we make the choice to love (albeit imperfectly) and allow ourselves to be loved (imperfectly) or to look at others and deny them and ourselves a chance to love and be loved.

Pushed to the Limit

Yesterday’s workout, Hiit Body #14, was brutal.  As in so brutal my arms feel as if they will fall off just trying this post.  Being female, my arms aren’t my strongest set of muscles so I struggled with this workout.  I had to modify the pushups just to get through but I can honestly say that I feel better about this workout than some of the others this last week.  It’s because I worked my weakest part of my body as hard as it would go.  And honestly I feel as thought I gained something…perhaps my arms are stronger or perhaps I just am.

Workouts aren’t the only way we need to push ourselves.  It’s really mind over matter anyways.  The mind controls so much.  This past week I feel as if I have been pushed and pulled to my max and to my surprise I’ve found that I’m a lot stronger than I realize and deeper of a person.  In pushing ourselves we learn more about who we are.  There’s an old saying that you don’t get to know a person during sunny days, you get to know them by their behavior when everything in their life is going wrong.  We should all push through failure, push through hard times, work for what we want, and not be afraid to dream.

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough.” -Unknown

Denver Dates

It’s really quite a strange thing how much children change your life. When our daughter was born it was hard to make the transition to family life. Now, however, it seems as if there is a hole. And there is. We are a three person family now. But Mr. Wonderful and I have made the best of our time together, short though it be, to do some things that are a little out of reach with Little Miss Owl.

I really can’t remember our last lazy breakfast that didn’t involve Miss Owl stealing half of her Daddy’s food.

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We were finally able to go to this little French restaurant in downtown Denver called Le Central which was delicious.

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I had their bouillabaisse which was simply superb. It’s a wonderful shellfish stew from southern France. Mr Wonderful ordered their mussels and the flavoring was exceptional.

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What I love about French food is that the flavor of the dish is almost sacrosanct. Whether its chicken or shellfish or eggplant each dish is designed to enhance the natural flavors. American cuisine unfortunately seeks to change the flavor…make it different. My example…buffalo chicken wings.

Anyways…we were able to round out our day with a trip to the Denver Art Museum. I had taken Miss Owl to a Van Gogh exhibit in January but we unfortunately had to rush through since she was a little loud. The museum was fantastic. They have a Monet, Waterloo Bridge, which makes my heart flutter. Unfortunately they removed one of my favorite paintings, it’s Via Appia by John Linton Chapman. But the museum still was wonderful.

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One last picture of the museums modern chandeliers. Only three lights on each and yet the planes of glass refract it all over.

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All in all a great day.

Blissfully Grain Free

I’m really rather excited about today, a lot of new things are happening and Mr. Wonderful and I get a date. That’s enough to make my day.

Today marks one week of being grain (or gluten) free. The Celiac Association’s studies have shown that as many as 80% of people have some degree of intolerance to gluten. Since we, as human beings, aren’t made to process gluten and grains it makes perfect sense.

I feel amazing. I’ve lost 3 lb during the week and I have more energy for workouts than I did before with eating grains. I have noticed that the one morning after I had small amount of grain I felt awful and it took a couple hours for it to subside. I started this just to see whether I would have more energy and lose weight and now I’m committing to being grain free for a month. I feel too good not to continue. And guess what? Mr Wonderful decided since I was doing it he couldn’t live with tempting me with bread so he’s grain free too! His only stipulation is that he gets carbs from other food sources.

I encourage all of you to try this for a week and see the changes and how different you feel. All it takes is a few substitutions for food and a healthy mindset.

When Memorial Day Means More Than BBQ

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I don’t remember a single Memorial Day when my father didn’t have the American flag flying and we weren’t, as children, acutely aware of why we were celebrating this holiday.  Military service has been a long tradition in my family.  Most of my great-great grandparents immigrated a decade or so before the Civil War and two of them fought for the Union in Illinois regiments.  Both my grandfathers served in World War II and Korea respectively.  My parents were both in the United States Marine Corps and quite a few of this generation have followed them into the Corps.

For most of the country military service isn’t apart of their celebration of Memorial Day and many forget to pause and give thanks and bless to those who served and are serving in our armed forces.  It’s often just a BBQ or a day off from work and little more.  I had the honor of sitting in on the last day of the legislative session for the Colorado House of Representatives, there were over twenty veterans of World War II in attendance for recognition of their service to this great nation during our hour of greatest need.  One representative stood at the well and commended them for not complaining, not shirking their duty, and simply getting down to the task at hand and then coming home and resuming their lives.  I thought about my own grandfather and his service and how during my whole life I only heard him talk about the war once and I had to ask my grandmother which ship he served on in the Navy.

The war didn’t define him, he only saw it as his duty and then he came home to raise a family.  But for me, the war did define him.  He was my hero.  He knew what hard work was and well into his 80s he had a better manicured lawn and hedgerow than anyone I had ever seen.  He was proud of his life, his family, proud of his faith.  He truly was a member of the Greatest Generation.  So this Memorial Day that’s who I’ll remember…that’s who I will thank and that’s who I’ll miss.

How to Create a Scrapbook Paper Wall Quilt

So you may remember an earlier post about my grand ideas for Little Miss Owl’s room.  The gigantic project was put on hold while I finished up Le Rouge…and to be honest I felt/feel a little overwhelmed by it.

This was my inspiration:

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This was the medium:

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And this is where I got after an hour.

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(64 sheets-doesn’t seem like a lot…and then you get down to it)

The trick is to not place two of a kind right beside each other…and to be honest I did a little tweaking after I finished…then I did more tweaking after I realized that I needed to add another row.  And to be on the safe side and because I didn’t want to create more work for myself later on I numbered the back of every sheet with the row and column number (i.e 1-2, 8-4).  I’m pretty sure this makes me a genius.

My plan of action is to put up the papers with glue dots and then do a thin layer of homemade mod-podge over it.  This will help keep the paper both on the wall and from getting ruined by our swamp cooler.  We are also hoping to make it over to IKEA to pick up Little Miss Owl’s bed and finish the room!

This weekend I was also able to finish a project that I’ve long promised one of my dear friends after she saw my own DIY “Keep Calm and Carry On” painting.  I’m a little of an Anglophile.  Here’s mine…

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Don’t you love the sketch of “Elizabeth Tower”/Big Ben!  Target.  Clearance.

And here is hers…

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I’m a big fan of this purple…and to be honest it turned out a lot better than I imagined.  Mostly I love the crown holding the yarn and needles.  Completely my idea.

Being a Mother

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I’m not sure what I expected in the moments before my daughter was born.  I’m not sure I knew entirely what was coming.  Actually I’m 100% sure I didn’t know what was coming.  I used to believe that marriage was the last great change, transforming a young lady into a woman (for me anyway).  I had been married, for two years, and it changed me in ways I couldn’t have imagined before I had said yes to a life long commitment.  But motherhood…that was something else entirely.  There’s a great quote I love that says to be a mother is to forever have a piece of your heart forever walking around outside of your body.  I love my husband beyond words…but the love I have for my daughter is immeasurably different.  For a time she was a part of me.  Linked to my life, eating the food I ate and gaining life by the air I breathed.  And in that moment after she was born when the nurses were frantically suctioning fluid from her airways and throat I knew my life had forever changed…that I had forever changed.

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Courtney Jacobs Photography

To this day motherhood changes me.  For the few hours that she was away playing with her aunts I looked around the house and listened to the silence and felt unease.  My life has incredible purpose and meaning with her in it.  It is on days like this that I can truly understand why God does the things he does for us.  It is love beyond compare.

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Courtney Jacobs Photography

Life at times takes a snails pace…slowing down when we least want it and then going past in great gallops while we try with fumbling fingers to slow it down.  I’m not sure where my last two years went.  When I laid my little daughter to sleep tonight I could only think of how much faster the time will go and soon I’ll be the one babysitting a little grandchild.

Unveiling of Le Rouge

Let’s just take a step back and look at what this little diamond looked like when I bought her…

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and then

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not exactly confidence inspiring.

I worked incredibly hard on this little beauty.  First I spent about an hour scraping off the textured black paint with a paint stripper for metal that comes in a spray can.  It worked like a charm…I bought chemical resistant gloves for this application.  And trust me you don’t want this on your skin.  Not that I did.

Then there came much sanding and cleaning and more sanding and cleaning until I was happy with it.  A coat of black primer and she was ready for her glossy black finish.  Which took two coats and to be honest there were a couple moments when I got frustrated that the paint wasn’t as glossy as I would have liked.  I have vowed not to buy the Ace Brand paint in glossy again.  But learn as you go I guess.  I also had to get replacement candle covers as the ones that came with it were chipped and rather gross.  You can fix gross but you can’t fix chipped.  The shades had been finished for a couple of days and all that had to be done was string about 800 tiny little beads on wire and attach to the arms…which took a while.  And my back still hurts from bending over the chandelier.

And then a few crystals later and this is what you have.

Pure Beauty.

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see the gorgeous black velvet covering for the chain?

Just a couple stitches and then pull it inside out…

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Because we all need more…

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and a few close ups of Le Rouge

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Isn’t Mr. Wonderful an amazing photographer?  Little Miss Owl is giving me her input as I write this.  Its about like having a cat on your lap while typing…

If you simply love Le Rouge, please head on over to my Etsy store, brasstochandelier, to see more pictures!

Priorities

We all have them.  Priorities.  Some are right where they should be and others…fall quickly behind.  And often in this crazy world it is shockingly easy to get them mixed up and our lives seem to come apart at the seams.  The Latin definition can either be “first” or “separate.”  As if we are to first separate that which should come first and then parse out from there.

For most of us actually defining what our priorities are and where they ‘should’ be is simple.  For me its; being a wife, mom, friend, and sister.  Pretty simple right?  Except that I forgot one…me.  If I don’t put myself in on that list, and preferably first, none of the rest of my priorities actually get all of me.  Putting yourself first doesn’t mean buying everything for yourself before you even think about getting new shoes for your toddler.  It means health and all that entails.  Taking small amounts of time to consider your food choices, your friend choices, exercise, and relaxation.  Isn’t it strange how when we take care of our bodies and minds we actually have a better, more complete self to give to others?

So taking care of myself in a round about way is actually taking care of my family.  Every day that I start talking myself out of a workout or into bad food choices I realize that I’m saying-“Well my family doesn’t really need me to take care of myself, they don’t need me at my best.”  Which is a LIE.

My daughter and my husband have become my source of strength and they are the reason I want to do and be better, because I want to give them the best of everything.  And most especially…Me.

 

P.S. Le Rouge is almost ready for her close up….!

A Child’s Eyes

My daughter is almost always happy…and when you are a two year old in a world that is unfathomly large there is so much to be excited about.  Mostly its little things like baby ants, school busses, and cows and sheep and then all the world’s pinecones.  I feel as if I am learning my own world all over again.  Learning to love the minutia about life and what makes up life.  And being incredibly excited about seeing a baby bear that’s just your size…

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And then today something happened that I never understood before.  In movies, in life, in books…every parent says at sometime or another that they look at their child and they can’t help but see a little baby, the one that came home from the hospital.  Yesterday I watched as my daughter ran around our lawn dancing and blowing bubbles and for a moment I couldn’t understand why she could walk…wasn’t it just yesterday she was crawling?  I looked at my baby and I saw a toddler instead.

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