Tuesday, July 30, 2013

My baby is here!

Ha! Got ya'll with that one huh? :)

No real baby yet.

Well, now that you're here and maybe slightly pissed off that I may have tricked you, let me make up for it by unveiling the much lesser of my "babies", but still something that I've put a lot of heart into over the past months and it's finally time to put it out there!  And....I've made one sale already, so I feel like it's "legit" to share with ya'll!

What: Camera Straps (The "Happy Strappy")





Leather bindings added upon request!

Why: Why not?  OK, for real though, for some this could be totally boring and I respect that opinion, but for me, lover of everything photography AND looking swanky, it made perfect sense to marry the two passions together.  

I call it the "happy strappy" because they make me totally freaking happy.

  I get to unleash my creative side with fabrics and stones/beads.  
I get to make my camera (and yours!) all perty.  
I get to troll the fabric aisle now and actually have a purpose for hoarding it.
I get to help people like me--with a love for their camera--personalize it and show of their uniqueness.
So many positives with this venture!

Another big why is--and the motive behind any past ventures I've had on Etsy--is the possibility of supplimenting our income.  It may be is a pipe dream, but alas it's a dream.  I do hope that perhaps this venture will in the future even be enough to fill a tank of gas during the week, or take off a chunk of our grocery budget.  With being on maternity leave early this fall, any additional income will be a blessing!

So, um, just let me have my little fantasy, ok? ok.

Please visit the shop, tell me what you think and share it with your camera and photography obsessed friends! :)

Many thanks!





Thursday, July 25, 2013

Because I can't stop at just one.

Hello, my name is Laura and I am a "craftaholic" (see also craft obsessed and craft overdose).

I'm proud to be crafty and artistic, however not proud of the fact that it gets a little out of control at times. I literally have so much fun and enjoyment when I make things that I can't stop and make doubles....triples....it's outrageous!

 Where will all that silly stuff go? I surely don't need 10 pouches, 8 compact mirrors, oodles of jewelry and 4 earring frames--I just wanted to make it--multiple times.

I'm sick I tell you!

 I think the excess always just ended up on Etsy because it could and I didn't know what else to do with it, so I thought putting out there to get some moolah might be worth a shot--though....usually not ;)

 So I've come up with a new idea--which may also be silly, but it lets me do what I want (uh, selfish!) and gives back to you! (Not selfish!) From now on whenever my Pinterest creations, DIY projects or craftoholic activities create an excess of goods, ima give them away!

 Is this not a fabulous idea?! One for me and one for you---I like it!

 Of course this will be limited to smaller objects and won't be a weekly occurrence, but as sure as my heart bleeds art and craftiness--there will be plenty to give!

 We'll just call it my, " because I can't stop at just one" giveaways! ;) What do ya say? I think it's a win/win!

 Keep a look out for one coming up--this craftaholic has a lot to destash!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

How to feel super self conscious and awkward while pregnant.

Being pregnant is truly a beautiful miracle--to think there is a human being growing cell by cell inside of me! Pure craziness!  I do believe it creates an undeniable beauty to see a woman pregnant.  However, with this fast growing miracle, can also come a lot of awkward woes and moments of a progressing self-conscious mental state to go along with your progressing belly.

1.  Go to the Beach.

So, if wearing a swimsuit was already not the most fun thing for a woman, pack on an excessive amount of weight in a short amount of time, squeeze some spandex over that big ol belly and try to feel like no one is looking at you.

You try to look all:



But you FEEL like:


Oh, and then there is the two piece vs. one piece dilemma.  I admire the women that can pull off a two piece while preggo.  I wish I could, but alas, a one piece is in my future for the next.....very long time!  So, you have your said one piece on--pair that with your overactive squashed bladder and BAM!--awkward bathroom experience.  You now have two choices.  You can either take 10 minutes to strip that once piece all the way down to your toes and let'r flow, or you can do the whole "move the crotch (ew, that's a gross word) of your swimsuit to the side, squat and then let'r flow".  Super fun, especially when your balance is compromised by your growing belly.

2. Go Clothes Shopping

There are times this pregnancy where I have wanted and/or needed some new preggo clothes.  Luckily, I have some from before as well as a whole tub of my sisters.  But ya know, sometimes you just want something new and cute to make you feel all perty while your body is growing and changing so rapidly.  So you go shopping.
Admittedly, I still frequent the Juniors section at most places because they often have more appealing threads and there is not a lot of maternity sections out there in stores---if there are, they are NOT cheap!  So, there I am strolling around Target or Marshalls looking for the perfect top to flatter my new bod, but still fit well overall (turns out this is a difficult task!). And then, I start to feel eyeballs.  Not so much the, "oh look, she's pregnant, that's cute!" eyeballs, but more like this:



The eyeballs that say "Do you know that you are pregnant and this is the juniors section??" or the, "Do you really think you'll fit into those clothes you have in your hand?" look.

So you can either try to hide your belly behind the clothes and hope no one notices long enough to show you these eyeballs that make you feel like less of a human being, OR you can walk around that juniors section like a proud mama in your now outgrown top as you belly protrudes out the bottom and try on those clothes in your hand like they were made for you as if to say, "my belly makes this look sh*t gooooood".  Though you're more likely to be pleading with those clothes the whole time, "please fit, please fit, please fit!"

3. Go Grocery Shopping.

Baby is in bed. Daddy is home. Enter in cravings.  You freely go to the grocery store which is now an Oasis to you after a long day of mommy duty.  You start to browse and find things to fill your cravings.  Before you are pregnant, there is "hungry shopping" which we all know can get a little out of control, but then you put a bun in the oven and that "hungry shopping" turns into:



"Lay off me, I'm starving--shopping".  You grab the donuts, the pickles, the grapes, the olives, the hot wings, the chips, the fried chicken legs, the five different beverages because you can't decide and you troll that store like its the apocolypse and you need to save all the junk food.  You are happy and content and well, now salivating.  It's time to leave, so you find a line--which let's be honest, at this hour of night there are no lines.  So you put your goods up on the counter--food goods that it--and you check out.  This is when the self-conscious and guilty feelings start to surface.  With each item that clerk swipes to go into your grocery bag, you feel a slight sense of embarrassment and needing to justify your purchase of the most random and horrible-for-you collection of food ever.  Should I say I'm having a party?  Should I try to stand back from the counter so they can see my uber pregnant belly?  Maybe I should talk about my family, so they don't think it's all for me----even though it is!  You're all checked out and on your way to the car.  The awkward feelings soon subside because you know that there is only  5 minute drive from the store until you get to sink your teeth into some all of that goodness.


Ok, ok. So maybe it's more likely that most of these occurrences of awkwardness ensuing are in my head and no one else really takes notice--but it doesn't take away from the fact that being pregnant can create some of the most awful bouts of feeling self-conscious. In contrast, many other times it can make you feel like you have super powers--more on that later!

In the end though, it's totally, 110 % worth the lack of confidence.  Now more than ever the anticipations is killing me and I am so excited to meet this little chicka.

Whether or not I look good in bathing suit...whether or not I fit into my clothes....whether or not I eat the right foods.

She won't care about any of that stuff until she's in Junior High anyway :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

32 weeks and a recap.

How far along? 32 weeks
Total weight gain: around 20 lbs.
Best moment this week:  Today.  It was just a good layed back day.  First, Everett slept until past 8 a.m. so that means I did too!  Then a fun lunch date with a sweet friend.  And then just the amount of time I needed to get some things checked off my to-do list--thanks to grandma and grandpa watching Everett!
Miss Anything? belly sleeping.
Movement: My belly is moving visibly and its pretty cool to watch at times.  Her littler limbs poking out and my belly shifting from side to side.  So crazy.
Food cravings: On these hot summer days, I would LOVE a Mikes or Cider ale.
Anything making you queasy or sick: I'm pretty devastated you guys.  I don't think I can eat pizza or baklava without the acid reflux side effect.  Two of the most delectable pleasures and they bring me to the fetal position---booo!!!
Gender:  Girl!
Fruit/Veggie Size:  squash!
  


your baby at 32 weeks
  • She's getting ready for her descent -- she's likely in the head-down position now.
  • And she's probably feeling a even more cramped.

Labor Signs: Nope.  But those Braxton Hicks sure are becoming doozies.  Ooftah!
Symptoms: Acid reflux, minor swelling in hands/feet, slight anemia, fatique and....waddling.
Wedding rings on or off? On
Mood This Week: Impatient
Looking forward to: Finding a place to live. Frankly, I'm darn near freak out mode and doing everything I can to prevent myself from going all crazy like.  This includes taking time tonight to pack the hospital bag and baby bag.  Doing things I CAN control since right now the housing situation is a waiting game.  We need to be out by September and we have nothing lined up!  We hope to hear some promising news by the end of the week.  But that on top of not knowing if this little lady is coming early or not, on top of the dreadful stress  and fear of going through labor again, on top of trying to get everything I need to get done for the first three months of school for work while on leave.....is all making me a little mental.  I need my ducks in a row and I need them in a row NOW gosh darn it! Phew.  Ok, breathing now.

Taking a look back up until now...

12 weeks. 
https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/0/?ui=2&ik=408c65c8d5&view=att&th=13d650e26ccae17b&attid=0.1&disp=inline&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P_Vp-Rxg66vSREX_PA1bM29&sadet=1363200589787&sads=Z54OxL4EfJ2fth-Clqg0527bbZM&sadssc=1
14 weeks.
https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/0/?ui=2&ik=408c65c8d5&view=att&th=13d9f5fa0e3bee8d&attid=0.1&disp=inline&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P_Vp-Rxg66vSREX_PA1bM29&sadet=1364181817012&sads=_reL_6fRokY4mKuflcgilCwWmSc&sadssc=1
16 weeks.

19 weeks.

20 weeks.

21 weeks.
23 weeks

25 weeks

27 weeks

28 weeks


29 weeks.

30 weeks.

30 weeks.

32 weeks.


 I'm kinda ready to be "little" again.  

Well, see.  If history repeats itself, this little gal will be here in 4 weeks.



Saturday, July 13, 2013

To Twirl.


Where do we learn to twirl?  

It's not like our moms and dads tell us one day, "ok dear daughter, just remember, when you wear a dress, you need to twirl".  

One of God's gifts to the human race is femininity (along with masculinity!).  It was his idea to make man a man and woman a woman to be embraced and accepted with both hands.  As with any of God's gifts, sometimes it is difficult to understand how to use it or what it means.  I know that is true for me--I'm still figuring out what my femininity looks like and I'm sure I will be doing this well into my old age.

Femininity looks different for every woman.

Some women are easy to peg as our societies idea of feminine with their flowy (and twirly!) dresses, lipstick, high heels and flowery personality.  However, some women are more feminine behind the scenes with their tender hearts, compassionate ways and nurturing/mothering practices.  

I love how God made each woman's way of femininity different, yet gave us qualities that are strictly and sacredly feminine and for woman alone.  He even let us as women embrace some masculine qualities and share some of our feminine ones with the fellas--we're good sharers!

Its so fun for me to see how Everett's little masculinities and boyish traits are popping out.  Like how he is drawn to playing superhero, dinosaurs, trains, trucks, bugs, fighting, baseball, dirt, noise (insert Tim the toolman growls here)---yet loves the color pink, has the tenderest and nurturing heart and is highly entertained by princesses, ballerinas and mommy's high heels.  These qualities don't make him a feminine boy, but show that he likes feminine things---and I'm ok with that.  It shows his adventurous spirit to explore all things and all areas and that masculine adventurous flame should not be put out by the fact that he likes to partake in some "girly" things.  

Heck, today during my niece Ilsa's (pictured above) birthday party, I think he would have been very keen on the idea of wearing a twirly skirt and twirling with the girls.  Because, well, hello, its fun stuff, that's why.  But I guarantee they'd have different thoughts about why it's fun that make them more feminine or masculine.

Feminine: I like twirling because it makes me feel girly, pretty and my dress is all flowy like.

Masculine:  I like twirling because I bet I can go faster than anyone else and get really dizzy and bump into my friends and fall over.

We're so different and it just fascinates me the things that are engrained in us by our creator.  

So excited to keep witnessing how my boy grows into a young man and what this little lady in my tummy will be like!


****************
In other news, this is happening:


The kid can ride a bike, with minimal help.  One of those huge milestones you talk about, but never did I realized it'd happen so soon!  

Excuse me while I go look at some of his baby pictures!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Enjoying.


Hope you all are enjoying your week and summer!





Congrats to Michelle Chappell on being the winner of the fair trade bracelet giveaway! I'll be in contact with you shortly!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Buying Fair Trade. And a little sumthin'.

I've always heard about fair trade and maybe even bought some fair trade coffee in the past, but couldn't really tell you what exactly it meant.  I know it's good, but why? How?  What does it include?

This past week I was spurred on to investigate it more and got some really fun motivation to do so!  First off, here's a brief overview of Fair Trade and what it entails.

What is Fair Trade?:   Most known for coffee and other food goods, fair trade products extend further than just that.  They are goods that are, well, fair.  They may be from far away farms, or distant countries.  Essentially fair trade products are products in which the makers (be farmers or villagers) are justly compensated for their work.  It helps people in developing countries build their businesses, communities and their daily lives in a positive way!

"Fair Trade is a global trade model and certification allows shoppers to quickly identify products that were produced in an ethical manner.

For consumers, Fair Trade offers a powerful way to reduce poverty through their everyday shopping. For farmers and workers in developing countries, Fair Trade offers better prices, improved terms of trade, and the business skills necessary to produce high-quality products that can compete in the global marketplace. Through vibrant trade, farmers and workers can improve their lives and plan for their futures. Today, Fair Trade benefits more than 1.2 million farming families in 70 developing countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America." (fairtradeusa.org)

What are the rules of Fair Trade?:


-Fair labor conditions: Workers enjoy freedom of association, safe working conditions and sustainable wages. Forced child and slave labor are strictly prohibited.


-Direct trade: With Fair Trade, importers purchase from Fair Trade producer groups as directly as possible to eliminate unnecessary middlemen and empower farmers to develop the business capacity necessary to compete in the global marketplace.


-Community development: Fair Trade farmers and farm workers invest Fair Trade premiums in social and business development projects like scholarships, schools, quality improvement and leadership training, and organic certification.


-Environmental sustainability: Harmful agrochemicals and GMOs are strictly prohibited in favor of environmentally sustainable farming methods that protect farmers’ health and preserve valuable ecosystems for future generations.



So obviously a super positive thing--showing how important each of our purchases are and that we should continue to be mindful of where our money is going.  Just as it is important for us to support out community and buy locally from small business, we can also expand and justify money spent when we know it is going to improve the community of others in need around the world!

While strolling along Excelsior bay this past week, Everett and I ran into a sweet little shop that sold only Fair Trade goods.  From linens, to toys, to clothing, to jewelry.  It was like a cultural experience just walking around!  The lady sure was a good saleswoman.  She started talking to me and then drew my attention to some brightly colored bracelets on her counter and proceeded to tell me the story about them.

In short, she explained that each bracelet was handmade one by one by women in Nepal (I defintely had to look up where exactly that was---I give you permission to as well).  They provide a life changing opportunity for these poverty stricken families as life is very hard for them.  As their bracelets are all handmade (crocheted!), the are then sold to various Fair Trade organizations to which gives them the opportunity to produce them in a safe enviornment where they are most comfortable and provide a source of income for their family.  This is slowly helping to bridge gaps and break some of the generational cycles of illiteracy, poverty and human trafficking of the women and children of Nepal.

Umm, I'll put my money towards that!


So yeah, of course she talked me into it--I'm a sucker what can I say!  But its a win for you as well because I'm giving one away!





Keep your eyes and ears alert for more fair trade products in your city!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 1, 2013

In the pursuit of Happiness.

"Choose Joy"

"Be Present"

"Be Happy"


Such small phrases packing a large punch.

  It's so easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of our lives or be looking forward to the next something coming up around the corner, but seldom do I really just sit back and embrace the goings on around me and choose happiness in it all.  It's usually, "I'll be happy when..." or, "I can't wait until...."  Being a person of high anxiety and always wondering whats around the corner (good or bad) deters my happiness and squashes my ability to to just BE happy. 

Not to mention the happenings of daily life and the messes that occur, chaos that ensues or just sheer frustration that boils up can cause a lot of UNhappiness and  it is in those moments that I am most tested in choosing joy.  Will I react or will I respond?  Will I act in a way that I will regret later or will I choose in that very moment--knowing how fleeting time is---to choose joy.  

Little eyes and ears are taking note after all.

Surely, we get mad and frustrated and depressed and sad, and sure those emotions have their purpose for a short time, but just as sure as those emotions can entangle themselves in our lives, we can choose to forgo our pursuit of happiness and just BE happy!

And then, well, we're human gosh darn it and sometimes there are those days where it is just darn near impossible and you know that "joy" is not happening.  Then you ask for help.

"Help me Jesus"

Because in the end, (and there is an end) it comes down to you and Him.  And how sad would it be if I meet Him face to face and we both recollect that I never asked Him for help.

  That I never gave up my burdens to him. 
 That I never even gave him the opportunity. 
That I never even asked.

How sad.

Instead I hope to choose to choose joy more often--because it IS a choice and will ask for help--because I am often incapable and need a lot of it and well, its so much easier when someone else can do it for you anyways, right?!


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