3 years of Julian

In case you haven't been following us since way-back-when, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite photos of the boys over the past 3 years. (Can you tell I'm getting crazy nostalgic as they're about to turn 3?!)

Today we'll start with Julian (since he IS the oldest). He's our sweet, quirky, friendly boy. He truly marches to the beat of his own drum. His facial expressions are killer and he never ceases to surprise us- just when I think I have him figured out he does something out of left field that nobody was expecting. Julian is a peacemaker, mostly trying to avoid conflict. There are a few things that really push his buttons, but he rarely has outbursts. He loves to be goofy and is just a funny kid in general; even the way his body moves is funny. I'm always wondering what he's thinking about and can't wait to hear about all the odd things he will imagine!

my own woman cave

Life has been insanely busy these past couple weeks. I have major plans for my etsy shop, and I'm hoping these plans can start to be put into place in the coming couple of months. I really needed a soundproof room to do my sewing, so I cleaned out the small room in our garage (that I think the landlord used as a dark room at one time) and am slowly turning it into my very own studio. I love it. 

It's kind of a dungeon with only a tiny window behind those curtains. I'm hoping to keep lots of light, cheery accents and colors in there so keep me inspired. I also added some fake greenery. The walls are just basic dry and I'm a little weary of putting too much on them. They're even taped together in some places, ha! It really is a bare bones little closet. But it's my closet. It's all mine.

Rug, curtains, light, art all from Ikea and along with a couple of other things only cost me a little over $100. And while I'm dreaming, here is some more inspiration for this little room that may or may not happen.

Organized fabric? What the heck is that?? 

we are beautiful now.

I saw a new stylist I haven't seen, I just told her I liked the length and needed a trim. I didn't show a picture to her, I figured it was pretty self explanatory. Well, she just started chopping away and before I knew it, she'd trimmed over half an inch off my already short hair. (I didn't think I had that much to give!) When I got home, I was kind of annoyed but know it was my fault for not showing her a picture. And I remembered one important fact; hair grows back! I'm now unintentionally in a style I hadn't planned on (the sides are shorter and the top longer) so I'm just going to go with it. 

If there's anything having short hair has taught me it's to learn to be comfortable with who you are, as you are. Sometimes we tend to see ourselves as a before picture, as someone who is going to change into who we really want to be. Maybe that person is someone who weighs less, is more organized, is more adventurous, has longer hair. The one I hear most often is we're the before of someone who is thinner with longer hair. 

This short hair? There's no hiding. I never thought I hid behind my hair before, but I did. A cute braid could distract from a zit or a bloated day. Now it's my face that's front and center, I'm forced to really look at myself. I'm not going to be a "before" anymore. This is how I'm supposed to look right now. These few extra pounds? WHO CARES. Right now in my life, there are a few other priorities I have that are far more important than the size of clothes I wear. This short hair? I'm going to rock the hell out of it, and cross it off my bucket list (because come on, every one of you at some point has wished you could just chop it all off!). 

I want to encourage you all to do the same. What is something you're holding on to, something that makes you feel like you're a "before" person. Something that you feel like if you just change it, that you'll be better? I know with a lot of people it's weight. Why are we always in progress? Can't we just be what we are, in each stage of our lives without feeling like we're not good enough yet? 

Yes, change is good. But being present, being in the now is also good. I know a lot of moms struggle with a new body after kids. We're always comparing ourselves to who we were before kids. I want you to know that who you are now, is good. We can't go back in time, we can't be someone else. We are beautiful now. 

a little heart parade

I wanted to do a little something special with the boys on Valentine's Day but Thursdays are our busy days. The boys have speech therapy class from 10:30-12 and afterward we rush home to meet Cassie, their individual speech therapist who stays at our house until 2:30. After 4 hours of therapy, they're ready for nap time, which in turn is a late nap, they sleep forever and it starts getting dark after that.

When they woke up from nap I had a snack waiting and we just put our shoes on and headed out the door. I brought with us the heart garland I'd had hanging and did my best just to get some cute pictures to remember the day. 

We walked around our cul de sac with the hearts and they did a really good job holding on. They held on to them the entire time, I didn't say a word and just let them walk. Let me tell you, it's really difficult taking pictures of them on a walk. I need to get far enough away from them that I can get them in focus, while walking backwards. And when I speed up to get away from them, they follow me. I'm lucky I didn't break my legs tripping over the sidewalk.

I managed to get a few good ones, and that's all I wanted. We played at the park and then took our  little hearts home. And I managed to get this little gem on my phone:

handmade. plain and simple.

I hate the word "crafty". Sometimes people tell me "I'm not crafty like you" whenever I make something for the boys or come up with an idea to do something and then actually do it. I enjoy being creative, no matter what the outlet may be. (Like these Valentines I threw together last night for the boys' class). This isn't so much that I'm crafty as much as I really wanted to make some Valentines, came up with an idea and then did it. It was important enough to me that I took some extra of my own relaxation time last night to make these. 

Why is it important for me to handmake things? I don't know. I just really enjoy doing things myself. I enjoy being creative, I enjoy the finished product. I like to see people's faces when they get something different. Do the boys give a crap about mom's handmade Valentines? Nope. And in a few years they'll prefer store bought. (Which is why I made their own halloween costumes as well...I only have a few years where I have a say before they have their own opinion on things.)

I don't want anyone to feel bad for buying things from the store. The same goes for me, I don't want to be made felt bad for making things myself. (I got kind of a side eye from a mom today when Isaiah gave her son a Valentine.) And even though the boys don't really get Valentine's Day, we're making memories just going with it and celebrating it in whatever way we can right now. 

I'm going to continue making things by hand because it's what I enjoy. Plain and simple. 

thoughts on bullying.

I just watched the documentary Bully and while it's fresh in my mind I really wanted to share so of my thoughts on the subject. 

You guys, bullying scares the crap out of me. I literally get churning deep in my stomach, that knot in my throat and a feeling of panic when I think about the boys going to grade school. I want to shelter them from it all. I don't want them to see bullying, I don't want them to be bullies or be bullied. Unfortunately, that can't really happen. The most scary part is that I know how cruel kids can be to each other. 

I wouldn't say that I was consistently bullied, but there were a few incidents in grade school, middle school and high school that I won't ever forget. In middle school I was picked on by a few boys. In grade school I was bullied on the bus, by older boys threatening to spit on me, force me to sit in a seat with another boy my age, once even pulling out dirty magazines and making us look at them. (He got in trouble a lot by our bus driver, thankfully.)

In 6th grade I left Catholic school to join the public school (the Catholic school only went to 6th grade) and was picked on by a couple of boys in my class. I remember being punched in the leg during a class movie by one boy, pushed and shoved on the bus later that day by another. 

In junior high a boy asked me to a dance or to "go out with him" and a week later I found out it was all a joke between all the boys. I never had the designer clothes and cool stuff the popular kids did. I had curly hair I was desperately trying to make straight so I could look like the pretty girls. I was taller than mostly everyone until high school. I stayed in band even after it wasn't the cool thing to do anymore.

When I got to high school I joined everything I could, I was outgoing and involved. I played sports (and was pretty good at one) and I think it was this involvement and extroverted-ness that protected me. But what if I hadn't been. What if I was quiet; different? In small towns, if you're good at sports people like you. You could be a complete ass, make horrible choices and you'd still be in the cool crowd if you were good at sports. What if my story was different?

What I saw in the movie infuriates me. My mama bear comes out when I think of my kids being in any situation those kids were in. I saw teachers (one in Sioux City, IA where I lived until I was 6 and then just an hour from growing up) making the bullied kids out to be the bad kids, school districts and administrators acting helpless against change, parents not prying information out of their children although they knew something was wrong. 

Now I have boys of my own who I have to send out into the cruel world of kids.Why kids bully is such a complex issue, and all of these kids have a variety of problems and issues of their own.  I'll raise my babies as lovers, as kind hearted, gentle soul, empathetic kids. To tell an adult when they see someone being bullied. To do kind deeds for kids who seem like loners or who may get picked on. Oh I'll be ALL UP in their business. And until they're out of my house, it's my duty to protect them and to teach them how to act. I do however, find some solace in the fact that they are twins and they'll always have each other's backs. 

I'll always firmly believe everything goes back to the parents. You are who your children will be. To be honest, as adults we can all kind of be a-holes to each other (sometimes in just as immature ways as middle schoolers).  Until we start modeling the behavior we wish for our children to have, be who we want our kids to be, change will be hard to come by.

As difficult as this movie was to watch (I ugly cried a couple times) I think it's necessary for everyone to see. I rented it on Apple TV, but you can go to the Bully website to find out how you can see it. 

exactly like it happened

They're not little forever. They're hardly little at all. In between all the perfectly posed and edited photos is life. Watching these (mostly) sweet little people grow is so interesting. And when all these moments in between perfect pictures just seem to fly by I forget what it used to be like. I forget all the little details. The things they liked to do at each stage, how they interacted with each other, what their little faces looked like when they were playing. 

I'm going to be posting a lot more blurry pictures. I'm going to post more poorly lit, in action, silly faces. This is what I want to remember, what they look like when they're being themselves, not when I catch them in the perfect moment. Those moments can be posed any day, I want to remember the real moments that my memory will fail to recall in 10 years.

It's those in motion photos that really represent our life in motion. It's not always clear, not always perfect but it's happening. I want to remember it exactly as it happened.

red velvet brownie bouquet and pink milk.

I wouldn't say I'm a hopeless romantic, but I sure am a sucker for any holiday that revolves around sweets. I have one small problem, I don't necessarily want to make said treats as much as I want to just eat them. My friend (and new fellow bay-area-er) Courtney from The Oven Mitt hooked us up with these insane red-velvet-chocolate-chunk-crazy-mind-explosion-brownies and stopped by last week so I could make them all pretty and we could stuff our faces.

I paired the brownies with some good ole fashioned milk, which I added a few drops of red food coloring to just because I can. And trust me, with these brownies you'll need milk. 

Valentine's Day doesn't have to be extravagant or expensive. Sharing a simple special treat with your special ones and covering every visible surface with hearts is really all it takes. Just the effort of something handmade and spending something as simple as your time really does speak volumes to those you love.

In the spirit of Valentine's Day and gooey mushy chocolate  love, Courtney is sharing the recipe over on her blog for all y'all. She also has a whole bunch of other great recipes that pretty much leave me drooling. 

So here ya go: