Tuesday, May 23, 2017

We are down to the wire now!

We are now less than 2 weeks away from the wedding day! Only 10 days to be exact. This past weekend, we went to visit my in laws. While there, I tried on my dress for the last time.
My fiancés grandmother has done a marvelous job with it! I also bought shoes to wear.
We picked up my fiancés suit. He is truly ready to deck out like Captain Picard now.
My mother-in-law made this sign for the minister to hold up after our ceremony.
This is what happens when two nerds are joined.
We discussed hair strategy.
I know what I wish my hair looked like, but I also know how stubborn my hair can be. So we are prepared. I’m going to be practicing this week to get the curls in the right order.
I am also doing this to save time on the big day. I still have favors to lay out, changing time, and last minute details to see to. This is what happens when you are on a budget. But I prefer it this way. I’m not like other brides. I don’t have the bridezilla mode. I don’t freak out over every little detail. I go with the flow and make adjustments as needed. I don’t want those assisting me to get overwhelmed or feel ready to walk away. I don’t want my guests to feel like everything is timed and choreographed throughout the day. My day, is your day. Our day to have fun and celebrate. I think too often, couples forget what is really important. Pictures are there to remind us of the details. But the moments themselves will be in our memories through the ages. A lavish ceremony followed by a grand reception? You can spend all the money in the world on those things, but what comes later? Or be smart about it. Have something simpler and follow it with the fun times you spend with the ones you love, making memories. This is our goal. We have all our lives to live after this one day. Even if we had more to spend, we wouldn’t. We are putting towards what happens next.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Label Daddy is here to help!

Summer vacations, camps and cadet outings are just around the corner. Its time to get your name labels ready. Plus, you want to be ready to label everything for the back to school rush. Keeping everything labeled and clearly marked as belonging to your child will cut down on the confusion and arguments of who owns what. I know last year,  both my boys ended up with ninja jackets that were exactly the same even in the size. Having their names inside was a tremendous help to know which was which. And to keep them fighting over who got to wear the clean one.

Label Daddy is teaming up with US Family Guide to promote their amazing labels. They fit where you need them, are super durable, and washable. I LOVE them! This time, I got some for my little sister. She is getting ready to start school next year. So Mom will be needing to label her supplies. My mom will also be looking into getting some for my brothers who are in Sea Cadets as well as school. She has seen my rave reviews on here often as well as the real product in person and liked them very much. 

I highly recommend you try them out. Packages start at $20. And they have a variety of packages to suit your needs. Plus, they are super easy to use. Plug in your required information and pick your colors, fonts, or theme. They handle the rest!
Don't forget to use the code USFAMILY25 for 25% off at checkout!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Reliving the memories

I was cleaning out the Hotmail account that I had used when I was married. I had so many saved emails in there. One by one, I sorted through them. My folder now holds about 49 emails for me to trash or transfer. Among them, are gems that my mother sent me. I've been re-reading them and feeling so loved. She has been the most amazing woman. She is strong, wise, compassionate and always forgiving. I saved these emails to reference when I was feeling lost, worthless, hopeless, or just needed a reminder that she was still there - remembering me. She is a busy woman who has 8 of her kids at home. Only her two oldest are moved out and living on their own. But even though we are way out in Texas, she makes time to check in. She wants to know what we are doing. And she is constantly offering assistance in some way.
I would not be the woman I am today without her. She could have given up. She could have walked away. She could've said it was too much. But she never did. And I don't think she ever will. Instead she shares her experiences and reminds me that we all make mistakes. That no matter what choices we make, we have the chance to change and grow through them. As long as we keep learning, we can continue to move forward. I can't tell you how many times she helped me, possibly without knowing, through the darkest moments of my life. And she wasn't alone. We adopted our Nana S. I have emails from her that paint a story of what she went through in her life. Her experiences also reminded me to stand tall. The two of them encouraged my growth to independence. They reminded me what I am capable of when I stop letting someone else control me. My dad also emailed me. Encouragement, scriptures and words of his regrets and how they shaped his future decisions.

I want to share some of them with you. And while reading, I want you other parents to think of something. I want you to consider leaving letters and notes to your kids. Talk about what you are going through. What they are doing. What about them makes you proud to be their parent. Keep them together. And when you think they need it most, or when they old enough - pass them on. You might be surprised when your words become their light in a darkness they feel engulfed in. I saved cards, letters and emails from the people I loved and respected most during my life. I treasure each one more than silver and gold. And they have helped me get back on the path of happiness when I needed it most. 

From my mother nearly 7 years ago: 

"Here is a reminder of who you are. As I was running this morning, I wanted to give up. I put on my Cd and when this song came on, I remembered when it was just you and me. You always kept me going when I just wanted to quit. Again, you are in my heart and never letting me give up. I love you so much. You are the blessing from God that keeps me going. I know the other children are important gifts to me but I can always think of you and a time when it was ONLY you that never let me just quit. I am who I am today in part from having you (only the good part). Don't forget who you are as your life goes on. I have for many years forgot who I am and some days, I can't figure it out. You are someone's mom and wife but you will forever be my "Suzzane". And that is a LOT!!"

I will always be your mom.

Sadly, the song she sent was removed from YouTube. 

After having a rough night with my firstborn, I had emailed her.  She responded with this:

"It is so hard being a parent. It is hard getting the child into the world. It is hard raising them to be good citizens. Then it is hard to watch them walk out of your life to start their own. We will always love you all and wish for a better life then what we have. Can you understand? Now that you have your own, I know you see things differently now. I am so here for you day or night. If you need me, just call. I love you more than you can EVER know."

5.9.2010 For Mother's Day
"I know I was a good mom because I look at the job you're doing and see that work paid off. You are a great mom and I love you very much. Happy Mom's Day."

I could go on with words from those who love me most. When I told my fiance about them, I mentioned the idea of writing to each of our children in a notebook. Then when they are older, we will give them the notebooks. I want to leave memories, encouragement, and words of love they can lean on later in life. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Creating the music list for the best day of our lives

Every wedding deserves a playlist that speaks volumes about the couple. My fiance and I, however, took our list a step further. We asked family and friends what songs they love. What would they want to play? After all, they have a dance floor opening up to them. But if the music is all us, they won't want to get up and move. We are nerds. There is Linkin Park, techno, maybe some anime tunes... Yeah, I can see a lot of motionless people now. So we have a huge mix. Techno, country, pop, foreign, set dance (what do you call a song that calls out the moves?), old and classic songs, as well as classic rock. We even have Lindsey Stirling! I respect that this day is ours. That it is all about us, but how do we expect to have a great time if everyone around us is miserable, silent and itching to escape? 
So I compiled a list on my YouTube account to show you how we Nerds roll. Just know, there are songs that I had on the list from my computer that don't show on the YouTube one. But I am curious. What songs did you have? What song would you want?  

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Let the fun continue!

We have less than 3 weeks before I walk down the aisle to be joined to the  love of my life. Yesterday, we had the meeting with our venue to set in stone the minute details of the ceremony and reception.
We have a floor plan, we have food choices, table set up, and timelines down. It was rather comical. Three of us sitting at the table are OCD. I can't handle odd numbers. My fiance and I both needed a uniform color scheme. Meaning each table had to be exactly the same. He insisted our table needed 2 centerpieces. And my mother-in-law needed the tables to be set up in a particular pattern. My venue planner was extremely understanding and patient with us. For this OCD woman, it's a gust of fresh air after holding my breath for too long. I don't have to worry about what will happen or when. I just have to finish preparing the guest favors, flowers and find some shoes.
I would not have made it to this point without the help of my mother and father, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law, my grandmother-in-law, and a couple of my dearest friends. The love and support from them, the contributions... It has all been overwhelming. I could never thank them enough! Of course I also appreciate all the well wishes and encouragement I have had from everyone else.
My sister-in-law and mother-in-law threw an amazing bridal/bachelorette party. There were fun games and some awesome gifts. Especially the one from my fiances grandmother. She truly put thought and effort into it by making the opening a game. I made way too many cookies. Including these Strawberry and White Chocolate ones.
It was a great night. We shared stories about life experiences. It was a much needed chance to unwind a little and let loose. To shake off the worries that have been crowding my mind this week.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Pains of motherhood

Today was the day. The day my younger son went under for a procedure meant to save his hearing. About a month or so ago, we took him in for a hearing check up when he didn't pass the one his pediatrician did. They found that he had a hard build up in front of his ear drums that prevented him from hearing well. His education was suffering as a result. So the specialist recommended that we try to remove the blockage.
As a mother, I balked at the suggestion. Even though it's outpatient, there are risks. But it had to be done.

I didn't put much thought to it until the day of. I wanted to stay positive. He acted a little frightened when we talked about it the night before. His attitude has been a resilient one though. My little trooper! I find I get strength from him. My stomach twists in knots, but I continued to make jokes and offer him encouragement throughout the process of paperwork and questions. We joked about wearing matching bracelets.
And about what food we will eat when we leave. My poor guy hadn't eaten since dinner last night around 5:30 pm. So he was starving!
When we went to the back, we had Nurse Rose. She was so sweet. Gave  me a warm blanket (I'm a popsicle) and gave him some crayons and coloring pages. It definitely helped to ease the passing of time while we waited. While he colored, we talked about the picture and the hospital. It helped me through the process especially. My heart was glad that he wasn't showing signs of anxiety. 

We had to be there at 9:45 AM. Surgery was scheduled at 10:45 AM. They didn't come get him until noon.As a mother, this hurt me. My little guy loves to eat. He is hungry often. And the fact he had to go so long without... I wanted to jump down some throats. But I had to refrain. 
Then the doctor comes by at noon to let us know what will happen. After they take him, it takes roughly 10 minutes for the procedure. Then 30 for the recovery. Allen asked me to set the timer up. So I did. From the time they took him until we were reunited was 56 minutes. Can you imagine how wound up my nerves were?! My mother can. She was texting me while I waited. I had three ear-related surgeries as a child. I also had my tonsils and adenoids removed at age 2. Then I had 3 major spinal operations. Did I stress my mother? You bet. And at least once, my dad cried. Especially when "complications" happened. How many of you parents have heard that word and your heart sank within you? It is a sucker punch, no matter what words follow. Your mind races as you struggle to hear what else they are saying. And that is precisely where I was when the doctor finally came out to talk to me. There were complications in the removal of the blockage. But at last, he had success. Then he tells me they will be coming to get me soon to go back to recovery. Yeah... of course. Fast forwarded to the nurse finally making her way to me, I go back to see my baby still passed out and hooked up to oxygen with a tube down his throat.
Just hit me already. They try to remove the tube, and Allen suddenly has a moment of wakefulness. He jerks upright, eyes wide, gasping and struggling against the nurses. His mouth clamped over the tube, teeth holding it in place. We are all telling him to release his hold and open his mouth. They start pulling on it, trying to pry it out. I stand slightly behind them, hoping he hears me and calms down. Hoping he sees me and knows everything is okay. Part of me chokes. I'm watching my child in his frightened discomfort and I'm helpless to assist him.
This is what mothers do. This is what we live for. Striving to give them the best in life, but watching their moments of dismay, pain, fear. And doing everything we can to help them through it. When we finally got through that, he slowly came to. I got a small wave that reminded me of how a drunk waves. After some apple juice, he regained his voice. His mouth had been dried out and chapped. He wasn't fully smiling and laughing, but he wasn't in pain. They hand over the discharge papers and read over warnings and things to watch for. Bleeding? Dizziness and light-headedness seemed right. Fever and vomiting I understood. But bleeding from his ears?! 
I'm so glad it is over now. That he is done and has been doing exceptionally well all the rest of today. Tomorrow he will go back to school and I look forward to hearing all about it. Because that is what truly makes me happy. Having my babies safe and healthy.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Showing teacher appreciation this week

My kids school sent home a notice on Friday. It was a reminder and suggestion about teacher appreciation week this week. This is the first year I'm actually feeling grateful to my kids' teachers. My oldest son is finally excelling. My middle son is having issues, but due to hearing trouble. And my daughter is ready to move up in grades ahead of her class. Because they are doing well, I decided to put in some effort in. The paper they sent offered ideas for each day of the week. 

Monday - flowers
Tuesday - sweet treats
Wednesday - bottled beverage
Thursday - personal thank you notes
Friday - something of your own design

Right now, I am still without a job. Which means I don't have spare change to blow. At first I thought I would just make some paper flowers.
But then I thought, why not do more? I had some chocolates, some colorful paper, some bottles of water... I would create a gift that encompassed everything on the list! I cut out flowers from the paper and glued them together. Then I hot glued the piece of chocolate to the center of the flower. I wrote appreciative encouragement and quotes on some of the leaves. And finally, I attached the completed flower to a bottle of water. Voila! 
My kids have a unique gift for their teacher. I'm also making something for my future sister-in-law who is a teacher. Though hers will be a little more in substance and include some adult beverages. You know. For those days when she wants to pull her hair out and scream.