Sunday, January 26, 2014

the harper & crosby project - december 2013

and we're done.  the year ended, and the 2013 instagram project finished right with it.  for the large majority, i absolutely enjoyed this daily project of the girls.  there were days when i was too tired to post a picture, or i just plumb forgot and had to cheat with another day's picture.  but i love love love having these memories of our year to reflect back on.  there were so many memories that had slipped my mind, words and funny sayings they said i would have never recalled, milestones i am still so proud of.  i am in the process of putting these into a shutterfly book to print out for the girls' valentines day gift, so i will share it on here when it's finished.  for now, enjoy the last installment of the harper & crosby project 365.

and fear not, i got into such a habit that i couldn't just stop when the clock struck midnight on 2014.  so i started the 2014 petrous project- just one photo a day of some aspect of our family, all together or individual, big accomplishments or little memories.  i'll post it month by month here on the blog, too.

Monday, January 20, 2014

artist's day off

we had mlk day off from school, so i took the girls on a special outing to a local paint-it-yourself-pottery studio to paint anything they chose.  what a fun morning!

Thursday, January 16, 2014


there's no doubt we love goldfish swim school- i've talked it up many times before.  this month, we are so proud of our little swimmer and all of her hard work.  she's been swimming weekly since august 2011, and this month we learned she is the star student of the month!  she couldn't be happier and more proud of this accomplishment and each week she just nails it.  she gets better and better, and loves it (and ms. maggie!) more and more.

give it a try.  check out an open swim.  come to an event.  try out a class.  i promise you won't be disappointed.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

oscar the grouch and snow cream!

i'm all about being honest, but sometimes when i write i come off sort of grouchy.  like my new year post; i wrote and published it without much proofing early in the morning.  when i finally re-read it the next day, i thought, "ugh, i just unleashed my inner complaint goddess on the rest of society!"  so, sorry.  like i said, i am good with honesty, and sometimes that's where this blog goes.  i tell the good, the bad, the in-between.  i don't sugar coat and i try not to highlight only the good parts to our life, because in every life some rain must fall.  i really try to find the rainbows through that rain, but there are times it's damn near impossible.

perhaps i should take a cue from my sixth grade english teacher, mrs. fenton.  as we entered her classroom, we would know if she was having an off day by the appropriate placement of the oscar the grouch poster taped onto her door.  we would know as students to maybe tread a little bit lighter.  i loved (still do) mrs. fenton.  for many other reasons, too, but mainly because she taught us a life lesson by telling us like it was.  no cover ups, just the facts.  here it is.  i'm having a bad day.  let's air it, deal with it and move on.

so perhaps next time, i'll preface my blog post with an oscar photo of my own.  i thought about what made me grouchy, and came up with a few reasons...

1.  i hadn't had my green smoothies in over a week.  i think my body has truly come to depend on that drinkable nutrition, even if i eat like crap the rest of the day.

2.  i haven't taught spinning, or exercised for that matter, since last weekend because of my surgery.  and this friggin' cold weather- forget walking outside.

3.  i told myself i was going to do another 365 project for this year, but just one as our family, as well as a 52 week project with my big camera.  i felt i needed to pull it out more and use it.  i look back at pictures and i love them.  but i had already given up on that latter project week 1.  it's just not something i can maintain and i know it will create undue stress.  learning to say no, even to myself.  but, still a failed goal even before i started.  true grouchiness.

4.  i had been cabin fevered for 4 days straight, recovering from my surgery and with the falling snow and dropping temps had no place to go but where i was.

but then, as i took a deep morning breath into my coffee cup the next day after said post, realizing it was another snow day and i still had a hundred items on my to-do list, i decided to attempt to enlist little soldiers who reside in my home.  i asked harper if she cared to help me do some chores and she happily agreed.  together, and mostly on her own because she independently wanted to take charge, we washed and folded 3 baskets of laundry.  we watered all the indoor plants.  we changed her bed sheets.  we purged and organized and straightened up her room.  we she emptied the dishwasher.  we picked up toys.  she helped put her sister down for a nap.  and the miraculous thing about it was that her spirit never once dwindled, and she was eager to find out the next task.  she made that to-do list fun (even though we didn't nearly cross off everything i hoped, but it didn't matter.)  the sun was shining in our house that day.  i was a happy mama.  she was a happy girl.  we were learning together this huge life lesson.

my favorite part of the day was when she and i were together in her room, changing her bed sheets, and she heard the dryer buzz, signaling our load was ready.  without any prompt from me, she ran screaming from her room, down the stairs, yelling "wait, dad, don't touch the laundry!"  and up the stairs 3 minutes later, lugging a full basket of clean, dry laundry, back to the task of making her bed.  my heart swelled that very moment.


moving on with some asterisks, because i have no other way to transition this post, to the famous snow cream.  this recipe went viral in a matter or a day, and i sat down that first snow day evening to see posts about it all over pinterest, facebook and instagram.  i had never even heard of snow cream, but we were going to give it a try.  and shockingly, it was pretty tasty!  if you find yourself surrounded by inches upon inches of snow you just don't know what to do with, give it a try.  recipe found here.  and if you need some snow, let me know and i can ship.


Thursday, January 9, 2014


my girls are food connoisseurs, meaning for them that they don't eat a ton of variety and they like to have a smorgasbord of choices available to them.  they also enjoy special occasion meals, a lot.  doesn't always work out so well at dinner time, when mama has made one dinner.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

new year, new thoughts

as the fat flakes continued to fall yesterday on our snow day, and the temperatures continued to drop into the afternoon, gaining ourselves one more day off school today, my mind and thoughts were racing.  it's a new year, and i've been thinking a lot about where i want this year to go.  who i want to be.  what i want to do.  how i want to act with my husband and my kids.  i've thought a lot about my word for the year.  how i want to challenge myself.  what i want to always come back to.

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i'm a known list-maker.  like lists upon lists of the same darn thing.  every time a thought pops in my head about something i want to make or do or read or see, i have to write it down.  and if i happen to be away from my phone that contains my app for lists or my notebook, then i grab the nearest scrap of paper and scrawl away.  then when i have a minute to sit down and combine all those notes into one nice, neat, organized list, i do.  but then i feel very overwhelmed, because i've just created an unrealistic expectation of myself.  i will sometimes write down 23 things to do in one day, thinking, sure, i have the time today to do it.  when actually, i'll get maybe 3 or 4 things done.  i have been known to write down "shower" or "make dinner" just so i can feel i've accomplished something when i scratch it off.

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i've had that kind of feeling lately...overwhelmed and anxious.  it may not have helped that i spent one of my surgery recovery mornings in bed re-organizing my pinterest likes into my boards, so i got to see all of the ideas and meals and crafts that i would love to do, but just never find the time to do it.    and yesterday, during crosby's nap and harper's playdate, i sat on the couch and watched a movie with my computer, going through the virtual bookmarks i have had on my laptop in safari for over 3 years.  it's what we did before pinterest, and yesterday, i went through them, pinned what i still liked, and deleted what i didn't need.  3 hours it took me.  what michael called a non-necessity task, i felt a bit of relief that i could check it off my wunderlist (which by the way, is an amazing app if you're a list-maker like myself) and stop it from staring me in the face.

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the really great thing about when i get these feelings is that i have a built-in external conscience.  his name is michael and i happen to be married to him.  he can tell.  i start to sigh a lot, mope, drop my shoulders, pace around with nothing getting accomplished.  he asks what's wrong, and i inevitably run to him and fake weep into his chest that i'm feeling stressed and overwhelmed by my lists.  he tells me like it is.  there are needs and there are wants.  what is it i need to do, and what do i want to do.  i read off my tasks (that i think are all needs), and he helps me sort and plan.  and ultimately, i feel a bit of relief.  i thank God every day for him, he provides such a balance.

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problem is, at this time of year, and especially being stuck inside from this frigid weather (we're talking well below zero temps here), i only breathed a little bit of relief.  of course my list can be divided into needs and wants.  but i feel the need to do everything, and on top of that list i haven't even included the daily stuff that needs to get done.  oh the sink is full of dishes, again for the 15th time that day.  and oh, i can't walk through the mudroom past the baskets full of laundry, so guess it's time i throw a load in.  goodness, my kids need to eat again, and i now have to make lunch/snack/breakfast and since it's a snow day, i should make snowman pancakes because they're fun and pinteresting.  oh i overwhelm myself.

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i seriously had a mild panic attack yesterday while sitting in our office, staring at the drawer of files that i have kept for who knows how long and just continue to add papers to without sorting, that harper wasn't going to remember her first day of school because she didn't have a scrapbook to look back on.  yeah, i make myself that nuts.  it's like i've built up this impossible list in my head and every day, i just watch it crash down around me when i realize i can't do it all.  but each day, i try.

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and when that happens, i often resort to a mental break with my iphone, to play a word in my scrabble game, to check out instagram, to look again at my wunderlist, check out what's happening in facebook world or heaven forbid to gaze longingly once again at pinterest. or i find my girls and snuggle, read a book or jump into their play.  or i find my husband, get near to him and sigh very loudly.

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so, i've decided my word for the year is home.  this is the year of home organization, and finally emptying out and breaking down those boxes that still reside in our basement from our move 6 months ago.  it's the year of staycations, since we moved and did so much traveling with weddings and family trips last year, we need to recoup, stay-at-home and start to tackle the home improvement lists.  it's the year of getting me back in good health, ridding my body of cancer, and making this home of mine whole and well again.  it's the year of loving on my girls and my family a whole lot, and bringing it back to the home of just being together.

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i'm not going to lie, i still have those overwhelming feelings, but i have learned ways to cope.  laughing.  snuggling.  playing.  reading.  taking walks.  soaking in a bath.  drinking tea.  date knighting with my husband.  girl chatting with dear friends.  and re-writing my lists.

happy new year friends.  i wish you lots of health, love and happiness in 2014.

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Monday, January 6, 2014

red & rosie 2013

red & rosie returned for another christmas season with us and the girls.  and they brought some new crazy antics to our new home.  the wonder and awe of seeing where these 2 hide each morning is so worth it.  harper was actually pretty sad the last night they were here, the night they brought new jammies for christmas eve.  she really bonded with them this year.  i love to watch that magic.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

let it snow.

so it snowed just a bit today.  well, ok, a lot.  i think at this point just past 10 pm, we're close to 7-8 inches on top of what fell last week.  michael hit up the grocery store last night for some last minute items, along with everyone else in our county who cleared the shelves, so that today, we could just stay inside and hibernate.  and then it just kept snowing and snowing and snowing, until it took michael outside to clear the driveway late this afternoon, and the girls followed to shovel the deck and play.  oh and eat some freshly fallen powdered snow.

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they played, they ate snow, and then they came inside to warm by the fire, drink hot cocoa, read books and weave with our loom.  basically, resume our positions from the earlier part of our day.

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and bonus, we have already received our call for a snow day tomorrow.  all of us, including michael.  it's bad out there.  and we don't plan to do anything more than what we did today...stay inside and huddle up.  stay warm wherever you are.  and make sure you take the opportunity to eat some snow.
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Saturday, January 4, 2014


january 2nd 11:30 am i am wheeled back to surgery, and just like that 3 hours later, i have no more thyroid.  gone.  bye bye.

my doctor told michael that in a few weeks, i am going to be extremely tired, as they allow my body to deplete itself of the thyroid hormone naturally before beginning the synthetic replacement.  i feel for him, and my girls, and my family and friends, as they will likely be chipping in more to hold up my end of the bargain.  and my gosh, they seem to have already started.  i feel so extremely lucky to have so many texts and calls and prayers being sent up; amazingly delicious meals delivered every day; fun and thoughtful gifts surprisingly dropped off.  i am truly blessed and so very thankful.

i am home, in the comforts of my family, lounging and recovering in my jammies, napping and reading and taking long baths and showers and listening to the sounds of my girls giggling with their dad.  so far, this recovery has been much better than the first surgery.  i was more awake after the surgery, i am more mobile, i did not have to be catheterized post-surgery (hallelujah!), i was able to come home without the dreaded drainage tube to manage (double hallelujah!), i have been on no prescription pain meds since leaving the hospital.  what can i contribute this all to?  not really sure.  perhaps it was the hour-and-a-half hot stone, deep tissue massage i gifted to myself 2 days pre-surgery that allowed me to be stretched and relaxed.  maybe it was the extra strength i've gained over the last 2 months from knowing i was facing a tough road ahead with no choice but to tackle it.  maybe it was mostly from all the prayer warriors out there.

whatever it is, i am doing well.  and i will soak up these last moments of our winter break, especially if snowmageddon hits and we get a bonus snow day or 2.  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

a note to my girls

january 2, 2014

to my beautiful little girls,

this morning, i am headed in for round 2 of this journey i have found myself thrust upon.  i will only be gone 1 night, and you will be in such awesome hands with your daddy and your grandparents, but i am already missing you.

knowing what i know from my first surgery only less than 2 months ago, i am nervous and worried and not at all looking forward to this.  i have shed many tears, and i have leaned on daddy, nana, papa, heboo, topher and so many of my friends a lot, but they have continued to encourage me along.  to be honest, i'm scared.  and i want to run far away, with you and daddy right beside me, and never have to face this.  but i am telling you this so that one day, you have my full approval to be scared and nervous and worried, to not want to take that next step knowing that you have to anyways, but to look those feelings right in the eyes and to go forward and do it with strength and beauty and calm.

know that God has you in his hands at all times, and will give you no more than you can handle.  i have accepted this, and it is my full belief that i am already healed, this cancer is already gone, and i merely have to jump these next few hurdles to feel that complete healing.  i am not saying or promising that these hurdles are easy.  i am strong and i know God knows i can handle it.  i know i can because you two and your daddy give me that strength and that love and that belief every. single. day.  i am stronger because of you.  i am wiser because of you.  and i will accept this challenge and crush it because of you. 

always remember my loves...

i am brave.
i am strong.
i am beautiful.
i am loved.

i will see you very, very soon.  

all my love,