The world I leave you.

Smush and Thumper,
The world I’m leaving for you both is not the world I had ever imagined, hoped or dreamed that it would be. I had wished for so much more for the both of you.
I’d like to say that I have done all that I can to give you this perfect world I had dreamed up for you. But, I don’t know that I have.
This place that I’m someday leaving for you is so broken. Sometimes it feel’s like the hurt runs deep into the earth’s core. Like if you stick your hand into the earth’s soil you’ll be able to pull out all of the hurt. Strands and strands of little intricate veins of previous generation’s hurt and wrong trickling and fracturing through. Stringy and gooey and wrong.
When I got pregnant with you smush it really hit me, what I have and haven’t done in this world and what that now mean’s for you. I wish that I had lived up to the expectations of my childhood self, the little girl who didn’t think but knew she could save the world. A little girl who believed in love, fairy tales and genuine human kindness.
More often then not I look back on that girl, and wonder where it was I left her. I search in the crevices of my mind, closing and opening doors calling for her.
Calling for a peace of her hope, just a tiny wedge like the sweetest chocolate to tuck away and enjoy slowly another time.
I see pieces of that in your eyes, smush. I hear pieces of that in your laughter Thumper.
And so, I have to tell you about this world someday. But most importantly I have to figure out how to help you fix what we couldn’t fix, and those before us, and those before that. I have to figure out how to teach you to be good men with good soul’s that the world cannot and will not corrupt or beat down. I have to figure out how to make good human beings who will make good human beings, who will also make good human beings and chalk that up as my contribution. Because all I can tell myself is that by making one more good human being I’ve helped changed the world, even if it’s just a little.
I want to show you that you can conquer the world, your world, your dreams, your passions. That you can overcome your sorrows and bring back the light, turn back on the sun and ward off the fog that can sometimes over take a person’s mind.
It’s terrifying. Because more often then not I am sure I will let you down. More often then not I know you will look back on a memory and think of how I could have handled it better, or been better so that YOU could have become a better person.
And I wonder, how many of those moment’s have come to make up this world.
I want you to reach out and help always, and love wherever you can. I want you to keep your soul’s clean, and your bodies as well. Drugs and the like are just band aids.
They were not made to solve the problems in your life, and trust me when I say that many men have fallen before you to the likes of this.
This concept that you can find a band aid, to solve your hurt or feelings or problems of any kind, is a trap of the oldest kind. A trap that spirals and never let’s you back out of. There is no emergency ladder or escape route once you start heading down.
This is your warning, I hope you hear it.
I want you to be kind, always. This is hard. Even one someone doesn’t deserve it. Even when you feel like ‘why do I have to be?’
The world will always need a little kindness. But on the same note, be wary, and protective of yourself. Because this world is not a good world, and bad things are always happening.
Laugh and live in the moment but not too much that you are reckless, trust me, there is a huge difference. But it is also a difficult balancing act. Lose your balance and you will go plummeting downwards towards something that will break you, something you may not be able to get back up from.
And my loves, there is no safety net, no training wheels, no one to hold your hand.
Work hard, study hard and play hard.
Understand that you weren’t put on this earth to simply do one . You are here to sing, dance, smell the ocean. You are here to kiss and love, and burn with dreams and passion. You are here to work hard and learn. To fall and climb and get back up.
Learn balance, its essential to being a good person and helping others to be a good person. If you cannot take care of yourself you cant help anyone else.
One of the most important things I can teach you is that you can work as hard as you possibly can, you can put everything you have into it. And you can still LOSE.
The world does not owe you anything.
There is no shame in how you feel. There is a double standard for boy’s to be tough, to choke down your emotions. And I hope I can teach you, instead, how to work through emotions that otherwise may seem crippling. Emotions that when society is telling you to tough it out it would leave you feeling lost and floating away. Or frustrated and overwhelmed. Instead I hope to show you how to work through them and learn through them. How to turn them into something constructive and not destructive.
You don’t always need to be tough, nobody is always tough. It’s an impossible schema.
I hope that I can show you these things, and the world you wake up and leave to your children is not the world that I have woken up and left to you.
I hope you break walls, and ceilings of societal standards that are outdated and harmful. I hope you pave the way for others to follow. Always looking to see what you can do for them and not what you can TAKE.
I hope that if you ever sit down to write a letter about the world to your children it’ll be so different then this.
Love, mama

Advertisements

Here come’s spring

Ive been so motivated to try and get my life together with spring getting here. I’m never sure how long this will last and so I wanted to fully optimize on this motivation and drive. So I got my butt in gear and finally got the playroom put together. I’ve had this on my ‘to do list’ for over a year now, but with going through a 2nd pregnancy and dealing with a toddler it just didn’t seem plausible.
This was something I really wanted done for the boys though, because I think it’s crucial that we all have our own spaces. Like, there comes a certain time when the kids toys no longer need to take over my living room.
I should have just started selling admittance ticket’s to my living room like it was a circus, cause it was pretty damn close. And let’s face it, I was kind of tired of feeling embarrassed when people stopped by and saw the disaster zone that we call a home, like ‘hey…sorry my house is such a complete and utter disaster, I’m exhausted and the children are winning the war.’ (let’s face it, they are always winning).

I decided Monday morning when the baby woke me up at 5am…again, that I no longer wanted to be the ringmaster of the Doodle-chunk show and started the process of creating a playroom for them. I already had some idea of what I wanted it to look like, and when doodle was a year old I had already picked up some orange paint for the room (Which wasn’t enough and I ended up having to go get more.)
I spent two days of hard work in this room, and I’m actually pretty proud of how it turned out. So first let’s show the extremely embarrassing before picture and I’m gonna hide or run away to another dimension while ya’ll judge me, cause it’s ridiculously messy.20180409_094439

OOOOOKAY, let’s just scroll on down and pretend that never happened.

I feel like the door should have had a sign on it that said ‘Welcome to the room of junk’
Not saying I think my belongings are junk, but I mean…they kind of are. How do we accumulate so much crap?

So, I made myself a strong drink of lemon water and got started. I spent all day in that room, clearing it out, taping down the walls. Giving myself a pep talk that painting one of my walls BRIGHT orange wasn’t the world’s worst idea. I mean…how hard could BRIGHT orange be to cover up. Notice how I have to keep emphasizing BRIGHT. I Feel like it better showcases my fear of this orange paint.

So I jumped in, like I always do. Without testing the water, without a life jacket or a safety boat nearby. I just did it.
And I FING love that BRIGHT orange wall. It made it into a playroom, it took it to that next level. And I’m just like ‘dang I’m a straight BA, let me go get a motorcycle and leather jacket.’
It’s amazing what painting a wall orange can do for you, I totally recommend it. (OR…don’t, cause I SO don’t

20180409_123915

want angry email’s if it doesn’t turn out. Some walls don’t need to be painted orange…just sayin’)
So, after spending majority of the day feeling like Cinderella..just kidding, I feel like that everyday….I ran out of orange paint. I was derailed. But I knew that if I just closed the door and said ‘I’ll finish it another day’ it’d never get finished. SO, naturally I took a nap since both the boys were miraculously napping at the same time. (Did anyone catch a unicorn Monday? I hear those are nonexistent too) Then when we were done napping the firstborn and I headed out to restock our paint.
And, FOUR coat’s later (which…Seriously BRIGHT orange? Why you do that to me?) it was painted.

(If you follow my Instagram at: Paperdaffodils, you may have already seen some of these pictures as I posted a few up to showcase my progress)
I mean…BAM! Doesn’t that just smack you in the face with wonderfulness?

And after that, It all just started to come together. Piece by piece, this room that I had been dreaming of and pushing from one month’s to do list to the next was finished. Take a gander:20180410_091030

The paper lantern’s were from doodles first birthday, except I never got around to using them, and they work perfect in the playroom. He keeps seeing them and pointing to them excitedly.

  • 20180410_133842.
    We do still have to mount the T.V. and put together another cube shelf..thing….BUT…his toy box is out of my living room, I’ll take that as being one battle won. And, if you want to make yourself one of those nifty photo containers for a plant too, wander your happy self over to my blog post: If I were an empty container then I would be20180412_14164520180412_14180520180413_182158
    This kid has so many stuffed animals already. So I ordered him this bean bag, that you literally zip open and stuff with stuffed animals. This thing is waaay bigger then I thought it’d be though, so It’s going to mostly be for decoration until I can trust the kid with it.20180413_182211

    And, VOILA! I still have a few things to do…aka…my husband has a few things to do. He needs to get the bookshelf thing put together, a TV mounted and a ceiling fan with a light put in. But..just imagine it as if that’s already done. Cause this mama’s tired and done all that she can for this room. So….the kid absolutely adores it and plays in there all the time,
    ignores that the room even exists. I’m not even sure where to rank this, as a win or a lose. I guess someday he’ll be excited to have it and will use it. Until then, I’m digging that BRIGHT orange wall.

    So, I was inspired and tackled another project I’ve been wanting to get done. Yo girl was busy this past week guys.
    So here’s the before picture. And again, I’m going to return to the previous mentioned dimension and hide:20180410_082326

    I cleaned out and organized my fridge…and this is with one shelf already cleared out and wiped down so it’s not even as bad as it did look. Don’t mind my child trying to reach for his 4th yogurt of the day. I make him scrambled eggs and a pancake and he tried to feed it to the cat and heads over for a yogurt. Again, I think I’m losing here guys.

    This was an idea I think I found on pinterest, if not there it was youtube. It was so long ago that I don’t even remember. And everything was from the dollar store.

    42905

    Isn’t it so pretty? I know I’m old, because this legit was fun and exciting to me. So, I got the liner paper from the dollar store, and the glass jars I had on hand. I condensed things down and switched things to glass jars, because why not? And used colored scotch tape to label things. The containers are from the dollar store. One is for doodles yogurts and apples (comfortably out of his reach I might add) and the other is for partially used cut veggies, and hard boiled eggs. Because I have a tendency of placing those in the fridge door and forgetting about them.
    I am so not showing the fridge door because:

  • I have a condiment problem. Legit…I need help. And I can’t ever seem to bring myself to throw them away.
  • It’s a hot mess because I ran out of steam. The baby was losing his ish and Doodle was throwing the world’s largest tantrum because he wanted another yogurt (It’s all this kid want’s to eat). SO this mama called it a day.
    And…that’s it. that was my spring cleaning…impressive eh?
    Ok…well i’m impressed with myself. Till next time guys.

    Paper lanterns and BRIGHT orange,
    Paperdaffodils

Turkey Meatballs

My husband always laughs at me when I finally find time to get in the kitchen. He always tells me he’s never seen anyone ‘wing it’ as hard as I do and come out with successful food. I can’t help it though, it’s just the way I cook. A pinch of this, a pour of that. I grew up watching my mom cook and that’s how I learned, so I don’t know the exact science behind it, although people swear there is one. I’m not going to be the next chef Ramsay, but I get by with fairly delicious food. So my husband spurred me into action when he pointed out that not everyone is able to do this and that I should start writing some of my kitchen adventures. So here we are,with one of my first recipes, other then the black beans for the crock pot which is an adaptation of many recipes.
So here’s my recipe:
1 1/2 pounds of ground Turkey
2 eggs (In the picture it shows 3 eggs, but I decided to only use 2)
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese (fresh or not, I ain’t here to judge you, yo)
1 1/2 Tbsp of minced garlic (You can do less if you’d like, I’m just a big fan of garlic)
1 Tbsp onion powder
1/4 Tsp Paprika
20 Ritz crackers
1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbsp Italian Seasoning (You can use less of this, I know that this one isn’t everyone’s cup of tea)

First you are going to take the Ritz crackers, place them into a baggie and crush them into crumbs. Think bread crumbs, cause that’s the place these are going to take. I didn’t actually have bread crumbs and that’s how these ended up being used.
Add your meat, all of your spices, the 2 eggs, the cracker crumbs and roll up your sleeves (basically add all the ingredients to the bowl, I don’t think a particular order matters with this recipe)
And smush it all up with your hands..there’s no getting around this one. Using your hands mixes it all up the best, and puts love into your food. Love what your doing in the kitchen or order pizza…I’m just sayin’.
Once all the ingredients are mixed well start rolling them into meatballs, I did about a tablespoon in a half, but you can go bigger or smaller with yours, just note that you will have to cook them much more differently if you change the size of your meatballs.
20180313_21215420180313_21222020180313_21234320180313_212529

Alright guys, I really tried to write everything down, but it’s really not my style and things are a little hazy. So for cooking these little balls I added 1/4 cup of water to a pan, just enough for the meatballs to sit a little in water, not enough that they were drowning and have to shoot flares up for the USS Gravy Boat. Also make sure you don’t put so many meatballs in there that they are overcrowded, they need their space. These meatballs are starting to sound like sensitive little guys.

Go ahead and cover your meatballs and cook for 6 minutes on medium high heat. If it seems like they are getting too brown you can lower the heat, if the water runs out too quick then go ahead and add a little bit more water. After the 6 minutes pull the lid off and cook for another 6 minutes (GUYS this is such a rough  plan, always cook your meat longer if you need to, do not eat under cooked meat. You can always cook these for longer if you need too, I cut one of mine in half to make sure it was good, you can do the same. And based on differences in stoves and etc you MIGHT need to cook yours longer)
During the 6 minutes uncovered, I tried to scoot them around the pan to get all the sides a good amount of brown. When they were done, I placed them on a plate and let them cool then placed them in a freezer baggie. Just pull out and microwave, or rewarm in a pan as needed.
20180313_213830

And here’s the nutritional info based on MyFitnessPal (AGAIN, please note, I am not an EXPERT. I am not a dietician or a professional chef so there is a chance that I input something wrong, just expect there to be flaws.)

Screenshot_20180325-181839

I estimated a serving of these to be ABOUT 4-5 meatballs. I hope you enjoy.

Spatulas and hot pans,
Paperdaffodils

February and March BUJO updates

So, the month of February I apparently wasn’t very creative so I don’t have much to show for my bullet journal update, so that’s part of the reason why I combined the two months. Also, cause I’m extremely late/behind in getting the month of February up (I mean…its only the end of March). Also, I’m not sure why, but for the month of January I actually shared a lot of February and so didn’t have much to share for the actual month, but I digress.
Better late then never?
I love my bullet journal, one thing that I can say about it is it’s so customizable. The sky is the limit, if you have the time, desire and energy. And even if you don’t you can take a minimalist approach to it. Its up to you, and that’s the beauty of it. So you aren’t the most artistic person in the world, that’s ok. Please don’t let that stop you. The pictures of the stuff people do out there is so creative and amazing and honestly can be kind of intimidating, but the point of this isn’t to achieve perfection. Its to create a notebook you can go to and put your thoughts, plans, goals, memories and more in without feeling bad about yourself. It should be, at minimum the one place you can feel comfort and confidence in. I seriously encourage you to try it. You will be surprised how creative you really are and how freeing of a method it is.

So here we go:

20180325_213356,
(NOTE: The cut outs of the astrology signs are not mine. I obtained them through a google search a while ago and cannot remember from where, if you are the original creator of these little clips and would like me to place credit for you I am very happy to do so.)

Here is one of my weekly spreads from March. I love this one. I was in an astrology mood. And I just went with it. Glittery silver washi Tape to go with the dark blue, it’s one of my favorite spreads. Here’s some of my spread list’s/themes:
Sunflowers
Greek Mythology: Andromeda, Athena, Aphrodite, Persephone
Constellations/Night sky
Places that made me/shaped me
Movies I like (with quotes on the weekly spread from the movie as well)
Horoscope signs for the weekly spreads of birthdays (for example my oldest is a Taurus so his birthday week is Taurus themed.)
Disney princesses
Ancient Egypt
Pheonix
Unicorns
Cherry blossoms

These are just a few.
Remember, I said the sky was the limits.

20180207_162822

Ok…I know, this one doesn’t exactly look the prettiest but here’s what happened. I loved the idea of a gratitude log for the month. And so, I started off drawing an idea I had found on pinterest for one…guys…it looked horrible. Like…beyond horrible. So..I covered it up. So here’s another thing you can do to add character to your bujo. Find scrapbook paper that you like and incorporate it in, it could be a whole solid page like I did, or cutting out pieces of it. So, I glued in the scrapbook paper and drew hearts on it, because you know February, valentines day and I had to be extra. I put the days number next to them and filled them in with what I was feeling grateful about for that day. And with it filled in I really loved how it turned out. So mistake to not so pretty but okay page layout. Im marking that down as a success.
20180225_091733

Every month I decided I would like a memories page, just a spot to write down moments I felt were special and that I wanted highlighted. For the month of February I only did good memories, but the next month I started doing anything I felt was a worthy memory to be included. I really didn’t do anything fancy, but I still loved the way it turned out, because my kids are growing up so fast and its so nice to think of one day looking back on these journals and being able to place tangible memories in a time frame.

20180319_165916

Here’s a new layout I won’t be starting until April (so maybe I should have saved it for then). I got the inspiration from: the petite planner
She has some really cool ideas.
I changed mine from the original a little. I didn’t want the commitment of a year so I did 6 months. And instead of it being what kind of workout I changed it to how I felt I did in the workout. Im hoping this will inspire me to always give 100 percent to my workouts, but with 2 kids and heavily caffeinating myself, there’s no promises.

If I didn’t give you enough inspiration to get those creative juices flowing, head over to my pinterest board: Bujo goodness

Pens and Notebooks,
Paperdaffodils

A.B. After baby

20180122_130601.jpg

 

 

*Contents in this post could have triggers, please proceed in reading this with caution. This post is not meant to upset anyone in anyway, but to express emotions and feelings on my part.  Any stories in this post that bare actual resemblance to a real story are purely coincidental. I am not a medical professional, and nothing I ever post should be taken as medical advice, if you feel in anyway wrong or that you are experiencing symptoms of any ailments such as but not limiting too postpartum depression please seek medical advice immediately. *

 

After a baby, your whole world changes. And I don’t mean just on the outside, where everyone can see. I don’t mean how your whole world becomes diapers, and wipes and is the diaper bag ready? The baby toys, the pack and play, the swings, the bouncer that overrides your life and your home, that leaves you sitting there wondering if you are ever going to have some semblance of adult normalcy back. I mean, you change as a person. You can’t watch things on the news any more, and if you do, sometimes it’ll leave you crying and going to grab your sleeping baby to hold and kiss…and yes I mean the sleeping baby you just spent an hour trying to get to sleep and now you are waking them just to feel their skin on yours and to smell them, just to know they are still safe and sound in your arms.
When I was pregnant with my first, I remember having these moments, filled with fear. And not for them. For me. I knew that this was going to be a huge change. I just didn’t know how much it was really going to change. I felt like I was closing this chapter in my life that I wasn’t completely ready to close. And so many people would answer with ‘well you have 9 months’ like that was plenty of time to wrap up all the things I didn’t even know I needed to wrap up.
And then the baby is here.
And people no longer see the baby inside of you, and it’s like they automatically think that with the removal of the baby you’ve gone back to who you once were. And you haven’t. Your so far from who you were.
They think you’re back to normal and your really this ball of emotions and sentiment that’s tangled and messy and possibly never going to be neat again.
Then there’s this baby crying and needing you, this tiny human you love with the entirety of your soul. And that emotion alone is new, foreign, and twisting inside next to that clumsy ball of emotions you keep shoving down.
People don’t see all this mess, and they just expect you to be snapped back, to the world they live in.
It’s like the purpose in life is to find, label and sort out the colors, and place them in neat little piles, but after a baby they’ve blended into this huge incomprehensible mess, everyone keeps telling you to get started on getting it all sorted it out, but not only do you not know how, you don’t want too. You cant be bothered too. You don’t feel like your smart enough too.
That’s what postpartum depression has felt like too me.
And I think the truly worst part of it is that tabooness it incites. The looks people give you when you talk about it.
Because omg, postpartum depression automatically means you are going to be like Trudy who locked her kids in the car with her and drove off a bridge. They give you this look like you are wrong and broken and the entire time you are screaming I KNOW inside of your head.
I know.
Ive told myself many times that I am not worthy, I am not good enough, smart enough, strong enough.
I’ve asked myself what was I thinking putting myself on this path in my life when its clear I would never be ready enough.
I don’t need the looks, that you think you’ve cleverly hidden when this topic comes up.
And at the same time I have enough clarity to know I am not wrong. There is nothing bad about me.
It’s the expectations that society has placed on women. That they pop this kid out and go back to who they were and how it was, when in truth some women, like me are just trying to shift through the emotions and place them back to where they belong.
What not enough people tell you, when they instead give you this look like your bad, is that for a little while it’ll feel like your drowning but eventually you catch your breath.
This is a rediscovery of yourself.
Be patient. Take breaks when you need them. It’s ok to take those moments to take deep breaths.
And when the second baby came, I was bracing myself for all of this again. So imagine my surprise when it didn’t come. It’s different every time, for every person and every pregnancy. Which is why we need to be patient and loving to each other.
It’s that simple, and that complex

 
Iced coffee and baby diapers,
Paper Daffodils

Summertime mean’s Bug Spray and Sunscreen

I’ve been meaning to get this post up. I feel like that is the headliner of all my blog posts. I’ve been meaning to get around to this, and I’ve been meaning to get around to that. That could seriously be my life motto. The title of my memoir, ‘Mama meant to get that done yesterday’.
It’s what it is I guess.
What spurred this on today then, since it’s something I’ve been meaning to post since July? Well you see my child decided to rip a handful of my hair out today, just for the hell of it. Why did that spur this on? I have no idea. Because it doesn’t really relate to this at all.
Back in July we flew back to Wisconsin to spend some time with my parents and sister. Smush adored them, and I think it goes without saying that the feeling was mutual. Guys, there’s really something to say about being home that is irreplaceable. The place where you grew up and ran wild, it’s your roots. And nothing can ever take that away or replace it.
However, I didn’t miss the bugs and mosquitoes that seem to come with Wisconsin. Seriously, the joke is that the state bird is the mosquito. You can say that being from California, my husband is a little paranoid about getting bit by bugs, especially mosquitoes. And I really didn’t want doodle to suffer the fate of my child hood, being covered head to toe with mosquito bites.
“I swear guys, it’s not the chicken pox. Mosquitoes just feasted on my flesh.”
The mosquitoes can be relentless, sometimes even after bug bombing, burning citronella candles and spraying with bug spray.
We all know the stuff that’s in bug spray, stuff that I’d prefer to avoid putting on my infant if at all possible. So I went in search of something we could use for doodle, being well aware of how bad the mosquitoes are from my own past experiences.
And I came across Babyganic’s Bug spray:

(Please note the image above is a an affiliate link, this means that if you click on it or use the link to purchase the item some money does find it’s way back to me.)

Now, according to the bottle, it say’s its made with 100 percent natural essential oils, it’s non-greasy, Paraben and Deet free, not tested on animals, and a few other great qualities. I can for sure get behind that.
Except I couldn’t.
I wanted to love this. But, again, I couldn’t.
It smelt weird to me, now in retrospect and rereading the ingredient’s I’m assuming it was one of the essential oils listed on the bottle. And it say’s its not greasy. But I found that not to be true. It didn’t spray well, and considering the consistency of it I’m not quite sure why they chose to put it in the spray bottle. I had to spray it onto my hands then try to rub it onto Smush. It didn’t absorb well what so ever, it felt like I was taking a stick of butter and rubbing it all over my kid, and I’m pretty sure it stained his outfit.
So what right? That’s the price I’m willing to pay to have less chemicals and more goodness, with a side of confidence in a good quality product….right?
No.
Because it didn’t work.
Or maybe it just didn’t work against the caliber of those Wisconsin mosquitoes, because they still went after him. We ended up using OFF!; which worked great.
And I’m sure I looked like the crazy California hippie trying to go chemical free, and fix something that wasn’t broken. Basically, I was disappointed. I had hoped for more with this one.
Their sunscreen however, was amazing. Because let’s face it, no matter where you are in the summer time you need to protect yourself and your babies from too much sun.

(Please note the image above is a an affiliate link, this means that if you click on it or use the link to purchase the item some money does find it’s way back to me.)

Do you guys remember, shortly before July a bunch of parent’s were coming forward with pictures of their infants who had suffered burns from their sunblocks and or bug sprays? That’s what set me off on this search. I had a little mommy melt down. Because I’m freaking super mom, with a cape and sword, supposedly protecting my children, yet just a few months ago I was rubbing the same brand sunblock on my kid that these other poor babies had suffered from. I beat myself up over it.
It’s really hard in such a consumer driven world to always make sure you are getting the best of the best. Especially because sometimes you are mislead about the quality of a product. I’m not perfect, but I try even harder now to eliminate excess chemicals and other stuff from my children. I wish we lived in a world where that wasn’t necessary.
According to the bottle this sunblock is made with seed oils and is free of all the crazy stuff, fragrance free and etc.
And it was great. My husband and I also used this and none of us got burnt. Except for when he went fishing with my dad and decided he was going to skip the sunblock. Seriously, husbands.  It absorbed and didn’t leave any oily residue, which is important to me, because as an especially pale child I always hated how oily and gross sunblock left me. But I had to have it put all over or risk being miserably burnt after 10 minutes.  And while no one loves being lathered with sunblock, Smushsmush tolerated it, the fact that it absorbed quickly helped. It didn’t have a weird smell, and it performed by preventing sunburn.
What a contrast in products.
And on that note, I hope this helps. The reason why I choose to ever review anything on this blog is to be helpful. I do reviews, because sometimes I feel really tired of going to read what someone has to say only to find out that they are selling the product or brand. And when I search for real people, real moms with real opinions I can’t find many. I just want a real perspective. And while I do have the affiliate links, I chose amazon so I could review whatever products I wanted as honestly as I could with no affiliation to the actual brands/companies.

Hungry mosquitoes and fun in the sun,
Paperdaffodils

20170809_130014

Letters to my son Vol. 2

christmas-tree

Twas the weekend before Christmas, and silence all through the house. Both the boys are sleeping..and even the cat’s are leaving me the heck alone.

Which is the perfect time for a blog post, right?

I hope the holiday’s are finding you well, and that you are soaking in all the holiday joy. I on the other hand, can’t believe Christmas is next weekend. It has come by so quickly. Everything I wanted to get done this year, is for sure not happening. Like making tamales, maybe next year. I kind of thought that was going to be an ambitious goal.
So while the two boys are sleeping I figured what better time to work on my second installment of letters to my son. This one takes a lot of time and thought, so I really needed to have some semblance of peace around me while I work on it. Which is why there’s only 2 so far because it so rarely happens.

So volume 2, is going to be all about me…but…not really? It’s going to address all the things I have learned so far from being this little boy’s mama. And I know for sure I am not done learning.

first-night

Dear little smushsmush,
When I first found out I was pregnant with you the emotion I had was disbelief. I wish so badly that I could tell you it was euphoria and Joy. But it wasn’t. I felt like someone was playing a joke on me, and not because I didn’t want you, oh boy did I want you. It was because I felt like I had tried and hoped and dreamed for so long that I couldn’t even believe it was possible that now you were here. Eventually after 15 pregnancy tests and the first ultrasound that disbelief wore off and it was replaced with joy…and worry…
And that leads me to my first and one of the most important things you have taught me.
You’ve taught me to love myself in a way that no one and nothing has ever taught me.
Growing up I have always struggled with my weight and pretty much every aspect of my looks. I got made fun of for my red hair and freckles and my weight. I got fun of for being too pale, and even still I get told that I should go get a tan. I already know, that it is going to break my heart the first day that you come home upset or crying because someone was mean. My sweet boy, know that high school and all the other years are not the best years of your life. Brush off what they say and only worry about being a good person at the end of the day.
I didn’t do that. Throughout my childhood, I really struggled to fit in, and to be ‘pretty’ enough. And so, it was no wonder that in my high school years I developed an unhealthy relationship with food. I developed an eating disorder. (Sorry mom, if you’re reading this, which I’m sure you are, because you have done nothing but support my ambitions in life). I felt horrible I didn’t even want to look in the mirror. And when I did look in the mirror all I could see was something repulsive.  Obviously, everything people said about me was right. Or so I thought.   And when you feel that disgusted by yourself, all the time, it’s a hard thing to handle. I remember that one of my high school goals, wasn’t to get good grades, it was to drop a ridiculous amount of weight in a short period of time so that I could walk across the stage, accept my diploma and show those assholes that were mean to me that I could be pretty.
It started small, and greatly progressed. Before I knew it I had fully developed an eating disorder…and I loved it. I loved the sense of control and I loved how much weight I was losing, I loved finally being ‘skinny’. But here’s the thing…It was never enough. I never felt good enough. And that’s what it comes down too. It didn’t matter how much weight I lost, I was never going to like myself until I really learned how to love myself. And that is not something I have really accomplished until having you. Don’t get me wrong. I still have my moments, especially because the eating disorder was also about having control and I greatly desired and enjoyed how much control I felt I had while doing that. But when I look in the mirror now, when I have down days, I take a step back. And I think about how truly wonderful my body is. No, I may not be at the size I want, but I grew this tiny perfect little life inside of me for nine months. My body shifted around, and pushed itself upwards to fit you, and grow you, and nourish you. My body…is badass. And I refuse to disrespect it in the manner I used to. I refuse to not recognize the pain, and hardship it went through during labor to birth you, and the energy and love and life it took to nourish and grow you. I am beautiful because of that. And feeling that way is an emotion that I have never experienced, that appreciation for my body has never been there…until you.
The second thing you have taught me is patience. Please know that I am not perfect, and I still and will always have my moments. But man, I am trying so hard to get better about this. My level of patience before having you was zero. So it goes without saying that it has gone up. When you first came along, I didn’t know what the heck I was doing (still don’t) and so there were moments that were very frustrating and I didn’t have the patience for that. But now I have started to recognize that sometimes when you are fussing and just want to be held, it’s a sign…that we both need to take a pause from everything that is going on and take a break. You have gotten  me to slow down, to pause and breath. This is something that I never understood or was capable of. I never realized how much I truly needed to learn how to do that, but I did. I am too uptight, expecting things to always go perfect and to always go my way. That’s not life. And That was a hard pill for me to swallow, one that I still struggle with and probably will for your entire life. I truly hope that when you look back on your childhood you will see and recognize how hard I tried to control and better this.
The third thing is the realization and acceptance that I do not have everything figured out and that I don’t have to have everything figured out.
When I turned 20 I freaked. I didn’t have a college degree, or a career, we were losing a house, and I was living with my boyfriend in a different state then my parents (your daddy was that boyfriend).
I felt like everything was spiraling out of control, because I had nothing figured out. I remember thinking I was never going to amount to anything, that I was already 20 and I had nothing figured out.
Here’s the thing kid.
I’m 27. And I still don’t have everything figured out.
But now, since having you, I’ve realized that that’s ok. My most important job is raising you to be a good person. I have more of a plan then I did when I was 20. But I also understand that shit happens and plans change, and I am more okay with that now.
Here’s the thing little man, you can plan out your entire life. Go buy a bulletin board, index cards and push pins and map it all out, take the tedious time and energy to put up your idealistic life plan. But you will only be setting yourself up for failure.
Because when life happens and you have to take off half of those index cards, stuck in your plan and your way you will be unable to recognize the bigger picture, the ultimate end goal…being happy.
Please don’t do this.
Don’t make the mistake I made in my early 20’s.
Have a plan but be flexible, be comfortable and willing to change those index cards, to rearrange them and have back up plans. Recognize that sometimes, those index cards you painstakingly wrote out, those ideas you put down, with love and hope…sometimes they need to be let go…and that’s totally okay.
The only constant is that we are constantly growing, and changing. We are never who we were yesterday. So how do you expect, that at 20 you will have how the rest of your life is going to go figured out?
These are just the three big things you have taught me so far. I am constantly learning from you still. I love learning from you, and watching you grow and learn. I never realized how much you would teach me. It may seem small, these three things, but they are monumental to the grand scheme of my life. You are the best thing I have ever done.
Sometimes, you may not like what I say. Sometimes, I may not want to say or tell you these things, but I will. Because I need you to know the truth. I will always be honest with you Edwin. I will always tell you the truth of things even if they are hard. Even if I want to protect you.
Someday when you read all of this, I hope you will understand, and love me for the way I was, for the good things, and for my faults and indiscretions. I hope you will learn from me and find happiness.
Love always,
Mama

 

 

Letters to my Son vol. 1

Hey guys, welcome back!
We had a short Hiatus there, mostly because of school work…but also because another reason I had started this blog was to do a series called Letter’s to my son. I was excited about it, and it was the major reason for starting the blog and doing this. But I found myself unable to write the first one. The words have been in my head but whenever I sat down and tried to write them they stuck, lodged in my brain like little pricker’s lodged in your foot.  I wanted this to be right. Not only right, but perfect. So, in a sense I was already failing. Because there is no part of writing or blogging that is perfect. Let’s be honest, there is no part of my life that is in any way close to being a semblance of put together or perfect.
So here I am. Kicking and screaming. And I’m going to write it, I’m going to get it. Or maybe I won’t, maybe it’ll end up being only half as good as I want it to be. But the point is, I’m going to do it.

 

14469518_10155382386197516_3482125856902667599_n

 

Letters to my son Vol. 1

Dear Edwin,

I don’t hope or dream that you will become the next president. I don’t hope you’ll follow the footsteps of Gandhi, or become a doctor or lawyer or rocket scientist.  While these are all admirable things, with the necessity of growing admirable and strong qualities it’s not something I am asking of you, it’s not something I am dreaming up for you.
I hope you are happy.
More than anything I hope you develop your own dreams, and pursue them with all the passion and perseverance of your entirety. You cannot live my life or the life I dream up for you.
Find something that lights up your soul, something that you are so excited to do that you are up before your alarm clock goes off, ready to accomplish it.
If that’s being an artist, or working a 9-5 job to support a growing family, or if you want to chain yourself to a tree in the rain forest to stop deforestation, I will be happy. That’s just to name a few, there are so many possibilities, don’t sell yourself short.
Be humble, never flaunt what you have, and make sure that what you have is through hard work and effort on your part.
Only look to others to see what they need and what you can give to them.
Don’t take, even if it’s someone you feel is undeserving or who won’t miss it.
I hope you feel and see and taste the world to the core of your being. The colors and the noise and the life all around you is irreplaceable, valuable, important.
Always stand up for what you believe, this will not always be easy, you will find that your beliefs, your values will be subjugated to others beliefs and values. That’s ok.
Don’t worry on it, explain your values and beliefs, present all that you do with knowledge behind it, reasoning and then move on. Some people will see your side of it. Some wont. Some people will hate you for it, some wont. It is not your goal or job to impress everyone, or for everyone to like you.
Never resort to violence.
Be a role model, to all of those around you, hold yourself in a way that is not expected but that is always admired.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, especially animals. We are not here on this planet to be destructive or hurtful.
Understand and recognize, that you are not, cannot be and never will be perfect.
You are beautifully, wonderfully crazily flawed in every essence of the meaning. The beauty and tragedy of being human, is it takes time to gain perfection, to gain expertise on skills, and thoughts and traits. But time is not something we have.
Hold the door open for women, be respectful of women. Never forget where and how you came into this world; through a woman. That a woman held you, and loved you. A woman nursed, and soothed you.

All the while understanding that some women will come and go from your life in destructive whirl winds.
Know that someday someone will break your heart. They will break you down. They will make you feel unworthy.
I hope you follow your heart, I hope you understand your worthiness and don’t stand for those who do this to you. I hope you recognize what you will and will not tolerate, that you put your foot down. The right person will not need you to change who you are, they will never ask that from you.
I hope you live your life full of passion, a splattering tornado of emotions, colors. Chaotic and uncontrolled, unapologetic.
And on that note, I hope you find love, a love that ignites you and grounds you, but never one that extinguishes you.
Please learn the difference. A good love will ground and stabilize you, but ignite your heart and soul, like a lighting pole grounded with rubber, constantly being struck by lightning but never setting the world around it on fire.

If the love is threatening to burn you and your surroundings down, it’s not love.
Son, know that you are just one person. But if you are a good person you are one less person adding hurt, and hate to the world.

Always pursue knowledge over money.
Follow the things that will feed and nourish your soul, nothing less, nothing more.

These are the things I hope for you. These are the things I dream for you. They are tiny and huge, taking up no space but taking up all of it.
Perhaps it’d be easier if I just asked you to become a Doctor. To have a mansion in Beverly hills.
But I can’t, I won’t.
I expect so much more, I know you can be so much more.
You are me, and your dad, you are generations of flawed and wonderfully imperfect beings.
Filled with love, glittering and new.
And this is how we start, this is how we change the world. Through you. Through who you become.

Love,
Mama

If I were an empty container then I would be…..

There’s something you guys should know about me.
I am obsessed with turning garbage into something useful. Or I guess maybe not garbage, but more of things that you would just throw away and not think anything else of.
We could probably write a list of the things I am unhealthily obsessed with…like chocolate…Supernatural…Cat’s…office supplies (seriously you should see my desk drawers they have been re-purposed to contain office supplies and nothing more.)
But that list would take a lot more time then we all have, and Id like you guys to still like me at the end of the day.
I have given in to my obsession of giving purpose to lost and lonely throw a ways. I feel like I am the Andy of Toy Story in the world of garbage, me being Andy and the garbage being my adored toys…and when I reference that I am definitely not talking about Toy story 3. Sorry grown up Andy.
Anyways, my point is, my obsession has led to this blog’s first craft post! YAY!
Little man finished off his bottle the other night, and that bottle was made from the last scoop of formula that I had. And rather then throw away that container I set it to the side thinking there had to be  a use for it (I told you…it’s an obsession)
I’ve been growing lettuce from re-purposed kitchen scraps, something I found on Pinterest, of course and decided that lonely little formula container  would make a perfect planter.
So here’s the supplies you will need:
20161021_155836

Scissors
Mod Podge
Empty Formula container
Pictures/Photo books (I have like 20 thousand groove books so that’s what I used)
Roller thing (Yup)
Potting soil (Not pictured)
Plant(s) (also not pictured)
Brush to apply Mod Podge (I had a ghetto fabulous moment and attempted to use a butter knife…don’t do it…just don’t)

Before starting go ahead and un-click the formula lid from the container and set aside.

First you’re going to want to select photos that you’d like to use, we are just making a collage of them on the container. Keep that in mind while selecting the pictures though, you don’t want huge close ups or super zoomed out pictures. There is a balance here with the picture selection.
My tip is to plan out the pictures, the cutting of them and placement, you could even go as far as using tape to put the pictures on so you can thoroughly plan your layout then glue with the Mod Podge after. Try not to be like me and dive into the project, it doesn’t always end well.
My other tip is to try and not get any of the Mod Podge on your table…it’s kinda of annoying to try and wipe off especially once it’s semi dry.
20161021_162305
Go ahead and cover the front side of the container with Mod Podge and place your cut out photos on the surface, you are going to want to try and smooth them down as much as possible so the pictures don’t get lumpy. That’s actually what that roller thing is for..but I found it kinda useless for this project.
Just place the photos on kind of overlapping. The beauty of this kind of project is that it doesn’t have to be perfect in the slightest. Which makes it right up my alley. No one has time to line things up perfectly. I really just don’t have the patience, let’s be honest.
Let the front side dry then turn over and start the back side (as seen in above picture)
You are again going to apply the Mod Podge and place your photos on the container.
Then let dry.
This project isn’t really hard, it’s kind of just time consuming. Another tip would be to keep a damp cloth on hand, the Mod Podge dry’s on your fingers and the dried Mod Podge sticks to your photos when coming into contact with wet Mod Podge leaving behind ugly gluey fingerprints.
20161021_161818

Once both sides have dried, take your brush after dipping it into the Mod Podge and go over the photos to seal them. Since I used a sponge brush I found it was best to brush the Mod Podge on in one unified direction, so that the brush design that did show was uniform and looked like it belonged.
Now…don’t have a moment like me where I angrily brushed one coat, two coats, three coats, four coats wondering why the hell my pictures weren’t looking all nice and glossy and finished.

20161021_172145
AHEM
Ya….that definitely says MATTE
Basically…if you want a glossy finish don’t get the Matte one.
Next tip? Do not…I repeat do not try and pour the potting soil into the container before the glue has dried….just trust me on this okay?

After that drys you should have something that looks like this: vzm-img_20161021_171913

Now…I have a tendency of killing…I mean over watering my plants so I like them to have drainage holes in their containers and a bottom that catches the water. So I went ahead and took a hammer and nail to the bottom of my container to get a hole…don’t do that…it will just crack the bottom. Remember that whole diving right into things…?…ya.
It wasn’t too badly cracked and actually worked out for being a drainage hole..just wasn’t as pretty as I would have liked it to be.
The next goal found me with a hammer trying to crack the little clips off the formula lid..don’t worry my husband stepped in and saved my fingers…and the table…
He got a set of pliers and snapped them right off for me.
20161021_172149

Then the next step was just to fill it up with soil (while dry…I repeat…while dry) and plant my little lettuces.

20161021_172611

I loved my end result. I squealed…loudly. All the while realizing that I have unapologeticaly  become that mom who pastes pictures of her kid all over everything. But man, doesn’t it make my table look so much better.
Happy crafting!

 

To the pumpkin patch we go

In the Midwest, fall is a big deal. It’s like the prom of life, you don’t just show up to it and sit in a corner. You dance the night away, and have a couple sips of punch. There’s crunchy colored leaves and chilly nights. And in fact, some of the days have started to develop a chill to them that eat right through your clothes and remind you how heinous the winters are. When you do the pumpkin patch in the Midwest, you are on someones farm, you are viewing their hard work for the past months, their livelihood. It’s spectacular.
There are corn mazes, hay rides, apple cider. And when I say apple cider, I mean warm homemade apple cider that warms you to your core.With cinnamon sprinkled through it that makes your bones tingle.  People are wearing scarfs, boots and sweaters because they are cute but also because it’s necessary . And then there are all the pumpkins….and man…is there a lot. Green ones, orange ones, white ones, bumpy ones, smooth ones, large ones…I could go on and on.
So
when I think of a pumpkin patch, that’s  what I think of.
Don’t get me wrong, I am sure from the first part of this post you are thinking I am a California hater. I’m not. California is where I built a home with the love of my life. It’s where I started a family and am raising it. So California will always hold a spot in my heart…
But…let’s face it…California is currently like the child that never shows up to class.
It’s like someone gifting you a brand new diamond tennis bracelet then you find out a couple days later that all those shiny diamonds are fake.
I digress.
Saturday we went to the pumpkin patch, at least a version of one. There was a small area with pumpkins and the rest of the entire area was blow up jumpy’s for the kids. which, was lots of fun and really cool for all the kids. Little man was definitely too little for this, but it was still fun because I knew what was going on. They also had petting zoos.
Man….let me just tell you about my obsession with petting zoos.
If you ask me if I want to go somewhere, my first question will be “Is there french fries?”
And my second question will be “Is there a petting zoo?”
Extra bonus make believe brownies if there are both.
20161015_172856

So we took Edwin into the petting zoo, that was pretty much the first thing we did. My husband did not marry me with no knowledge of my obsession of petting zoos.  There was a goose that refused to tolerate any human contact (can’t say I blame it) A couple of goats, some chickens, and this sheep. We had more fun then little man, he was thrilled with sucking on his hand…but I think he was interested at the same time, he spent a lot of time staring at this sheep.

20161015_181623

And then….of course I had to get him with pumpkins. That was my whole ulterior motive to this outing 🙂

20161015_175216

My little lion man was pretty tired out by the end of this outing, but he was very good the whole time.

20161015_175233

All and all..it may not be the Wisconsin pumpkin patch my heart is yearning for…but if this little guy is with me…its all I really need.