Shadow Boxes For The Win

As a mom, I’m always trying to find ways to commemorate the moment’s in my children’s life. The first time they walk, the first time they laugh, the first tooth they get. All of these moments are monumental and special for each kid. But, there are also many moments in between as well. I find myself trying to find the best way to compile these in between moments with the more in your face moments without creating something that is cluttered and chaotic.
In our day of Pinterest it’s easy to get caught up in the ideal of perfection. The perfect photos, the perfect crafts, the perfectly dressed children and the perfect Instagram photos. My biggest advice is to just craft, put your heart into it. Love what you are doing and don’t worry about the picture perfect pot of gold at the end of the rainbow ideal.
At the end of the day, you will want these memories, and so will your children.
There is nothing better then your kids seeing something you made, regardless of perfection, to commemorate them and your love for them. Growing up I remember looking at my baby book and photo albums and loving the special moments that were captured. And I don’t mean my first anything, I mean, my dad brushing my hair and my mom snapping a picture of it in the moment. My sister and I under the Christmas tree, hair a mess and in the midst of present chaos. The moments that no one thinks they are going to look back on and miss.
So, I went forth to create a Shadow box to commemorate the birth of my second son. And while I plan on making Smush a shadow box as well, chunk  monster just happened to come first. The idea really started back in august when visiting my parent’s in Wisconsin. I was pregnant still and had just started cross stitching full force and had asked  my husband to pick up something, anything for me to stitch. So he came back with a birth sampler. And the idea was born. The birth sampler he selected wasn’t necessarily one I would have picked on my own, but it was special because he had picked it. And I really didn’t want it collecting dust somewhere when I finished it, I wanted it to be displayed. So I found a shadow box and put it all together. I’m going to show you a few methods that you could use for creating a shadow box for your little one.


First your going to need a shadow box, and possibly pictures, some form of adhesive…I recommend a strong glue or pins depending on the level of permanence that you are looking to achieve. The clingy cat to oversee your project is totally optional.


Above are two shadow box options that would probably work great. My first tip is that if you are wanting to include baby’s first outfit or the likes to go for a bigger shadow box size then I did, which is why I included the shadow box that’s 12X15. I was disappointed because I couldn’t fit little chunks outfit in the shadow box with everything else I wanted.


One idea for you would be a minimalistic approach:


I made sure to get a picture of chunk in his first/take home outfit. and I really loved the way that this approach looked. It was so special and so simple. I just pinned the outfit down on the inside of the box, then pinned the photo up in the corner. Voila! Done!
(I apparently have issues with commitment with this project because I pinned everything instead of using a permanent adhesive)

Option 2: First week photos


Maybe you never put the baby in the take home outfit, or when you got to the hospital you didn’t love the take home outfit (this happened with smush, I also was ridiculous and thought I wasn’t allowed to change him out of the hospital onesie).
Or maybe you love the pictures from the first week so much that you want to showcase them. This would be perfect for that. Its amazing how easy this one is, and again how special it felt. Those first couple weeks with the new baby are so precious, and so amazing to look back on. Again, all I did was place the photos in and pin them down. Done.

Option 3: Photos with special quote/birth record


I REALLY loved this idea, and if I hadn’t already done a birth sampler I would have gone this route. The paper is placed in the middle to show you a general layout idea, but what would be in it’s place is a beautiful calligraphy piece, with a quote or the baby’s name with birth date and weight.
What sweeter way to celebrate your baby then by placing a meaningful quote in the middle. I think words are so powerful, and to pick something that you would hope your baby would live by, or be inspired by would be so sweet and touching.
The picture below is work by oliveandevergreenink

If this idea is what you love, I’d suggest checking out her work, she does some beautiful items.

(This image is acquired and used with the consent of the creator. This image should not be copied, shared or used without additional consent from the original creator.)

And finally you can go with the approach I went with



Like I said, I had this idea in mind for a while. So when I took my first few pictures I also installed the baby pics app so that i could create the picture in the bottom corner, with chunk in his special outfit and also with all his birth info. The middle is that birth sampler, and I selected 2 pictures from the first week with one additional photo. I picked that photo because I love his little smile. I also included the picture of him in the hospital swaddled in the blanket even though the lighting isn’t great because I had a blanket from the hospital (Sorry hospital) to cut and place some of the fabric in the background. I had wanted the outfit in there as well, but didn’t have the room, and now am glad I didn’t because I think it might have been over kill. And again, it was simple, I placed everything and pinned it.

I hope this was helpful in giving inspiration, maybe just that little kick you need to preserve some special memories. Even if it’s not for a baby. There are other special moments in life too.
I don’t know about you, but I want a house filled with decorations consisting of this stuff.
A house full of love.

Pins and Photos,


Conversations after dark Part one

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Just a note, this content is in no shape or form pg, and isn’t suitable for children and those under 18. If you are family and don’t want to read some oversharing please click over to another blog post and enjoy that content 🙂
This post is brought to you by countless sleep deprived nights and perpetual exhaustion topped with a sarcasm cherry.

J: If you don’t want to be sleeping with the fishes tonight, I suggest you shake your blanket out.
A: What? *confused look*
J: Edwin was eating goldfish while sitting on your blanket, and by eat, I mean, he meticulously placed goldfish in your blanket *Picks up blanket and shakes it, goldfish crackers scatter everywhere*

A: Do you want to get Del Taco?
J: Sure
A: I mean, it’s that or the kid eats’ his fingernails.
J: Sooo….fiesta pack?
A: Absolutely

J: Do you want to have sex?
A: I have breast milk and baby spit up on me, and I’ve yet to brush my hair in 3 days.
J:…….so….is that  a no?

A: I feel like we are raising an evil genius
J: ….aren’t we still coming out ahead of the game if that’s the case?

J: The kids are winning tonight.

A: Sometimes I really get why some animals eat their young
J: Are you trying to say you want to eat babies?
A: I really didn’t see the conversation going that way.


(Doodlebug is running through the house shrieking at the top of his lungs)
J: Our child is a Viking
A: What?
J: Don’t you hear his warrior cry?

Why being a Mom is one of the loneliest things to be


They always tell you that when you have a baby of your own, you’ll finally fully get what it feels like, that sheer amount of love and devotion that erupts through your body and capsizes you with every living breath you take. Every waking and often times every sleeping moment is devoted to your children. Every single molecule that makes you who you are have now turned their existence into making your children happy and healthy.
We can talk about theories of evolution, of why we put our kids first, we can talk about the psychology behind this, we can talk pure human nature behind this. But one thing is for sure. You will never know how much you need your mom, until you are a mom.
There are so many sleepless nights, so many days spent feeling like a zombie, going through the actions and getting through the days. You no longer get to be the fun one, the carefree one, the one who has no responsibilities. Because there is a tiny human depending on you to be at 100 percent. Every moment of every day is spent worrying, it’s spent fear filled. Am I doing enough? Am I being enough? Are they going to be safe with this person, or that person? Can I protect them from this or that? Are they developing properly? What if kids pick on them? What if no one shows up for their birthday? What if the two brothers hate each other, and are cruel to each other? Did they eat enough? I could have been more patient. I could have said that differently. I shouldn’t have let him see me this upset.
It goes on and on, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
And the only person who completely understands how you are feeling and what you are going through is your mom.
By creating this life and birthing this life, you have created this singular strand, this connection, that I’m sure women have felt for generations, to your mom. She has walked in your shoes once before, although circumstances are always different for everyone, she has felt what you are feeling, and cried the tears you are crying. Her heart has broken from the way the world has treated you. You have broken her heart intentionally and unintentionally.
And sometimes it sincerely makes being a mom feel like the loneliest thing to be in this entire world.  Because although your husband or family member’s could be the most supportive and best people in the entire world, your mom is this version and connection of you that nothing and no one can replace. One person to understand what you are going through to the full magnitude doesn’t seem like enough sometimes.
You grow this tiny human inside of you. For 9 precious months you get to keep them from the world, protect them in a way that no one else could ever dream of. And then, you have to give birth to them, you have to hold them out to the cruelties of the world and still try your best to protect them, knowing full heartedly that there’s no possible way to do so.
It is the most humbling, terrifying, satisfying. and frustrating thing that I have ever experienced.
Being a mom means being judged constantly, by other moms, by non moms by strangers, by friends, by enemies. It means, having to find confidence in the actions and choices you make for yourself and your children each and everyday, and not having to explain yourself and having to explain yourself all at the same time.
Being a mom means trying to explain all of this, and still feeling the entire time like you haven’t fully captured the feelings.
But your mom, doesn’t even need an explanation, doesn’t need you to tell her. Shes already been here.
And that’s so completely harrowing.

Peace and love,

A loss of direction

I took a hiatus. If we can call such a long term lack of blogging a hiatus. So this is simply going to be an update, then after this it’ll hopefully be a constant stream of bloggy wonderfulness.
I spent a lot of time on this break, trying to decide what the purpose of this blog was. Was it to chronicle my parenting? Was it to explore gardening? Was it to become more green and eco-friendly? Was it to showcase my crafts?
I didn’t know.
I still don’t know.
So it halted, any thought’s I had of writing. Until just recently I decided that it didn’t really matter to me any more, of what label I placed on it. I’m just going to go with it. And maybe on it’s own it’ll lead me to where I need to go.
There’s a couple other reasons the blogging came to a halt. The big one is school.
When you are spending 6 plus hours a day trying to do homework and not bang your head repeatedly against the wall all while wrangling a toddler it doesn’t leave much passion to sit down and write.
This is math for me folks. I lovingly refer to it as torment and hell though. It just doesn’t work with how my brain works. Although my husband joyfully likes to remind me that math is in knitting and cross stitching and cooking. I choose to ignore him, he’s one of those weird math loving types. It’s best to look away and not make eye contact.
The other has been my emotions. You see, I’ve never wanted to turn this blog into a place to pour out negativity. And that’s all I’ve seemed to have in the past months. Blame it on the hormones. Blame it on going into a 2nd pregnancy so quick after the first. Blame it on my personality. I don’t know. But I’m trying to figure it out guys. It just didn’t seem like a journey I needed to take you guys on. I’ll try to explain it somewhat quickly, and maybe touch on it some more later.
Have you ever felt like your mind is a literal train wreck?
And I’m not talking about the train wreck part where everyone stops to stare in complete unabashed horror as the train crashes and implodes taking along with it anything and everything in it’s path. I’m not even talking about the part where people are standing together to help with the wreckage, and everything else that comes along with it. I’m talking about the part where everyone has gone home, a few weeks have gone by. The earth has continued to spin on it’s axis and people have forgotten or tucked away the occurrence that was the train wreck. And the only people left standing there are the one’s who have the most to lose, like the owner of the train company. And there they are standing there, trying to figure out what the hell to do. Not even what the hell to do, but how the hell they are going to clear away the rubble and rebuild what was once there and now isn’t.
That’s me and my mind. We will just leave it at that.
So, on to the update.

It ticks by. Sometimes I can’t keep up with the day’s and others the days drag on. Sometimes I feel caught up and sometimes I’m drowning. That’s just the tune of the song, to go with the beat of the drums. I guess that’s vague. But it’s been pretty steady and boring over here. With the 2nd boy on the way I’m trying my best to enjoy whatever moments of peace I can.

Gardening: I somehow murdered my lavender plant. One day of being in too much direct sun will completely kill your Lavender plant, if anyone is curious. There’s no saving the poor thing, it’s brown and crispy. When you live somewhere that feels as hot as being next to the devil’s scrotum I guess you should never doubt the suns capabilities to kill resilient plants. I have gone through 3 cucumber plants, because I can’t seem to keep those even somewhat alive but am determined to keep trying. I also have gone through a basil plant. Not sure what, but something kept casting webs all over my plant, which seemed to kill it. I have no idea what because I tried everything to get this thing off of the plant and it just kept coming back. My bell pepper is clinging on for dear life, praying to whatever god it knows that I don’t manage to kill it too. Jalapeno is dead. Rosemary is doing alright, considering that it was close to the grave this is an amazing feat. I’ve gotten about 5 tomatoes off of my tomato plant, but that thing never really bushed up and produced well. And pretty much the rest is dead. So. we are chalking this years gardening up as a loss. And, at this very frustrating point I am unsure that I’ll be gardening next year. I think most plant’s would be glad about that since all I seem to do is kill them.

Crafts: This part may get boring, if you aren’t already bored, so I definitely don’t blame you if you dip out. Hopefully future posts will be less like ripping off a hang nail and more like eating a spoonful of peanut butter with chocolate chips. That might just be me and my pregnancy cravings though on that second one.
I’ve started a blanket for the 2nd boy. And cross stitching has been my addiction.


The pattern’s from Ravelry. Its a basic two line pattern but looks super nice. I can’t remember who it was by or where I got it from specifically or I’d include the link because I just wrote the pattern down , that’s how simple it is. It’s working up quick. Let’s just hope it’ll be done by October though.


This is a Santa clause cross stitch that I started and progress is pretty slow on it. But at least I got Ariel keeping me company.


This one is going to be a gift, that’s got tucked to the back burner because if I have to stitch any more black I’m going to scream.

This one’s basically done I just need to finish up the back-stitching which is basically the outline and detail of the piece so it’s pretty critical. I’m thinking about not doing a so typical finish with this one for a Christmas  decoration. It’s my goal with cross stitching to think outside of the box with finishes so it’s not just the typical framing the piece and hanging it on the wall, although you’ll see some of that too.


This was a start to just get rid of the cross stitching blues caused by the shoes that are an endless sea of black. And of course the starting stitches are white. Needless to say this one got tucked away pretty quick. And that’s also why you can’t see much to it.


This one is one Jason picked out for me in Wisconsin, its a birth announcement and it’ll be for baby 2. I have my heart set on a dinosaur themed one for doodlebug. (Big shocker there). It’s working up pretty quick, this is probably a weeks worth of work, on and off and not dedicatedly stitching.

Needless to say I’ve fallen into the hole of starting too many projects. So here’s to hoping I finish some, which doesn’t seem to be a personality trait of mine.


Unfinished projects and chocolate chips,




5 things that don’t make you a bad mom

Ive thought about this post for a little bit. Ive started it then deleted it then started it again. I have struggled. In more then one way to put this all into words. Words and analogies usually  come easy to me, but this has been a hard  post.
Sometimes, the hardest things to say,  the hardest things to write are the most important. They are the things chewing away at you, pushing down threatening to crush and mold your soul into something else. Something that you have fought so hard for it not to be. The hardest things to stomach, that sits  in you like a lump, overriding all senses. Those are what need to be shared. When I started this blog…many times over, four years ago, three years ago and again now, I promised myself the one thing I would do was say what needed to be said no matter how hard or daunting. So I’ve been writing this post. On and off. Back and forth. And here it is. I cannot promise to be perfect, I can’t promise to post a lot. But you will never come to this blog and wonder if what I post is truth. You will never wonder if its lacking emotions. I am not writing this blog only for people to follow it. This is not a popularity contest. Not for me. This is real. It’s raw, because it’s my hope that maybe someone will gain perspective through what I have to say. It’s my hope that maybe we all feel a little less alone in what we are doing. So here we go. Get ready.
Being a mom is hard, it is the most rewarding yet thankless job. There are so many times I sit there and wonder what the hell I am doing. There are plenty of moments I feel like a bad mom. And that led me to number one.
1. Feeling resentful:
Feeling resentful does not make you a bad mom. It makes you human. There is so much change involved with having a baby. No matter how prepared you are, it will eventually come around and smack you. It ranges from not being able to sleep when you want, or make it through a TV show or book without a crying baby. It could be just not being able to sit for 20 minutes and breathe with no noise. I love my son. But sometimes I feel resentful. Sometimes I feel resentful that I can’t do what I used to do, or be who I used to be. Sometimes I feel resentful towards my husband because I feel like he has sacrificed nothing in comparison to me. When in truth he has in his own ways. It’s hard to see that sometimes. When I asked if I could take a step back from work to be with our son, take a pay cut and also focus on school without hesitation he said yes. Without hesitation he has shouldered the financial burden, without complaint he has worked 40+ hour weeks. How has that not been a sacrifice? I am sure he would love to be home more with our son. My point is, try to see the perspective of others and don’t give yourself a guilt trip for feeling what you feel. Work through those emotions don’t just bury them. And know that its okay. This does not make you less of a mom.
2. Taking a step back:
Sometimes you pile your plate like its Thanksgiving, you pile it so high with potatoes, turkey, gravy corn and some cranberries. Then you sit down and take two bites and a.) realize you got way too much food and b)realize your already full and cant finish anything else but the two bites you’ve had. Life is like that sometimes. You have to start picking and choosing and scraping off the shit that doesn’t matter as much, even if it’s temporary. Even if you have to stick it in a container in the back of your fridge to eat tomorrow. Maybe you’ll never eat it but you cant bring yourself to throw it away. That’s okay. sometimes you have to take a step back. You have to realize whats important. And only you can do that for yourself. This goes through a range of things from work to nursing to expectations, I seriously could go on. I’m the kind of person who thinks I can conquer the world before dinner time. I’m tieing on my mask and cape to kick bad guys to the curb, then life comes in and puts me back in check. You can’t do everything, thats ok.

3. Peoples Opinions:
This one is a big deal to me. I didn’t think it was, but it is. I have never cared what people think of me, I’ve never been one to try and fit in. I haven’t been one to be impacted by the things people say to me or about me. So I was surprised when I discovered this was now something that applied to me. The other day someone told me “Your just a (insert job position) now, huh?”
This hit me. It hit me like that school bus at the end of Mean Girls.
I had no witty come back, I had no clever thing to say. My response was “I guess so.”
And I went back to what I was doing. But I mulled over that. I chewed on it, back and forth, around and around in my mouth like a piece of bubblegum. I spit it out and popped it back in and chewed on it some more. For a few days. Until I realized, it made me angry. It made me more then angry. It was  like a kaleidoscope of different level’s of anger. But it didn’t make me angry because I am just whatever job title. It made me angry because there was someone yet again judging a choice that I had made for my child’s benefit. There was someone yet again, giving their opinion towards the life I was building, the choices I make every day to try and raise a tiny person. It made me angry because it was callous.
I am just a worker at chain of places.
I hung up my cape and mask. I took a step back. I work part time but I am a mom full time, my days don’t end when I clock out. I go all day, every single day, Monday through Sunday.
I realized I was angry because I was sick of hearing people say that the women who decide to work full time aren’t a good mom, and that I was tired of hearing the ridicule of a mom who doesn’t work or who is somewhere in between. Because we are faulted for trying to do it “all” and faulted when we aren’t doing it “all”
We are all doing the very best that we can. I made the decisions I’ve made for the best interest of my child. So when someone try’s to make you feel bad with their opinions remind yourself of that. Remind yourself that you are the best person to decide what is right for your family and child and don’t let them get to you.
4. You let the baby cry it out/you didn’t let the baby cry it out:
Multiple people have told me to not hold him too much, that it’ll spoil him. I am a firm believer that you cannot spoil a baby, that no child will ever complain to their therapist that their mom loved them too much. I’ve also been ridiculed by people for not letting him cry it out and for picking him up right away. Let me just say that I have had moment’s were I was frustrated and was desperate for anything to work to get him to sleep without being held and I let him cry. And we both cried, for 15 minutes. It doesn’t work for me and it doesn’t work for my kid. We both cry, we both get hot and sweaty, and red and blotchy. The kid gets weazy. And he doesn’t stop crying, not until I pick him up and love on him.
I will not let him cry. It doesn’t work for us. But that doesn’t meant the mom’s who do let their babies cry are bad. It doesn’t make them less. Again, it is up to you to decide what is right for you and your baby.

5. You put yourself first sometimes:
Why moms try to do everything without giving themselves a break is beyond me. And honestly I say that but I am guilty of it. We give so much, day in and day out. It’s okay to go take a bath for an hour. It’s okay to take an hour to just exist. To browse pinterest, to read a book or watch a TV show. Its okay to say I need a moment for me. How are you supposed to take care of your baby to the best of your ability if you aren’t even taking care of yourself?

So there it is. It’s unapologetic and probably chaotic, a mixture of self judgement and self understanding.
My house is chaotic and 90% of the time you stop by it will be a mess. The kid may have just peed himself and you will find me wiping him up with a baby wipe and throwing a different outfit on him.
Dinner will probably be late but there will always be plenty to go around.
And hey, my kid is over there laughing with his daddy.
So the biggest favor I’m going to do for myself as a mom, is going to be to cut myself some slack.
Peace out