A Breath of Fresh Air

September always feels like a new start.  It must be a reminiscent emotion from September being the start of a new school year.  Or maybe, it’s just a coincidence that this year September coincides with us being in a new home.  Either way, this week I’ve felt a breeze of change, and it’s been refreshing.

The temperatures have been milder, we are finally settling in to our new home, and we are getting so excited for our trip to Banff to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. {oh how time flies}

Since it has been months since I last wrote, here is a briefish recap of 2017 to this date:

In January, I started a new job. It has been an indescribably amazing change for me.  I feel so blessed that this change came at the time it did, because I think it has been such an important part of making this year a less stressful and happier one.  I’ve met so many interesting, smart, and fun new people.  I’ve been learning so much and being given more responsibilities and challenges daily.  It’s been so good!

Obviously, there was the low of the year, with the death of my Mom in January… It’s been a lot to process and maybe it gets easier each day, but I think more than anything I am just getting more used to the idea that she is really gone.  I’m not sure that anything is easier, but more that it is just becoming more normal.  I do my best to remember all the good, all her expressions, shared smiles, heart to hearts, lessons, and keep those happy memories in my heart for buoyancy.  All I can do to keep honoring her memory is to live my life with joy and adventure, the way she would have wanted, and in the way that would make her proud.

In February, we started building our new home, and in May we sold our first home, then moved into a rental for the summer.  It felt like a fairly long process, since I must admit that my patience is not the best, but our new home was finally finished in August, and we closed almost a month ago… then of course moved in immediately!  I think we closed at 3pm and had the truck loaded and back to the house by 8pm.  We couldn’t contain ourselves, and we couldn’t waste any time!  It felt like our lives were on hold all throughout the summer, just waiting to unpack and be settled again.  The feeling of spending our first night in our new home was equal parts relief and absolute excitement.

Paul started a new job in April, just down the street from me, which means we are able to commute together and do lunch together or meet up for coffee.  It has been not only convenient, but so much fun to be able to spend our commute together.  I get an extra hour with him that we never had before. As for his job, he LOVES it!  It has been everything he was looking for and more!  He worked so hard over the last couple years getting his Masters degree, finishing his thesis, and then job hunting… and I am happy to report that all his hard work paid off! I’m so proud of him!

My first Mother’s Day without my Mom was spent at the beach with my cousin and her family.  It was an extended weekend of beautiful beach views and new cherished memories.

This year I celebrated my milestone birthday in Magic Kingdom and Harry Potter World.  It was one of the best weekends of my life – primarily the Harry Potter part… I mean, I now own a wand. {enough said}

July brought me to my annual family reunion in Rhode Island. I think it might have been one of my favorite years so far.  There is nothing like being surrounded by the love of a big family.  I am so glad to have been able to make it this year and my heart was filled by each moment with all the special people I grew up with and was raised by.

RI_2017-0337

…2017 is not yet over, and there is still a good amount of adventure and fun to be had!  Looking forward to writing my own ending to 2017!

Finding Peace at the Beach

2017 has been a year of change like no other.  It started on a high note when I started my new job on January 3rd, and took an unexpected nose dive with the passing of my Mom, on January 12th.

Since then, every day has been an effort to stay in the moment and keep moving forward.  One day at a time.  One task at a time.  One goal at a time.  It’s been a bit overwhelming at times, but I’ve found that each day brings new opportunities for healing and happiness.  Each day I can remember something about my Mom: a memory, a lesson, a mannerism, or habit.  Most times, I’m crying while I smile… because, although it hurts to think of the future without her, I am always smiling when I remember her.  I treasure each moment I get to spend with my Mom in my memories and I feel entirely blessed to have had the chance to know so many facets of her.

Since her passing, I have already faced her birthday, January 31st, and I knew Mother’s Day was also going to be difficult, but it’s amazing how I had never before noticed all the Mother’s Day advertisements on the radio, TV, internet, in cafes, and restaurants… it was such a slap in the face and that was just the weeks leading up to the weekend.

Mercifully, I found refuge at the beach.  My cousin and her family were taking a vacation to the Outer Banks, North Carolina, and it was the perfect place for me to spend my first Mother’s Day without my Mom. Surrounded with love and laughter, and a sweet little boy with the ability to take away all my sadness with one little smile. ♥

From The Archives: Thankful Thursdays | My Mom

As many of you know, my Mom just passed away on Friday.  At the moment, I am overwhelmed by all the thoughts and emotions involved in this process of grieving and making arrangements, but it doesn’t feel right to not have a post about her.

I can’t quite put everything into words at the moment, but in lieu of a new post, here is one I wrote in October of 2011.

I’m remembering you mama.  I love you always and you still inspire me.


You know when first asked that question, “who inspires you?,” I think there are very typical people who come to mind. We have all heard of the names Mother Teresa, Mohandas Gandhi, or conversely to Gandhi, Winston Churchill. The list goes on…

We recognize these names, because these people have immortalized themselves by making the life they lived so big that their good deeds, ideas, and acts were able to touch the lives of so many. The reach of their deeds now extends past the number of years they were on this earth and lives on in those they’ve inspired.

These house-hold inspirational figures like Mother Teresa, Mohandas Gandhi, and Winston Churchill do inspire me; each in their own way.

So, when asked this question, my mind immediately jumps to them, but then my mind jumps to another common inspiration, my Mom. I mean, I think there are a lot of people who are inspired by their Moms and family members. I don’t mean to diminish their Moms and families, or mine, by saying it is “common.”

What I do want to express though is how amazing my Mom is.

 

My Mom is a miracle. She doesn’t know it. She doesn’t realize how magical she is, and she doesn’t know that I KNOW all the ways that she is truly special. She doesn’t realize, because my mom is hard on herself. Much in the same way I am incredibly hard on myself.  I probably learned it from her. She doesn’t know her worth and she definitely doesn’t get told her value enough. To me, she is the most precious part of my world. Which is why I think it is important to express to her some of the ways she has inspired me.

First, let me state, that my Mom has not had an easy life. She lost both her parents at a difficult time in her life and this lead to more difficult times after their death.  It was a struggle for her and she lost herself for a while in grief and depression and other things… until she had me.  That is what she has told me at least.  She has told me that having me was a miracle for her.  I guess that makes us each other’s miracles.

 

She has been criticized for the ways she has raised me, it wasn’t conventional, but she gave me every ounce of herself and her love. And you may think, well of course she did, she is your mom, that is what moms do. But… my mom sacrificed herself in so many ways. I don’t think I could ever offer her a thank you that would fully encompass the gratitude I wish to give her.

My Mom taught me the value of the little things in life.

She taught me creativity.

She taught me the value of an animal and it’s love.

She taught me the importance of learning to cook. (This she did not teach by showing me how to cook, but actually by showing me how bad cooking could be… it worked in reverse).

She taught me to believe in mysteries and to never rule out the “impossible.”

She taught me to always question, and that if you are old enough to ask a question you are old enough to know the answer.

She taught me selflessness.

She taught me courage.
She taught me strength.
She taught me to always follow my heart.
She taught me to say I love you, and mean it.
She taught me all the lessons she learned in her tough life so that I wouldn’t need to learn them the hard way.
She taught me to hold my head high, smile, and keep going when things are tough.
She taught me the importance of exercise and a healthy diet.
She taught me to get back up after you fall, every time.
She taught me that hard work pays off.
She taught me the power of a women.
She taught me so many things and she gave me even more; probably more than I know.

My Mom walked me to school every single day when I was in Elementary school.  It was probably a 15 to 20 minute walk.  We did that every morning and every afternoon.  On those walks she became my best friend.  We talked about my day, my teachers, my friends, my crushes, my girl drama, my fears, and she kept all my secrets.

My Mom was a safety vault of all of my most precious moments, ideas, and secrets; she still is.  

Some people joke about or even cringe at the thought of becoming their Mother; I can only hope that I become a fraction of the person she is.

I have no idea where I would be without her.  Without all of her lessons or without all of her love.
She may not be a house-hold name, but she is the most precious part of my world.  



Wander {Wednesday} Girl’s Getaway in Savannah

A couple weeks ago, a few girlfriends and I met up for a weekend of girl time! 

 

Destination:  Savannah, GA

Time of the Year:  Autumn {October}

Where to Stay:

Find a nice AirBnB or vacation rental in the historic district.  You’ll feel like a local and probably end up saving money too!

Eat & Drink

Fancy Dinner:  The Olde Pink House – Get dressed up and enjoy dinner at this charming restaurant.  Service is excellent, the cocktails are pretty and tasty, and there is a fun and cozy first level tavern with live music below the restaurant.

Vegetarian / Vegan Friendly Dinner:  Kayak Cafe – Nice place to take a break from a day full of indulgences.

Brunch:  Collins Quarter – Make sure to try a fun coffee, like the Vanilla Lavender pictured below, or one of the boozy options.  The Bloody Mary’s looked amazing and the sip I sneaked from my friend’s confirmed they are as good as they looked.  Make sure you are not short on time.  While the food was great, the service was slow.  So, sit back and relax.

 

Sweets: River Street Sweets – Sample the freshly made pralines and warm saltwater taffy.  There is also popcorn, fudge, and an sprawling assortment of other tempting sweets.

Things to Do

Strolling with an Adult Beverage:  Savannah permits open containers, so take advantage and enjoy your drink of choice while exploring the historic district.

Halloween Haunt House: Alee Shriners’ Terror Plantation – Two our of four of us were in for some Halloween scares, but that wasn’t enough of a majority to commit us to this adventure.  I read some great reviews, and I’m sure if we had made it, we would have been well scared.

Ghost Tour of Savannah: Ghost City Tours – A must do!  When in historic Savannah, do a tour!  It’s a fun way to get your bearings on the historic district.

Best Photo Ops

Forsyth Park Fountains:

Forest Gump Bench:  We never did find it, but that was mainly from lack of motivation.  We were having too much fun just strolling.  It’s actually in Chippewa Square, and I’m not sure we ended up wandering through that square.

Autumn Decor at River Street Sweets:

savannahwm-1903

 

{DIY} Indoor Moss Garden

If you really know me, then you know that the very little things in life are the very biggest things to me.  Moss is one of those little things that makes me the inner child within me sing with happiness.  It’s so simple and almost laughable how happy it makes me.  I honestly don’t even know how to describe it.  It’s just moss, right?!

But, to me, it’s this soft, plush, delicate little magical carpet that in the right places blankets the forrest or gives the grass of the higher latitudes that spongey quality that makes it seem so much more alive and cozy.

Whispering Whims | DIY Moss Garden

Maybe it’s the fact that in the piedmont area of NC, the brutal heat of Summer makes it impossible for shadeless yards to grow grass, let alone moss.  Or maybe it’s that I’m craving the squishy, gentle, softness, of Sweden, Ireland, or Scotland…

Whatever it is, this weekend I just had the urge to bring a bit of it inside to admire and smile about. Thus began one of the simplest, quickest, and most satisfying of projects… and indoor moss garden.

I had everything on hand aside from the moss.  This project was perfect for one of the low glass vases I had left over from an old piece of wedding decor I’d been holding onto.  I used some left over pebbles I’d picked up from Michael’s a long time ago as a base layer in the vase.

Whispering Whims | DIY Moss Garden

A couple scoops of potting soil and a mist of water to dampen the soil.

Whispering Whims | DIY Moss Garden

Next, I put in the two baggies of gathered moss.

Whispering Whims | DIY Moss Garden

For some extra interest, I added some pretty quartz stones.  We had found these pretty white rocks throughout our backyard a few years ago when we tilled the whole thing in an effort to grow some grass.  They were the perfect addition.

Whispering Whims | DIY Moss Garden

All the moss was collected from some woods beside our community.  After the recent rain, I found at least 4 different kinds of moss. I am so pleased with the variety and love the outcome. My own personal forest floor.  My own patch of fairy magic. ♥

Tip: Make sure to keep your moss garden moist.  Give it a nice mist once or twice a week and a couple hours of indirect sunlight.

Whispering Whims | DIY Moss Garden