Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Widow Wednesday- Preparedness

I have seen a lot of talk about preparedness the past week after the crazy weather the US has experienced, particularly Texas. What exactly does this mean though? Especially in a loss sense. 

Can you ever really be prepared? 

In the case of losing my spouse I don't think I could have ever have been prepared. I have watched friends lose spouses suddenly and know that they are even less prepared. You never think to yourself that you will lose your spouse, especially at 30. 

The argument is you have time when the person is ill to prepare, but by preparing are you giving up hope? That is how my spouse thought of it. In the end a lot was not taken care of because he felt it was giving up to do the necessary things. I was left without knowledge of where a lot of things were. I never paid a bill while he was alive, accessed any accounts, even something as simple as put gas in my car. 

Emotionally, you know you will have to live without that person but you still don't know what that will be like until they are gone and you now don't have that person to lean on anymore. 

Would I do things differently now and be more prepared? I think so. A lot was made harder by not being prepared. Sometimes the hard conversations that you don't want to have need to be had and stuff that is put off needs to be taken care of. 

Waiting until it is too late or things do happen is not the time to wish you had prepared.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

New Year

I haven't blogged much in the past year and I miss it. I started this as a way to share many things and even though I felt I had more time this past year, I had less. I was able to accomplish so much in my house over this past year though and hope to be able to share some of it. 

I so often had ideas for posts in my mind and then never got around to actually typing them out. This year I hope to make blogging my thing again. When I started my blog I didn't necessarily "plan out" my posts like a lot of bloggers do. I didn't keep a calendar so I wasn't constantly sharing the same stuff on my posts. For some strange reason I haven't wanted to go back and reread my posts either. Maybe I don't want to relive some of what I shared!? I am not sure but regardless I feel it is time so I don't keep sharing the same stuff. 

I also felt with covid some of what I was sharing might not be relevant or might be insensitive, ie sales and outfit posts. Even though it seemed people were buying online more than ever, I didn't feel it was the right thing to post. I know for some scrolling online is an escape and some bloggers used that as their reason to continue, I felt differently and chose to take a break. 

Even though half of this year was spent in lockdown I felt it flew by. This was the first time I can remember in a long time that I wasn't "running". No school, no sports, no photoshoots, no visiting relatives, we didn't leave the house. I spent a few weeks just reading and relaxing and it felt so good. After I was recharged I started on my projects. I did share my kitchen remodel on here in a blog post. 

I had two totally different experiences as far as at-home school and return to school was concerned with covid. I still have one daughter fully remote. I know I have shared a lot about my fight with their dyslexia on here. Maybe I will highlight this as an upcoming post. 

I have spent this year finally clearing things out. It only took 10 years, but I have finally started throwing things away and changing things. I have found I hoard things in case something happens or I need it one day. I have dresses that I kept because I had a photo of myself in it with Ray that I wouldn't get rid of. I have come to realize those things won't bring him back and the memory will still be there even if I get rid of the dress that I never wear. 

This year was hard because I lost my godmother, my aunt to cancer. She fought and battled for the last couple of years with it continuing to return in different ways. I didn't post anything on any social media about the loss but it was extremely difficult. My mom had asked if I wanted to see her when she was in hospice and I couldn't see her like that. Even while she was extremely sick and fighting cancer herself she sent the girls and I a card thinking of us on Ray's 10th anniversary. Not a holiday went by without her sending a card. She was the most thoughtful person and we spent our first Thanksgiving and Christmas without receiving those special cards from her and missing her. We couldn't even be together as a family as we normally would on the holidays. She will be greatly missed by me, she was always laughing, and had something to show me. 

The start of 2020 I thought might mean a better decade than the last. As I started 2010 with a husband dying of cancer. I also celebrated my 40th birthday this year. I wasn't expecting to be in the middle of a a pandemic and "stuck at home". 

I really hope in this new year I can continue to evolve and be more true to myself.  I hope to continue making our house more us. I hope that eventually we can venture out again and travel. I hope that my blog becomes a more regular spot for me to share again. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Stomach Cancer Awareness Month

 How is it already the end of November? I feel like time is flying. I started my blog as a way to bring awareness to stomach cancer and also talk about our journey. If you have read my blog in the past you know I usually give stats, warning signs, etc. when doing my stomach cancer awareness posts. This year I want to highlight some of the pages that have helped me/us over the years with information, bringing awareness, and also doing research. 

I remember when Ray was diagnosed I scoured the internet for any and all information and it just wasn't as readily available as it is now. I remember looking for and buying any and all books for information about cancer, caregiving, what to expect as a young patient, and further along in the journey and after he died as a widow. That type of information was so hard to find and come by. Now I seem to find so many willing to share their journey or others'. 

Some of the sites that I have found the most useful are:

www.nostomachforcancer.org (also have an Instagram and Facebook page)

Facebook:

CDH1 Mutation Gene

Instagram:

hope4stomachcancer

youngstomachcancerwarriors

stomachcancerawareness

There are plenty of others and by following these pages I have found a lot of others. 

It is great to have a community to talk with and also to share stories. I originally didn't want to be around or talk about cancer because it was too hard and painful. I didn't want to think about it. Now I feel like it is so helpful to spread the word and also to share what I know and learn from others. 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Quarantine Project--Kitchen Reveal

Before:

After:






 

Well, I wish I would have taken "before pictures" but this was a spur of the moment project that just keeping turning into doing more and more work. If you don't know me I am a very on the go person and can't just sit. Quarantine was killing me just sitting around. 

Back when I did the work on the laundry room I repainted the trim and doors in that area white so during quarantine I decided to continue the job and do the trim and doors in the kitchen. After the doors and trim were done I decided to do the ceiling. I have painted the kitchen multiple times over the years (always the same color Valspar London Coach) but the ceiling was never done. I decided to just go ahead and paint the ceiling and put a fresh coat of paint on the walls when I was done. 

Once that was all finished and everything was nice and white my floor looked even worse than it had looked. I regularly push my kitchen table across the linoleum floor for photoshoots and it was so scuffed and worn. I started looking at flooring options similar to what I put in my laundry room. I wanted something that I could do myself and that was affordable. I came across this TrafficMaster Carrara Marble Peel and Stick Tile from Home Depot and read every single review about it. It is a peel and stick floor that you can also grout. I decided to just go for it. I mean what was the worse that could happen!? I used the spacers and just kept moving along the floor. I also used the same trick as in my laundry room which was to use a paper cutter to cut the edges along the walls. It saved so much time and work. This flooring is thicker than what is in my laundry room and a different material. It seems durable and well made. Once the flooring was in I grouted using the grout the manufacture recommended in the comments on the product page. As someone that has never grouted I was very worried about messing it up. It actually came out really good! There are a few places that aren't perfect but unless you are laying on my floor looking at it I doubt anyone would notice. My Dad came and helped me put back on all my shoe moldings and that I lightly caulked around them all which gave it a nice finished look. 

Once the floor was in I changed all my window coverings to pure white since they were all off white like my moldings before I painted them. I also changed all the light fixtures, faucet, and door handles/hinges. I decided to put wallpaper on the one wall that is constantly getting banged into to hopefully camouflage all the marks always on it. 

My next project was a huge fail. If anything had to fail I am glad this one did because I would never have bought a new kitchen table (I was trying to do this as inexpensively as I could with the stimulus money). I tried to paint my kitchen table just to freshen it up. I had an all black kitchen table that I was planning to reuse with just new chairs and a new rug underneath it. The table just wasn't looking good. I kept sanding it and repainting and the finish was not smooth. Finally I decided to "shop" for a new table. Of course being during quarantine I couldn't go look for a table so I started looking for one online. I thought I would have to go with another black table since my cabinets are a different color and hard to match. I looked at every store online I could think of and then this table popped up from IKEA as an ad on my Facebook (thanks Facebook for looking at my searches). I measured it out and decided to go for it. I ordered it and it was delivered the next day by the local IKEA. It is the most perfect match for my kitchen and I LOVE it. I am so glad my table project failed because I think this made my kitchen. 

Once the table was in I was able to reuse all the stuff that was already hung in my kitchen or there (bar cart, vases on the wall, and wall art). I only added two new pieces on the walls. 

This job was a lot of work but every time I walk into the room I am so proud of myself for accomplishing it mainly on my own. I never thought I would lay and grout a floor on my own. 

Everything I can link is linked below:

Floor: TrafficMaster Carrera Peel and Stick Floor

Table: Skogsta




Friday, October 16, 2020

Dyslexia Awareness month




 

October is dyslexia awareness month and it is something that is important to me to discuss and share information about. As most of you know both the girls have been diagnosed with dyslexia and school has not come easy for either of them, or for me as their parent. It has been a non-stop struggle and fight to make sure they are receiving the appropriate accommodations and remediation. 

Learning what dyslexia is and how it affects a person is the first step to identifying if you or someone you love could potentially have it. Statistics show, 1 in 5 are said to have it, and most don't know or have received any type of help. It affects everyone differently so different accommodations and remediation are needed for each individual (hence, why an IEP is an important part of this process). 

I was told so many times not to worry and that they would catch up, they weren't that behind, and they aren't failing so why was I concerned? When you watch your child in 4th grade struggling to read a one sentence easy reader you know that isn't right or how it should be. Every time she would read a page she would read the same words differently and lack fluency. My heart ached for my sweet girl that hated to go to school and was always complaining she felt sick. She spent hours doing extra work, studying, tutoring, etc. with no improvement. Her writing was just as bad as her reading. Everything was always misspelled, lacking punctuation, and just not making sense. Finally in 4th grade she was diagnosed with dyslexia and with the help of both an amazing teacher and resource room teacher she began to flourish. 

Fast forward to now being in 7th grade she is almost reading at grade level and no longer hates school (well she still claims to but hasn't faked being sick in quite a while). She will read to me in the car and the kid who I couldn't bear to listen to even read me a one sentence on a page easy reader is fluently reading chapter books. I now have to ask her if she actually wrote something or she copied it from a board because even her writing is starting to show what she actually knows (still misspelled but everything else has improved). 

They say a lot of people with dyslexia excel at other things and are usually some sort of creative. They are out of the box thinkers as well as learners. My little dyslexic may "read at her own pace" (thank you Walmart for having the perfect shirt for all of our little dyslexic kiddos) but her brain definitely works differently and creates things I could only dream of making with such ease. She created this dress for a photo challenge in a few short hours. To her, books can be used for much more than just learning. 

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Long overdue Laundry room reveal!!

 Before: 




Last fall my washer was leaking all over my laundry room floor. I had had issues with this washer and dryer since day one. They were ripping clothes, dying clothes other colors, etc. Every issue I had the company had an excuse and they were never fixed. I was told at one point I needed to run empty loads between my loads to clear the water so they didn't stain the next load. How does that even make sense!? Besides all the "extra issues" they also had the issues that all front loaders seem to have with smell and mold. 

I wasn't really planning to share this, so when I did the before pictures, I had already cleared a lot out of the room. When we moved in we never painted it and it still had the original builder's paint. I had also dropped the iron on the floor and melted the linoleum floor. This room was a catchall for everything in our house. Winter boots lined the wall and clothes hung, packed, across the wire racks on the "empty" wall. You could barely move in this room it was so full of junk. 

Once we removed the washer and dryer I decided I might as well paint the room to freshen it up. I like to paint and knew that wouldn't be an issue and I could do it myself. I knew it wouldn't be empty again for a long time to be able to do it. Once the paint was done I couldn't stop and ended up putting in a new floor. When I decided to do the floor I didn't want to spend a lot and wanted to do it myself. I am a single mom on a budget so I needed to make sure it was affordable. I had never installed a floor myself. 

I started researching floors and decided on a peel and stick flooring. I had found this flooring on Amazon and decided to give it a try. I had to order it multiple times because it kept getting lost before delivery. When I bought this flooring last year it was about half the price that you find it now. Apparently, in the last year, it was made very popular and it is hard to come by. The flooring is thick with a padded bottom. I read multiple reviews on the flooring and the one constant was that this floor doesn't match up in pattern, even if you buy the same lot and try to match them. I took every single tile out and tried to match them and they still didn't match up for me. The reviews did say that you can't notice it though once it is in and I have to agree. Unless I tell someone that the floor doesn't match they never notice. 

I washed the linoleum floor with normal floor soap and then again with TSP. I then started to lay the floor. I didn't remove the baseboards and caulked after along the edge. If I did it again I would have removed them. My cousin lent me a paper cutter and told me it is a huge time saver to do the edges. This saved me so much time and work. I linked one similar at the bottom of this post. I didn't have any issues with the floor sticking and it is still down good. 

Once the floor was in I decided to change the hardware to black and put in a new utility tub. This room has taken me quite a while to complete. I put in the new light to match the room since it was a builder's grade light in there before. If I had changed the hardware to black before I put in the light I probably would have put in a black one. The light I have also came in that option but I put the light in before deciding to change the hardware. 

I also had off-white moldings and doors (my whole house is that way) and they drive me crazy! They always look dirty and not bright. With the bright white ceiling and floor I decided to paint all the moldings. This led to a huge project of having to do everything on that end of the house to match. With the newly white moldings and door I also switched my blinds out to a pure white blind to match. 

I am so happy with how this room has turned out. Everything is so nice and clean and neat. It no longer holds all of our junk. I spend a lot of time in this room so it was important to me to clean it up and make it less cluttered. 

After:





Paint is Behr paint from Home Depot, I can't remember the color name. I usually always have extra paint on hand in case of touch up and don't see any in my basement. I think it had silver in the name. 

Everything that could be linked is below, click product to shop.


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Nordstrom Sale 2020

Nordy Club cardmember Early Access dates.

Cardmember Early Access


Nordstrom anniversary sale is here and if you follow my stories or read my blog last year you know I have mixed feelings about this sale. I used to LOVE this sale. I would get the catalog and circle the items I loved and anxiously await when I could purchase them. The last few years I have felt the items offered aren't great and the quality is subpar to normal Nordstrom items. 

Last year Lily got a pair of UGGs and after wearing them twice they started unraveling along the top of the boot. We took them back to the store and the salesperson told us that Nordstrom buys large quantities of items from the different brands, they make them for cheaper, but at a cheaper quality. Luckily, Nordstrom is good about returns/exchanges and we were able to put the purchase amount toward a new pair. 

In the past I have picked up new UGGs for the girls, Hunters, Nikes, and other items that they like that don't normally go on sale. Zella is also a brand I have bought in the past as well as North Face and Patagonia. I have found though that the Zella quality is on par with the same ones offered at Nordstrom Rack and are a similar price point. Denim I also have found the same. 

During the sale I have also found other retailers offering good deals to compete. Make sure to check similar stores (ex: Bloomingdales) for price matching and deals. Nordstrom Rack also gets anything that doesn't seem to sell at the sale. We have found a lot of the merchandise before school even starts at the Rack. So if it isn't something "you have to have" just wait. Last year I found very similar items at other retailers similarly priced or even cheaper and did a blog post on it. 

The girls and I went to Somerset today and browsed to see how they had. The anniversary sale was setup throughout the store and unlike in years past, no curtains up around it. They had a ton of shoes, but not a ton of anything else. Maybe they will set more up tonight since the sale starts tomorrow based on status. 

I did link a few things that I have bought in the past of we happened to see today that we liked. The girls spotted the leopard Hunter boots immediately and both asked for a pair.  I saw a bunch of P448 brand sneakers, which I personally love are part of the sale. The normal Zella leggings, as well as Spanx for kids we added to our wish list. 

What are your thoughts on this sale? Will you be shopping? What are you shopping for?

All items linked below or click here to shop!