Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Widow Wednesday--Life Update

I know I said I would update on why I have been not posting as much and quite honestly I know it seems like to do a post all I have to do is sit down and do it or take a few pics and post but a lot of time and planning go into a post. My widow Wednesday posts can bring up a lot of feelings for me and can be emotionally draining at times. My outfit posts require time to put together the looks, find a location, shoot the looks, link the items, and finally write the posts.

My time lately was focused on the kid's last few weeks off of school. We took the trip to Niagara Falls kind of last minute after having a change in original plans and then when we came back I was dealing with the school.

I know I have posts about this and you can search my blog if you want to read them, but Ray was dyslexic and I believe both girls are as well. Since Kindergarten, they have shown signs. The short side of the story is they were tested in 3rd and 4th grade and neither showed a learning disability. When Lily entered 4th I had started a program on my own that showed success, as well as had researched a lot and knew it was dyslexia. After pushing she was retested (different measures were used) and qualified. Needless to say, not many in the schools even know what dyslexia is, yet statistics show 1 in 5 students have it, or what to do for a kid that does have it.

Lily entered a resource room class last year and made progress for the first time. I loved her teacher and her regular teacher, but before spring break her teacher went out on medical leave and the sub that was filling in wasn't there a lot because she was still in college. At this point she started complaining about going to school again, her grades were dropping, and her accommodations weren't being met. I had to contact the resource room teacher and explain.

Summer was retested again last year and again didn't qualify, but I had an issue with the testing and the results. I had a principal converse with me in ways that clearly showed he lacked knowledge in dyslexia and what a student that has it can achieve or will achieve and what it effects.

We went for middle school orientation and already things that were supposed to have been accommodated were not. I was then challenged about my concerns and again the conversation showed a lack in knowledge by the staff and I had had it.

I contacted the advocate who I had tried to reach before and she wanted to meet right away. We met and put in place a plan for both girls. This plan involves retesting Summer outside the school and also moving Lily districts. I didn't want to move Summer. This was such a hard decision to move her out of a school district she has been in since Kindergarten and friends she has grown up with. She seemed fine with the transition and I implemented the change of district.

Lily went to her old district for the first week of school and on Monday started the new one. She was really excited to go to the new school and I was for her. The staff was welcoming and the school seems much smaller and a better fit. She came home the first day crying and cried all last night and this morning. She complains the classes are too easy, yet the school said she tested as being in an even lower class. I am so conflicted on this change of schools and if this was a good move for her. I really feel like the districts don't know what to do with these kids that struggle with dyslexia. I think her reading and writing capabilities hinder her being able to show what she is really capable of.

I hope to be able to update this post in a few weeks with her progress as well as Summer's progress and where we are at with the districts.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Darker colors Fall Inspiration





I am back! Wednesday I will do an update post on what has been going on and why I have been missing on Instagram and the blog.

Today I wanted to share an outfit that I shot a while ago and haven't had a chance to post. Fall is by far my favorite season and I love the transitional fall weather. I love the cool mornings and evenings with the warmer afternoons. Sometimes it can be a challenge to dress for it and I just recommend layering!

Start with an easy base that you can add to and dress up or down. This dress is a great affordable find that can easily be layered. It can be worn with a leather jacket, cardigan, or sweatshirt over it.

I could also wear it with knee high boots, flats, booties, sandals, or even tennis shoes. I wore these fun Zara find from the sale to give it a pop of pattern. The Zara sale is over now but it is one of my favorite times to stock up on trendy pieces at a good price. These were under $15.

Below I will link the items that I have on and some other pieces that can be layered with this dress or shoes that would also go well!


Monday, August 19, 2019

End of Season Sales





I get asked all the time to share some of my shopping tricks. This is a big one...shop at the end of the season or off season. I get some of the best deals this way. Snow boots in July? Yes!!! My kids don't care if they are the prior season's stock. I score huge deals this way.

This dress is another example. I bought this at the end of the season last year at Target. I have actually bought quite a few things from Target this year with their new Wild Fable line, but before that I never shopped for myself at Target. I spotted a TON of this dress on the clearance racks. I grabbed one and tried it on and it was a perfect fit. Even the people in the fitting room and dressing room attendant all said this dress was made for me and I had to get it. I get compliments every time I wear it and the best part...I paid under $10 for it.

I am not much of a clearance shopper, but now I do head over and browse. You probably won't find me searching them unless I am looking for something specific. I tend to look for things that I can transition into the following season. Even though this is a summer dress the black color makes it something I would wear into the fall and even put a leather coat over.

This season star print has been huge too! I am glad I grabbed this when I did because it is on trend without breaking the bank.

Since I grabbed this last year I am going to link some other star print items that I love!


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Widow Wednesday--9 Years

9 years. I can't believe it has been 9 years. For me the anniversaries of his death don't hit me as hard as the day he was diagnosed. Maybe being Christmas Eve and a holiday or maybe because when he died I finally felt he was at peace and not suffering anymore. I have always had a harder time with the anniversary of his diagnosis.

This year it fell on a Saturday, so we attended a memorial mass and dinner afterward. Normally, the girls and I will do something to remember him that day. Something he enjoyed to do or liked. This year it felt rushed with the mass. We made him a new flower for his vase and Lily and I took it to him on the way to mass. Of course this causes us issues almost every time. Not sure why I picked the top? It fell as I was trying to put it up and broke causing marbles to go all over (I use them to weigh it down). Lily was laughing and probably so was Ray. We ended up taking the old one apart and putting the new flowers in it and managed to get it up. It doesn't look great, but it is the thought that counts right?

Every year they say it gets easier, but it doesn't. You just learn to live with it and the hurt/hole. If you are a widow and reading this then you know no one understands the hole that this loss has left. Yes, other people miss this person but it is different for you. They continue with their lives, but it is a hole that can never be filled in yours. Even if you remarry this person will never be the father of your children or the person to fill all those hopes and dreams that you once made. No one else understands how your daily life is different, not just holidays etc.

Every year I think...Do I post about it on my Facebook and other social media? or do I quietly honor him on our own? Then I receive messages before I even make a post and think that I am sure others want to have a space to honor him too and remember him.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Widow Wednesday--WTE support

I came across the WTE website while pregnant with Summer and besides getting the weekly emails I never looked at the site. Fast forward to being a stay-at-home mom with a baby at home I had time on my hands and stumbled across their forums. I lurked for quite a while until I realized I had just gone through what most of the questions were asking since I was pregnant again so soon and was able to answer quite a few. I slowly started posting and recognizing names. After our June 08 babies were born we started a Facebook page to continue our group and it turned into more than just "baby advice/talk". We found our way onto friend's lists and now names had faces attached.

I will never forget when the mail started to arrive from this group at the end of Ray's life. Multiple members of the group across the US and even other counties began to send cards and messages. These were from people I had never met. The outpouring of support was overwhelming, some included messages and others included gift cards for things for the kids and I. We received gift cards to grab dinner, have a coffee, or even go do an activity. It was such an incredible gift for us to receive.

I remember after Ray died I was asked by a mom that was more local to me if I would meet for lunch at the mall. I remember being so nervous. I had been friends online with this person for years, but had never met.

When we met I was given baskets full of "things" for the girls and I. I was so overwhelmed once again by the thoughtfulness and overwhelming support. Till this day I still have the spray from one of the baskets and every time I spray it it makes me think of this group and the kindness the girls and I were shown. They somehow pulled off this surprise by making an alternate group online and coordinating it all. I am not a person that likes to show my feelings, especially in front of people I don't know and I remember having a hard time remaining composed.

Till this day I remain connected with this group and really think they played a huge part in me getting through this time. They have remained a constant support in the years since and I am happy to call them all friends.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Summer wet hair styles!

Summer is usually filled with vacations, beach, and pool days and easy hair is a must for this busy mama. Just easy wash and go styles are helpful since mine takes so long to dry and style. The last thing I want to do after getting back from the beach and taking a shower is to have to dry my hair for an hour so I can go to dinner. I worked in collaboration with Jeni from Kimi K Salon and Spa in Rochester, MI to put together some easy, wet hair styles. 



Style #1

This style can be worn with or without a hat and if you wear a hat you can make it even easier and just do normal braids on each side since the top isn't seen. This is probably the easiest and quickest of the styles if you chose to do just normal braids. If you are a little more talented you can do french braids like mine are in the photo. 
Romper c/o Boohoo last year



Style #2

I just love this style! I feel it is so easy and looks perfect for even an easy wedding hairstyle. To achieve this look my hair was sectioned into 3 sections. The back section was braided and secured into a low bun. The sides were then twisted and wrapped around the bun and secured. That was all there was to it! 



Style #3

This style takes under 5 mins! What?! Start by making low ponytail. Make a hole in the middle of the ponytail and pull the rest of the hair through the hole. A little further down put in another hair elastic to make another ponytail and repeat the steps (make a hole and pull loose hair through the hole). Continue for length of the hair. We added a decorative hair tie to the bottom to give it a little extra.



Style #4

This one only sounds complicated and requires quite a few hair ties, but again can be completed fairly quickly. Start by pulling the top section into a hair tie and secure. The small pony that you made divide in half and pull each side under another section a few inches down and secure under that section as one piece with a hair tie. The pieces you separated will be one again in the hair tie. Continue with the remainder of hair. After the hair is all secured you can pull the pieces to separate them a little more. 

All these styles were completed very quickly and with wet hair! Thanks again to Jeni from Kimi K! 

Linked below are bathing suits and hair ties!


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Widow Wednesday--Anniversary

This week should have been our 13th wedding anniversary. Have you ever heard someone say that they knew from day one that they were the one? That was us.

It is crazy for me to think how our paths crossed before. We went to the same large high school, but had completely different crowds of friends. I knew of him, but didn't know him.

For one of my birthdays when I was in my early 20's, my friend invited her boyfriend and his friend out with my group of friends to the bar. I had quite a few of my girlfriends going and my boyfriend at the time. The friend that came with her boyfriend...Ray. How strange to think that only a few years later that friend would be my husband.

It wasn't until one of my friend's wedding planning parties that we were introduced and both single. I gave him my number after talking to him for a while at the party.

As I was driving home from work an unknown number was calling my phone. I never answer my phone in the car, especially for an unknown number. For some strange reason I picked up that call, and the rest is history.

Memories like these always seem to come up and especially around important dates. Our lives intertwined so many times before we officially talked and became a couple, yet once we did talk I instantly knew he was the one.

I had never been more comfortable around a person in my whole life. We were complete opposites, but together seemed to bring out the best in each other. We seemed to balance each other out. We could talk for hours and about important details and life. We had the same goals in life and wanted all the same things. Rarely do you seem to find that. I never really say, "It wasn't fair" what happened but on days like our anniversary, I certainly do have those thoughts.