JOY 2014

Almost a year ago we sat in the living room with my parents, siblings, spouses and 10 little cousins listening attentively as my Mom and Dad shared their Christmas gift.  It was a package of JOY.  They gave each of us an envelope of money and told us to go spread JOY and in doing that remember to do something for Jesus, Others and Yourself.  So we all left thinking about how and what we would do.  To be honest in June I was still trying to really wrap my mind around how we would accomplish this.  I wanted something for my kids to understand and really be a part.

That is when the email came across from the Mighty Acorn Foundation asking for help.  They had located 6 kids, 5 boys and 1 precious little girl who needed help quickly.  You see they were part of a family surviving in Kenya.  Their Dad was a hard working man who not only drove a cab but also dug ditches.  Their mother stayed home and tended to the children.  They lived on a small plot of land that their father saved for and built a one bedroom home with a thatched roof.  They were doing well.  The last time he left to drive his cab his neighbor asked to borrow his shovel.  Something that costs a great deal of money in Kenya.  Being a kind man he gave that shovel to his neighbor to borrow until he returned.  He came home weeks later and after his welcome walked next door to get his shovel.  Unfortunately he never returned.  After worrying his wife walked over only to find her husband dismembered in the front of the neighbors house.

Pretty difficult to imagine right?  It doesn’t seem possible but unfortunately it is and it happened.  Months passed and their Mother was so broken with grief she was unable to care for her children.  The house was falling down around them and she couldn’t even feed her children.  They were barely surviving.  That is until the Mighty Acorn found out about them.  They found out and they went.  They put out a plea to their followers to help these children and the plea was answered within 24 hours.  24 hours later there were 6 children who were taken into a safe place, with food, water, clothing and education.  5 things that most of us take for granted.

I remember when I got the email.  I was sitting on the bleachers with my son Liam watching Sean play baseball.  I knew that was our chance, and that is when we were introduced to Samuel.  Samuel is the oldest of the 6 children.  He is the same age as my oldest son. He was the perfect fit for our family and since then we sponsor him so that The Mighty Acorn Foundation can continue to care for all their children.  The hope for these 6 kids is that their Mom will have the time she needs to heal and find a safe place to care for her children.  Until then Mighty Acorn will do that for her.  They will love those children and remind them that someone believes in them every day.  That is a basic need.  All people can grow as long as they have that one person who believes.

kenya

 

(Samuel with his family)

photo 2

 

(The day his Mom signed over her rights to help her children)

Fast forward to today.  Today a package came in the mail.  A package that forever changed the way I look at this JOY project and The Mighty Acorn.  You see today I opened a box from our own Mighty Acorn Samuel.  It makes me cry even saying that.  Samuel personally wrote us a letter letting us know how much we mean to him.  He wrote how he looks forward to meeting face to face.  He told us how much he and his siblings love us and how he wishes us the best things in life.  He also made sure we knew that God loves us and that he is praying for us and that in any situation God will be by our side.

Samuel Wekesa Samuel

 

(Samuel today)

I am not even sure my son would be able to put words together like he did.  His kind and gracious heart spilled out on that paper.  I felt that feeling that we all say and never really understand.  You know…the “it is always better to give then receive.”  That phrase that we instill in our kids.  The phase they will never understand until they hold a letter from another person who was graciously touched by their JOY.  That feeling.

So I am pretty sure I am good this holiday season.  That is all I need.  To feel the love from that little boy in Kenya and my own 6 children here in the states.  It goes to show you what you can do when given an opportunity and you take it.

This past year I have had person after person put in my path and each have taught me lessons that I didn’t even know I needed this year.  Denise DeMarchis and her husband David (the founders of Mighty Acorn) have shown me how to lead with my heart.  Denise helps others.  It is just her makeup.  One of my most favorite things written about her was about 6 or so months ago when she was in Kitale, Kenya tending to their orphanage.  She looked over and saw children at the gates hanging on the fences begging to come in.  You know what she did? She let them in.  She made room.  That story still brings tears to my eyes.

I wrote a little something earlier this month about being the change that you want to see in the world.  That is my new mantra.  2015 will be doing just that.  I have no idea what it will be but I know this for sure, what ever it is I will find it in my heart and help where help is needed.

Don’t forget!  Teryelle Girls is donating 20% of sales through Christmas Eve to help the Mighty Acorn Foundation throw a beautiful Christmas for all their children.  You can help by shopping Teryelle online!  It is a win win because Terry the designer of Teryelle Girls believes in models of all abilities too!  Another mission that the Mighty Acorn strongly supports.

AH3A9117 copy

Merry Christmas friends. Special thanks to my parents for giving us this gift.  I pray for you all to feel what I felt today.

OX Katie

Happy ho ho hoing…

4Q3B6052 copy

 

So tonight was my son Patricks first band concert.  He has been looking forward to it for the past week in a Patrick kind of way.  Asking questions like, “Mom, are you going to go to the concert?” and “Can we go out to dinner before the concert to celebrate?”  The 2 things he is most worried about in life.  Whether or not we are going to make a big deal about his accomplishment and food.  Not just any food, preferably the food that comes on a plate and is not served by yours truly. “Yes, Patrick I will be there and no sorry son it is left overs tonight.”  That is not really what he had in mind but all was well and off we went.

Kids dressed and in the car an hour before show time.  We arrived first.  In our family we are either really early or flat out late.  There is no in-between.  We made it with 30 mins to spare, Christmas carols playing in the car the whole way.  The kids filed out of the car and into the church as the show began.  It was the perfect display of shortened Christmas carols performed beautifully by junior high students on instruments.  Those concerts always put me in the spirit of what really matters around the holidays.  They tap into my love for music and the pride I have when I see one of my kids making it.  When they opened the concert they made a suggestion to still our hearts, put away the worries, concerns and todo lists and just be for 1 hour.  It is funny how we have to be told but I was in.  My past 5 days have consisted of cleaning, organizing, wrapping up work, picking up sick kids and preparing for Christmas vacation.  All of it.  It was good to just be for a moment.

All was smooth until Graces diaper malfunctioned and my husband had a wet leg.  You would have thought there was acid running down his leg.  He was sure to let me know the situation and less then happy with my slow response.  I mean I was enjoying the trumpets.  Anyway everything unraveled from there.  Grace and I walked to the car.  The boys followed with a “Can we go to dinner now?” and my husband with an interrogation on exactly how I handled the wet diaper.

I will let you in on a little secret we rarely all ride together in one car because 6 kids in a suburban is less than a good time. We prefer to arrive at a function without our faces all scrunched up from the stress of arguing all the way there.  Tonight was different.  Tonight we drove together, all 8 of us.  We all returned home with headaches and faces too scrunched to make out.  There were statements like, “straight to bed!” and “you owe him an apology” AND “you are at it you own ME an apology.”  Yep – The real deal.  Real life.

It is funny though.  Tonight I am not carrying it with me.  We are not perfect and our life is not even close to being perfect but it is ours.  It is the way it is and although some improvements will help us all out in the end.  I am just grateful we are all here.  I am overly thankful that we are celebrating yet another Christmas together and we will soon ring in 2015 side by side.  I will save the worry and frustration for later.  Right now I plan to enjoy the peace of my house with 6 kids and one husband asleep upstairs.  The thought makes my heart swell with pride.  We are doing the best we can.

A little behind the scenes moments this week.

4Q3B6078 copy

4Q3B6080 copy

4Q3B6082 copy

4Q3B6092 copy

4Q3B6097 copy

4Q3B6103 copy

 

I spent the afternoon in the studio with Grace playing around with some Christmas ideas I had in my head.  Its really beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…….and I am so very excited about 2015.

AH3A8942web copy AH3A9090copy AH3A9196 copy AH3A9261 copy

 

Graces Christmas dresses are from Measure.  She is one of my favorites.  Everything she puts together is magical.

Happy hump day friends!  I hope your holidays are magical in a “your own” kind of way. OX Katie

Falalalala and the Flu…..Blah

This house has been sick for weeks.  So many weeks that I can’t remember all of us being healthy.  So frustrating.  The holidays are still approaching and we are still keeping up with the traditions just a little slower then our usual full steam ahead.

Although we are battling flu bugs I am aware that others have bigger battles ahead for them.   The holidays make me more aware of those battles.  This time of year gives me the opportunity to count my blessings and say prayers for continued good health for my family and the others surrounding us.  This past week as my husband battled an ear infection and had to go for some further testing.  As I was doing ear candles and dripping healing oils in his ear I realized how much a depend on him.  2 days of Dad not participating in anything made me realize how hard life is without him.  (Insert be more appreciative!)

Not sure why it takes moments like that to remind us but it does and I am looking forward to this whole crew getting back on their A game.  We have a pretty big holiday to celebrate.  Meanwhile shopping is done.  Time to pour the eggnog and enjoy all the people who make our everyday special.

Here are a few moments from the past week.  Moments filled with family and a whole bunch of Christmas magic.

AH3A8802 copyAH3A8790 copy

One last tree trimming.

AH3A8800 copyAH3A8812 copy

Gingerbread houses made from scratch….3 years and counting. One, Two and now three.

AH3A8813 copyAH3A8815 copyAH3A8822 copyAH3A8830 copy4Q3B6021 copy

 

Taco friday……everyday could be a taco day in my book.

4Q3B6025 copy4Q3B6029 copy

 

Lastly my fashionista.  I took a last second lightening trip to my favorite local boutique Bellē Up to pick up a cute little something for my husbands holiday party.  I see something white hanging out of my daughters coat as I was in the dressing room.  I lifted and this is what I found….my underwear and sports bra mini she thought would be the perfect ensemble to shop in.  …..note to self check her from head to toe before loading her in the car and thank goodness for long coats. 

PS Don’t forget about creating YOUR video calling out your favorite retailer!  Its the holidays and major retailers are already thinking about 2015.  Lets give them something to think about!

 

TGIF friends! OXOX Katie

Teryelle Girls

I love the opportunity to work with companies that are interested in representing models of all abilities!  The moment I met Terry, owner and designer of Teryelle Girls I knew she believed in the mission of Changing the Face of Beauty as much as I did.  She was very excited to come together on a collaboration for Christmas!

The Teryelle line is super fun and edgy and it was inspired by our own funky street style here in Chicago!  I love it and think it looks fabulous on all girls.  I especially love the colors and patterns!  The are a blast to pair with just about anything.

girls2

 

These girls look fabulous if you ask me!  My favorite part of these projects is the affect they have on everyone involved.  The models, the parents, the volunteers and especially the designers.  To see how everyone can come together and create amazing imagery is something pretty magical.  I always leave with a big happy heart.

Now for the good part!  From now until Christmas Eve Teryelle will be donating 20% of sales to our favorite foundation, The Mighty Acorn Foundation to support their Christmas in Kitale!  They are hoping to make this Christmas magical for all the kids living in their orphanage in Kenya!  Teryelle plans to help make that happen!

Please check out all their amazing designs on their site.  Make sure to keep up with their happenings on Instagram!

Thank you Teryelle for believe in the mission behind Changing the Face of Beauty as well as showing your consumers that you value every single one of them!

OX – Katie

Be what you want to see.

Last night as I was driving home at 7:00pm after 3 hours of Jr high basketball. I listened to my son as he told me how defeated he felt.  There were many things that happened through out the day that just made him feel like he wasn’t good enough.  It broke my heart.  I reassured him that he was good enough and his personal best is just fine.  You can only be as good as you can be and that I was proud of who he is every day.  It didn’t help as you can imagine.  His heart was broken and mine was too listening.

I hate the hard stuff.  The stuff that we do everything in our power to avoid for our children.  The stuff that scuffs their heart and soul.  The stuff that makes them who they will be regardless of what I want for them.  So I did what any good mom would do.  I asked him at 7:30 where he wanted to go for dinner.  Texted his Dad and the 8 of us were off to Applebees.  I knew I could turn this around in no time with some fries, a tall cold coke for him, beer for me and burgers all around.   If all else failed I had a bowl of chocolate crinkle cookie dough chilling in the fridge as back up.  Cookies in my book solve all scuffs and scrapes.

I have gone through life much like my son, with scuffs, scrapes and feelings of insecurities.  The not good enough has run through my mind numerous times over the years.  I have come to realize as an adult everyone feels that way one time or another but it is funny how when you are going through it personally you feel like the only one person on earth with a broken heart.  It is hard to pull yourself up by the boot straps and tell that voice in your head to “shut it” and move forward with the feeling that you are good enough.

I love that there are so many people out there spreading the joy honestly.  Telling men, women, boys and girls that they are enough but unfortunately those words are often drowned out by the perfectionism that we crave.  I recently came across an article Glennon from Momastery was interviewed for.  She was talking about how important it is for us to get up and live the life we want our world to be.  If it is peace you are craving, live peacefully.  If it is love you want to see more of, love harder.  If it is generosity you feel is needed, then give more freely.  It got me thinking.  She is on to something.  She said it in simple terms that if you want it than do it, because goodness grows more goodness. Its contagious. Right? Right!

Some how it has lightened my mind this week.  I struggle with feelings of not being taken seriously, taking my work extremely personally and feeling like more is wanted from me than I am capable of giving.  Those words of “be the world you want to live in” have unlocked some of those frustrations for me.  Although I am old enough to know that I am overly sensitive and after time I will realize that what I perceived was not actually what was meant but it doesn’t mean that I still don’t harbor those feelings.

I am looking at things differently now.  I know the type of world I want to live in and some how that has given me the extra courage to live it and to be it.  It shouldn’t matter to me who catches on.  It should matter to me that I am an example and that is what I hope to be.  I hope to be the example of what I would like to see for my children.

Even at 40 I am still growing and learning.  It is exciting to me to really breathe in the chapters of my life and feel them.  This week brought a lot of moments and details that are now tucked away for future reference.  Here are some bits.

4Q3B5952 copy 4Q3B5953 copy

we have been working hard on your sequential processing.  Proud of my kids for working at it.

4Q3B5955 copy

the sunlight in our kitchen has been so warm and amazing.

4Q3B5956 copy 4Q3B5958 copy

they ask every week, and this week I said yes.

4Q3B5965 copy

they even ate them before dinner.

4Q3B5966 copy

we sat around the table 3 times this week!

4Q3B5968 copy 4Q3B5980 copy

Grace and Ryan mailed their first christmas cards at the post office. be still my heart.

4Q3B5988 copy 4Q3B5994 copy

power point lessons.

4Q3B6000 copy

so tired of my family being sick, hence the red cheeks but those eyes. ahhhh

4Q3B6010 copygrace

4Q3B6002 copy 4Q3B6011 copyTwinkly lights, coffee and cookies = euphoria

Gluten Free Crinkle Cookies

1 cup coco

2 cups white sugar

1/2 cup veg oil

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups flour (I use Meisters Gluten Free Flour)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Mix and chill for 4 hours.  roll in balls and roll in powdered sugar then bake for 12 mins at 350 degrees!

TGIF friends! OX Katie

 

A grateful weekend.

Our thanksgiving started Wednesday night at a German restaurant.  My sister flew in from Arizona as a college freshman and my Dad made it back from Florida just in time to meet her.  This post isn’t going to be about the perfection of our holiday by the way.    This post is the real deal….what our Thanksgiving really looked like.  You see tuesday night I got a call from my Mom explaining that my dogs were not welcome to Thanksgiving at her house.  That seems like a reasonable request but unfortunately she waited till 24 hours before I packed up the car to let me know.  This meant the vet was full and we had no other options.   So that dreamy plan of grabbing the kids from school, picking up some hot chocolate while signing Christmas carols all the way to Springfield was a thought in the past. (as well as a little unrealistic) Instead it was a call to my husband explaining that we will be doing a whole lot of driving on Thanksgiving day and then a call to my Dad letting him know that we are actually in town instead of out of town and asking where he wanted to meet for dinner.

AH3A8571 copy AH3A8577 copy

Growing up as a child of divorce I have spent my life trying to balance my parents and families.  It is never easy.  My sister said it perfectly yesterday, you always feel like you are missing out on something.  True words.  I have realized there is no way to make everyone happy, I do what is best for my own family hoping that I make each parent feel loved and important in the process.  Thankfully I have other siblings that fill in any gap that I might leave nicely.

Instead of leaving after school for Grandmas house I drug the kids and my husband out of bed at 4:45am Thanksgiving morning and we drove through the sunrise to get there as my family was waking.  My husband complained the majority of the way but I reminded him how peaceful the car was with 6 sleeping kids.  Peace in our blue suburban for 3 long hours is virtually unheard of.

logan2

The day was great. Family pictures and good food.  Announcements about the future and an over all appreciation of just being together.  As we switched out of Thanksgiving clothes and back into pajamas we climbed into the car for the trip home.  Pillows and blankets stacked in every corner and arguments of who sits where and by whom.  The trip home consisted of fighting over pocket video systems and stomach aches.  ”He is gross” and “he stinks” probably explain it the best.

AH3A8670 copy AH3A8779 copy AH3A8663 copyAH3A8768 copy

AH3A8588 copy AH3A8760 copy

We made it home only to rise early and decorate our home for the holidays.  Pots simmered on the stove with homemade soup, with a kitchen filled with family.  Some kids never even made it out of their pajamas.  Christmas lists were made and fulfilled on Amazon.  Funny how shopping has gotten as easy as a google search and a click of a button.

As we piled back in the car yesterday for my most favorite day of the year my husband and I toasted each other while the boys argued and declared how their parents are ruining their life and we smiled.  This might not be Norman Rockwell but this is ours.  13 years into this journey of raising 5 boys and 1 girl have taught us a couple things.  The first is make your plans as easy as possible for our own family and the second is to enjoy the good when it comes.  Holidays, vacations, Saturdays……they all sound good and dreamy but they are hard.  There is a lot of work that goes into creating awesome memories.  The funny thing is that after spending the whole day in the city from the Kris Kringle market, the Annie Musical and dinner our kids complained all the way home.  Complained because they couldn’t order chocolate cake.  Complained because Annie was not their first choice.  Complained because the day was over.  Once again we looked at each other and smiled.  I reminded him that 3 weeks from now they will look back on this day and be grateful for the good.  They won’t remember how Ryan stepped on Seans face as he climbed in the backseat or how Grace hit Patrick with a DVD box in the lip and made him cry on the way to dinner.  All of that forgotten.  What they will remember is how lucky they were to see a play every year at the beginning of the holidays.  They will remember how this tradition brings our family together and when they have their own kids they will realize just how hard it is to take kids into the city on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.  They will remember.

4Q3B5879 copy 4Q3B5888 copy 4Q3B5889 copy 4Q3B5912 copy

Life can not be as perfect as the picture looks, it is not realistic and better yet it is not real.  It doesn’t mean we don’t try.  I go to bed every night grateful for the opportunity to try.  I dream about new memories and that is good enough for me.  All we can be is our own best.

I am looking forward to savoring every second of December 2014 the good and the bad.

Hope you all had “your” best Thanksgiving!  OX  Katie

My little box

I have been thinking about the good and the bad of the year while preparing for this Thanksgiving.  The lessons I have learned and lessons that come up  I didn’t even realize I learned.

 

I have navigated parenthood for about 13 years now and some things have always remained the same.  My house has always been a reflection of me and the appreciation I have for my family.  It has always been demonstrated in the pictures on the wall, the way I designed my living room or the food that I make.  It has always been important to me that when people come to my home they feel welcome, loved and safe.  Another thing that has always been true of raising my family are the people that surround my kids as well as my husband and I.  Some have come and go but the community of people, friends and family have always been uplifting and supportive of who we are and I sure hope we have been the same to them.  I am not a step out of the box type of gal.  I generally don’t venture into new “groups” because honestly it is not comfortable for me.  I appreciate the friends that are like my afghans.  Kind of vintage.  Warm and cozy, no show type of people that I can throw some cheep pizzas on the counter and bake up a batch of cookies and it is a party.

That brings me to the “gratitude” point of this post.  I did not realize how lucky we are to have so many of those people in our lives.  Even after road blocks and redirections those friends remained there in one way or another.  I never realized how grateful I am for the kids that come in and out of our home and are respectful to all our children.  We have 3 kids that go to school and 3 that attend school at home and the kids have always respected and treated all of my children that same.  I am sure you are saying to yourself really?  Isn’t that what they are supposed to do?  Wouldn’t all children do that?  I know that is what my Mom is thinking.  She would say something like, “Kids are much more aware and supportive then you give them credit for.”  And I believe that.  I think that is why I never really thought about how grateful I am for the kids that do surround mine.

Life has pushed me to step outside of my comfortable box and for the most part it has filled our lives with even more blessings and appreciation for the community we are a part of.  But there have been times that have stopped me in my tracts and reminded me that people are not always aware of the different ways of parenting or the different abilities of our children.  I am not going to lie.  Those moments suck and they suck bad.  But in those moments I am reminded to be grateful.  I am reminded that I should be reaching out to the parents of the children who surround ours and thank them for raising such good kids.  Telling them that the kind everyday gestures are not taken for granted and that we appreciate them making all our children feel included.

I did that this morning.  I wrote a note to a Mom that deserved to know how her son brushed by me at a basketball game and stopped in the hallway, bent down and asked Grace how she was doing.  He continued to chat with her, knowing that speech is difficult for her and then went on with his night.  Just an every day moment where a young boy took the time to give my child a moment in his day.  i plan to do that more often.  I have done it in the past but some how recently other things less important have over shadowed those notes.  Parents need to feel like they are raising good kids.  They want to know that all the hard work they pour in is working.  I am hear to say that I will notice.

I hope you all are having those “grateful” ah-ha moments this week too.  They are there for a reason.  Think about them.  Sometimes they are life’s best lessons.

little bits and pieces of our holiday week.

AH3A8362 copy

 

a new mug I bought for myself.  I love coffee mugs.  Every time I pull them out of the cabinet I think about where I bought them or who gave them to me.  They are perfect reminders of gratitude in my book.

colin copy

 

snow sledding in your PJ’s it is all the rave.

4Q3B5832 copy

 

Ummm. no comment.  this my only girl, really

AH3A8305 copy AH3A8323 copy AH3A8347 copy

 

moments. beautiful moments that are forever etched in our hearts and shared with good friends.

4Q3B5829 copy

spelling.  its hard in our house but writing our words as the warm sun hits our back helps.

4Q3B5807 copy

 

shadows that are always following us.

4Q3B5876 copy 4Q3B5860 copy 4Q3B5857 copy 4Q3B5843 copy 4Q3B5839 copy

 

snow pictures.  I love them and the kids love them.

Hoping and praying you all have the most “grateful” Thanksgiving.  I appreciate all of you reading my year long musings and for supporting my family and I with your comments and letters.  I don’t take you for granted either.  Many blessing to you and yours.  OX Katie

Checking in.

I am not sure what I am going to name this post.  I am just going to dive in start writing.  So much whirling in my mind but the one thing at the for front is how I am not present in my real life right now.  As I drove 30 mins to get the garland that I am going to use to deck my staircase tonight (because NO ONE has it in stock yet) I reviewed the last month that I can not even remember.  My favorite holiday month.  Thanksgiving. The month of gratitude I can not even remember.  I was too busy wrapping up work, planning a campaign that I had put off for 6 months and well I don’t even know what else I did because I can’t remember.

How sad is that.  As I was driving to get that garland this afternoon with a car full of kids that I feel like I haven’t really “seen” in weeks outside of school my heart broke.  I wait all year for the days to get shorter and the weather to be cooler so that we can huddle under afghans by the fire and eat cookies.  Really.  I look forward to the fact that we do not have to mow the lawn or clean the pool.  There are less responsibilities and more days full of nothingness.  I blame myself for being side tracked but I also blame our schedule.  Basketball teams and Tae Kwon Do lessons fill the weeks and we are not settling into our house until after 7 or 8pm at night.  This goes on every night.

Not sure what my solution is but the bus is stopping here.  I am not going to look back at December and question where I was.  I am going to be here with my kids.  I am going to pick up the where I left off with traditions and actually tune into what is going on instead of juggling a bunch of things that really don’t matter.  The urge to start preparing for hibernation has hit me.  I will hang the garland tonight and relish in the evergreen smell every time I walk up my stairs.   Just another reminder that the magic of Christmas is right around the corner.

I am excited to take this amazing year out in style and look forward to all the goodness to come in 2015.  Most of all I am grateful that we are all still here.  We are able to celebrate this beautiful season as one.  I don’t take that for granted.

So here are just a few things that have gotten me into the right frame of mind.

4Q3B5760 copy

 

Fake presents.  I love them.  Wrapped some today.

1240024_10151781161891400_1850368848_n

Holley Maher - Another December

Honestly anything by Holley is amazing but I love the 2 tracks she features on this little album.

CCH

 

Lennon and Maisy are just like Tea and Honey.  I fell in love with them on the show Nashville and regularly check iTunes for new releases but I just love their sweet little Christmas Song - Christmas Coming Home.  If you are listening Lennon and Maisy I would appreciate a full Christmas album I can put on replay all month long.  Please?

4Q3B5732 copyOberweis egg nog is the BOMB.  Let me say that again.  The BOMB!  If you have not had it, get some.  You will thank me.

4Q3B5749 copyOrange winter berries.  I am obsessed with winter berries in general but orange ones, well they have taken me to a whole new level of love.  I buy a bunch every time I go to the grocery store.

AH3A8220 copy AH3A8156 copyMy girl and her dolls.  These moments remind me to play.  Just get down there and make-believe.

AH3A8137 copy AH3A8136 copyFriends visiting from out of town.  My appreciation for my long distance “girlfriends”.   I have no words, but these visits remind me how needed they are in my life and my kids life.

4Q3B5754 copyAnd the damn garland that no one is selling right now.  Well it makes me happy that I have some and gives me that much needed reminder to find ways to hibernate by the fire and invite friends and family along.

So I am checking into my own life.  The real stuff going on around me.  I hope you are too.

Don’t let December fly by.  The magic only comes around every 12 months.

I love you all.  K

 

 

 

 

 

2015 Advertising here we come!


It is in your hands.  This will not happen without you and you and you and you.  If you think someone else will do it you are wrong.  We need YOU and your friend and your friends, friend.  We need every single one of you to grab this hashtag #changingthefaceofbeauty and run with it.

It takes 2 seconds and a Facebook or twitter account!  That is it!  A video with a message to a retailer and your friends saying you recognize this is a problem and you want it changed.  You want EVERYONE to feel valued in this country, regardless of ability.  Then challenge someone else to do the same!

Hey!  you can check us out on Ellentube!  Check it out and leave her a comment.  Let her know we need her help!

So lets do this!

Go Go Go!  We all have a voice and it is super loud when we work together!

Representation for individuals living with disabilites in the media means jobs in the future!  That means a brighter world for all of us.

READY.SET.GOOOOOOOO

OX  Katie

Raising boys….

So a couple of weeks ago a friend asked me what it was like raising my boys.   “What was it like when they were little?”, she asked.  I felt my blood pressure rise and then a sense of nervousness in my stomach.  Kind of like when I stand in the Dr’s office and they ask me the birthdate of my one of my kids.  I freeze.  Then I proceed to say that I have six kids and I just need a second to remember the year.   Tt is the year that I struggle wit (The days and months are always there for the record).  They look at me like really lady?  You have no clue when you kid was born.   That feeling.  The “I forgot” feeling.  Well that is how I felt when my friend asked me what it was like to raise the 5 boys.

AH3A6617 copy

I mumbled through the whole answer, they were wild, broke everything and then flipped into a funny story my sister in-law told me years ago about her own mom who raised a lot of kids and that sufficed.  That moment is now engrained in my head.  I literally forgot  how it felt to be the mom of 5 boys.  That is who I was 5 years ago.  The mom who had 5 boys.  Everyone knew who we were just because of the size and gender of our family. AH3A6648 copy AH3A6661 copy

This past week I decided it was time to complete a project I have been working on for the past 3 years (no judging).  I had this idea of how I was going to display my photo books.  The ones that remained stashed away in compartments all over the house.  What is the point in having them if you never look at them.  3 years ago I bought the shelves and after realizing the photo books that weighed 100 pounds are no way going to be held up by floating shelves.  A year later I bought the brackets to support them and a year after that I installed them.  photo

We have taken many walks down memory lane over the past couple of days.  The kids have grabbed books.  We pulled down Patricks birth pictures on his birthday.  Memories.  I took those pictures in hopes that my kids would remember the good and forget the not so good.  My son just asked me last night if I took parenting classes before I had children and when I stated a big “NO” the look on his face was priceless.  I guess I probably should have.  Instead I just walked into the hospital on Feb 20, 2002 and walked out on Feb 21, 2002 with a little boy who was all mine.

AH3A6671 copy AH3A6702 copy AH3A6711 copy AH3A6716 copy

Not sure in the whole scheme of things how efficient that is but how would I know I forgot how it felt!  So after beating myself up over my pathetic answer I have taken a lot of time out to review the past 13 years locked in those picture books.  As I glanced over the images memories flooded my mind of all the milestones, chubby legs and curly hair.  We had all of that and I am still so proud to be raising 5 great boys.  This is the last Christmas before we have a teenager in the house.  13 years is just around the corner.AH3A6736 copy AH3A6767 copy AH3A6769 copy

The one thing I have not forgotten is how much I love these guys.  I am so proud of them and not sure how they have accomplished what they have with us as parents.  We have struggled, it is a lot of work raising 6 children but….. the details.  The details where there.  The special birthday celebrations with cotton candy that blew all over my chandeliers, the magician who took over the front room of our house and the families that filled our home every friday night for pizza, all those details.  So I really hadn’t forgotten.  I just needed some simple reminders of just how amazing it was and remains to be..

Pictures are important.  They are little windows of your memories.  Kind of like reminders that the moments really happened.  If I were teaching a parenting class right now my #1 would be to take them.  Take pictures, but don’t stop there.  Print them, because there will be a day when someone asks you the same question.  What was it like 10 years ago? And I promise you, those picture books will bring you back some of your favorite moments.  Moments that you forgot because your mind is now full of even more beautiful moments but when you remember.  That will be magic.

Happy weekend friends! OX  Katie

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 30 31 32 Next