You Only Live Once, This Is How I'm Doing It!

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Had to drop by and update so there is no confusion. We lost the pregnancy at about 8 weeks. Not exactly the news I hoped to write on here but it is what it is. I’ve blogged about the whole thing on Skymommy and will continue doing so. If you want to follow my journey that is where it will be and I promise it won’t always be such sad news.

We’re expecting!

and we’re beyond thrilled. Follow my adventure into motherhood at

It isn’t that simple

Do you ever just stop, take a deep breath and take in the sweetness of the exact moment you’re in? You know, really stop and smell the roses? Nichole has taken that philosophy and created a whole blog dedicated to it. It’s truly beautiful. Every post is like a snapshot of life’s most precious moments. It inspires me and enchants me at the same time.

Nichole was also the very first person to ask me to guest post on her blog as part of her Small Moments Mondays series. I’m thrilled that she agreed to be a part of my Life Dreams series too.

I have so many memories from my childhood. There are so many happy moments that I can pull up and replay in my head like a happy home video. With all the thought and effort Nichole puts into truly being a good mom and living in the moment I have a feeling her beautiful children will be able to do the same.


One of my life dreams is for my children to have happy memories of their childhood.

This may sound like a simple dream, but I’m not so sure that it is.  Parenting doesn’t come with a neat and tidy manual, divided into chapters for certain success.

And what do I mean by a happy childhood?

I want them to remember…

…the routine of our mornings, snuggles and Cheerios and blowing kisses as Daddy left for work.

… the sound of my voice as I read to them, the feel of my tickles, the softness of my chest as I held them.

… that I listened to them.  Really listened.  And I pray that they remember feeling validated and important.

… that we showered them with kisses, hugs, and I love yous.

… the smell of their freshly-laundered sheets, my body wash, and Craig’s cologne.

… watching Giants, Red Sox, Patriots, Kings, and Spurs games as a family, eating peanuts, and feeling connected over the love for a team.

… my laugh and the sound of Craig singing with the radio.

… feeling safe in their world but also encouraged to stretch beyond it.

… family bike rides and feeding the ducks.

… the way that I brush their hair from their face and bury my nose in their neck.

… that I didn’t take them for granted.  That I didn’t assume that they had to love me simply because I am their mother.  That I strove to build a unique relationship with each of them.

… the love and tenderness that they had for one another and the importance that we placed on their relationship. That we actively helped to nurture that.

… that we played with them.  That we didn’t just sit through countless games of Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land, and Memory, but that we were present in the moment and that we delighted in their joy.

… that we laughed.  Together and often.

… running to and climbing on their daddy when he returned from work.  Every single day.

… that dinnertime was for talking and connecting.  For stories and plans.

I pray that we’re doing a good job.  There’s no way to know what they’ll remember, but it is my dream that the parts that stick are happy and comforting.

This is my dream.


To share in more lovely moments of her life be sure to check out her blog:

and follow her on Twitter: @ITSMoments

Loosened grip

Kris has a gift of words. I call them magic words. One minute you’re sitting on your couch and the next you’re transported into whatever world she chooses to create that day. Sometimes this means laughing until you cry. Other times it’s gut wrenching sobs. No matter what, you are guaranteed to think and feel with every post.

Dreams are some of the most precious, fragile things in life. And there is nothing like having a safe place to let them come true. I’m so glad that this blog is part of that safe place. Because here? All dreams are encouraged and can come true.


Dreams are scary things for me.

I am not speaking of the dreams I have at night, although those are sometimes frightening.

I mean the dreams of things I hope will be.

As a child I was told how special I was, and how anything was possible. And then the lips that spoke those encouraging words would lean close in to hear my dreams. I would happily confide.

There would be a span of time then in which all seemed possible.

That span of time would end. Inevitably. In a moment of anger and rage and hatred, that encouraging other would spit my dreams back into my face. Ridicule me for having hoped for anything beyond the walls of a small cold room. Mock me for the stupidity of having spoken my dreams. Insult and berate me for having trusted anyone with my heart.

Never trust anyone with my heart.

That lesson has stayed with me.

It is difficult for me to speak of the things I want. Wanting equals weakness. Wanting equals neediness. Wanting equals vulnerability.

Wanting invites rejection and pain and humiliation.

Speaking of the things I want literally brings me to tears.

I keep my hopes and dreams and desires . . . my wants . . . deep within me.

Where they are safe.

But in that silence? In that safety?

My dreams stay dreams. Beautiful and lovely to imagine, but no closer to being held in my hand than they were that first day I imagined them. Exquisite but eternally elusive.


Over the last eight months of blogging? Of writing posts for Pretty All True? I have somehow found the courage to loosen my grip on a few of my dreams. I have let them fly from my body and through my fingertips and out into the world. As my fingers have typed and gathered the words my mind wants to speak, my dreams have flown out into this world.

Whispered into the ears of encouraging others.

My dream of connecting with people through my words . . .

My dream of sharing my life . . .

My dream of telling my stories . . .

My dream of revealing some of my secrets . . .

My dream of capturing the magic that is my everyday . . .

My dream of pointing out the path that has taken me from there to here . . .

My dream of making a mark, even if it is only across the hearts of some future version of my daughters . . .

My dream of making no apologies for who I am . . .

My dream of writing this shit down . . .

My dream of being more fully . . . me.

This blogging thing?

Pretty All True?

It has allowed me to give voice to my wants, my needs, my dreams.

And every day that I sit down and assemble my thoughts? Every day that I post? Every day that I connect?

Every day that I trust a piece of myself with others?

Every day that I write this shit down?

I am more fully me.

A dream come true.

Happy sighs.


Go to her blog and join the roller coaster of words:

And for certain fits of giggles follow her on twitter: @PrettyAllTrue

A herd of papillons

I found Niki while searching for other papillon owners. Not only did I find someone with one of the word’s most adorable dogs, I found one of the sweetest, most encouraging people I’ve ever met. She’s someone else that I’m sure if we knew each other in real life we’d be best friends. I can’t blame her for not wanting to give up beautiful Californian weather for the bitter cold winters in Chicago though.

Niki is the biggest animal lover I know. If it were possible I’m sure she’d have a whole zoo full of animals and would love every single one. I can’t wait for someday when her dream is a reality and I can take Phoebe to play with her herd of papillons.


When @skywaitress first asked me to write about a “Life Dream” I got really excited. I was so honored to be asked, and then I got all dreamy about what I could write. . .

Right now, like, at this moment, I’m working on fulfilling my life dream to have a wonderful career in a field I love; I’m currently in school for my LVN, I hope to one day get my RN, BSN, maybe even go on to become a Nurse Practitioner…

I have simple dreams, I’d like to get a good job, get married, have happy healthy kids. . . and a herd of Papillons.

The dream I’d like to share here? Is a dream I discovered about two years ago; I want to be involved in animal rescues and I want to help young adult pet owners. I’ve loved animals all my life, there have been horses, dogs, cats, birds, lizards, fish. If you know me at all, you know about Belle, my 4 year old Papillon who’s my adventure buddy, get to know me a little more and you’ll know that I’m a sucker for animals.

A couple years ago I was introduced to the world of animal rescue when I worked with Under the Angel’s Wings Rescue, out of Phelan, CA. It began as a few hours a weekend, but pretty soon I was spending full weekends up there with Adventure Papillon Belle right there with me, mucking stalls, feeding, watering, riding, handling, and grooming. Helping these horses who had been abused, been ignored, abandoned when they still had so much life, so much love left to give broke my heart. During my time with the rescue there was a cute Border Collie who found her way to the rescue, and quickly into my heart. I took her to the vet to get her checked out and check for a microchip, ended up reuniting her with her original family who had lost her during the snow storm. When the little kids piled out of the car and saw her, the happiness was unforgettable.

The second part of my dream? Is to start a foundation for young adults and college students who are good pet owners and animal lovers to be able to get assistance for quality preventative animal health care. Because the costs? Are ridiculously high when you’re not making a big or even reliable salary. When I brought Belle home I was 19. Not many people took me seriously as a pet owner, claiming the mentality that I didn’t know what I was in for and I would not live up to the responsibility pet ownership in college would require. Four years later? My little shadow is still one of the brightest points in my days. So I’d like to help people like me, I’d like to help them and help rescue groups. I would love to set something up with local vets to help pet owners get the heart worm, flea, vaccinations, and other care that the emergency pet funds overlook. I’ve seen the difference having Belle has made in my life, the calming ways and the cheering up on the bad days; I think just because someone isn’t 25 doesn’t mean they can’t adopt.

That herd of Papillons? Only kind of kidding, I’d love to be able to adopt and foster dogs, cats, horses, and maybe a few other farm and furry creatures. I hope in my future I have the home, the support, and the funds to make these dreams possible.
Follow her journey through nursing school and the adventures of her courageous papillon Belle on her blog:

And on twitter: @strawbrykiwi

The effing Great Wall of China!

Mandy is someone who can make the most mundane happenings in life into a story that’s interesting and hilarious. Her perspective on life is so refreshing and I imagine that she’s just a fun person to be around. I know if we lived near each other we’d be best friends. Now if I could just convince her to move out of Texas….

I loved this post that she wrote for this series because it reminded me to really stay in the moment. Sometimes little irritating things can seems so huge until you step back and realize how amazing what you’re doing actually is. I hope that I keep this lesson with me when I’m dealing with odd smells, giant bugs and intense heat in India. Now matter what, I’m in f***ing India!


When I was in college, I had the opportunity to spend a month in China with my dad. He was doing business there and I tagged along, staying in nice hotels, eating super-weird food, and doing a lot of bargain shopping with people who were so shocked to see a tall white girl there that they wanted to take pictures with me.

On the weekends, we would hang out with his 20-something year old co-worker and friend, Darlana, and we would explore. Wuhan, then Beijing, then Shanghai, then it was off to Europe to tour around there. What an experience.

While we were in Beijing, we had to visit the Great Wall of China, obviously. We took a long tour that day, and they showed us the main sights in China and finally drove us up a mountain to the entrance of the Great Wall.

The weather was pretty terrible. Evidently all the pictures you see of the Great Wall winding beautifully over green hills on postcards? Aren’t realistic. Because that only happens a few days out of the year. The rest of the time, it’s foggy. Like, can’t-see-your-friends-walking-20-feet-in-front-of-you foggy. Clearly (ha!), our view of the beautiful winding wall was out of the question.

We had already had a long day and we were tired. Darlana was lamenting the weather, and how crowded it was there, and how hot it was (115°F! YIKES!), and was generally in a poor mood.

“Yeah,” I agreed, “the weather sucks, but I mean, we are actually walking on the Great Wall of China, after all.”

A light bulb went off in her brain, and she snapped her head back around and looked at me.

“We are!” she replied, excitedly. “We’re on the f***ing Great Wall of China!”

We started laughing, and from then on her demeanor completely changed.

Our feet still hurt, yes, but we were on the f***ing Great Wall of China!

Our view sucked more than it could have, yes, but we were on the f***ing Great Wall of China!

The places where the people had urinated and defecated were terrible, yes, but we were on the f***ing Great Wall of China!

And YES. That happens. Some people use the Great Wall as their personal toilet.

My point is, it was all a matter of attitude. By stepping back and realizing where we were, what this all meant, and changing our attitudes, we actually experienced it. We might have missed it had we focused on what was wrong with the situation.

If Abigail and Joel were to simply focus on the poor living conditions or the apparent hopelessness of a third-world country right now, they will not experience the good things. The help they can provide. The love. The mission.

When you find yourself living out one of your dreams, are you focusing on the things that are happening, or the things that aren’t?

During your wedding, something you meticulously planned will go wrong (for example, you will lose your wedding license right before the wedding. True story.). Don’t focus on that part. Focus on the part where he beams as you walk down the aisle.

When you buy your first house, there will be things to fix. Don’t focus on that part (well, unless it’s an unsound investment!). Focus on the part where you’ll feel a real sense of accomplishment after having scraped all that horrible wallpaper off your bathroom wall while singing off key at the top of your lungs with the love of your life.

And when you are learning to live with your spouse, there will be flaws and fights. Don’t focus on that part. Focus on the part where he wrestles you to the floor and tickles you until you scream while the dog runs around and around the two of you, so excited that you’re playing.

We’re right on top of our f***ing Great Wall of China right now and not taking one second for granted. What’s your Great Wall?

Chances are, you’re already living the dream. It’s just a matter of finding the happy.


For certain giggles make sure to check out her blog (that she writes with her husband Jack):

and definitely follow her on Twitter: @mandyhornbuckle

Dream a little dream

I can think of no one I’d rather start my life dreams guest series out with. Adrienne is someone I greatly admire. She is so brave and knows how to use tough love better than almost anyone I know. She’s also not afraid to admit her flaws and failures. She manages to be both a hero and an imperfect human at the same time all with a grace that amazes me.

Her passionate words never fail to inspire me. She is an advocate for persons with mental illness as she fights that battle every day with her precious son Carter. I never question the fact that she is an incredible mother and the following post is a perfect illustration of that.

My mother always encouraged my dreams and told me I could be anything I wanted to be. I know that impacted my life so positively. Adrienne’s children will surely thank her for her strength and encouragement of their dreams no matter what career they end up with later in life.

And her dream, although it sat on the shelf for awhile, has certainly become a reality now. She is one of my favorite writers.


When I was in kindergarten, I took dance classes for the first time. “Mommy, when I grow up I want to be a ballerina!”

“No one in our family is petite enough to be a dancer.”

When I was in first grade, the highlight of my week was choir practice at church. “Daddy, I want to be a singer when I grow up!”

“You can’t even carry a tune.”

When I was in third grade, I was in love with Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls on Little House On the Prairie. “Dad, I want to be an actress when I grow up!”

“Yeah, well, lots of people want to be in the movies. Most people never get a single acting job.”

In my family, dreaming is sort of like picking one’s nose; everybody does it, but it’s a dirty, shameful habit in which one should only indulge furtively, in private.

When I was in fourth grade, we had squiggle books. Mine was an orange spiral notebook in which my teacher made a little mark – the squiggle. From that squiggle, I drew a picture, and from the picture, I wrote a story. By Halloween, I’d learned to spend no more than 5 minutes on my picture so I could have as much time as possible writing my stories.

I learned to play with words, to paint pictures and evoke feelings and create a new world. We worked in those squiggle books the first 30 minutes of every day and I wasted not a single one of them. The classroom fell away. The shuffling of papers; the grinding of the pencil sharpener; the glare of the fluorescent lights; nothing existed except me and my pencil.

Since I was only nine years old, I didn’t have words to describe what was happening to me, but now I do: I was falling in love.

I didn’t mean to say it out loud; I knew what would happen when I voiced the hope that kept me company in my bed at night and on the school bus ride every morning. I knew I should keep it to myself; that this was special, totally unlike my desire to be a ballerina or an actress or a singer, but one day, there it was. “Mom, when I grow up I want to be a writer!”

“Do you have any idea how many people want to be writers? Millions. Hardly any of them make it.”

This part of the story would be way better if my indomitable artist’s spirit wouldn’t let me give up and I persevered in spite of my parents’ naysaying ways, but no. I let the dream die. I didn’t write for my high school newspaper or take creative writing; I didn’t write stories in notebooks or even keep a journal. I forgot all about it.

Hell, if you can’t be Don DeLillo or Joyce Carol Oates, why even bother, right?

I gave up on dreams and, for a thousand reasons, I floundered my way through the next 20 or so years of my life. I tried some things; I mothered my children and pretended to care about domestic sorts of things, but a life without a dream, no matter how full, is missing something. Being a mother wasn’t my dream, but I tried to force it to fulfill me completely because I didn’t know what else to do.

I had so thoroughly given up on finding something that I loved to do that I didn’t even think about it. In the midst of divorcing my two eldest children’s dad, going back to college, and meeting my husband, I didn’t have a plan for my future. I had a vague hope that someday, when the time came for me to earn an income, I would manage to find something I didn’t hate.

If aiming low is a dachshund, I a snake crawling between the dachshund’s paws.

Jacob, my eldest child, was in 5th grade when he came to me and said, “Mom, I want to be a famous drummer when I grow up!”

The words were instantly in my mouth. “Lots of kids want to be drummers, Jacob. Only a few of them get to be famous.”

Somehow, they didn’t make it out of my mouth and into the space between us. Instead, I said, “You’re an awesome drummer! You’ve been practicing a lot lately!”

A close call, and a moment of grace, too, since up to that moment I had never given any thought to the way my parents responded to my childish excitement over future possibilities.

He answered me, “Yeah, but I’m not as good as Neil Peart, though. He’s the best. I’ll never be the best.”

“Do you love drumming, Jacob?”

His face was bright. “Of course I do!”

“Then you’ll be a drummer. Whether you get to be famous or you play at local shows or you keep a drum set in your garage and play it for your kids, you’ll be a drummer.”

God bless that boy, he took the bait. “I’m always going to play the drums! I hope I get to be famous, though.”

“I hope so too, Jacob.”

My childhood dream, when I finally found it, was dusty, but the joy was still alive in it. I dove in and found out that if I laid down some words in lines, some people would read those words.

Don DeLillo I am not. I have an audience perhaps 0.0000000001% the size of Joyce Carol Oates’s audience. Still, my childhood dream of someday being a writer has come true, just like Jacob’s dream of being a drummer will come true. Whether either of us is ever famous or earns pots of money, we will always do what we love.

I’m so glad I didn’t take that away from him.


If you think you’re inspired now just wait until you read her blog:

Also, definitely follow her on Twitter: @NoStylePoints

A Blog with Substance

The beautiful Meghan at JaMonkey gave me this fantastic award.


•Thank the blogger who awarded it to you: Thank you so much dear! I love your blog and am so honored that you think of mine as one with substance.

Sum up your blogging philosophy, motivation, and experience using five (5) words:

1. Real
2. Adventurous
3. Optimistic
4. Interactive
5. Random

Pass it on to 10 other blogs which you feel have real substance.

Pretty All True – for her words that never fail to make me feel real emotion.

The Bottle Chronicles – for her honest take on life, motherhood and her new marriage.

Chill Mama Chill – because she’s still (mostly) sane after 5 months of a sleepless newborn.

Jack and Mandy – because Mandy can make even a story about buying a steam mop hilarious and interesting.

Mommy Wants Vodka – because not only is her blog hilarious but she’s actually awesome in real life.

My Beautiful 604 – she doesn’t blog nearly enough but when she does I love getting a glimpse into her life through her pictures.

Twenty Something and Blogging – the sweetest, most animal loving blogger I know. <3 her!

JewliaGoulia – honest, real and beautiful. This blogger is on a life changing journey that amazes me. She so inspiring.

No Points for Style – because she is the bravest, most open and honest blogger I know.

In These Small Moments – because she reminds me to stop and enjoy every tiny, wonderful moment of life.

Bonus (because I’m not so good with the rule following apparently)

Chronicles of a Monster-in-law – because oh. my. god. you will not believe what her MIL has tried to pull.

Current song obsession and other things

Sometimes there are songs that just stick with me. I’m one to put a song on repeat for hours if it really speaks to me. This song is my current obsession. It’s been on to the point that Joel has groaned “not again” more than once.

Also, you may have noticed my fancy buttons on the right sidebar. The main reason I blog is so I can look back and remember the fabulous details of my life. A close second reason is to meet new people, find new blogs to read and develop friendships.

Reason number two is why I’ve joined Picket Fence Blogs and created a button for my blog. I’d like to get out there and make more connections in the blog world. You can help me by clicking on any of the picket fence buttons if you’d like. You can vote once daily.

I’m actually overwhelmed by the number of voted I’ve received already. If you’ve voted for me, thank you. If not, you’re cool too. Obviously I’m not doing this for the votes and I won’t pester anyone or even bring it up very often. I just think it could be a fun little side thing.

In other news, I did some more training at work today. It looks like the store is actually going to have it’s soft open on Wednesday. I’m both excited and really nervous about this. In a lot of ways I feel like I have no idea what is going on. Normally starting a new job most of the other people there have experience so you can kind of rely on them until you get the hang of things. In a brand new place like this there won’t be any room for “sorry I’m new” because the whole freaking store is new. ::gulp::

It should be a challenge but I’m always up for a good challenge so I’m not too worried. Even during training we have people almost constantly walking in wanting to check the place out and see if we’re open yet. I don’t see bringing business in being an issue. If it’s everything it seems like it’s going to be then it’s going to be an amazing place to both visit and work.

That’s pretty much everything for now. It’s funny, I sat down expecting to just post the song really quick and be done. Next thing I know I’ve rambled on for almost 500 words. I’m really starting to love blogging everyday. It’s becoming less of a chore and more of a pleasure. I’m not going to lie, the fact that I’ve actually been getting some comments and responses more often helps. I feel like I’m actually talking to people and not a blank wall. It makes it so much more fun.

So, much love to all my readers. I still get all giddy and happy about each and every comment. Inside, I’m still just an excited 12 year old girl. Bubble hearts and kisses to you all.

An Award?!

OMG guys! I’ve been given my first ever blog award! How awesome is that?

Pretty right?

First of all many thanks to Geninabug who blogs at My Beautiful 604 for giving me the award. Make sure to head over to her blog and twitter page and give her a read and a follow. She’s one of my favs, you won’t regret it.

Here are the rules that go with the award:

  • Thank the person who gave you this award.
  • Share 7 things about yourself.
  • Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic!

1. At restaurants I almost always get the same thing every time. I love food and trying new things so it’s not because I’m picky because I’m probably one of the least picky persons you will ever meet. However, I usually go somewhere because I’m craving something specific from that place. Why get something I don’t really want?

2. My teeth chatter and I shiver when I’m really angry. It could be 95 degrees outside but if you get me really worked up about something my body acts like it’s freezing cold.

3. My drink of choice is Grey Goose and Sprite. I still have been unable to make myself like beer no matter how hard I try.

4. Nothing drives me crazier in hotels than when they don’t have an open outlet by the bed. Seriously, why is it so hard? I use my phone as an alarm clock so I need to have it plugged in near me at night.

5. My dream is to go on a mission trip to India. I want nothing more than to be able to help children over there. Joel and I are trying to make that dream a reality in October. You can find out more or even support us at HelpSend.Us

6. I enjoy going out and partying every once in awhile but given the choice I’d stay home and play cards or boardgames with friends. I kick serious butt at Friends trivia. Just sayin’.

7. Seventeen is my favorite number. I was born on January 17th, Joel was born on November 17th and we got married on April 17th. I’m working on syncing my cycle so that when we do have kids they can all be born on the 17th of some month… Just kidding… Kind of.

And now to pass on the award. There are so many lovely blogs that I read. If you were given the award in the same blog as me I tried not to relist you. Those I did list if you choose to join in the fun and list seven things about yourself I would love to read them. Either way, just know that by listing you here I think your blog is interesting and I’m a regular reader. ::smile::

Accidental Socialist
Another Flight Attendant Writing
Baby Rabies
Bern This
Blogging Dangerously
F*** Yeah Motherhood
Hormonal Imbalances
Jewlia Goulia
Jack and Mandy – The Blog
Mommom’s Blogglob
Mommy Wants Vodka
Sugar in the Raw
The Bottle Chronicles
The Lame Sauce
Twenty Something and Blogging

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