Lazy Daisy

I remember being told I was lazy a lot when I was younger.  I’ve struggled with motivation and keeping my passion high on any one thing for a long period of time.  It’s not that I get bored of what I’m doing; it’s more that I enjoy so many things that it’s hard to be passionate about only a few.

I read something the other day about my astrological sign, cancer, that makes a lot of sense:  “Cancer spends about half of their life enjoying the social or more interactive scene and the other half in a reclusive, “I-want-to-be-left-alone” state.  For them, it is very pivotal to have a balance between these two spectrums.” ~Thezodiaccity.com  I’m not deep into astrology but sometimes it makes sense and helps me explain myself in ways I can’t on my own.

I remember hurting my dad’s feelings a lot as a kid.  I would get to to their house where I was the only child and feel a sense of release and relief.  There isn’t much calm and quiet in a house with three other kids so I remember feeling like my dad’s house was a sanctuary and a place where my reclusive half could recharge.  I would only want to hang out in my room and relax.  It had nothing to do with not wanting to hang out with my dad or stepmom…I just needed to recharge.  As an adult I reflect on those times and feel deeply sad that I hurt them and gave them the wrong impression.  I also wonder if this contributed to the impression of me being such a lazy kid.

Let’s be honest, kids are lazy.  They need to be taught how to be a productive individual and do their part.  I am sure guilty of that.  What I’m unsure of as an adult is how much of my need to recharge is being lazy and how much is healthy?

This is a picture of my dining room table yesterday.  I have two computers open and stacks of papers everywhere.  I completed 17 things on my to-do list yesterday.  Some big and some small.  Many of the day’s activities were not on my to-do list.  And yet, with a full and productive day I still felt lazy.
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It is important for us to give ourselves time to recharge and permission to not be running ourselves mad.  It is important for me to realize that there is only so much that can get accomplished in a 24-hour period.  There is a point where busywork will lead to inefficiency.  I have always struggled with this balance.  Somewhere in the back of my mind there is a constant voice telling me I’m lazy if I’m not pushing myself to the max every single day.  When I listen to that little sucker I end up frustrating myself for my own unrealistic exceptions.

Don’t be like me….give yourself a break.  Give yourself a reasonable amount of stuff to do in a day.  Don’t stress about not getting the ironing done or the laundry fully put away.  Pace yourself and don’t forget to pencil in some time to enjoy your day.  Trust me.

xoxo,

Christi

Daily Tidbits

  • I’m hungry for my Arbonne breakfast shake.  Tummy time!
  • Violet is slowly waking up.  She is so funny to listen to as she moans and mumbles and grumbled about getting up.
  • We are working on some projects around the house.  It feels good to finally be turning our attention to putting our own stamp on this place.  🙂
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How to Survive a Shitty Year

One of my favorite things I’ve posted on Pinterest is a saying that goes, “I love Jesus, but I cuss a little.” I won’t explain myself or apologize for the title of this post. Sometimes an almost-cuss word just won’t do the trick.

This calendar year has been a tough one on my little family. We started out New Year strong with close friends at our house having a night of fun and laughter. It seems like things have been challenging ever since.

I started my new job in November of last year but didn’t really start traveling until January 2016. These kinds of careers, like all, have challenges on any family situation. We are adjusting to it in our own way and in our own time. I finally feel like we’re starting to hit a cadence with the travel schedule 3 months later.

My health has been concerning as well. With the extra travel and time on my feet and in unusual atmospheres I have been noticing more swelling, soreness and overall fatigue. After speaking with my amazing Rheumy we are pretty sure the increase in travel is what is taking the toll on my tired joints. More decisions to follow regarding this 2016 challenge.

Probably the biggest and hardest part of our year thus far has been losing our majestic boy, Denali. He was 185 lbs. of pure awesome and we miss the hell out of that big guy. Sometimes I have to stop myself from thinking of him to avoid bursting into uncontrollable sobbing in public places. I prefer to cry alone and in private, thank you very much. When my heart can type more I will have an entry on this specific topic and the grieving process of it all.

Our girl, Violet has had a tough time coping with her brother’s passing as well, which has added stress onto this year. She is the sweetest, most gentle soul you’ll ever meet in your life. I’m not sure what if feels like to lose a twin but she must be very lost. We are trying to do everything we can to help her heal.

We have lost human friends as well this year. You know the kind …the ones that make us question if we are good friends to those we let into our lives. Do we give enough time to the people who matter to us? The challenge here is that once we let someone in, we love him or her completely. There doesn’t seem to be enough time in a day to spread the amount of love, laughter and friendship around that we want to. In the end we’re left wondering if we loved enough.

Our other big stressor this year has been trying to figure out why we haven’t been able to start a family. We’re fairly private when it comes to things we’re currently dealing with. I’m not sure why. I think part of it is that we want to figure out how we really feel about our situation before opening ourselves up to suggestive advice or emotions of others. We realize there are many who want to be there for us but in the early phases and stages of things unfortunately that kind of “love” hurts us and doesn’t help us.

Probably the biggest stressor is helping to care for one of my family members in their time of need. There is no avoiding the situation and no ignoring it. Someone has to take the reins and help share the load. Even though it is out of love it does add stress to take care of others.

A laundry list of stressors… Even with the long list and short explanations I gave it still pails in comparison to what others are going through this year. Someone very close to me asked my husband recently what I meant when I said, “It’s been a tough year.”   Although this person had full knowledge of all of the struggles we were going through their personal challenges were, to them, more center stage than what we were going through. Although it hurt my feelings a bit I came to realize that I couldn’t expect people to put our issues before their own.

So, you might ask, “How do I get through a shitty year, Christi?” Well, I’ll tell you what I know to be helping me cope so far. If I think of any more I’ll keep adding to this post.

  1. Rely on your support system. They said they wanted to be there for you. Pick something they can listen to you talk about or something they can do for you.
  2. Find an escape…or two…or three. Make sure you have mechanisms in place to help you take your mind off of all the things that are happening around you. It might be music, movies, reading, yoga, mediation or gaming. Whatever it is do it in healthy amounts not to avoid dealing with your situations but to give your mind a mental break from them every now and then.
  3. Eat Right. If you succumb to the emotional eating habits of your 13-year-old self for all of the months that your stressor is in your life you’ve just added another stressor. Congratulations if you wanted to feel worse. Shame on you if you didn’t. Allow yourself indulgences. They’re important. Don’t down a carton of ice cream every other night and expect to have your mind, body or self-esteem feel good in the morning.
  4. Don’t Self-Medicate. It is important to go through all of the emotional stages of whatever you’re going through. They’re not fun. They don’t feel good all of the time. If you don’t feel it now day by day you will feel it all at once some day.
  5. Find a way to laugh. Laughing is healing. That’s all I have to say about that.
  6. Remove the negative. Hard times have a way of exposing relationships for what they truly are. If you’re in an unhealthy relationship (intimate, friend or otherwise) it might be time to examine what should be done. Although it might add a stressor to your life it is better to deal with it and be free than to put up with something that isn’t going to help you heal.
  7. Learn to say no. There are times you need to be more selfish with your time and your energy. When you have a personal situation going on, learn how to say no to others who need your time and attention. You’re of no use to anyone if you aren’t in good shape yourself.

That’s all for now.  Good luck to you.  I’ll see you out there…

xoxo,

Christi

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Anger is as anger does.

I had someone ask me the other day about the anger I experienced when I was first diagnoses with RA.  I was completely honest with them.  It was an anger like I’ve never experienced before.  For the first time I was mad at my body for limiting me in ways I never dreamt.

I spoke of RA’s influence on my childbearing prospects, my ability to mindfully participate in my sister’s wedding and overall how in one appointment my life was different.  People don’t often know or think about the moments that their lives turn and go a new direction.  November 2, 2011 changed my life.  It changed my dreams.  It changed my immortality outlook.

Although anger is an important part of the grieving process for anyone who has been diagnosed with a chronic illness it is a scary one to accept.  You’re expected to be sad.  You’re expected to be transformed.  I’m not sure many people are aware that you’re also expected to be angry.

I’m not an expert.  All I know is that whatever situation causes you any type of emotion can be a game changer for your life.  And if you don’t deal with the feelings you’re having you might not be able to move onto the next phase of your grief.  Experience your anger.  Find a healthy outlet for it and let it process itself out of your system.  No one has a magic formula for how long this will go on.  You have to ride it out until your mind and body are ready to move on.

Find those that understand and give you strength to weather the angry storm.

xoxo,

Christi

  • Its finally warm enough to start planting outside here.
  • The puppies are shaved and so soft with their fuzzy hair coats.
  • I’m working on redoing my phone pictures and music.  I wish it was easier.  Lol.
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Animal Therapy

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Every season after the holidays are over I experience a bit of the January blues.  Its similar to a sugar or caffeine crash after a noon binge.  There are far less things to do, people to please, presents to shop for and overall happiness in everyone you greet.  I know the holidays are a stressful time but I often miss the rush and over scheduling part of the season.  I know…I’m crazy.

Most of the time when I’m feeling blue or sad I end up snuggling with my fury kids.  These dogs; these massive and beautiful creatures have a way of lifting my spirits regardless of the mood I’m in.  I know I’m closer to my animals than a lot of people are.  I realize some people are allergic.  I really feel bad for those folks.  I’m a total animal lover and rely on them heavily when I need a pick-me-up.

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Regardless of what you’re going through this January or at any stage of your life its important to lean on those that help you refocus and regain the love for life you usually have.  One hug on the neck of these gentle giants and I instantly feel better.  There have been many times where I’ve kept pushing through for them because they need me.  Being needed is such a driver for getting through the hard days.

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Besides…who couldn’t love these majestic faces?  I’m honored to be their mom and I truly believe they became my fury kids because someone knew I would need them by my side through my RA and life journey.  So hug a dog, a kitty, a bunny or a friend.  Then get out there and enjoy the day…

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Christi

  • I have a chill running through me today.  It’s a sweater and hot tea kind of day.
  • I found a lady’s wallet in an empty shopping cart in the parking lot today.  I called her, met her and got her wallet back to her.  I’m thankful it was me and not someone with bad intentions!
  • I can’t wait until Chris moves in!  I just love all of the time we get to spend together.  <3

 

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Mr. & Mrs. Ninja Decorate for Christmas

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Yesterday I put together our Ninjabread House.  Yes…Ninja…Bread.  As those who know me know, I’m a bit quirky and I love a spin on just about anything if it makes me giggle.  A few years ago I purchased Ninja cookie cutters from Think Geek to make this lovely type of creation each year.  I imagined it being more fun to decorate and plan a house around a ninja family.  And low and behold, it was!

I’ve been more sore these last few weeks and I’ve been waking up with some numbness in my hands.  I am certain I can attribute it to all of the extra activities we’ve been doing this month (moving, making treats, decorating, wrapping presents, etc.) but I was worried about my ability to decorate our Ninjabread House and still make it look nice.  I mention all of this to encourage you to not stop doing the things you love to do around the holiday season.  It is important for people with a chronic illness to prioritize their activities and make sure that you don’t overdo anything.  Also, there are usually ways to tweak your favorite activities so they’ll be more comfortable and enjoyable for you.  I’ll give you a few examples as we build this house.

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The first thing you will need to build a Ninjabread House is a house and some ninjas.  I found a kit at a local craft store after Christmas last year with a pre-assembled house.  It came without the door and window frosted (I forgot to take a picture before I drew those on) and on it’s own little cardboard platform.  Buying the house pre-built took away several steps of frosting and holding until the structure was secure and thus, saved some wear on my hands for this project.

Chris suggested I place the platform & house on top of our white cutting mat so I could build a larger yard.  These are the times I know he’s a keeper.  😉

Also, The previous Saturday I baked holiday treats to make trays for family and friends.  One of the things I made were these ninjabread men.  I saved 4-5 for myself since I knew I was going to be building this masterpiece.

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The larger bag in this picture with the white icing was included in the kit.  The other icing bag is mine and filled with black icing and a small tip for decorating.  While decorating I found the white icing to be very tough for my weakened hands to push out of the bag and frost with any kind of control.  Again, in his brilliance, Chris recommended I microwave the bag to soften the icing.  It worked like a charm!  Just remember to microwave the icing for 10 seconds or less at a time.  It heats up very quickly.  You’ll see in later pictures where the icing was a bit too soft to achieve very straight lines.

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I knew I would also need black icing for the ninja’s and some additional candies as well.  The gumdrops, round red & white striped balls, little tiny green & red balls as well as the green & red peppermints came with the kit.  I had the ribbon candy, red hots and sprinkles in my pantry already.  I knew I wanted to incorporate black licorice somehow and I also thought that Junior Mints could function well for something on a ninjabread house.

 

 

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I wondered what kind of shenanigans ninja kids might get into at home that would be different than non-ninja children.  I finally decided that they probably go through a lot of windows while the entire family practices their kicking skills.  So, I made sure that their front and back windows looked broken.  I don’t claim to be an artist of any kind so you might have to stretch your imagination with me but that is what the dark black jaded portions of window are supposed to be.

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I decided to outline major junctions of the house with the black licorice.  I love how the roof line turned out with my icing squiggly under it.

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I thought about making an elaborate yard complete with a ribbon candy fence (also Chris’ idea) but to be honest I was selfish.  I want all of the ribbon candy to myself.  I think it’s my favorite holiday candy.  So, instead I put a squiggly frame around the cardboard base of the house and made pretend (as I often do in my own mind) that the cutting board was just a lawn covered in snow.

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Since I had the Junior Mints I decided to use them to make a cobblestone walkway to the front door.  I figured a ninja family would like something nice leading them home after a hard day’s work of kicking butt and taking names.

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To add more detail I added a peppermint candy to the front and back roofline peak and red hot candies around the base of the house.  I didn’t intend to make the house white, black and red primarily but this is where the color design started to take shape.

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This is the picture I mentioned a few paragraphs above.  My icing was too soft for me to draw straight lines on the roofline.  I didn’t want to re-do it so I just left it as “personal flair”.  Haha.  I love gingerbread houses that have a cushion effect on the roof and that was what I tried to recreate here.

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After the lines were drawn on I used my black icing to place a small dot in each diamond-shaped void and placed red small candy on each one.  I really like the roof and I think it adds something special to the entire house.  Ninjas like to decorate for Christmas too!

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I started thinking that I needed a tree or lawn decoration for the front yard so I decided to make some lawn art with the candy cane balls that came with the kit.  I like the way they turned out.  Next year, however, I think I’ll try to come up with a better idea for a tree or something similar for the front yard.

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I decided to pose my ninja family as if they were taking a Christmas card picture in front of their house.  (I also obviously understand that they’re not exactly to scale.)  To help prop the ninja kids up in the front yard I used a chunk of my beloved ribbon candy as a stand behind their bodies.  I sunk both the ribbon candy and ninja kid into a glob of white icing to help hold them both in place.  This might be my most genius moment of this entire project….pat … pat… Excuse me while I pat myself on the back a bit more.

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I ended up painting more clothes on Mrs. Ninjabread in an attempt to make her look more like a lady.  Although, to help continue concealing her identity I had to leave her mask on.  I used the house as a base to prop Mr. & Mrs. Ninja upright.

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I hope you enjoyed my 2014 version of a Ninjabread House.  I had a lot of fun with this project.  I truly believe a few simple “cheats” make a project like this so much more enjoyable when you’re hands or body is hurting.  The only part I had trouble with was placing the little red balls on the roof.  Those little suckers are tiny and hard to hold on to.  Microwaving the icing and using larger candies helped relieve my hands of additional stress.

Let me know if you try one of your own!  I’d love to see your creative versions!

xoxo,

Christi

  • I’m going to finish this post and head to the gym.  I love getting back into a routine with working out.  It helps my mind and body feel so much better each day.
  • My office in the new house truly has the best view.  I keep waking up excited to work, blog and read in there because I’m loving the space so much!
  • I changed my nail polish last night to OPI’s Crimson Carol.  This is my absolute favorite color for the Christmas season!
  • I’m going to submit this post to the online Pretty Preppy Party Blog share.  It’s worth checking out!  There are some amazingly gorgeous designs from fabulous women.
    11 Magnolia Lane
  • Be sure to check out some of the contributors for this month’s Pretty Preppy Party collaboration.
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Vinyl Obsessed

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My vinyl obsession continues.  Yes those are Christmas albums you see here.  What?!  I am preparing for the holidays.  🙂

Truly, though…my grandparents called me one summer evening this year and asked if I would like a box of older vinyl records from my great aunt’s house.  I immediately said yes without knowing what was included in the inventory.  My parents then brought them back  after a trip to see Grandma & Grandpa.  When I picked them up I was so excited to go through and see what treasures had just been gifted to me.  Among the many I found around 8-9 Christmas albums and a Soundtrack of Oklahoma!

So, you see, I’ve been waiting all summer and fall to play these Christmas records to see if they’re any good or if I need to get rid of them or turn them into crafts.  So far they have all been amazing!  It’s like listening to your favorite Christmas song on an old victrola.  Somehow I’m transported back to being 10 years old and listening to Christmas music in my pi’s and socks.

I had purchased a few inexpensive Christmas albums also from my local Hasting’s store.  They carry drawers and drawers of used vinyl records.  You have to spend some time but you’ll find some treasures buried among the crud.

I don’t yet know which one my favorite is but I’m hoping by the end of the Christmas season to know for certain.  I guess I’ll have to keep playing them until I have a definitive winner.

Here are a few of my favorite album covers:

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I love this one that looks like a cross stitch piece.  How telling of the time to make it look like a popular crafting technique.

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I also really like this one with the reindeer.  Anyone who knows me well might guess that I like it because of the stars that are incorporated into the design.  They may be right.  I think I also just like reindeer at Christmastime.

In addition to the holiday music I’ve been listening to I finally got a chance to listen to two very special records that I found a few months ago at an antique store close to my hometown.  My mom, sis and I went for the day to a neighboring town to visit a few of our favorite shops.  When I came across these fun albums my mind immediately entered a daydream of sitting in front of the record player with my future kids while they listened intently to the story being told.  (Have I mentioned I’m a bit of a daydreamer?)

Drumroll please….I bought The Swiss Family Robinson and Peter Pan albums that day.  They both had the vinyl included.  Each of them have a story book within them, however both are missing pages.  I was hopeful the record would make up the deficit and I wasn’t disappointed!

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By the time I finished listening to both of these records I was transported back to being a kid again.  It must be something about this time of year that does that to me.  🙂

xoxo,

Christi

  • Tonight my Dad is taking me to see the comedian Paula Poundstone.  I’m very excited!  I listen to her often on my favorite radio show, “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me”.
  • I’m trying out a new purple lipstick.  I’m loving it worn a bit sheered out.  It is a Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Shameless.
  • It’s been in the negative temperatures here for many days in a row.  I finally broke the pups out of this house and let them run around at the park.  They loved it!
  • Our engagement picture session is tomorrow!!  I can’t wait to start this process with my main squeeze.  So in love…
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I can’t catch my breath

Outdoor Chapel, Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming

Outdoor Chapel, Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming

We went for a day adventure to the Bighorn Mountains close to home the other day.  Walking up the fire lookout was a brutal assault on my lungs.  Not only was the elevation a challenge but the crisp autumn air pierced my lungs as I climbed the short path.  I found myself unable to look up or around me and take the view without gasping for air.  I now wonder if the phrase or term “breathtaking” was invented for the moments that take our breath away or for the views that make us lose our breath to reach.

View from a fire outlook, Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming

View from a fire outlook, Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming

Whatever takes your breath away either literally or figuratively in life you must honor it.  Give yourself time to reach the top; the goal; the end.  If it is something worth sacrificing your breath for be sure to give it credence and continue to seek it.

TieHack Lake, Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming

TieHack Lake, Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming

I often feel this way about having babies of my own.  My  life circumstances to the date of this post haven’t allowed me to fulfill this lifelong dream, however.  I find myself daydreaming about ways I will announce to my family and friends that I am pregnant.  I picture a scene that literally takes my breath away while I stare down at this beautiful creature that is made out of love and the best of the two of us.  As I look down at that wonderful gift I will ask if they know everything I went through to have them in my life.

Whatever part of the journey you’re on to attempt to have a family of your own or coming to terms with your options you are not alone. There are so many of us in the same situation even if yours doesn’t immediately match mine.  I wait every 6 months to hear if my disease has progressed, if I need to switch to medications or if my options to have my own family biologically are exhausted.  I know all of my options at each stage and I’m comforted with knowing but it is important to never give up on the breathtaking moments that you dream of.

Christi, Chris, Denali & Violet, Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming

Christi, Chris, Denali & Violet, Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming

xoxo,

Christi

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