Thursday, March 29, 2012

Depressed and Tired of It

I have to be honest with you. While I'm sure some of it is hormones (gotta love being a girl), I'm depressed. I'm going to be even more honest with you and tell you that I've suffered from depression and anxiety problems in some form or degree since I was 18 (and been ridiculed for it - thus the reason I don't share it often). They come and go. Lately however, they've been sticking around more and more for a variety of reasons, which leads me to today's post.

Hubby and I are, for lack of a better term, stuck. We've been waiting two years to be told with 100% assurance where we're going next for his next work assignment. It seems that at least twice a month we're told something different, or offered the possibility of something different, but that possibility always falls through. I cannot tell you how many times hubby has come home and stated, "OK so here's the plan..." only to come back two days, weeks, months, later with "the new plan" according to his boss' newest whim. We are more than tired of waiting. Part of the reason I never really looked for new teaching jobs two years ago was because of this. I don't think it's fair to start the year with a class and then leave in the middle. I had teachers who did that to me and it was very traumatic.

So we continue to wait and grow more restless and disillusioned by the day. We know he has a job - it's not unemployment - it's just waiting on the next project - and waiting, and waiting.

We've been in the same apartment for 4 years. Apartments really aren't meant to be lived in as long as we've been here. It's starting to show. It's starting to bother me. A lot. Our carpets look like apartment carpet at this point and that's not from a lack of cleaning on my part. Our linoleum is beat up. Our stark white walls need a paint job.

When you consider that I'm a DIY/Craft/Organization blogger you can understand how this may be frustrating to me. What does a good DIY'er do when something needs a make over? They make it over and share an awesome tutorial. I can't. I've done everything there is possibly to be done in this space. I've made the best of it. Repeatedly. I can't paint (rental). I don't have an outdoor space that can accommodate power tools to refurbish furniture. I can't really redecorate at this point because our lease is up in June/July and still...we don't know for sure where we'll be or what we'll be doing. I've organized repeatedly, purged, repackaged, gotten a storage unit until there's nothing left to organize. Really. 

When we got our tax return, I had planned on once again reorganizing my craft area with something a little nicer than the crappy plastic bins I have. After going over it every which way from Sunday for two months, I gave up trying to find something that would work, that wasn't permanent and that would be easily moved in a couple of months if necessary. Nothing worked within the confines of space and what I needed so I gave up and we bought a new camera instead. Being in a space that's a mess all the time drains your creativity.

The blog isn't growing as fast as I want and I honestly blame all of the above. I feel like I'm out of ideas - that I have nothing to offer you anymore. The Scintilla Project, while challenging from a writing perspective, killed my stats. And I mean that, really killed them. Like less than 100 page views a day, bad. I haven't done less than 100 page views in a day since the beginning. If you're a blogger - you know this isn't good. If not, take my word for it. You all made it very clear what you like and don't like. I respect that.

I had my first sponsored giveaway set up a couple of weeks ago with a product review (and I was incredibly excited about it) - only the product didn't work as advertised - and as promised I'm not going to write about things just to make money or get free product. That's not fair to you and it's disingenuous. But I still feel like I let you all down.

There's more. Isn't there always? But I'm not going to bore you with it. Frankly, I'll be impressed if you're all still out there reading this.

Hubby and I are tired. We're tired of our lives being on hold and while we've decided to do what we can to expedite things, it will still take time and every last ounce of our patience and strength.

I just wanted you to know why things have been kind of sporadic lately. I have days where everything is great and we feel hopeful and then there are days, like today, when we can't see the light at the end of the tunnel and it's hard. Hell, I feel selfish even writing this. Guilt over being depressed.

I'm not quitting the blogging world, I'm just...stumped at how to proceed. I just can't seem to unlock that "thing" that the popular bloggers have. I want to so badly. But I can't.

I'm not looking for pity or sympathy or anything. I know these are all first world problems and I should just be thankful we have a place to live, food on the table and each other - and I am. I'm convinced I have the best husband in the world and I hate to see him so depressed over his job. He works too hard to be treated like a chess piece and I really wish I could be a better, softer place for him to land when he comes home. I try.

Anyway...I'm sorry if I've let you all down. I'll probably be back tomorrow after I slap a smile on my face and pretend that life's OK. :)  <------- See? Smile.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Project Life Week 1 (Your Week 11?)

cultivate a good life by Becky Higgins

As promised I'm going to share my Project Life layouts with you. I'm not as far behind on Project Life as the title of this post makes out. I started Project Life on our anniversary in March after some friends convinced me I could still do it so while it's my week 1, it's your week 11 if  I did the math correctly. I apologize in advance for the crappy pictures. I'm still figuring out which angles work for the Project Life layouts. Any tips?

Now, let's get right to the pictures shall we?

I used the Project Life Cobalt Kit - mainly because it was the only one left in stock - but I'm really pleased. For the Title Page, I just followed Becky Higgin's suggestions on the back of the cards.
Week 1 Page 1 - Mostly about our anniversary. I included one of our courthouse wedding pics and a pic of us today.

Week 1 Page 2 - This time I used Picnik to create two picture collages that I just cut in half to fit the 3x4 journal card spaces. I included some of the meals we had, the name of the restaurant we visited on an impromptu date night and a snapshot of the temperature last week as well as my new obsession - Twitter!

I included a favorite quote by Gretchen Rubin that I think does a great job of summing up *why* we do Project Life. I used my Kiwi Lane design templates to make the wavy white part and a free font (also a new obsession) that I found on the internet. I just printed it off, cut it out and stuck it down. 

After recieving my core kit and page protectors I knew I'd want some of the  different sized page protectors so I ordered a pack of the 6x12 and Design G. Here I used the 6 x 12 to store the menu from our anniversary dinner. They personalized it with our last name even! (I blacked that part out - sorry.)

Well, what do you think? Go easy on me, I'm still learning! What's your best Project Life tip?


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Blog Roll Mixer

 

I am woefully behind on this, but I still wanted to participate. I hope Kelly will forgive me. Here are the rules, (quoted from simplykellyblog.com):
  1. Check out some of the blogs in my blogroll.
  2. Share your full blogroll list with your readers in a post.  
  3. In the spirit of finding new blogs, encourage readers not on your list to share their blog link. 
Here's my list: 



* Remodelaholic *
 A bowl full of lemons
 A Home Made by Kiki
 A Novice Nelly
AddictedToSaving.com
Adventures in Couponing
as for me and my house
Blue Cricket Design, Creative DIY inspiration ...
By the Bluegrass...
Christina's Adventures
Clean & Scentsible
Confessions and Scrap
Confessions of a Pioneer Woman | Ree Drummond -...
 Crap I've Made
Eat at Home
Elements Interiors
 EZ's x 5
Fabulously Crafty...
Finding Fabulous
Fun On A Dime
Handy Man, Crafty Woman
Homemaker on a Dime
House of Hepworths
Humble Homemaking
i heart organizing
I'm an Organizing Junkie
Itsy Bitsy Paper
Ladybug Blessings
Laurenchanting
Life After I "Dew"
little lovelies
Love, Laughter & Decor
My Life's Soundtrack
 Not JUST A Housewife
Organizing Made Fun
Red Heads Craft More Fun
ScrapBuzz
 Silhouette Blog
simply kelly
Someday Crafts
somewhat simple- DIY projects and creative idea...
 still crazy after all these years
sweet serendipity
sunny side up (sarahrosemary.com)
tales of the scotts
The Borrowed Abode
 The House Creative
The Inspired Housewife
The Undomestic Momma
The V Spot
 The Willow Bee
Thrifty and Chic
Thrifty Decor Chick
Welcome to Heardmont

Y'all this is just the start of the blogs I read. I also follow several through my Facebook fan page (you can find them under Likes) and Twitter. I also have several blogs through a different RSS feed. It's crazy. And I'm going to be really honest with you - I'm dismally behind on catching up with my reader. I read many blogs each day, but it's hard to keep up. If you have a blog and it's not on my reader - please leave me a link and I will check you out! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Scintilla Project Day 6 - You Are Still With Me


Today is Day 6 of The Scintilla Project. Just a quick disclaimer that today's post contains one off-color word that I wouldn't normally put here, but it's relevant to the story. I apologize if it offends anyone.

To whom it may concern:

You are still with me every day, even now.

To the boy who first kissed me - for the horrible way you treated me, how you asked me to be your girl and then lied about it and laughed behind my back with your girlfriend - even had your father tell me to leave you alone - you became not a happy first memory but a scar. You are still with me.

To the boys in high school who thought it would be funny to get drunk and ask me out so you could make fun of me because I wouldn't put out - you are still with me.

To the girl who made fun of my homemade dresses because they matched yours, but weren't from a fancy mall store - you are still with me.

To the softball player in high school who called me a slut to my face every day of senior year, based on what I assume was false information (I had only kissed a boy) - you are still with me.

To the teacher who pointed out that my clothes smelled like smoke because my parents did, you are still with me.

To the cancer that took my mother and tried to take my father, you are still with me.

To the co-worker who said my husband couldn't possibly love someone like me and that I shouldn't burden him with who I am - you are still with me.

To the parents who bullied me, talked about me in the parking lot and spread hate about me because I didn't give your precious angel straight A's merely because she was your child - you are still with me.

To the "friend" who drank the Kool-aid and joined their club just so you could fit in and keep your job - you are still with me.

To the principal who took parents from my class out to dinner to discuss me and gave me no chance whatsoever to defend myself - you are still with me.

To the part of my family that no longer speaks to me and refuses to recognize that I ever got married, because you didn't approve of my decisions - you are still with me.

You are all still with me. You have affected my life every single day. You make me doubt my self-worth. You make me feel bad about who I am as a person. You have contributed to my fear. You have made me doubt relationships, new friends; my career.

It shouldn't still hurt, but every unkind word, every lie, every barb, every slight; they all do. You invited me to your drama and gave me no choice but to attend. I've learned to push you all aside, but I still hurt.

Some of you I have seen since. I am ashamed to admit that I have found solace in the fact that some of you seem to have gotten what should have come to you. I have to ask forgiveness for that. Hating you won't stop me from hating me. It only shifts the blame.

Slowly, I am learning to forgive you, but I will never forget you. I hope that you all teach your children to treat others better than you ever treated me - sadly, I know some of you won't. Some of you will teach your children all of those bad habits and congratulate them when they look down on others. I'm sad for them.

I hope you're happy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Scintilla Project Day 4 and 5: Regaining the Girl



If you had been able to take a look in my room when I was a little girl and now, you'd probably see a stark difference.

When I was little, my bedroom was ruffles, bows, pink walls, dolls (lots of dolls), a trunk filled with dress up clothes, a canopy bed with curtains on the sides and a closet full of dresses and ribbons for my hair.

Today - my bedroom is shades of white and gray and navy and full of dark furniture. It is not in the least girly. As a matter of fact, I think my vintage Steubenville tea set that holds my perfumes and nail polishes is probably the girliest thing in there.



Growing up I was the only girl in a family full of boys. When I was a little girl, I had two older brothers and four nephews. (I came really late in life for my parents.) My toys were mostly girly but I had some cars and laser tag gear and Nerf stuff just to fit in. I was the epitome of a girly girl. Lots of dresses, ballet outfits, and later make up.

(Side story: On the first day of sixth grade I came to my mother asking which eye shadow I should wear. She flat refused to let me. I was so angry. Now I wouldn't let any future daughter of mine wear make up until high school...ok middle school - but not much. I ruined my skin wearing make up in the 5th grade. I should have listened.)

Then high school came and it became very, very clear I wasn't a morning person. I loathed getting up earlier and I couldn't get it together enough to get up and put make up on and do my hair like the popular girls did. My mother, who had once been thrilled to dress me in girly clothes, hated my new choice in clothing - jeans, flannel shirts and boys Nikes. I was trying too hard to fit in at school and looking back it didn't really work anyway.

My best friend (who is still my best friend to this day) enjoyed wearing what she and her mother fondly called "mulch" - everything was shades of khaki, blue, green, brown and black. I grew to adopt this color palette myself. I, too, wore "mulch".

Like my clothing, my room changed too. I got rid of the pink walls and bedding and instead opted for beige and hunter green with a lovely *ahem* country apple wallpaper border (yes, really...). Mom went along with it but I'm sure she hated it.

When I moved into my own place (pre-hubby), I had grand plans to paint one room solid pink - to regain some of those girlish tendencies I had so long ago left behind. I bought the gallon of paint even. I never used it.

Sadly, that closet of dresses is still long forgotten and only very rarely wear jewelry or paint my nails. When I became a grown woman I loved heels for awhile even - now I don't ever wear them. I used to love make up but I hardly go out with any on - something my 13 year old self would have considered appalling.

Today, things are slowly changing. If you look in my closet there is more color. I can't help but think about my mother when I try on clothing that isn't brown or black. She'd be so proud.

My bedding has a pretty floral pattern - even if it's grey.

My craft area is full of pink and black and even some teal/aqua and orange.

Some days, I'm acutely aware that I am not that little girl anymore - that I don't really pay any attention to myself or to any of the things other women would and I wonder why.

It'd be nice to be that little girl again - at least once in awhile.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Scintilla Project Day 3: Staying Together is Harder than Walking Away

This is Day 3 of the Scintilla Project an ongoing series of sharing stories that I'm participating in. Click the button below to check it out! 


 


Today's Prompt: What's the story of the most difficult challenge you've faced in a relationship? Did you overcome it? What was the outcome?


Every time the subject of marriage comes up, I have to shake my head at the single girls I know. Some of them are younger than I am, some of them are my age, some older. They all want that holy grail of dating and relationships - a husband. It's like some crowning achievement. An end game. Life would only be complete if I had a husband.

Well ladies, I'm going to get real here. No disrespect to The Hubs, but marriage is work and definitely not all sunshine and roses. You can ask him, he'd agree - mainly because he has to put up with me. ;)

I'm not sure what my single friends are thinking, but I can guess it's something like this:

They'll find Mr. Right, get married and then spend all their time together. They'll go to bed snuggled in each other's arms. They'll always agree, or maybe they'll disagree occasionally about what to put on the pizza at dinner or what movie to see, but nothing big. I mean, married people are best friends! They get along! Sure, whatever, it's work, blah, blah, but it's fantastic!


I was guilty that thinking too. The Hubs and I were long distance for a very long time. I was ready to just get married and be done with it so we could finally be together. When I say long distance, I mean we didn't really date in the way normal couples would. Our dates consisted of airline tickets. When we finally did move in together I thought I was ready. I was sure of it. I'd seen my mother interact with my father. Surely it was simple. I learned quickly that what you may see on the surface of a relationship, may not be 100% accurate.

Please don't get me wrong here, The Hubs and I have a strong marriage that has already weathered some storms. We're not in danger of divorce or splitting up. We recognize that we don't have a perfect marriage and we're fine with that.

We recognize that now.

The hardest thing about marriage is staying together. Yes, really.

The biggest revelation I had a few years ago came at a time when I was dating someone else and that guy up and left. Just disappeared. My mother had just passed away and he took off. He couldn't handle the emotional wreck I was so he left. He took the easy way out rather than dealing with what was in front of him.

Lesson Learned: Leaving is easy, staying is hard.

I remember being a single girl  and feeling like my life was over during break ups. I just knew that breaking up with someone was one of the hardest things I'd ever go through. Boy was I wrong! Are break ups painful? Yes. But breaking up or getting divorced rather than working to make it work is taking the easy way out. Staying is the hard part.

You think breaking up is hard? Try staying instead.

Marriage is work. Relationships are work. Hard work. If you want one to last you have to invest the time and effort to make it last. You have to pour into it every ounce of your being. You have to not run out of the house with a packed suitcase when he leaves his shirt on the floor next to the bed for the millionth time even though you've asked him nicely each time to throw it in the hamper. (Not that I'm speaking from experience there ;) )

Marriage is day to day. Some days are great, some days are a challenge. The Hubs would agree with me. Some days you wonder why you married this person in the first place or who the heck this person is. It happens. Really.

Marriage isn't all unicorns farting glitter. Giving up because the honeymoon period wears off is just taking the easy road. The grass may be greener on the other side, but you still have to mow it.

Hubby and I have done stupid, inconsiderate things that have hurt each other. Some of those things I am positive have ended up on a divorce decree for someone else somewhere in this country. But we're not giving up. We've had to learn the hard way that not every argument is commentary on the state of our relationship. Not every transgression is a relationship killer.

Ladies, that Mr. Right you're looking for is going to be inconsiderate from time to time. He might snore. He might make a mess. He probably won't be Prince Charming. Stop giving up so easily! Stop looking for some romantic comedy heartthrob. He doesn't exist.

Forgive the one you have. Love him in spite of his flaws. Do your best to cut him some slack.You can't change the man and trust me when I say this, the next guy will probably be very much the same.

I think the best advice I've ever heard relevant to this comes from, oddly enough, the Golden Girls. Sophia's wisdom says, "If you could take away this one thing, would you still want to be married to him?" If the answer is yes, then keep working. Keep putting in the effort. Relationships, especially marriage, are day to day - some days hour to hour. And he's living that schedule too.

Learning this lesson was hard, sometimes painful, but worth it. We are stronger in our marriage because of it. We earned every bit of our two years and look forward to earning many, many more. We refuse to let trivial, small things get in the way of our happiness. We will do whatever it takes to avoid taking the easy way out. It's worth it.

Before I get angry e-mails: I recognize that there are instances when break up/divorce is the only option. I totally respect that. I believe deep in my heart that some relationships are toxic and really need to end. I know that there are relationships that are abusive. If that's the case I urge you to get help and send you my thoughts and prayers. I'm not referring to you. 


What I'm referring to here is the blase attitude many have toward marriage these days. Get married, get divorced 72 days later because of irreconcilable differences...Kim K - I'm looking at you.

Hobby Binders

Hey y'all. I've been working on our home office again, namely my craft-splosion, and what I've discovered about myself is that I love paper. And I mean love paper. It's everywhere. Ev-er-y-where. Scrapbook paper, craft ideas, sewing patterns and on and on. It's a bit out of control. I've gotten a new tool to take care of the more "home office" type of paper (ie: bills, manuals, etc), but I when considering the paper I have for craft projects, scrapbook layouts, and sewing - I really can't go paperless. I mean, I can't sew without pattern pieces. When considering that I have quite a few hobbies, I knew I needed a cute, organized way to store all of it that would be handy when I needed something, but streamlined and easily stored when I didn't.

Enter Hobby Binders!




I created six colorful binders that would hold information for each of my six(!) main hobbies. Let's take a look at each one. I'll do my best to mention what paper and embellishments I used to make 'em pretty.

Family Tree/Genealogy - I use this binder to store all of my genealogy resources and worksheets. It makes for a handy reference.


Paper: From the DCWV Main Street Stack (last I saw, this stack is on clearance right now at JoAnn's!)

Gardening - This binder houses my gardening guides and any helpful tips I pick up/print out.



Paper: From DCWV Lemon Flower Stack

Cooking/Recipes - Obviously, this binder holds our recipes. It's an ongoing project. I also use it to store cooking reference materials. Our grocery store (Wegman's) is wonderful for giving out free cooking guides and recipes. We use these resources a lot!


Paper: This paper is also available from JoAnn's but it's loose and not part of a stack. I'm not sure of the brand. They still have it. 

Crafts/DIY - This is basically a catch all for the craft inspiration and instructions I print out or pick up.



Paper: From DCWV Mod Retro Stack - The top picture does not do the color justice. The bottom picture is a much better representation.

Scrapbooking - I haven't added much to this binder yet, but I plan to pull out the layout guides from my scrapbooking magazines to create a reference manual and then recycle the rest.



Paper: From DCWV Ultimate Premium Stack
Letters: From JoAnn's - Possibly a Colorbok dollar package.

Sewing



Paper: From DCWV Mod Retro Stack (I love, love, love this stack! It's a favorite.)
Letters: A Colorbok dollar pack from JoAnn's (it's older, but they have some similar I think)

Here's what the sewing binder looks like inside. I've really only put tab dividers in my cooking/recipes binder to keep things organized. The rest aren't organized inside as of yet. I'm still wading through paper so I wanted to wait and see what I had before I added any sort of dividers.
I keep my Sewing Skills Progress chart in front. It's a neat checklist from Penn State 4H (I'm not in 4h, I just found it via the internet). You can find it by clicking here. 
I have a habit of picking up or printing out free project sheets. I store them in page protectors. It works great.

In the front pocket I store my sewing and embroidery CD/DVDs.
I'm truly pleased with how these turned out. When I finally have a craft room these will look as pretty as they are functional sitting on a shelf. I love them!

If you have any questions about how I have them set up or any of the other supplies I used, please leave a comment and I'll do my best.

Do you use binders to organize things? I'd love to hear how you use them!


 Disclaimer: DCWV has NOT, in any way, compensated me for mentioning their product. I just really happen to like DCWV paper stacks. They don't even know who I am, but I wouldn't mind if they did. ;)



This post is partying at these, very organized events:

Addicted2Decorating - Addicts Not So Anonymous Party
House of Hepworths - Hookin' Up with House of Heps

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Scintilla Project Day 2: When did you realize you were a grown up?

I'm going to be honest with you here. I've struggled with this question today. I've struggled just putting pen to paper today, but that's a whole different ball of wax.

The simple answer to the question, "When did you realize you were a grown up?" is that, I haven't.

Sure, I've had those "defining moments" - graduation from university, death of a parent, buying a house all my own, getting married, being a wife, but through all of those things, well, I've felt like a fraud. There, I said it. I often feel like a big fat fake; like someday, someone is going to figure out that I've been skating below the radar and I shouldn't be considered a grown up anymore. Often, I find myself in disbelief when I do something an "adult" would do. It's almost as though my sub-conscious knows I've just been faking it for the last fourteen years.

My mother, rest her soul, always proclaimed that she never grew up. She was proud of the fact that people thought she was younger than she was. She loved being silly and goofy (and oh how my teenage self loved that). She loved dancing around without music. She adored puppets and marionettes - especially making the weird voices. She liked to make my stuffed animals talk. Yeah, it was weird - but the underlying truth was that, the best part about being a grown up - is that you don't have to grow up.

When I was a teacher I saw kids strive for adulthood; some already knowing way too much about the world around them. They loved the thought of having money and freedom and a car. They, like me at their age, didn't understand that the biggest freedom in being an adult is that you can act like a kid and that's OK.

So my mom rubbed off on me. I love playing with Legos, swinging on a swing set, watching the Muppets and Fraggle Rock and dancing my way (much to my husband's embarrassment which is kind of a bonus ;) ) through Target.

Just like her, I hope I never grow up. She was right, age is just a number, being an adult is just a mindset you craft yourself and you might have to grow old, but you never have to grow up. Thanks mom.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Scintilla Project: Who am I?

This post begins 14 days of blog posts that might be a little out of the ordinary around here. I am participating in The Scintilla Project. It's a writing project designed to get me to explore my writing skills and find the joy in writing for others. I sincerely hope it will give you an opportunity to know me better. I hope you'll comment frequently and share your own thoughts on the prompt of the day. And don't worry - regular crafting, DIY and organizing posts won't go anywhere - the project will be in addition to. Also - giveaway coming up this weekend. :)

Who am I?

Well...that should be an easy question. I just completed my About Me page up there so I'm done, right? Uh, not so fast.

I know I've touched on this in the last couple of weeks, but this is a question I've been thinking a lot about lately. We cling to labels in our society - daughter, wife, mother, blogger, teacher, employee, boss, master, student, amateur. Some of those apply to me. Obviously I was someone's daughter (still am). I'm a wife (I'll get to that in a minute...). I was a teacher. I am a blogger. I like to think I'm a student. It's easy to cling to these labels. They are what help us determine where people fit in our lives and where we fit in society. The only problem with any of that is when we start to use our labels to force people into our definitions of who they should be rather than who they are.

I've seen this a lot as a young woman. (I'm 32. Yes, that's still young.)

When I was in my early twenties roughly 10 years ago, many of my friends were finishing school and getting married. I, however was "just" finishing school (school I had quit, two years in and returned to while working full time - but I guess that wasn't impressive enough). I can't tell you how many times I heard, "When are you going to get a fella and get married?!" Or, "Well you're next! Let's find you a husband." As if it were that easy. Like I could just walk into Target and grab one off the rack. I know some women who would appreciate that option actually...but I digress.

Then, in my mid-twenties all of those friends started having babies. Since I wasn't married, I lucked out in a way. Couldn't have babies when we were still "finding me a fella." (I'll take a moment while you finish laughing. Let me know when you're ready to resume, OK?)

Let's fast forward to 2010. The Hubs and I were living together and planning our wedding...over a thousand miles away from family and friends. This didn't set well with people. It didn't "fit" with what people had always assumed I'd do. I knew my stress level well enough to know that if I tried to plan a wedding in Florida, while I was living in Maryland, I'd go nuts so I opted for the least stressful option for me. Also, hubby and I had wanted a small wedding. We were both "older" (me 30, him 40) and we had both lost parents so a big dog and pony show wasn't really what we were looking for. I had to keep telling people I didn't want the big Princess wedding. I didn't fit their bride label. We ended up getting married in a brew pub set in a historic building. Only a small portion of my family came. I guess labels matter - sometimes too much.

Ah but now here's where it gets interesting. Now I'm a wife. I'm most proud of this label. Some people wouldn't be. This used to be something people aspired to and now, well, it falls somewhere below career and mother. I couldn't wait to sign my husband's last name. I know many women today who wouldn't dream of signing Mrs. Insert Husband's Name, but I love it. Like, geeky love it.

As I've mentioned before (and really, it does define a lot of who I am right now), I lost my job two years ago. I went from "teacher" to "stay-at-home-wife". Let me repeat that last bit for you: stay-at-home-wife. (I have to admit to you here that as I'm trying to grow the blog, I'm doing a lot of research. In one recent blogger chat, we were discouraged from using cliche's like "stay-at-home-wife" or "stay-at-home-mom" because everyone does it and it's not interesting...I find that funny.)

I'm going to pause here and tell you that in the beginning I wasn't thrilled with this title. I thought I was a better human being when I worked outside of the home. Hubby and I have always agreed that we have a more traditional set of roles with a modern twist. He certainly doesn't mind me working outside of the home, but we tend to fall into very traditional roles inside the home. This was never more apparent to me than when I was suddenly home all the time. (To his credit, he helps out quite a bit around the house - taking on the lions share of cleaning the kitchen - a job I hate and generally he'll help with anything I ask - I just rarely ask. Love him for that.)

I can't tell you how many people gave me pity looks and made the awww tone when I told them I'd lost my job. OK, fine, whatever - it was sad. But what was really interesting were the comments people made when I said I had embraced being a "housewife" and actually enjoyed it. It ran the gamut of pity, astonishment and disbelief. "Oh you'll go back to work, you're not cut out to sit around all day and do nothing." (Oh how I wish sitting around and doing nothing was what I did...) I didn't fit their wife label. It was like, by taking on this new role I'd taken a demotion. I was "just" a housewife.

If you recall, a few moments ago I mentioned that as friends got married everyone's attention turned to finding me a husband. I thought that when I got married this would cease. And well - it has, only to be replaced by, "When are you going to have babies?"

Please, I implore you. When a friend gets married (and I know I've been guilty of this) DON'T start bugging them about babies.

This is only compounded by the fact that I am a stay-at-home-wife. I get lots of comments like this, "Well what do you do all day if you don't work?" (I think that one gets on my nerves more than anything.) "Oh, it must be nice to have all of that free time." (I about peed myself laughing the first time I heard that.)

I get lots of confused looks that imply things like this; "You stay at home, but you don't have children?", "Aww isn't that cute that you're happy about a new stand mixer/steam mop/set of towels pleasekillmeifIeverbecomelikeher.", "Well she must be rich." (Again, peed a little laughing - sorry)

I also get a lot of pity. But I don't want pity. I'm happy that I'm a wife (though even there I had to refrain from saying things like "just a" - even I downgrade myself) and I'm extremely blessed that I get to be a stay-at-home variety. When did being someone's wife become a second class aspiration? When did it become a placeholder between "single" and "mother"? What if I'm never a mother? It could happen. Does that mean I'm just lost somewhere without a purpose? In homekeeping purgatory? That's ridiculous!

Who am I? I'm a Wife. And I'm more than OK with that.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Upcoming Blog Posts to Watch For

Hubby woke me up way too early this morning so I'm posting early too. I guess he has your back. ;) I'll take it though because it gives me an opportunity to share with you some projects and link ups I am/will be taking part in.




First up, we have The Scintilla Project. Starting tomorrow, I'll be receiving and responding to blog prompts for the next two weeks. It'll hopefully be a way to let you get to know me in all my flawed glory. (Glory...ha! I crack myself up.) The purpose of the project is to grow as a writer and share my story with my readers while exploring my true voice as a writer. Want to know more? Click on the button above.

cultivate a good life by Becky Higgins

Next, we have Project Life 2012. I'm a scrapbooker - this is no secret. What you may not know is that I'm horribly backlogged. I scrap hoard even. You don't really want to see all that I have. Really. It's not pretty. So when several of my friends jumped in to Project Life, I immediately thought "No way. Just one more thing to hold on to and feel guilty about not completing."

If you're not familiar with Project Life by Becky Higgins, it's a more simple, day to day version of scrapbooking. There aren't really any rules, but the vast majority of participants do layouts each week to chronicle day to day life. It's purpose is to get the pictures off of the camera memory card and into an album where they can be enjoyed while also journaling the snapshot of your week.

My friends Eva @ Tales of the Scotts, Sarah @ Sunny Side Up and Kristina @ A Home Made by Kiki were all participating and kept encouraging me to try it. I'm not going to lie to you, I looked for every possible reason not to participate. It went something like this "A snapshot of our lives each week? Really? You have to be kidding. We're so...boring. No really, it's a lot of lather, rinse, repeat over here. We don't really do anything worth documenting, so why on Earth would I document it? Also, hey, everyone else started on January 1. It's already March...I couldn't possibly start now. We don't have kids. You all have kids! That makes it easier for all of you! You have something that keeps you busy and it's never a dull moment. No one really wants to look back at pictures of us sitting on the couch for the 15th night in a row. No really."

But the seed was planted and soon I couldn't get it out of my head. So, in honor of our anniversary, I took the plunge and bought the cobalt edition of Becky Higgins' Project Life kit, some page protectors and her black Project Life album. I figure I'll try to do it once a week between now and our next anniversary. Or I may just run through the end of this year like everyone else and start on January 1 next year.

Don't get me wrong. I'm still really concerned that this is just a waste of my time and money. We are boring. But I saw something over at Sunny Side Up this morning (as Sarah so kindly ratted me out to her readers ;) I'm totally honored though. She's pretty amazing. ). In her weekly update on Project Life she quoted Becky in her layout. "Cultivate (emphasis mine) a good life and record it." Cultivate. It doesn't just happen, we have to make it happen - shape it. Maybe Project Life will help me see the every day things as extraordinary and help me find ways to make the everyday more exciting. We could all use a reason to get off the couch right? Maybe this is mine.

 

Lastly, I'll be sharing with you my blogroll as I participate in Simply Kelly's blogroll mixer. I saw this over at her blog yesterday and thought, what a wonderful way to share what I'm reading with all of you! We're always looking for new blogs to read and new friends to make right? Also - gives me a reason to purge my Google Reader. 1000+ unread posts? What?!? Yep. I'm ashamed to admit that. It doesn't mean I haven't read the posts (generally I do so when I see a link pop up on Fb or Twitter) it just means I'm horrible about using the reader. Some of the blogs I follow don't even blog anymore! Insane. 

As for Scrappy projects, I'll be sharing with you a spring wreath, the way I organize my hobbies (of which there are many) AND there may be a giveaway coming up here soon...just sayin'. Hint, hint. ;) Stay tuned!

Are you participating in any of the above? I'd love to know so that we can cheer each other on! Leave me a comment below. :)  

Monday, March 12, 2012

2 Years Ago...

Two years ago today The Hubs and I got hitched at the courthouse. Four months later we had the big shindig.

Photo Courtesy Studio C Photography

I'm proud to say I'm his Missus. ;)

Love ya honey!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday Pinspiration #6 - Shower Cleaner Review

This weekend I thought I'd do something a little different with Sunday Pinspiration. I thought I'd show you something I found on Pinterest and actually tried! If you want to try it yourself, please click the link below the picture to get the recipe and repin it yourself from there. :)

Awhile back, I found this pin on Pinterest:



Which led me to the recipe for the tub and shower cleaner here:



It boasts that a simple mixture of Dawn detergent and white vinegar works better than any store bought cleanser on showers and soap scum. I'm always up for saving some money so I thought I'd give it a try and then let you all know how it went. I'm willing to be a guinea pig for you. I got your back, yo. ;)

First, let's get right to what you really want to see - the Before and After pictures. Since our shower is white, I decided to use the metal parts of the faucet as my test area. 

Here's the knob:



And the faucet:



Pros:

It works pretty well! I'd say its fairly comparable to Scrubbing Bubbles or something of the like. I think you can better see how it works in the faucet pics. I tried to get as close as I could to the same shot each time. In the after photo of the faucet you can even see my hand reflecting in the metal! Pretty spiffy. 

Cons:

While it got rid of soap scum really well, it left behind water spots. Also, it's thick, almost gel-like which made it difficult to get out of the spray bottle I had on hand. Eventually I just gave up trying to spray it and dumped it on.  

Disclaimers and Cautions:

The source article was pretty specific about using only the original blue Dawn detergent, but I only had the orange anti-bacterial on hand so I used that. That could have had something to do with the water spots, but I can't be sure if it really made much of a difference at all. If you're going to try it yourself, I would definitely invest if a heavy duty spray bottle for cleaners from some place like Home Depot or Lowes. I had a cheap plastic one here that I used (there I go trying to save money again), but it literally warped under the heat of the vinegar and it wasn't a spray bottle meant for cleaning products; more like something you'd use to spritz your hair with water. I suspect this had something to do with the fact that I had a hard time getting the gel out with the trigger.

Overall Impression:

I liked it and I feel like it worked. I do have to admit that I had a bunch of extra cleanser so I dumped it around the edge of my tub - something Scrub Bub doesn't really do well with - and when I wiped it away, my white tub was shining! I live in an apartment. I don't think that tub has ever shined that much. Not even when we moved in. Sorry about the lack of picture on that part but I couldn't get a good picture of the shiny white tub...it just looked, well, white.

Bottom line - I may use it in a pinch when I'm low on Scrubbing Bubbles, but I don't know that I'd reach for it first because, well I have to heat the vinegar and then mix everything up. It would be worth it if you're willing to take that extra step or two to save some cash. If you give it a shot, I'd love to know what you think of it! 


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Scrappy Dog's Unusual Hobby

No one believes me until they see this for themselves, but our dog has a weird habit. You know how kids like to suck their thumbs? Scrappy dog, sucks his foot. While I'm working on my first "real" video blog, I thought you might like to see a little slice of my life...Scrappy Dog.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Waiting for Someday

Normally, I try and keep things around here light, fun, and (I hope) entertaining or informative, but I have to tell you blog friends, it has not been a couple of weeks filled with light and fun at our house. On top of that, I've been doing a lot (and I mean a lot) of soul searching. What do I want to do with my life? How do I want to feel? What do I want out of life? And blog soul searching (blog searching?). What do I want this blog to be? Who am I as a blogger? Why do I want to write?

Don't worry, this isn't going to turn into me whining. It's safe to keep reading, I promise. ;)

Almost two years ago, I lost my teaching job. At the time, I was half angry and half relieved to be away from what I considered a toxic environment, but it left me wondering if I had chosen the right career path. I began navigating the life of a stay at home wife. Yep. Wife. Not mother. I can't tell you how many people look at me like I have three heads when I say I'm a stay at home wife...as in no kids. I am almost certain that they picture me sitting around eating bon bons while my maid does the cleaning and cooking and laundry. I can assure you, that is very far from the truth. I am incredibly blessed that my husband is successful and I have the luxury of staying at home, but being a housewife is work. It's a full time job.

To help pay the bills and retain some sort of touch with the outside world, I began tutoring. And let's be honest, I needed to get out of my yoga pants once in awhile. Since then it has grown and become my part time job. It brings in the cash. Not a lot, but enough that I feel helpful, useful, like I'm contributing. It is my obligation.

I began blogging to try and regain a sense of identity. For so many years I was "teacher" and then suddenly...I wasn't. It was heartbreaking, and I intended to go back to teaching, but after that last year, I needed a break. I had been beaten down a lot - by teachers, parents, staff, and administrators. (Please don't take this as a rant on schools - it's not. It's not even commentary on public schools. I was teaching at a private school at the time. I have taught in both public and private schools and both have their pros and cons. I loved teaching and had I not been let go because of low enrollment (they no longer had a place for me) I'd probably still be struggling along.)

I needed...something. Thus, The Scrappy Housewife began (only she wasn't Scrappy back then, she was Accidental, until I realized there was already an Accidental Housewife. Oops?). In the last few months, I've grown weary of even tutoring. I want the blog to be my career, my passion, what drives me. 

Lately, behind the scenes, I've worked to increase my following, I've begun talking to possible sponsors, I've networked, joined Twitter, created a Facebook page, left comments, bought blogging books, participated in growing your blog chats and blog series. It is slowly becoming my job. And I love that. I love it so much that it's becoming increasingly hard to wait for someday. I want it all now. I see blogs that started after I did hitting it big (like 30,000 followers big) and I wonder how they managed it and I haven't? What's the special formula for being a hit? I'm not going to lie to you here, I started following blogs like Thrifty Decor Chick in the beginning and was sure I could do what she did, and easily. And then fell promptly on my butt. It was a hard fall. I'm still bruised. ;)

Maybe I'm trying too hard, but then, how hard is too hard when you want something so badly? So, I sit and work and wait and work and wait. And trust me girls, blogging is work - despite the conversations I've had with relatives who seem to think it's as simple as writing some words on a screen and sitting back raking in the cash. It's a job. A great job, but still a job.

Anyway, I'm still here working to make this little venture grow, but I believe in the power of making things happen so I'm just saying it here. I want to quit tutoring. As soon as humanly possible. I will be a full time blogger. It will happen.

I just wanted to thank you for continuing to follow this little blog that's so near to my heart. It means a lot to me. More than you could ever know. You've kept me sane during this crazy adventure I call my life. I hope you'll indulge me a little as I grow as a blogger. I hope you won't mind if I add in some splashes of my real life along with all the crafting, housewifing, organizing and tutorials. You won't mind, will you?
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