Ultimate Blog Party 2011

Ultimate Blog Party 2011


The wonderful ladies of 5 minutes for mom are hosting The Ultimate Blog Party and I am so excited to be participating this year! I adore the blogging community and what amazing support and friendships can be formed because of it.

If you are new here, you can learn more about me and why I blog by reading the little about me blub on the side bar, and my About Me page. If you are ready for some (happy) tears and to be inspired, read the story of my miraculous daughter.

Intrigued? You can learn more about Cystinosis and direct yourself to one of my most popular posts, Love & Other Drugs (and no, it is not just about the movie.) :)

You can shop some beautiful jewelry, including every day looks as well as statement pieces and personalized charm necklaces, at my Stella & Dot Boutique.

I love my life. I keep this blog to cherish the details, embrace the beauty, and capture the positive. I enjoy celebrating the impossible that I am still alive, as corny as that may sound!

Please introduce yourself! I can't wait to meet some new fabulous friends!

xoxo.

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

It's What I'm Loving Wednesday time!





I'm loving this adorable pony necklace.


...because once upon a time I met the band Hanson for my Make A Wish. The youngest member, Zac, looked at me and said, "You wished for us?! I would have wished for a pony."

True story.


I'm loving this cardigan.


...because a girl can never have too many cardigans, now can she?


I'm loving the new Roasted Garlic and Black Bean Tostitos. Delicious I tell you! I'm officially obsessed.



I'm loving Newman's Own Mango Salsa paired with them. Seriously amazing...your tongue will do a happy dance. I promise.



I'm loving this Yellow Woodgrain Market Tote from Gussy Sews.

Yellow and gray? Plus ruffles? Be still my beating heart.


I'm loving Philosophy's Sugar Chick Shampoo, Shower Gel and Bubble Bath.

...because really? Peep scented shower gel? Does the world get any more wonderful? (Okay, I don't actually own it yet, but the fact this exists is exciting beyond words! My gingerbread girl shower gel from Christmas is finally running out and I need to be festive for Easter, right?)


I'm loving these gorgeous ankle wrap sandals.



I'm loving the song "Little Miss" from Sugarland.



Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones


I'm absolutely loving these curls on my girl. I hope they stay this way. They are all natural baby.


Happy Wednesday to you!

My Girl Tuesday: Jennifer Nettles

My stunning friend Shelby, of shelbylately.com recently started a new feature on Tuesdays titled 'My Girl Tuesday'. In her words: "I suffer from too many girl crushes to count, so every Tuesday I'm going to share one with you."

Brilliant.

Which is why I'm participating this week.


Jennifer Nettles (of Sugarland) is one of the most effervescent women I've ever seen. Granted, I've never actually met her, but she has inspired me beyond what I can articulately portray. She's bubbly, she's vivacious, her enthusiasm for life and everything in it is so outrageously potent that it is contagious. And her voice? Incredible.

Sugarland's songs have a way of recapturing that magic of summer love and the hope of youth we all crave to always keep clutched in our hearts. They inject much needed energy and light into my (toughest) days.

Plus, I adored the outfit she wore on American Idol last week. She has killer style.

Their song 'Little Miss' has motivated the The Little Miss Project. Here's the video:




I fell in love with what Jennifer had to say about the song. The best part, is when she belts out it's alright, it's all right, it's all right...it'll be all right again, you believe her.

"She is a woman coming to terms with the fact that just because you CAN do everything doesn't mean you SHOULD do everything. She is a woman who often forgets herself in her attempts to try and do for everyone else. She is a woman who has learned the hard way that often when we try to do everything for everybody all the time, we can wind up losing ourselves. And when that happens, everybody loses. But all is not lost in "Little Miss!" Oh no! "Little Miss" has a spark of hope. She has had enough life experience and loss to know that anything forgotten can just as well be remembered. That anything she has tossed aside in a fog of perfectionist martyr bullshit can be reclaimed, including her sense of self, her body, her passion, her inspiration, and her desire to savor the marrow of life. While "Little Miss" was written in the voice of a woman, the disappointments of being under appreciated and the pressure to be perfect are struggles that are often felt by men as well. The emotion we each feel within these struggles is the same…whether male or female, our tears all taste of salt, my dear ones."

“I hope this song holds up a mirror. If you happen to catch a glimpse of yourself there, I hope you are reminded that you are enough, that you are worthy, that perfect is completely boring and, most of all, that it'll be all right again.”


I just want to give her a big bear hug.

So Much

I see the world through Sookie's eyes lately and it is piercingly incandescent.




Deep down I know she has all of life's secrets close to her little beating heart and that is why she is so blissfully happy 99% of the time. In the very short span she has been in my life, she has taught me more than anyone else has...ever. It seems nearly impossible that just two short years ago, she did not exist. The world could learn so much from her. Perhaps that is the epitome of a mother's delusion for the power of her own child, but oh well. I feel it, so I'll document it and write about it. She wakes up with a grin engraved on her porcelain face and she goes about her day finding humor and light in the seemingly mundane. She has so much love for everything and everyone; she waves and blows kisses to strangers like it's her job and she's running for president. Except the emotion behind her friendly gestures is achingly genuine.

I don't like to dwell on what is wrong with life, but I've made a lot of excuses. There was so much holding me back, but I'm throwing it all away. The first year of motherhood is hard. It is also sweet, drastic, stunning, overwhelming, and amazingly profound. I'm turning a new leaf in various ways and ventures. And it feels so good it kind of hurts. Jogging alongside spring with her awakening, renewal, and insane drive to be better; I'm pushing, leaping into new chapters and saying goodbye to self deprecating guilt.

Life is an ongoing improvement project, isn't it? I don't ever want to lose that fire to be better.
 
One of the many lessons Sookie has made me concretely aware of? You can embark on each new day as if it is a new year, a fresh beginning to get it all put together, strung up, turned up loud and bright. And you go as far as you can with that momentum, but the really sweet secret that can elude us is that you can continue to build on that day the next morning, or if need be, you tear it all down and start from scratch. You keep repeating this until you hit a day, a groove so funky and vibrant, that you run with it as fast as you can, for as long as you can.

The changes in her daily are momentous, and yet they have soft, blurry edges that only people around her every day would even notice. Her hands are getting big. Like, so very big. I don't think a word exists to envelop how grateful I am that I get to be a part of her every day so I notice details such as this one.

I love to see her reach for me.

When there are two arms you had a part in creating and they are reaching out for you, and only you will do; these things morph into a whirlwind and there is something so ridiculously special about that it smashes everything you ever were and rearranges you into something new, someone wiser, someone more aware.

Five Minute Friday: Waking Up

Friday is gracing us with her presence once again. I'm challenging myself with Five Minute Friday.
The concept is simple, five minutes, write, no worries, no correcting, just put it all out there. It is incredibly liberating. Check it out, visit others who are contributing this week and challenge yourself.

The prompt this week is:

   
Waking Up
(This photo was taken when Miss S was only a few weeks old, but I still treasure it so deeply. It captures that unprecedented time of newborn stillness and the knowledge that the world has become an entirely new place with the addition of this new heart in it's universe.)



GO

Mornings have never been my strong part of the day. They've always been the most difficult psychically. A major side effect from medications leaves me struggling with severe nausea most days when I wake up. Add into this mix a little being who depends on me for her daily existence and mornings can wreak havoc on my self confidence in my abilities and strengths as a mother. Nearly 14 months in, I've learned to take it slow. I can't jump right out of bed with boundless energy and tackle my day. Our mornings start slow. We cuddle. We kiss. I melt into her and sink into the gratitude of another day with her in it. She grins. In fact, this morning she rubbed my arm up and down, ever so softly. With the touch of someone who truly gets it.

STOP

Happy Friday! I hope your week has been wonderful.

I Am


It would be perfectly Disney-esque if one day we woke up, looked in the mirror and said "Oh, look. I found who I am."

Disney-esque and very boring actually. I've always subscribed to the theory self discovery is a never ending journey that knows no limits or finish lines. I've found out over the years that each new experience I wade through, brings out a new facet of myself. Pregnancy brought out the warrior in me, the believer, the temptress of fate and all things that were once upon a time considered impossible. Labor and delivery brought out the one who rises to the occasion, the fearless woman who would do anything to meet her daughter, the confident girl who felt she could take on the world.

Being fresh into this new venture of motherhood, I am reminded daily, ah, let's be honest here...hourly, that it can be very easy to fall into the cliche of letting one aspect of your being overtake everything else you are, strive to be, hope to be. Mothers can often feel like their life revolves around diapers, laundry, dishes, and bottles. And just as easily, students can fall into measuring their self worth up against grades, test scores, and how many credits they are balancing during a semester.


Which is why I instantly fell in love with the idea and motivation behind this blog. I am excited to be a part of it today with a little feature I contributed to this amazing project.

Happy Monday!

What Matters

{Late night thoughts)


What matters is not that the dinner dishes didn't get put in the dishwasher, but that there are 20 minutes of lullabies courtesy of Scout the night time cuddly pup.






What matters is not that my jeans didn't get hung up to dry and are still in the dryer, thus rendering themselves most likely too little for my French toast for dinner loving belly, but that there is a girl, who is mine, who will tunnel and spin her way into a rhythmic pattern of breathing while safely enveloped in my arms.







What matters is not that she isn't in her crib, but that we are one big happy co-sleeping family and it works for us. We like it that way. Hell, I like it that way. And so it goes and that's all that matters.





What matters is not that I should have cleaned the house while Sookie took an unprecedented two and a half hour nap, but that I put myself first and snuggled up in our bed to let the world wash away from my thoughts. I told my body I heard her cries for rest and I obeyed.





Here's to a new day  and loving ourselves as much as we should.

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

There a lot to love lately. I'm such a lucky girl to be living this beautiful life. I'm participating in What I'm Loving Wednesday for the first time.







I'm absolutely loving this headband I won in a Miss Ruby Sue giveaway.



Little Miss S is loving it as well.




I'm loving this new message board and storage center combination Rory surprised me with yesterday. I've been wanting one for awhile now in hopes of getting our house more organized. I'm excited! (Yes, that is a magical Target clearance sticker on it!) :)





I'm loving my new purse from Mimi Boutique. (The link is to the green version, looks like tan is sold out.) They were having a big sale a few weeks ago and I couldn't resist. It is nice and roomy, everything I like in a purse.





I'm loving this edible Easter grass my momma found at Target and pointed out to me. I haven't sampled any yet, but I think the idea behind this is just brilliant! Why didn't I think of it? It is probably disgusting but better than just throwing it all away, right?





I'm loving this pretty new bowl I picked up from ...yes, you guess it, Target. $2.50 baby! Such a deal. I'm thinking I might need to put some coconut M&M's in it.





I'm loving these lace shorts from Ruche. Problem is, I don't have Gwyneth Paltrow-esque legs or the guts to even try to carry these off. But I can dream. And oh I will.





I'm loving this Write your own life's story print I scored at Target for $5 on clearance. I've been coveting it for awhile now and thrilled to snag it for so cheap! Now I just need to find a place to hang it.



Happy Wednesday!

Top 2 Tuesday: Random Facts About Me



Trying something new, as a part of my effort for a little change.




I'm linking up to Top 2 Tuesday.




Top 2 Random Facts About Me




1. I have a huge sweet tooth.

Funny thing about this is that I never even gave candy a second chance before my kidney transplant. I liked sour patch kids, but that was about it. Salt was my forte.  The real change came when I was pregnant with Miss S. I went crazy. Oreos, brownies, shakes, M&M's, cinnamon bears, toffee, rock candy, starbursts, cotton candy, caramel, sour patch kids, and of course the best candy ever known to man...sour patch blue raspberries. It is fascinating to me how one's tastes can change so drastically over the course of our lives.




{banana republic}



2. I'm obsessed with cardigans.

I mean really obsessed. I'm in heaven with all the ruffles and embellishments that adorn them these days. I currently have three gray cardigans; granted one is plain, one has ruffles, the third has little flower petals. So at least they have slight variations to make them individuals. Ha. I fell in love with the one pictured above, but now it is no longer available from the Banana Republic website and I never could justify the price tag. C'est la vie.


It is going to be a week full of slowing down, counting blessings, and yet still crossing a lot off of my to-do list!

xoxo.



Project 365: Week 7

Playing catch up with Project 365 still. It is an undeniable kind of special to be able to look back on my days and realize how much joy there is to be found in the little things.


{2.13.11} Stella & Dot necklace I gave to myself for Valentine's Day
(Yes, Rory gave me a super great little desk. I was selfish.
In my defense I ordered this before I knew about said desk.)


{2.14.11} Our super romantic Starbucks Valentine's adventure.
That is Rory's coffee and my root beer.
That M&M blondie thing was not good.
I spilled 75% of that bottle of root beer in my favorite purse.
I became distracted at Forever 21 and didn't realize the cap had come off in said purse.
It is a good thing I know the girl who makes said favorite purse.
 

{2.15.11} I heart the way toys look at the bottom of a tub.
And you can tell by the remnants of this bath,
that it was quite the party tub time indeed.


{2.16.11} Sometimes living in Utah isn't so bad.


{2.17.11} Party dress.
Have I mentioned I love this girl?
Like over the moon, head over heels, I'm in trouble
kind of love.


{2.18.11} My idea of a stellar, kick arse Friday night.
Chocolates, a Diet Coke from McDonalds
(I don't eat their food, but their Diet Coke is marvelous.)
and making a belated Valentine's card for my love.
(No excuse for a card that late,
HOWEVER
I bought him the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition
so I'm the best ever, right?)
All while indulging in trashy t.v.
(Days of Our Lives)


{2.19.11} My ga-ga-ga-gorgeous new headband from
I've been trying to come up with excuses
to wear it every single day.

I'm ready to make some changes this week.
All good ones.
Up and up!


13 Months

I have a secret to tell you little Miss S...

This mommyhood adventure gets sweeter every day.

As do you.






I could write about you until my fingers fall off, but I also want to be sure to capture how you made me feel at different stages in your life. Of course this is for purely selfish reasons. Perhaps it is because I am obsessed and head over heels with the intricacies, depth, madness and pure delight that is motherhood.


Everyday you grow more and more into this little person you will one day be. It is one of the most magical things I have ever been privledged enough to witness. Your charisma shines to the outermost edges of everything.


While the above photos would have some believe you are a perfect little angel who always holds still for mommy when she's taking a picture of you, here's the reality of mommy trying to take these pictures by herself:




After awhile I threw in the towel and waited for reinforcements in the form of a jolly Poppa who can always make you laugh. Or at least hold still for two seconds. (See above for proof.)

You weigh 17 pounds; while this is small for your age, I am just grateful everyday that you are growing. Perspective is a good thing to have. You love to eat and don't mind trying new foods. You want what you want when you want it. We are working on other forms of commuicating your needs besides screaming, whining, and yelling. You are winking up a storm. You love to put your hand on the rails of the stairs when we are walking up them. I think this makes you feel like a big girl. You have an adorable new found sense of your control over your environment. I lose myself in watching you and the moments you recognize what power you have over objects in your atmostphere.

I'm excited to experience so much with you, but I'm planting my feet in the now and really focusing on loving each moment with you as it unfolds.

Five Minute Friday: I feel the most loved when...

It is time for Five Minute Friday once again! Each week I fall in love all over again with this challenge that the fabulous gypsy mama hosts on her blog. The rules are simple, she gives a topic and you have five minute to write. Sounds easy but it isn't! No censoring, no editing, no worries. (Yes, let's pretend we all write with no worries, shall we?)





I feel the most loved when …

I’m the first to admit I am extremely critical of my parenting choices. Going to college to become a Child Life Specialist will do that to a girl. Being shown every single way to be detrimental to each developmental stage is a good tool for someone working with chronically and terminally ill children, but maybe not so much so for a momma who thinks perfection is the only road down which she can ever be allowed to walk.

I feel most loved when I let go, embrace my faults, ah no, celebrate my faults even and allow others to let me. Be loved that is. When I can honestly drink in a compliment handed to me and not reply to it with something incredibly unappealing about another area of my life. When Sookie stretches her little arms around my neck and squeezes me for dear life, I’m given my proof all of this mommahood business is not comprised of stress, worry, and anxiety. I feel most loved when I’m living up to what I know is my best self. When I can celebrate my life in it’s own scope and not drown my sorrows in envy for others.

And done...

When do you feel the most loved? 

A Happy Girl

I hope you have all had a wonderful week!

I am thrilled to usher in a new look, a new title, a new domain and consequently, a new beginning around here. What do you think?

Of course, I've adored the name two one ten because it is the day we met Miss Sookie. (February 1st, 2010) For many understandable reasons it was one of the scariest days of my life, but I will always cherish those hours for showing me what can happen when you conquer the impossible. How your heart can stretch to leaps and bounds you never knew existed. It was the day she made me a momma and showed me how much I have underestimated my power in this world. It was the day she showed me what fierce fight can be within someone who is a mere 5 pounds, how much courage she had to make it here. I still tear up at the simple thought of her first cries. How I ached to hold her close to me for hours without interruption, but that I knew they had to whisk her away to check on her heart.

I debated forever if I should change the name of this blog or not. I annoyed friends and family asking for their input. I typed in many, many, many different ideas for a new domain name. I started to drive myself insane because I so desperately wanted a simple title that summed up my life in two to three easy to remember words. I finally came to the realization all I can do is share our story, celebrate the impossible that has comprised our journey, practice gratitude everyday and hope the title of this blog brings me some new inspiration along the way. I'm a happy girl. I have a happy and healthy 13 month old who has a personality bigger and sweeter than a lot of adults I know! I'm a blessed momma and although it is tough to be a trailblazer and dealing with health issues while raising a child, I will continue to see the joy in all things. I can't compare my luck to others, I can only see it in the scope of my own life.

I have to say an extra extra special thanks to Danielle Moss Graphic Design & Photography for the blog makeover. She is stunningly talented! The design I had up before was one of her pre-made templates. I still love it too! I had a vision of what I wanted for my custom design but I'm horrible at describing things in a way that makes sense, especially when it is someone else with all of the graphic design knowledge. Danielle was unbelievably wonderful to work with. She had endless patience with me, my changing preferences and completely chaotic time schedule. Go check out her site and be prepared for some gorgeous beyond words eye candy.

There are a few new additions to the navigation bar right below the header. In addition, I will be finishing up Sookie's birth story within the next few weeks. I also have a cute new button! Grab one, go ahead...I know you want to.




Here's to new beginnings and a fresh start!

Wordless Wednesday (with a few words)


Donkey? Check
Fairy Pajamas? Check
Yummy fingers? Check
Tired eyes? Check

She survived her first red eye flight from SLC to JFK.
She's my little trooper.

Messy

Sometimes I savor the satisfaction that comes with cleaning up a mess; physical, mental, or emotional.

I have so much to say here and of course, the never ending issue of time. A few days ago, Little Miss S and I took a trip to Long Island with Glamma. I was going to have a bunch of posts written and scheduled while we were gone. Obviously that didn't happen! I barely survived two 4 hour plus flights with a 13 month old who happens to have a cough and is cutting 3, yes 3, molars. Luckily, the stress was worth it to see everyone we were able to see last weekend.

My head is a little messy right now even though my house is not. (Thanks so sweet Rory who not only cleaned the house while we were gone, he organized the cupboards in the kitchen AND our closet. He knows the way to my heart and I'm a lucky gal beyond words.) Deadlines, projects, words, thoughts, worries, hopes, plans, all swirling into one big storm. So I find quotes like this to quiet it all down and keep my focus:




I feel parenthood has had interesting changes on us. Rory is much more patient, while I feel I never have any these days. Funny how that works, right?

There will be lots of changes around here in the near future. I'm excited to share them with all of you.

xoxo.