first haircut

Monday, November 24, 2014

I gave Matilda her first haircut over the weekend. It was only a snip to even things out in the back, but as I held her curls in my hand I could not help but cry. This little tuft of hair that I now held in my hand was with her as she entered the world. It stayed tucked safe in the back when sickness took all her other hair away. And it held tight after her transplant, this one little patch right on the back of her head. It has been with her through everything and now it is gone.

But you see, it is not really about the hair. It is about that feeling, that feeling that we hold onto as mothers, as parents. That feeling that we bring these perfect little things into the world. Into this not so perfect world. And that feeling that we expose them to things hoping they are the best things. Hoping that we are enhancing their perfect, not spoiling it with imperfection. That feeling that we sometimes fall short and they slip and scrape their knee or form an ignorant opinion or learn to love sugar more than nutrition.

It is that feeling that I just lost a piece of that perfect and sweet baby born into my arms. And, I can't put it back. I can't tape it back on. I can only move forward.

Matilda was full of joy as she always is. She wanted a cut just like her brother and papa had earlier that day. She was proud. She was excited. She was perfect. And as tears dripped uncontrollably while I cleaned up the mess, she hopped over to me and held my face with both her little hands, looked me right in the eyes, and for the first time ever she said, "Love you, Mama."

I would trade a snip of hair to hear that any day.

typography holiday blocks

Thursday, November 20, 2014

As much as I like the trendy holiday find, when I think of my childhood I remember the classic items that were brought back year after year. I remember my brother and I playing with a reindeer set every year. I remember setting up the nativity set with my mom. And I remember the toys my grandparents brought out of the closet to occupy all the kids. I want that for my kids, for my grandkids even. So I took the time to make these typography holiday blocks, and hope they become a staple for generations to come.

Supplies: nine wooden blocks, paint, paintbrush, mod podge, white sticker paper (or cardstock), and the Cricut Explore.

Process: Sand, paint, and prep each of your blocks just like you did for this project. Then, head into Design Space and type in any 9 letter holiday words or phrase such as: "candy cane", "saint nick", or "snowflake". I used airplane as my font. Set the dial to iron-on (so that it only cuts through the first sticker layer) and press go. Next, lightly coat the surface of each block with mod podge before adding the sticker. Once that dries, add another light layer on top.

Time: Painting took me a long time. But adding the stickers only took an hour with both layers of mod podge.

Now go and spread holiday cheer!

Cricut has asked a number of bloggers to enter projects with specific themes as a fun way to test out the Cricut Explore. I chose to participate in this group because I honestly believe the Cricut Explore is a game changer in the world of crafting and, really, who doesn't love a little competition on the side. I don't get paid, but I could win prizes if choose in the top ten.

meant to be

Every Thursday I look back at a specific day and time that was spent with my daughter Matilda as she waited for, received, and recovered from a liver transplant. She was in the hospital for 72 days and we remained in NYC until she turned four months old.

November 1st, 2012 - meant to be

I wanted to be a mom long before I held a child in my arms. I knew of the joy. I knew of the hardship. I knew stories of endless sacrifice. But I didn't know the weight. I didn't know how hard it would be to endure the consequences of a single decision. I was terrified of losing Matilda. I was terrified of the new person I would become. I was terrified that I would not be strong enough.

And so I prayed.

A nurse that had never worked with us came up to me that night. She told me that while she was at mass, Matilda popped in her mind and she began to pray fervently. She turned to leave. When I told her that Matilda was getting a transplant tomorrow her mood shifted and she bounded back in my direction. "Praise the Lord," she shouted, jumping up and down. "I knew it! And you both deserve this! You have been here by her side. I see you overnight with her. This is good. God is good." I remember her words like I heard them yesterday. I had chills as she spoke.

This was meant to be.

I couldn't help but think of Missouri. There was a liver there waiting for Matilda. But not just a liver, a liver inside a beautiful two week old baby. I couldn't help but think about what those parents were going through. The immense pain. The horrible sorrow. The shock. And yet they chose amid all of that to gift us with the most blessed thing they had. The gift of life. And my mom. She was adopted in Missouri. She, too, was a beautiful gift given to my grandparents. Grandmother and granddaughter, forever joined by a place I had never stepped foot in; by a place I had never even really thought about.

Chills again. This was meant to be.

I started to think in a different way. Instead of feeling terrified, I started to feel honored. Honored for the opportunity to care for the most precious and beautiful gift I had ever received.

full day pre-k

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I remember going to half day Kindergarten and what it felt like to jump to full days when first grade started. I remember how exhausted I was and how annoyed I was to have to wear my shoes the entire day. I remember hating it.

But Parker is different. We had the choice of doing full day or half day preschool this year and we didn't even consider full day. He is only four. I told myself that he didn't need to be at school all day. And that was that.

However, the last few weeks Parker has been voicing his desire to stay at school. When I would pick him up, disappointment flushed over his face. He wanted to stay. And then I realized, of course he does. By the time we made the walk home from school, it was time for Matilda to nap, me to get some work done, and Parker to have quiet time.

So I was pulling him out of school to give him quiet time. Of course he was bored. Of course he wanted to stay, to play, to learn, and to have fun!

And let me tell you, the kid is loving every second of his new full day schedule. Now when we gets home from school Matilda is rested, I am ready for a break, and we are all ready for a lot of laughter.

easy diy paper popcorn garland

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I love really traditional holiday decorations and nothing is more classic than popcorn garland, so I thought I would give it a twist this year! Here is how you can make your own. And just so you know, this is a sponsored post by Cricut and includes affiliate links, but the project and all opinions are my own.

Supplies: white cardstock (sized to fit your printer), printer, Cricut Explore, sewing needle, thread.

Process: In the Cricut Design Space, search popcorn. I changed the top color to white, but you could leave it if you want more color. Push the "flatten" button to turn the image into a print and cut project. Duplicate the image until you have the desired amount of popcorn. Then, search berry and size to match your popcorn. Next, follow the print and cut instructions, set the dial to cardstock, and press GO. Once your popcorn and berry have gone through the print and cut process, use a needle and thread to attach them just as you would real popcorn.

Time: This took me 30 minutes, tops! It was easy and fun to do with the kids.

Wouldn't this be a fun garland to bring holiday cheer to your office, classroom, or even hospital room? I think so!

Get Your November Cricut Mystery Box Before Supplies Run Out
The Cricut November Mystery Box is now in stock and only $29.99! More than $120 value, you will love your mystery box, which includes cartridges and supplies to keep you crafting all season long. If you buy 2 mystery boxes, you will get $10 off! Supplies are limited, so order before the November Mystery Boxes run out. You can get free shipping, too. All the details on these deals are below. 
On that note, remember to enter this month's Cricut's Mystery Box Contest. The grandprize winner will win an Ultimate Cricut Explore machine bundle and a full year subscription to Cricut Design Space!

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