What I Learned

We’re three days post-trip and I thought it’d be a great time to reflect on our vaca.. The last two days of our vacation really made me feel crappy about how the last part of our vacation went and on our way home I reflected rather poorly on the trip as a whole when I shouldn’t have.

I purposefully hadn’t planned a lot for the last couple of days because we were going to wing it a little. Turns out, I’m not the best at winging it. I feel like our moods had slowly but surely went downhill throughout the duration of our trip and it bummed me out. A lot. Mostly because I couldn’t fix it.

My mom’s always taught me that it’s a choice to be happy. You choose to wake up on the right side of the bed. I’ve agreed with that most of my life. But some days, optimism apparently is a fight for the fittest. Don’t get me wrong, the trip was good. I was surprised that Omaha was my favorite city and I want to return there to see more attractions that we didn’t get a chance to explore. I liked Kansas City too but I don’t think there is anything there calling my name.

Honestly, I probably had a rather negative outlook on the trip as a whole prior to even venturing that way. When I think of the mid-west (middle of the country), I don’t think of anything. I don’t think of water or mountains or beaches or buildings or beauty. I think of nothing, like actually nothing. Not in an “I hate America” type of way, just as a “No one has ever bragged about doing anything so how would I know what there is to do?” type of way. And the internet wasn’t much help.

There were loads of things to do all along our trip but most of them consisted of museums or events happening on days before or after we were there. You can only see so many museums before you get museumed out. Ya’ know?

Parasailing was very fun. I was so SO worried that I’d fall to my death not because I was scared of the adventure but because of my weight. And guess what? I didn’t. The harness held me and for that I’m elated. I did have a bit of an emotional breakdown after though. Although it was fun and I cannot wait to go parasailing again, I hated on myself so hard about the entire experience. I got winded going down and up the 65 steps there and back. The life-jacket was so small and tight on me that I felt as if I looked like a balloon being squeezed in the middle. I also wish I could have rode tandem. The typical way to go parasailing is two people at a time, side by side. Due to my weight, that wasn’t an option. I had so many emotions going through me by the time I got back to the car that I couldn’t even talk. I wanted to cry and scream and yell and shake myself thin. I’m so beyond grateful that I had the option to go parasailing when my weight often limits the things I can do. I only hope that the way I beat myself up that day helps me to find the motivation needed to make some serious changes.

Reflecting on the rest of the trip was rather bland. St. Louis was physically draining because of all the walking and the heat. It wasn’t much warmer in Missouri as it is in Minnesota but we spent a lot more time outside than we would on a typical 90 degree day up north and that took it’s toll on us.

For the most part, I’d like to think that we had fully intended on our trip being in high spirits the entire way and there were a lot of great moments, beautiful views, interesting things.. But it seemed to be overshadowed by the heat and tiredness and frustration.

What I learned throughout this trip though, is that my mom is still my bestie. We had moments that we just needed a minute but it was okay and we made it. I learned that I have energy to keep going even when I didn’t think it was possible. I learned that my thoughts about middle America are pretty much true.

I also learned that the only thing holding me back from being the adventurous self I know I am is my weight. There are so many things I’ve never ever done because I exceed the limit or am afraid I’ll break whatever it is. This is something I’ve been learning all my life and I really truly need to find the power within myself to overcome this.

And lastly, I learned that the words I type don’t 100% reflect how I felt about every single moment on our trip. Showing Channing all the photos I took and the souvenirs I got made me feel good. I was so excited to tell him all the things we did and where we went along with the ups and downs alike. It was a good trip even if I didn’t realize it at the time.

Most of all, I’m so very grateful to have my mom with me and in my life. I don’t know how I could possibly live my life as well as I do without her there with me every step of the way. So, if you’re reading this mom, thank you and I love you. ❤

Days 6 & 7: The Journey Home

Day 6 was supposed to be our “spa” day but it didn’t happen quite as planned. Initially we were going to book massages and pedi’s but we decided a few days ago we’d be okay with passing on the massages this time around. No real reason, just weren’t into it.

So we figured we’d go swimming. I found a pond/swimming hole in Rochester online and it looked pretty nice so that’s where we were headed. We got a little sidetracked early on wanting to get blow up floaty things so we could just veg out on the water. Turns out the swimming hole was literally a gravel pit of a hole. It was a dud and it was dirty. Not like Detroit Lake dirty but like goose poop and seaweed clumps dirty. We were in and out in 10 minutes or less\. It took us longer to change into our swimwear than we were actually there. We didn’t even stick around to lounge on the beach.

We got to the hotel about an hour or so later and did go swimming in the pool at the hotel. It was okay.

On our last and final day we headed home. We stopped in Alexandria for lunch and it was delicious and then got pedicures at a nail spa in Fargo. Much needed.

Day 5: A Sailboat, A Ship, A Hound, and A Blimp.

Today marked the 2nd leg of our trip. Starting the day out, we were just a little over the halfway point miles wise. The rest of our trip including today was very loosely planned. I had some trouble being excited about planning a trip in the middle of the country so the next few days may be a boring read haha.

Our first stop was Springfield, IL, home of the one and only Honest Abe. Well, adult home. He was born in a log cabin somewhere else, they say. We went on a free tour and ERRMEGERD was the tour ranger a dull dog on cough syrup. B-O-R-I-N-G. He talked as if he memorized his tour speech word for word 65 years ago. His mouth droopy and his eyes mostly closed. Every room we went through in ol’ Abe’s house we were told that “..one boy died young. The family had planned to come back to their Springfield home after President Lincoln’s term in the office but he was assassinated and one of the sons died in the White House so they never did come back..” Word. For. Word. Over. And. Over. We couldn’t get out faster if we had tried.

We made another pit stop in Le Claire, IA where the American Pickers got their start. We visited the business hound while checking out the Antique Archeology shop(s). I was surprised at the small scale of stuff they had for how huge they’ve become. I’m wondering if their Nashville location is larger or maybe they sell as quick as they pick? It was neat anyway.

We also received word from the locals that Columbus’ Nina and Pinta replica ships were in town just down the road in Davenport. Turns out, they were! And in the very same place the Sailing Club was doing it’s thing! What! Wait, there’s more.. A Metlife sponsored blimp was flying around in the sky. So many things all in one place. It was visually refreshing.

We ended out our kind of odd day dining at the World’s Largest Truckstop on I-80 in Iowa and checking into our motel in Cedar Rapids awhile later. I came across the perfect quote to sum up today’s adventures:

“Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.” — Lawrence Block

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Day 4: I didn’t see Nelly in St. Louie

Hello Heat Stroke! We woke up in quaint Pontoon Beach, IL right by the local fair or carnival.. Whatever you want to call it. Our agenda included the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, City Museum and the St. Louis Arch (obvs). I should preface the rest of this post before we get to it.. I’m writing today having had a few days pass. The night in question ended with me not wanting to move because I felt dog sick all over. #dehydrated

Our first stop for day 4 was the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. I’m not a beer connoisseur or even alcohol in general for that matter but the ABB was on TripAdvisor’s top places to see while in St. Louis so I figured we should give it a go. After today’s events, this was probably the best part of today. For me anyway.

We went on a complimentary Brewery Tour that included a trip through the Brewery grounds, a peek at the Clydesdale’s, and a walk-through their mashing and milling buildings. I’m just guessing those are the names of the buildings. One word while walking through this architectural beauty of a village.. Wow! Everything was dressed to the nines. The Clydesdale’s live more lavishly than I could ever dream of. We went into what I would call the “Beer Making Plant” and THAT was decked out too. Ivory and gold colored finishings and chandeliers.. The stair railings and the walls, the floor and the elevator.. Everything was created with design and elegance in mind. Remember, we’re in a brewery so this was odd to me. I had imagined us walking into a box of a production plant with slate colored concrete above, below, and beside us. Boy was I wrong.

If you’re a beer drinker you’d love that we received a free 8 oz beer at the beginning of our tour and another free 16 oz at the end of the tour. I was parched and don’t like the B so I got Mountain Dew at the Brewery. #Merica? The only thing that could have made this tour better is if we’d gotten to pet the Clydesdale’s.

We also hit up the City Museum. What. The. Fuck. There is no real way to explain this place. You just have to go but at the same time, I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone. Ugh. The best way I can describe it is like this: The City Museum is every fantasy a child could possibly have come true while at the very same time every nightmare a parent could imagine. There were kids coming out of the walls and floors and ceilings. There are 5 or 6 floors I think. Trees, caves, slides, ropes, stairs. A school bus, ferris wheel, and airplane ON TOP of the roof that were all accessible. It’s a designing wonder of the modern world but holy for scary if you’re a parent to a child. There are little nooks and cranny’s that parents definitely cannot fit through and everything just..keeps..going.

Last but definitely not least was the Gateway to the West, the St. Louis Arch. We paid $20 (gross) to park and then had to walk what seemed like eternity finally getting to the Riverboat Cruise. It wasn’t worth it. Maybe if we weren’t dying from the humidity? I dunno. The Arch itself was cool. The little egg shaped pod you go up in  was bigger than I imagined. Going to the top and seeing the city laid out was beautiful. I think the best time would have been in the evening after the sun had set but it was still pretty cool

I don’t know what it was about day 4. We were both so hot. My mom more so than I but it took a real toll on us. Over the last few days, we had walked more than we had anticipated. This was a lot of work and a big achievement for us super fit chicks. I really think the heat killed our moods even though we did try to be optimistic about the day. I don’t feel like it was any warmer than “home” a few weeks ago when it reached the mid-90’s but it just felt way more deadly. I suppose we were outside all day in comparison to working in an A/C building 8-5.

Overall, St. Louis was okay but I really don’t think I’d purposefully come back. I’d probably go to the Brewery again if Channing was along and the Arch because it’s the Arch but everything was under construction in and around the Arch. It wasn’t pretty and it was the same price as if it were all open. It wasn’t easily accessible and we had to climb a lot more than we felt was necessary. Being hot and tired takes a lot away from the fun and adventure. I suppose realists would tell us to get in shape then. Yeah, whatever.

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Day 3: We went parasailing!

I’m currently chilling at a Best Western somewhere in Illinois watching the Olympics Beach Volleyball event. (Wang and Yue vs. Walsh Jennings and Ross.) What stupid outfits. Do these women not have butt cracks? #lowridersforreal

We hit up three states today. At first I sat there thinking that Missouri isn’t anything to be excited about but then we arrived in the Ozarks area. We had planned to go parasailing at 10:30 this morning but it was postponed until 1 due to weather. My coworkers would be surprised to find out that I had no back up plan for this tragedy. #saywhat

We had lunch at a dimly lit tavern and strolled the Crayola colored buildings on the Bagnell Dam strip today. Grandpa’s Ice Cream shop was pretty good and I thought about getting Grandma’s fudge but didn’t.

We hiked down and then up again to go parasailing. It was both the highlight of the day and a nagging reminder that I can overcome my weight insecurities. I’ll have to post photos and video once we get home from our trip. I had a GoPro cam with me and one of the crew guys took pictures of our adventure. I guess my phone doesn’t have a spot to insert a mini SD card. (Laaaame.) I did leave the smiley face parachute with a battle wound though. Anyone who knows me, knows that I can’t balance worth shit. I totally biffed it getting off the parasail boat onto the weird bubble raft thing in the middle of the lake. For how much I’ve tripped this summer, I’m surprised my knee still works.

Anyway, I’m nearing the end of this ramble.. My advice to everyone reading is to go parasailing and wear sun screen even when it’s cloudy. Oh, and get a henna tattoo. I didn’t get a chance to get one but shoulda, coulda, woulda.

I hope to visit the Lake of the Ozarks region again. We only explored a sliver of this peace, love and definitely marijuana infused area somewhere in the middle of Missouri. Didn’t know the southern midwest could be so chill and support The Donald at the same time. Literally Trump cutouts and Vote For Trump buttons were everywhere.

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Day 2: Badminton Anyone?

My feet hurt because I’m a lazy pants most of the days of my life. And I’m tired. We were up and out by 6 this morning. “Uffda” as my grandma would say.

Today’s post is short. We spent the day in Kansas City, MO. I took a bunch of pictures I’ll probably never print like usual. Most of them are posted below but you can check me out on the Insta to see the rest @orianoelle.

P.S. I’m further south then yesterday. Already broke my own record. Boo ya.

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Day 1: My mom thinks she’s more adventurous than me.

Today officially marks an annual adventure.. A yearly trip with my mum. (I figure that’s what the English guy at our table tonight would have called his mother.) Last year we cut ground on our inaugural trip. My mom turned 50 in 20-15 and her resolution or goal of sorts was to see all 50 states before she dies at the minimum old age of 100. #gobigorgohome

Challenge accepted.

I linked last year’s blog series to my Facebook page yesterday if you’re interested in what we did or where we went. I’m tip top typing away on my phone tonight so I won’t be helpfully linking you to it.

Anyway, today we booked it out of Fargo bright and sunshine-y early. We made a pit stop in Sioux Falls to check out Falls Park. My mom had never been before and I love anything having to do with water.. so yeah.

Next up was Omaha. Attention folks, I am officially further south then I’ve ever been! Smack dab in the midwest. Go me, woo! I do seriously feel cool about that though so I gave myself a pat on my sheltered life of a back.

We attended a dinner theater of sorts tonight. It was okay. I’d totally go to one again but I, for some reason, just couldn’t follow. Maybe I was over thinking the scenario or it just wasn’t what I was expecting? I loved that they had audience participation though, it made it exciting.

We also checked out Heartland of America Park. We wanted to go there to ride in a gondola thingamajig but ended up taking a stroll instead. This was probably the highlight of day one for me. Omaha has an enormous and beautiful riverfront, it just keeps going. Hearts on hearts, yes please. And apparently so do the Pokémon Go-ers. They. Were. Everywhere.

I can’t wait to come here again. We’ve been told by locals and visitors that we need to check out the Zoo. Apparently it’s been voted the best in the world or so the English guy at our table says.. We didn’t have time for it this time around but I’ll be back. Promise.

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11th Day Of Christmas: ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the day before Christmas and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring,
not even a mouse.
But yet I heard a knock at the door..
Who could it be, a delivery for me!?
I went to see but whoever was there,
was there no more.
Was it a sound in my head
or just a spirit in the air;
something telling me it’s time to prepare.
As the man in the family had to work half a day,
I decided there was no time to play.
My crock pot was lined and ready for use.
I pulled out the carrots, potatoes, and moose.
(Just kidding it was a roast.)
As the roast was cooking and made the room warm,
what better to do than pick up my dorm?
I did the dishes and made the bed,
took the garbage out and was ready to be fed.
Dinner was served and deserved.
The leftovers preserved..
We exchanged gifts full of if’s and thrifts.
Next up was a safe travel from here to there.
Munchies were bought and lottery tickets were a thought.
I had to buy them even though not everyone wins.
For even a dollar would secure me a new set of bobby pins.
We visited Ashley and surly but not lastly
watched the end of Home Alone which was very catchy.
Christmas Vacation was up next..
but I got a text.
Dad had made Gramma Aggie bars;
they’re a family favorite of ours.
From there to here after a quick drive,
to mom and dads house we did arrive.
Thanks to Sony and Un’s bogus phony bologna,
we finally watched The Interview
and then mom and I wrote this rhyme for you.
For now ’twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,
not a kitty was stirring;
for purring they were with such delight
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!

Written by Orianah Fast & Julie Fast

2nd Day Of Christmas: ‘Tis The Season Of Giving

IMG_7437Today’s story comes to you in the form of a good deed done by my mom. My mom’s heart will always be the biggest of anyone I know. She has this uncanny way of being accepting and compassionate even towards those who least deserve it. She has the ability to look beyond the surface without judgement. She’s who I want to grow up and become because there really isn’t anyone much more wonderful than my mom.

If I’m correct, my mom has been donating to the Grand Forks homeless shelter; Northlands Rescue Mission for awhile now. $10 or so here and there whenever she could. I don’t think it’s been too regular or anything but I think the mission sends out donation requests periodically and if she can afford it, she’ll throw a few bucks their way.

Bags-of-Blessings-2014-231x300Recently, Northlands Rescue Mission sent out flyers with the tagline “Bags of Blessings.” As we all know, Christmas is definitely coming. Those [believers] of all ages, races, and income levels in some way, shape, or form have Christmas on their yearly bucket lists. Whether you have the money or you don’t; Christmas is special. ‘Tis the season where miracles are possible and kindness is spread.

My mom took part in being someone’s Christmas miracle this year. Instead of tossing the flyer she received like I’m sure a lot of people would do (sadly, myself included) she decided to spread the wealth. Good karma if you will.

On a routine trip to Grand Forks she picked up all of the items on the list including a sweatshirt, socks, shampoo, deodorant, and a few other things. She also bought a gym bag as asked and marked the front of it male also noting the size she had bought for. All that was left was to bring the bag with the items in it to Northlands Rescue Mission and that she did.

The total cost of all the items purchased came to $72 and some change. When I asked my mom what her reasoning was for helping the homeless shelter more than she usually does, she left me with this:

Matthew 25:40 “What you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.” ~Jesus Christ

I’ve been one to judge too quickly and assume things that I do not know.  I’m sure that many people in homeless shelters across the region and country are truly in need of generous help from those like my mom and I hope that I can find the empathy needed towards causes like that. My mom deserves a round of applause not only for buying a few things and donating it to the shelter but for being a damned good person. Coming from someone (myself) who finds it hard to see beyond the grime and the dirt on the surface and actually wonder what the story behind the homelessness is – it really takes a heart of gold and compassion to donate towards a cause that faces so much ridicule.

IMG_7970If you’d like to donate to your local homeless shelter please do so; I’ve listed both Grand Forks and Bemidji’s contact information at the end of this post. They need more help than any of us are probably capable of even understanding. If you chose not to donate towards the shelter, find a cause that you feel comfortable donating towards even if it’s just one time a year.

In an effort to embrace the season of giving and to do some good; I’ve decided to do some research myself and donate a little bit this Christmas season as well. I fully believe that rehabilitation is one of the key factors to solve many of the homelessness cases in the area. I’ll be looking online and around the area locally for a non-profit rehabilitation program to donate towards.

Northlands Rescue Mission – 420 Division Ave, Grand Forks, ND 58201
Village of Hope – PO BOX 1035, Bemidji, MN 56619

Merry 2nd Day of Christmas!

 

Follow Up: TTGS

I figured I’d fill the blog-o-sphere in on my weekend adventures. With the help of my mom’s willingness to also go shopping, we decided to treat ourselves to a few new things after my last rant on WP.

I dug into the savings that I’ve been hoarding away for a rainy day and shopped until my feet hurt. (I’m glad I did.)

It was definitely a confidence booster to go place to place around town. I haven’t really gone shopping since I started loosing weight and I don’t think my mom had either. I’m so used to getting what I need rather than what I want. Over the past 4 or 5 years I’d only buy one item (like pants) because I needed them and my old pair (Yes, pair. I’ve very rarely allowed myself to have more than one or two pairs of pants at a time.) were getting worn out. It was both a breakthrough and a reality check for me. I was more realistic with what size I actually am rather than hoping I’m a size or three smaller than the tag shows. I made sure to grab a few different sizes before heading to the fitting room so that I wouldn’t be overly disappointed when something didn’t look as I’d hoped.

Obviously, I’m no where near where I’d like to be physically. To be honest, I don’t really see a change in how things fit because, like I said, I’ve never made “looking good” a priority until recently. But finding things that complimented my current body size nicely rather than just buying the cheapest thing on the clearance rack – it really felt good. And having my mom as my harshest critic yet biggest supporter really made me feel confident about my wardrobe choices.

I can’t wait to do it again in another 30 or so pounds.

Ciao.

IMG_7036This weekend was full of fun. I will try to spare you on all the rambling on details but it was nice to do something out of the norm. Not that my weekends have been “normal” or anything. I am pretty aware of the fact that I live a “dull life” in comparison to many of the people that I interact with on a daily basis. I’ve actually been busier than I’m used to over the last few weeks though. But if you’ve been keeping up with my blog or twitter feed, you already knew that.

We had a nice yet unexpected dinner with my aunt on Friday evening. And we also went to visit my SO’s niece and nephew which was a blast because they are both at such fun ages. I remember growing up and my Uncle Troy seemed to be always present in my younger childhood days. Moments with him were some of my favorite growing up.

We haven’t always had the opportunity to connect with our niece and nephew as often as we’d like to have in the past but are making a great effort to do so as much as we can presently. It’s a good feeling.

Bw-obAeCcAErsTdSaturday was full of JC, shopping, a baby shower for Channing’s sister and some good ol’ quality visiting time with my mom. When days are jam packed with thing after thing after thing, it seems that there are never enough seconds in the day. I loved every bit of the weekend but I wish that I could have spent more time doing each thing because it seems like an hour only last 20 minutes these days.

Oh, and my mom, brother, and I went to get our hair done at my aunts salon in Halstad. (This is a different aunt from my Friday venture.) I wish I had a picture of my moms new do as well because she looks great!

Does time go faster than it should? I began to notice that each day seemed to go a little faster when I was in 4th grade. I don’t know what the particular event was but I know that I was at school and I all of a sudden felt like the day zoomed by. Around that time, I must have become more concussions of the measure of time.

As I’m proofreading this post, it’s kind of silly I guess. To lay out what I did on my weekend. It’s actually kind of boring. I just felt like writing and really don’t have anything specific to write about.

Actually, I do have a couple things to write about but I’m working through how to construct the posts. I have some blurbs of thoughts down but nowhere to go with them. We’ll see what happens. Ciao.

Christmas In July.

10488215_10152518733063363_7056823897675192397_nI wanted to post some of my favorite pictures from the holiday weekend. Or, week I should say. The last Sunday in June through July 3rd, we stayed at a quaint little Catholic bible resort through the Diocese of Crookston. I’m assuming the Diocese has camps for kids that run throughout the summer based off of all the hand-written and carved names in the lodge. But for this 4-day getaway, it was reserved for our extended family only. No one else.

10442440_10152518723093363_715589565184503715_nUnfortunately the first two days were filled with chilly off and on rainy weather. It definitely got everyone’s spirits down because for most of us, it’s the only time that we’ll get a vacation in the calendar year. I’d like to say that we made the most of it, which we did, but we definitely got restless watching the white caps form on the little lake knowing that it was too rough for canoes and too cold to swim.
10446556_10152518802578363_3928342290805872018_nWednesday came as soon as it could. The weather let up and the real fun began! Fishing, swimming, driving a boat for the first time, finding out that I possess zero sense of balance in a canoe, laughing, scavenger hunts, s’mores…the list goes on.

Thursday we packed up and headed down the twisty road to Lake Itasca. We mosied our way through the biggest state park that I’ve ever been to. Checked out the beach, visited a pioneer cemetery and crossed the Mississippi Headwaters. It was really beautiful and peaceful.

10400844_10152518740063363_8975642485060600810_nFriday we traveled a bit further to Bemidji to see C’s sisters and nephew. The town had a carnival going on for the 4th of July. I can definitely tell that I’ve grown up and slightly outgrown the fair scene. I still like it. I love hearing the kids laughing and the rides spinning. I still laugh when the carny’s attempt to sweet talk you into playing a game. But man oh man, I don’t miss the crowd. I don’t miss the push and shove and the nasty looks if you’re in the way. When we were younger we must have been too excited to notice the amount of people crowded into such a small dirty area.

10418425_10152518751188363_6484200687791014883_nSeeing C’s nephew was an absolute delight. He’s 3 1/2 now and hilarious as can be. We watched the fireworks right on shore of Lake Bemidji. They were beautiful and he loved the heck out of them!

I won’t bore you with much more. I kind of just wanted to mention the highlights of our trip because memories so quickly become forgotten. I hope you had a happy 4th with friends and family.

Follow me on Vine to see a few 6-second videos from our trip @orianoelle!

How Long Is Too Long?

I’ve noticed more and more women of the last few generations including mine are deciding to be stay-at-home moms. Heck, if I had the opportunity, I would probably opt to be a stay-at-home mom myself. In saying that, I mean it in the sense that if I had children and if my significant other made enough for my family to be content and well off without extra income I’d do it too.

Up until recently, I thought that’s what a stay-at-home mom was. She stay at home with the children. But how can you claim to be a stay-at-home mom when all your kids are in school? Literal terminology I guess. Or laziness. Or talentless.

Don’t shit your pants. I know you’re not lazy or talentless. You clean the house, you cook the food, you plan the vacations and activities, you help with homework, buy groceries, you do it all. You’re Wonder Woman but so is every other mom.

What’s the point of staying at home when your kids are absent from the home during the hours of 7:30 – 4:00? So you can what? See them off to school and pick them up after? What do you do in between? Watch soap operas and do a load of clothes? Bullshit.

MjAxMy01MmU5NDI2ZmYzNTU1MGRjI’m not hating on the stereotype because like I said, if I were in the position to stay at home with my babies, I would jump all over that shit but that’s not ever going to happen for one. And two, I wouldn’t abuse it like drunks abuse welfare. I’ve simply seen a rise in stay-at-home moms beyond the age of 5 or 6 and in the most simple sense, don’t get it.

The daycare costs alone are what I’m assuming is the most alluring point of interest into making that kind of decision. Great way of thinking, I agree. Getting to spend time with your children, teaching them the way you want them to be taught, ensuring that they are in good care, breathing while they nap, ect. All great points.

The biggest downfall I think we run into with the stay-at-home mom force is interaction with other children. I worked in a daycare for about a year and a half and interaction in the infant to toddler age range is crucial for social development. As long as you make it a necessity to have play dates with other children and/or enroll them in similar programs (mommy & me, gymnastics, water park, ect) your choice in staying at home will prove to be triumphant.

But we’re getting off track as to where this was going. Beyond the wonder years, beyond the first. We know all the positives and negatives about staying at home, raising them yourself. I’ve done research on some of it and I’ve concluded that if it’s for you and you can afford it, go for it. More power to you.

But there should be a line. And that line is kindergarten. Once your child(ren) gets enrolled into some kind of educational system that is set to a consistent 6.5 to 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. It’s time for you to move on and do something with your life.

807a68b1596840bbbcfa7f8e0f08e0b960Why in the hell would you want to stay at home every day to do nothing? The ONLY downfall of going back to work would be not being home right when they get off the bus. But in the age that we are in, there are after school programs, and an hour in daycare (if needed) isn’t going to kill them or your pocketbook.

You can join the rest of us and do you laundry while you’re waiting for supper in the oven. Or better yet, teach your children how to do the dishes and sweep the floors. Give them work to do or they’ll be helpless by age 18. The earlier you instill little chores, the less likely they will resist. Make it fun, don’t bribe them to do it. Teach the importance of it.

Staying at home during the primary grades and beyond is just an excuse. It’s an excuse to close your mind to the world. It’s an excuse to avoid social situations and most of all it’s showing your little girls (if you are blessed to have one) that they don’t have a role model to look up to because you’re just a housewife.

I’m not just being some crazy jealous “I want to be a stay-at-home mom” women here. If I were in your position and my children were off at school. I’d focus on what I love to do. I’d pursue photography. Work my way into circles of graduating seniors or other families I know to build a clientele. With the arrival of Pintrest into our world wide web of ideas, I’d love to live my life antiquing and making projects out of my finds to sell on etsy and eBay. I’d work or volunteer a few hours here and there at a local craft shop, art gallery, or humane society in town.

I’d be a “work-at-home-do-anything-and-everything” mom. What about you?

I Love You More.

Everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and emotions. It’s just how you choose to deal with them..

Through a hectic that shouldn’t have been hectic weekend, I’m finally home with my Tim Hortons hot chocolate. In the beginning of and actually most of the day I had such a negative point of view. I was being a Debbie Downer and let other people get to me when I should have really been enjoying time spent with the people I was with.

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Setting all that aside though, I was happily humbled by the once again realization that I am immensely blessed. I have the best family anyone could ever ask for. There are no words to describe how momentous of an impact my parents have made on my life. In a world of drug addicts, adultery, divorce, and hate; they managed to still bring up three awesome (if I do say so myself) kids. They filled our hearts up with love, our brains up with knowledge and our minds up to be open.

I was reminded today that although I’m not going to like everyone. I’m not going to accept everyones lifestyles and I’m not going to except everyones inconsiderate foolishness; that no matter what, I’ll always have a family. I’ll always be loved no matter what. And even though it just sounds silly, I’m not talking about the usual love. My parents don’t just love us kids because we are their offspring. We aren’t just three toads that they raised and threw off into the world. No matter where we are in our lives or how old we ever get – they will still care about us.

The sad thing is, I don’t think this is as common as I previously thought it was. I think there are a lot of people out there that hurry up and get the kids old enough to raise themselves and then they are set free without the support of what is right and what is wrong. Do they give up on parenthood? I don’t know, to each their own. What matters is that my parents never gave up.

We are now 24, 21, and 18. We all live completely different lives in different towns. We are all at different stages of our early adulthood. We pay our own bills (except the 18 year old who is still in school). We make our own decisions and we have our own viewpoints on every situation but the one thing we have in common is that our family, all 5 of us, matter to each other more than anything else in this entire..everything. More than the world can even handle.

So thank you mom and dad. Thank you for creating a good wholesome family structure. Thank you for showing us what love is. Thank you for staying home on Friday and Saturday nights. Thank you for picking me up drunk and grounding me for an entire summer. Thank you for teaching us lessons and for giving us the sex talk. Thank you for letting us make our own decisions. Thank you for being faithful. Thank you for being the best parents in the entire history of parents being parents because believe it or not, people would kill to have what we have. I love you all.

I can’t figure out how to embed a video into a post so here’s the link for the Flipagram I made with my favorite people in it: Family!

The Easter Season.

In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock or you haven’t noticed that fish fry season has officially started, today marks the beginning of Lent. I’m not much on religious politics so I ignorantly have no idea if any other religions besides the Catholic Church participate in the observance. I would assume that most Christian foundations follow it in one way or another but that’s another topic that I’m not really interested in diving into right now.

Lent quote from Pope Francis 2014

When I was young, we were always asked what we were going to “give up” for Lent. Our answers would always be nearly the same. No pop or candy. If our parents were lucky, we’d say no TV but God himself only knows that wasn’t going to last. Not until I was in Junior High did someone ask me what I was going to “do” for Lent as in “do more of.” Until that 7th grade year of religious education, I, as a brand name obsessed tween, didn’t know that I had the choice! In my adolescent brain I’m sure I was thrilled knowing that as long as I could promise to be kinder to my brothers or take the garbage out without my mom asking that I’d be doing good for the Lenten season.

As I’ve gotten older though, I’ve come to a split realization. To some, it’s almost like a do-over for the New Years resolutions that we flopped on by January 5th. We decide to do or give up something ridiculous and it lasts until the 2nd or 3rd fish fry. And on the other hand, I see that people actually do make a point of doing their best. In the world we live in, although it’d be ideal, it’s harder than ever to actually unplug or quit cold turkey on caffeine. It’s much “easier” for lack of a better term to do more. To be better. To contribute.

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The Easter season as I refer to it, is my favorite time of the year. Although I haven’t really been involved in the Catholic community since the day I was confirmed, it still is the foundation for many of the morals and memories that I hold dear to my heart. My favorite days out of the entire Catholic year were always Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday.

I don’t know if it was ambiance of Ash Wednesday or what but I always felt a sense of calmness. Walking into church at 5:00 PM on that Wednesday every year made me feel free and sinless. It made me forget about the mean kids in school or the fights with my brothers. It made me forget missing my dad because of his job or watching my mom try to breathe through the pains in the asses that we were as kids. Ash Wednesday was peaceful. From the moment we walked in and sat in the pews to the sign of the cross on our foreheads, I was reminded that there is a Father, a Son, and a Holy Spirit. I miss that.

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And Palm Sunday, it’s the best isn’t it? I have only ever celebrated Palm Sunday in the basement of Sacred Heart in Roseau, MN except for the three years during my confirmation. The entire congregation would gather in the basement. Every single person there would receive their palms. I always wanted to be in the front so I could be hit with whatever it was in that water shaker. I always felt that whoever got wet were the ones that were the most blessed. After the moments of prayer and worship my mom would always show us how to braid our palms. We’d usually braid them into crosses or hearts. They’d be kept with us or sometimes on the calendar or near the mirror at home. To this day whenever I see a palm, I’m reminded of the happiness that the Easter season brings.

I don’t often think of the Lenten season to be one where Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days and nights. I think it’s because although he sacrificed so many things for us; that we’ve always been reminded to be grateful and happy with our life. To not dwell on the hardships of the past and instead to celebrate a new future.

Reflecting back on what I’ve written and remembering some pretty special moments in my past; I know that when I have babies of my own that I will raise them with an education in religion. I’m not sure what or where it will come from. I’m not sure if we will be regular church go-ers or dive into all realms of the religions around the world but I do know one thing; I will share the kindness and importance that Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday hold in my heart.

Happy 40 Days, everyone.

Who Inspires You?

It’s hard to fathom the amount of inspiring people that this world holds. Although I don’t have a lot of people in my inner circle of life; the people I’ve met along the way are all different kinds of inspirational.

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In my journey to adulthood I’ve met people that have had cancer and survived it – multiple times. I know a chick that never let her size prevent her from having the time of her life. I went to college with a girl would one day go on to spread awareness about the victimized within the Catholic church. I know mothers and fathers with beautiful (on the inside and out) children born with disabilities and embraced it. I know LGBT men and women that have stood up to and defended themselves in the presence of bigots. I’m in love with a man that was forced to stay strong through a very painful criminal case. I know a woman that could have easily died while giving childbirth. I know a kid that dropped everything to better his life and succeeded in doing so.

There are so many people that have passed through my life, in what some cases only seemed like a two minute span, but that doesn’t make them any less inspirational. If you demonstrate any quality from strength to power to controlling your own life to never giving up than you too are an inspiration to many. There is no predetermined mold for what will define you in life and there never will be. But if you face your fears and never give up, you’ll form your own mold and path in life in whichever way you choose.

The people that have come and gone in my life continually teach me to be kind and empathetic. They teach me to reach for the unreachable and strive for the best. They show me on a regular basis that they matter and so should I. They prove the discouraging wrong and stand up to what’s right. They hold the key to the many definitions of what I strive to be.

Who inspires you?

“Life is very long.” -T.S. Elliot.

“..Not the first person to say it, certainly not the first person to think it. But he’s given credit for it because he bothered to write it down. So if you say it, you have to say his name after it. “Life is very long.” – T.S. Eliot. Absolutely god damn right..” – August: Osage County

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If you’ve been keeping up with me; I’ve been dipping my toes into a couple different artistic pools lately. I’m kind of trying to find something that I’m good at and enjoy doing so I can make a hobby out of it. I’m working on my fourth scarf (pink/grey/white/black) and a few posts ago, I had shown off the 52-week money boxes that I made for my mom and I.

SO, since then, a co-worker had asked if I’d be able to put together some sort of baby shower card holder box type thing. I figured, might as well! Funny thing is, I didn’t realize how challenging it’d be in comparison to other little projects I’ve done. The only inspiration I had to go with was that the mother is expecting a girl and a photo of a chair they’d purchased for the room. Initially, I assumed it’d be a little boy given the blue and orange (right?) but man was I wrong! I think it turned out pretty good though and an added a touch of little girl with the flowers brought it together but we’ll see tomorrow when I bring it to work!

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It didn’t take too terribly long to make but I worked with materials that I wasn’t used to and had a couple mishaps trying to figure out how to bond one material to another. All is well though. I think it looks pretty good and it is made for it’s intended use. My co-worker asked that it be dual purpose so the expecting couple can use it somehow in their nursery and I think I did just that. Check out the finished project here and give me some feedback.

In other news – My mom and I went to a few movies this past Saturday. They were the exact definition of polar opposite. I’m not going to give too much of a run down because I’ve never been good as summarizing movies or books or even my day but here’s the gist..

We first went to “August: Osage County” and the best word to describe it would be phenomenal! It was such a true, raw, and moving film that it could be relatable to so many different people on so many different levels. I was surprised to find out come Sunday night that they had very few Golden Globe nominations and weren’t even given the honor of winning. Regardless, it was by far one of the best movies that I’ve seen in a long time. I only wish that I would have read the book prior to seeing the movie but it’ll be added to my bucket list.

On the other side of the spectrum was the film “Her.” Now, I get it, I do. I understand the movie but it was torture to sit though, my God. The first half of the movie – I was engaged and waiting for something to happen but after that, it was just plain painful. And to top it off, a Golden Globe win? Excuse me, but what the fuck? Who in their right mind was elected to nominate this year? The best movie got zilch and the worst was praised? Give me a break.

$1378.

Before I begin, I’d like to address the 20-something (I’m assuming college) kids in our apartment building. I hope for your sake that you don’t die of hypothermia tonight and rather get a harsh reality check of frost bite. Running outside practically naked in near 50 below zero weather isn’t only immature but pure idiotic. Get a life.

End rant. Begin post.

We all wish that we had a fool proof way to save our precious copper pennies. Sure, we have many different means to do so but I will be the first to admit that it’s easier said than done. Savings accounts, piggy banks, hidden safes, the list goes on but it’s pretty rare when one of those are full enough to turn in for some crisp dollar bills. At least in my household it always has been, I don’t know about yours.

So even though this is a shot in the dark, my mom saw something on the internet (Pinterest, I believe) that sounded like a great and hopefully fool proof way to save money. Our initial plan replicated the photo she had seen. A glass mason jar, 52 weeks of the year, and all we do is contribute the dollar amount corresponding with that specific week. For example, on week 1 we put in $1. Week two, $2, week three, $3, and so on.

I was totally game for this. I mean, not only did it sound like a pretty slick plan but it was something fun to do. Each week, given that you contribute the required amount, you’d be able to see your total contributions. We’d cash out at the end of the year with a mean green handful of cash!

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I first made the spreadsheets noting each of the 52 weeks, the contribution amount, and the grand total. I bought a couple jars and some super glue to get started. Please note that the super glue is to prevent both ourselves and anyone around us from tampering with the goods. This all was looking promising until I was ready to assemble. Turns out my spreadsheet was too big for the jars.

IMG_4232 I fully intended on buying bigger jars but my mom and I made a pit stop at Target because they had their annual 70% clearance on Christmas going on. Something that a person JUST CANNOT pass up. Along the way we found two red and polka dot boxes. Perfect!

These were way more fun than a jar and to be honest a lot more safe. The original plan was to break open the jars at the end of the year because we had superglued them but I guess that wasn’t such a bright idea. Someone might get cut and who wants to clean up glass? No one. To sum up this unusually long story, we bought the boxes, I updated the spreadsheets to correspond with the box color, (Of course, I had to do this!) and I got started.

If you’d like to make one of your own, it’s really simple. All you’ll need are a few quick things, some of which you might have in your house:

  1. A Container. (Box or Jar)
  2. A List Of The Weeks/Contributions/Totals. (I used Microsoft Excel to create this but if you’re handier than me, you can definitely write it on paper and cut it out)
  3. Superglue. (To prevent greedy lil’ fingers from getting in)
  4. Scissors/Knife. (To cut your papers and if needed, make a slot for your money)
  5. The only other thing that I added aside from this was some ribbon but you can make it your own with puff paint, stickers, or even yarn!

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The best thing about this project was that there is no right way or wrong way to assemble it given that you know the general function of a piggy bank, homemade style! Go ahead, have some fun. I made these for my mom and I because like I said; in the beginning it’s nice to think that we can save money but it’s way harder than either of us could even imagine.

I expect that this won’t start getting difficult until we get to about the 20th week because parting with a $20 dollar bill is unthinkable! But even so, just imagine the reward we will have when we get to the end of the year. I guarantee you that we’ll have the most hard earned, thoughtful gifts under the tree in 20-14! The best part? They’ll be gifts to ourselves, the best kind.

So go ahead, try it! Join us in the 52 week money box (or jar) challenge! Lets see how many of us will be opening gifts worth $1378 come December 31st!

Peace, love, harmony, and good fortune to one, to all!