Introducing: That Darling Boutique

On Friday I teased about a big announcement. I’ve been holding my breath all weekend, excited to tell you: I’ve gone and done it! I’ve opened my very own Etsy shop. I’m happy to introduce my new baby, MY store: That Darling Boutique.

I am open for business and am selling handmade ribbon pennant banners, high chair banners, tie banners, name banners, as well as all sorts of invites and other party stationary available for digital download. 

I’m full of fear, excitement, anxiety, and joy! This has been a long time coming. It’s something I’ve talked about for at least 4 years, but my fear of failure and the fear of starting always got the best of me.

That Darling Boutique

Earlier this summer I hosted my brother in law’s girlfriend’s baby shower. I know that most people roll their eyes at showers – at the tedious decorations, the details, the food, the silly games, the ceremony of opening gifts, but I love them.

I believe we should always jump on the chance to celebrating with loved ones. And regarding showers; I believe that supporting other women as they enter a new chapter in their lives should only be met with grace and joy. 

So, when I was asked to do the decorations for my soon to be niece’s shower I jumped on it! I couldn’t wait to pick out a theme and get started crafting.

It’s relaxing for me, creating something beautiful with my hands. I find pleasure in knowing that although this decor will only be temporary, the smile it may bring to the guest’s face or the added unique burst of color it will add to a fun celebration makes it all worthwhile. 

So I decided to open up a shop. To share my lovely custom designs with everyone.

Each piece is made with love and each piece can be custom-made. I soon hope to receive messages like, “I’m throwing a whale themed party, can you help me out?” Are you that person that is too busy to handle the details of a party you are hosting or just don’t know where to begin? Let me help!

In the meantime I’ve been working away on creating a variety of banners. My living room is full of ribbon and it just makes me smile!

Life is always worth celebrating! Whether it’s a birthday, retirement or graduation party, bridal or baby shower, or simply a fun summer get together, why not make it extra special? Why waste your money on vinyl or cheap paper decorations when you can get a quality custom-made piece (that you could also use again and again?) for just a little bit more money? 

Please check out and share my shop

And also follow along on Facebook.

I’m offering 15% off any order for my “Grand Opening” with the code “celebrate15” until August 15.

Thank you so much for your support!

How We Found Out I Was Pregnant

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In the winter for 2014, when we first started trying, I concocted an elaborate way to tell Ryan we were having a baby. I secured the perfect spot in our living room to set up a small video camera, where Ryan wouldn’t notice it.  I purchased two father parenting books and an “I Love Daddy” onesie and planned to calmly sit him down after work on the couch and present him with a random present. 

I smiled to myself as I thought about his reaction and how we were going to capture it all on camera to share with our child one day.

Of course I naively thought getting pregnant would happen with a snap of our fingers. We all know that wasn’t the case. And this surprise for Ryan was never brought to fruition. 

Every month that I received a negative test the dream of that reveal got more clouded with bitterness and cynicism. The baby books and onesie got buried and nearly forgotten about in our spare bedroom closet. 

During the Christmas season of 2014 I kept my spirits high, hoping for a miracle (or just some good news after having an HCG done). On Saturday January 3, I took a pregnancy test.

Another big fat negative.

I allowed myself some time to be sad but then we had two parties to attend. And we partied. I had quite a few drinks at both of these parties, since I thought I wasn’t pregnant and because I was sad that I was not.

On Sunday January 4, I took another test, (because I’m crazy and love peeing on sticks) and hopped in the shower while the test processed. When I stepped out of the shower I half haphazardly glanced over at the text, knowing that it was going to be another negative. Then was such a routine for me now. Even though I had little hope the test was positive I still continued to take them. 

But….it wasn’t!

There staring back at me was the text line and a very very very faint second line. I couldn’t believe it. My heart stopped. I couldn’t breathe.

I ran downstairs in my towel, dripping wet and screaming.  

Ryan was mentally preparing to call 911, he thought I fell in the shower or something.

I held the test up to his face and screaming “Oh my god Ryan. Look! LOOK! Look!”

He grabbed the test out of my hand and squinted hard at the second line. (I can’t tell you how many times I had him peer at crisp white tests, begging for his eye sight to see something there that really wasn’t there.)

We screamed, hugged, and ran back upstairs together.

Complete disbelief led me to take about 6 more tests that day.

Even though I knew it was scientifically impossible I wanted to see the second barely there line get darker that same day. I took a clear blue digital test and lost faith when the words “NOT PREGNANT” stared back at us. Way to mess with our minds, clear blue! But we knew those test were less sensitive then the First Response ones. I was so terrified of having a chemical pregnancy (early miscarriage).

Hugs, tears, and exclamations of love were said over and over.

We sat side by side in bed stuck in a state of mutual exhilaration and shock, while my hope that this was true and my cynicism battled each other in my head. A few hours later hope won and we decided to share the news with our parents. 

I packed up a onesie I bought last winter that said “What Happens At Grandma’s Stays at Grandma’s” and a pregnancy test in a Christmas gift bag and we drove over to my parent’s house. I told them that we had to drop Maggie off for a bit because we were going to run errands and get some dinner. 

They had no reason to believe otherwise since they knew of my negative test I received a mere 24 hours ago. We pulled up and I put on my best poker face.

I presented the bag to my mom and said “Here is a late Christmas present, it hadn’t arrive in time to give to you on Christmas!”

She happily started ripped away the tissue paper and then she saw the baby onesie. Her face of recognition is one that I will never forget. With tears in her eyes she half whispered, “You’re pregnant? No? You’re really pregnant?” There were hugs, shrieks, and more tears. It felt so surreal, this is a moment I dreamed about for years.

Later, although we tried to wait to tell Ryan’s parent’s in person, we called them up and delivered the news. More shock and excitement. It was nice to see them in person a few weeks later, but I’m glad we decided to call them up and do it that same day.

It was an amazing day! I soaked in as much happiness as I could even though my heart was still full of anxiety over it not being true. We found out so very early at 10 days past ovulation. I spent way too much time on google reading terrifying things. (This symptom of pregnancy still hasn’t gone away.)

I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I didn’t want to let in too much love, only to have it taken away a few days later. It was both a scary and beautiful time.

Thankfully my fears were put aside when I received a positive blood test back from my doctor on Tuesday. 

* a note for potential moms: I did not receive a positive “PREGNANT” clear blue digital test until 14 dpo, even though I was in fact pregnant. The tests are that much more sensitive.  

Nothing will ever measure up to the emotions we felt that day. So much joy. 

After a year of heartache our dreams had come true. We were going to be parents!

Some days I still can’t believe it’s actually happening. There is nothing in the world that I have wanted more than this. I can’t believe that in just 24 more weeks a brand new little person that has never been in this world before will grace us with their presence, someone we have yet to meet but that I love with all my heart.

xoxo Katie

 

 

 

Think Positive Monday: Live The Life You Imagine

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(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

“Look closely at the present you are constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming.” Alice Walker

We all have hopes for what our future will look like. I’m a big day dreamer and one of my husband and I’s favorite things to do on Sunday evenings is to reflect on the weekend and talk about our hopes for the future. I like to think of it as our own unique type of church. It allows us to feel connected, fills us with hope and motivation, and ready to conquer a new week. 

But what about right now.

When you think about it, it’s truly tragic that most of us waste so much of our time hoping and pining for the near and distant future while we are ignoring the life we are currently living. 

Yes, hope is an important part of life. It’s spectacular to have goals and things to look forward to.

But let’s try not to pin all of our thoughts on the future. I’m guilty of saying things like, “When Ryan graduates”, “When we have a family”, “When we buy a house”, “When we live here” or even tinier things like “When the holidays are over”, “When it is warm out again”, “When I’m not so tired”. 

In order to reach those dreams I need to start the foundation of them now. It will take time and action. It will take more than sentimental thoughts and simple hopes and dreams shared over the sunset and a glass of wine. 

Yes we are all busy and yes we are all stressed. But happiness does not lie in future endeavours and plans, it lies in your present thoughts.

Don’t put off happiness. Only you can take charge of your hopes. Turn them into more than just dreams. Or else you will be continuously striving for something that is just out of reach. That happiness will elude you time and time again.

I’m going to start taking positive actions every day. I have to be happy now in order to be happy in the future. I want to paint my present life to look like the beautiful piece of artwork that is the star of my hopes. 

 

 

 

Giving Thanks

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The snow has started to fall, the pies are being prepped, and holiday tunes are playing. It’s officially my most favorite part of the year. 

This week it is obligatory for us to pause and say thanks. We put aside our stress, take big sighs and say thanks  while we help ourselves to seconds of pumpkin pie and think about Christmas shopping. It’s a nice tradition and I take pleasure in watching everyone’s faces soften a bit this week and bask in a little kindness.  And then riots happen. And mass confusion. And violence. And ugly consumerism. It’s so easy for our simple thank yous to get lost. For us to get lost. Buried under all of that weight. 

This time of year is my favorite. But like my stomach after stuffing and pie, it is also very full. So very full. Full of traditions, emotions, memories, hopes, loss, and joy. Remember that for everyone who is thankful for time with family there is someone without a family to create memories with. That for every person that is looking forward to old traditions there is someone who is experiencing a loss and no traditions this year. Not everything is merry and bright, this season holds darkness as well. 

So as this season of fullness begins I will pause to take it all in. I pause to remember all that I do have, not just the big things but all the small things as well.

Thank you for the big fluffy snowflakes that are falling outside. Thank you for a husband that knows when I need him to hold my hand. Thank you for that second cup of coffee in the AM. Thank you for friends that listen and make me laugh. Thank you for legs and lungs that let me run. Thank you for family that is always present. Thank you for puppy kisses and warm cuddles. Thank you for a safe neighborhood and long walks. Thank you for the man that listens to every silly thought and makes me feel like I belong. Thank you for forgiveness. Thank you for a job that fulfills me and a boss that is kind. Thank you for naps on clean, crisp sheets. Thank you for champagne and It’s A Wonderful Life on Thanksgiving night.

Thank you for allowing me to hope.

Thank you for the belief that most of the world is still good. 

 

 

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

what do you want to be when you grow up, what is your passion

How often do you question and wonder about what role you want to be playing in the future? The thought about who I will be and what I will be doing in 5, 10, 15, even 30 years down the roads passes through my mind nearly every day. It’s the beauty of being human; we are constantly changing, growing, and propelling forward.

When we were little, the question of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” was thrown to us from everyone we met.  My answer was always changing but the answer was always defined by the same constant – as a child, I chose my career choice based on what made me happy:

When I was 6 my answer was an elementary school  teacher. I wanted to follow in my mom’s foot steps and I liked to boss people around. But in hind sight I also liked sharing my newly learned tools with people. I’d spend hours setting up a fake school room and teaching my imaginary students that week’s spelling words or mathematical time tables.

When I was 11 I wanted to be an actress. I loved the way movies and plays made me feel, the power that actresses had to tell stories, to evoke emotions, and how they seemed to ignite with life.

At 13 I wanted to be child psychologist because I wanted to help children that couldn’t vocalize their pain or confusion. I wanted to help kids overcome unhealthy or dangerous environments and understand their thought processes.

At 15 I wanted to be an anthropologist/historian – I loved learning and researching about history – especially the history of society and domestic life. I wanted to learn more about trends and why certain aspects of history happened and continue to repeat themselves. I wanted to compare past narratives to current narratives, to learn more about the human race and our connections to the past.

At 18 I wanted to be a fictional write. Poetry, novels, short stories, screenplays, a playwrite. Anything. I wanted to examine people, analyze life, and write stories. I wanted to find common truths, common loves, common understandings of the meaning of life and communicate them  and connect with readers through words.

All of these fields were based on activities that I was deeply interested in and that made me happy. Yet, I never got paid to do any of those things. None of these jobs ever became my career. I don’t consider my current job my career. My job does not define who I am.  I believe my career is the life long pursuit of happiness.

So, when your career isn’t serving the purpose of fulfilling your passions you may feel a little disjointed. As you get older, your peers, elders, and family stop asking you what you want to do with your life. As an adult you are overcome with too many other daily questions and worries. Yet, the responsibility to ask “what do you want to be when you grow up?” now lies solely in your hands.

What is your passion? Don’t let it get lost in the mundane day-to-day responsibilities of life.  I recently received some great advice to examine your tears. Think about it. What makes you cry?

Reflect back on the past couple of years. What has never failed to make you cry tears of joy? (perhaps you’re not a crier like me, then think about what has made you laugh uncontrollably or get angry or mad?) Once you discover what that is, find a way to incorporate that into your every day life. Do a little piece of that each and every day.

Perhaps it will be a simple hobby or something you only think about a few minutes a day. Nurture it, believe in it. Perhaps it will grow into something greater. Pinpoint your passions and find a way to live them. You’re never too old.

So tell me, what do you want to be when you grow up?

xoxo Katie

Choose Your Own Adventure

Looking at everyday as an adventure Teenage Katie was a dreamer. As a high schooler, I had high hopes of adventure for my future. I was ready to take on the world, climb every mountain, sing every song, and live a full life.

I had visions of living in NYC, surviving on ramen noodles and champagne in a shoebox apartment where I poured my soul into becoming the next great American playwright. I saw myself moving abroad for a year, an independent soul-searching journey where I’d spend my days at outdoor cafes sipping espressos and scribbling away in journals. I felt certain that I’d spend a summer sailing the Caribbean on a small sailboat with a dashing lover. Don’t let me leave out my belief that I’d be married by 24 and a mother by 28.

When we’re a teenager, the future seems endless, filled with possibilities, brimmed to the top with hope and anticipation. I was a sheltered young girl living in a small town who couldn’t wait to get out and go on adventures and to “see the world”. Life was boring and I was busting at the seams for the future to come. My fantasies seemed so realistic to my 16-year old self.

I think you can safely guess that I never did live that bohemian life in NYC, or the solo expat life, or life on the sea. What happened to my sense of adventure? Do I regret this? No. Those fantasies fueled me with hope and pushed me to work hard and dream of a big life. To open my eyes to a bigger world.

But the bigger reason why I have no regret revolves around perception of self. What do all of my teenage adventures have in common? Soul searching. The main purpose of each of those adventures was for me to go out and find myself, find a purpose, find something to live for. I thought that I’d find those things only by living out huge dreams, taking big risks, and separating myself from all that I know. Oh how wrong you were naive Katie.

I named this blog “A Beautiful Little Adventure” because I like the daily reminder that everyday life IS an adventure. Why wait of big fantasies when every single day is filled with possibilities? I can see my teenage self rolling her eyes at me, mocking my “settled” and boring life.

I don’t regret not living out those big dreams because I have found myself. I found her on the adventure of finding lifetime friends in college and doing crazy things, I found her on the adventure of working jobs I’d never imagine myself in, I found her in the adventure of dating, I found her in the adventure of defining who I am and embracing my individuality.

I thought I should look up the official definition of the word Adventure.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines adventure as:

:  an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks:  the encountering of risks 

c:  an exciting or remarkable experience 

So yes, every day IS an adventure.

Everyday we are experiencing something new, taking a risk, and experiencing something remarkable. There’s the surprising fact that I am living back in my hometown, a place I was so anxious to run away from, and I’m enjoying it. There is the newness of everyday – the choices we make, the people we meet, the little surprises that come our way. There is the biggest risk of all time, falling in love and getting married. Giving yourself fully to another human being and committing for life doubles the risk and the surprises that life may throw your way.

The future used to look endless. Now life is rushing by so fast that some days I get whiplash and have to stop and recover and really look around. By looking at life as an adventure I’m choosing to celebrate all the moments big and small. From weekend getaways, to weekly friend dates, to even trips to Costco (free samples!). An adventure is waiting for you every single morning. With a little change in perspective you can see how big “your” world is.

As a teenager the world outside of yours was the one you wanted to be a part of. It was all about escaping the known. Living life isn’t about escaping. The adventure is waiting for you right here, in the present. I choose to embrace it, see all the possibilities it holds and do what I love.

line Today, I’d also like to share with you the story of Heather, Cameron, and Lily Von St. James. This beautiful family is a role model for changing your life perspective and living the adventure of life moment by moment.

LungLeavin'Day cancer

Eight years ago, Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma; a rare cancer that kills most people within 2 years of diagnosis.  She had just given birth to a daughter Lily, and was only given 15 months to live.  After a life saving surgery that included the removal of her left lung, LungLeavin’ Day was born.  

The purpose of LungLeavin’ Day is to encourage others to face their fears!  Each year, The Von St. James gather around a fire in their backyard with friends and family, write their biggest fears on a plate and smash them into the fire. They celebrate for those who are no longer with us, for those who continue to fight, for those who are currently going through a tough time in their life, and most importantly, they celebrate life! 

This will be the 8th year that we celebrate on February 2nd!

I encourage you to check out the LungLeavin’ Day website to read more about their inspiring story. (it is one very cool interactive site!)

What a beautiful reminder that life is what you make it. Choose strength over fear. Choose love over anger.

 

I got to have a little RESPECT

respect 2014 goals

The first few days of 2014 have been full of celebrating with many toasts, kisses, inspiration, and laughter. A great deal of ideas and hopes and promises for the upcoming year were thrown around. And now, I’m back at work and 2014 has me feeling a bit overwhelmed. Looking at this year ahead is filling me with anxiety. What if I can’t hold on to my promises? What if my hopes are simply too big? How do I get started? I feel like there is too much other “stuff” in the way, blocking me from all that I want to accomplish in 2014. What if I fail?

As I mentioned earlier this week, I don’t really do New Years Resolutions. I’d much rather have hopes. The word “goals” scares me a bit as it makes me figuratively run straight to those hills called “procrastination”. All over blogland, bloggers are choosing a single word for 2014. Their “mantra” for the upcoming year. I’ve decided to follow in those footsteps and after much thought I’ve chosen the word RESPECT. (feel free to sing it out like Aretha Franklin, I did!)

2014 is my year to respect my hopes and inspirations.

I tend to get lazy. I easily fall back on old habits. Or worse, I find myself putting others wants and needs before my own, letting my dreams settle like ignored dust bunnies under my desk. Today I chose to respect my hopes enough to put them first.

I vow to respect myself enough to know that I deserve all of my individual hopes and dreams. That I am good enough to obtain them and live them out.

I want to build confidence in myself, my work, and my, dare I say it, goal completion. I want to challenge myself in 2014 and give myself enough respect to know that I am stronger than I think.

Respect for my mind:

I hope to challenge my writing and this little blog and take it to new places.

I hope to get back to reading more often and a larger variety of literature.

I hope to take on new opportunities and to say “yes” more often.

Respect for my body: I hope to respect that my body and all of its flaw.I hope to stop being ashamed of those flaws.  I hope to take better care of it and give it love.

Body, it’s time for you and me to be friends. We have many years ahead together, and we can do so much.

Respect for my soul – I hope to nourish myself more. Leave more time for “me” as well as for the little family that is Ryan and I.

I hope to have more patience with myself and with Ryan.

I hope to be less afraid. To not back away from goals that seem too big or too long to obtain. Even things that seem so obtainable like saving more and spending less.

I hope to stop comparing myself and my life to others.

I hope to remember that I deserve to have my own hopes – and that they are okay even if they are different from others.

I hope to embrace my individuality.

I want to push open every window in my home and let in all the possibilities. Yes, some days it may rain. Some days it may be so cold that I just want to curl up in bed and forget everything else. But avoidance as not taken me where I want to be in life. I will get back up and attack the fears. I will leave the windows open. I will listen to and respect my hopes.I will respect my choices and go after my dreams.

I want to soak up so much of my life that its beauty radiates from me. I want to be full of beauty.

xoxo Katie