Friday, January 22, 2016

the one where I decide to be brave

2016 just rolled in, in case you've been sleeping and missed it. Two Thousand and SIXTEEN!! I am going to focus on all the promise and opportunity a new year offers, rather than dwelling on the fact that time is just a passing me by.

So on that sentiment, I decided to dig deep and find whatever courage I can muster and embark on something new. I haven't shared it much on here, but the past couple years I have grown to love quilting. Like LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Putting fabrics together, stitching them into pieces to tell a story, challenging myself by learning new techniques, new patterns. I sew between working, when the kids are playing, when they have gone to bed, when I need to just busy my hands to let me head have a little downtime. It has become both passion and therapy for me. 

Here is a look at some things I made over the past year.

I have a handful of quilts that I am still working on, as well, these are just the finished ones, with the exception of that bottom one. So far, every quilt I have made has been gifted.....I have yet to keep a single one. But that the quilt in the picture above has not been bound yet, and I am thinking when I do bind it, I will be keeping it :)

Along my little quilting journey, I have felt a push to start my own little quilt shop through etsy, but I always came up with a million reasons not to do it. 1- People won't be willing to pay for a handmade quilt when Target offers little quilts for $35. 2- Do I really want to commit to something because as far as time goes, between 5 kids and full time job, free time is in very short supply. 3- What if no one buys my things? 4- Worse yet, what if someone buys a quilt and really doesn't like it?

Lots of reasons, all of them centered around some kind of fear. Well guess what? I have declared 2016 the year I throw worry into the wind and just go for it!!! (HUGE GULPS HERE). I have been making some baby and children sized quilts to add to my little shop and once I finish all the background stuff, it will be up and running. (STILL GULPING). Why is it so easy for me to see the value in others but completely be blinded to what is within myself? Each quilt will be made with love and care and attention to every little detail, and pieced together in a way meant to tell a story in their new homes, meant to be used and cuddled in and played on and maybe even passed down. So rather than focus on the reasons not to, I'm just going to center myself around all the reasons I should. I love to sew and quilt. When I see pictures of friends and family bundled in my quilts, I feel so humbled and grateful and just happy to have made something that is wrapping those I care about in love.

So, friends, here I GO!!! Taking a little (BIG) leap and finding some courage to start something new that I've been dreaming about for a while! 

hugs and kisses,
shannon, future etsy shop girl


I was brave. I did it!!!!!! I am no longer "future etsy shop girl", rather, I am "FULL ON ETSY SHOP GIRL"!!!!!! In case you want to have a peek :

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Margarita Lips

This past week of handling issues and having to be a grown up has KICKED MY A$$. If my mom were still here, I’d have western unioned (is this still a thing?) her some dollars to have her fly out to save me. I'd pass the baton of being an adult on to her so I could crawl into my closet with ice cream and fuzzy blankets and just pretend it all isn’t happening. (And, for the record, she’d have totally taken that dang baton and then still found me in the closet to give me a neck massage.She was so FANFREAKINGTASTIC) I literally closed my eyes several times over the past 7 days and whispered “find your happy place,” “this will be over soon,” and “just do the next right thing here.” At some point as I sank firmly into defeat, I got on to Facebook and saw someone had posted that little inspirational quote that basically said something about how God has created us to be JUST the person our own children need. Lord, please let that be true. Because I worry often that my children got really screwed.

I feel like we are just stepping out of the muck now, and it’s weird how badly, how instinctually, I want to return to Shannon and Jeremiah of 2002. As in, go out, drink and eat and drink some more, laugh with friends— like throw my head back and laugh my size 8,husband-getting bootie off, play shuffle board, come home whenever and only have to be responsible for myself. Back in the day of having time to put on liquid eyeliner, going grocery shopping and ignoring the prices, and having a shoe selection that included more than flip flops.  No drama over nasty child-driven illnesses, no worrying about whether my child is is struggling, no feeling like an incompetent mess of a mother because I keep forgetting to sign forms and return them promptly, no stressing over an electric bill. NONE. OF. THAT. Just endless buckets of chips and salsa and lips that are speckled with sugar from a margarita glass and jeans that fit perfect and dancing to Ja Rule with my girls in a questionable little place until the lights came on and laughing and smiling that came so dang easy it resulted in permanent lip and forehead wrinkles. (That I am now stressing about. How flipping ironic.)

—Y’all know I love my babies fiercely. They are, without a doubt, my heartbeat and my purpose, and the reason I try to be better every single day.  It’s just every now and again, I miss that carefree, figure it out minute by minute, worry about the consequences later girl I was B.B. (before babies). I firmly believe that God lays out every season (some longer than others) before us to teach us, to grow us, to have us hunker down into His Peace, His Promise, His Mercy. My husband can attest to this— when things (little or big) pile on top of me, I always say “what is HE showing me here? I am supposed to be learning something here, I am sure of it…” It’s sort of funny, actually, because often I wish God was just a little more obvious and quick about these lessons. Like, a billboard that says “YOU ARE NOT IN CONTROL SHANNON AND YOU NEED TO LET GO. NOW.” Which is obvs exactly why He isn’t like that. It would be too easy. 

I am still digging to find the purpose of this past week. It could be as deep as giving myself more to Him, or maybe as heart-stirring as reminding me how blessed I am to be surrounded by such a loving bunch of people who were on standby this week, ready to help. 

Or maybe I just need a margarita-fueled night with my cute husband.

I will let you know if I figure it out.

p.s we are okay and the issues were totally minor. but you know how sometimes the small things feel like mountains. that. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

About nothing, and about everything

This morning, as I dropped off my 3 middles at school, the principal- who was shutting the car door -said “Looks like it was a rough morning.”

It started when I had to physically remove two of my children from their beds and sit them upright, because tickling and singing Jason Derulo didn’t work. As my alarm chimed that it was time to head out the door I see one of my kids grabbing a Tupperware of leftover meatballs from the fridge and sticking them in the microwave. I said “WHAT is happening- we have to go!!” The meatball-holding child said the meatballs were going in a lunch box since we are out of lunch meat and I didn’t go to the store yesterday. I said “we don’t have time to prepare a meatball sub at 7:19 am, also YUCK! Old meatballs that are cold. Ewww. Lunch is going to have be from the school today, kiddo.”  That’s when it hit the fan.  My kid full on FLIPPED OUT. It went like this: “I am NOT eating the cafeteria food. Are you serious!! I can’t believe you are making me do this. JUST SO YOU KNOW I WILL PROBABLY GET SOME DISEASE FROM EATING THAT TERRIBLE FOOD AND WHEN YOU ARE DRIVING ME TO THE HOSPITAL TONIGHT FOR MY DUH-ZEEEEZ YOU ARE PROBABLY GOING TO BE THIKNING HMMMMM MAYBE THOSE MEATBALLS WERENT SUCH A BAD IDEA!!!” I stood there, gripping my coffee cup because it was the only thing that made sense, just trying to wrap my head around what was occurring in front of me. And my alarm goes off again. And another child is in the background stressing out over a test that I know they will just rock at because we studied together for an hour last night for it. Soooo, just so you have the mental picture, cafeteria disease child LOSING THEIR EVER LOVIN MIND OVER A DANG PIZZA BOAT, test child looking a hot mess of worry and stressing over a test that IS NO BIG DEAL, one child throwing his soggy cheerios out the door at the chickens, and another child trying to put on one aqua and one hot pink converse. So, yes, Mr. Principal, this morning has been interesting.

I made my way back home to drop my oldest off at school. My oldest that has zero filter and just says what is in his head because in his mind, since it is not ill-intended, it isn’t rude. He said “It’s funny how every day since the first day of school you drive a little faster and a little faster and now really really fast. Because every day we are more behind schedule.” Yeah. I’m aware, Tyler. Thanks buddy.

I drop him off and head up to Portsmouth Naval Hospital, which stresses me out because its in a city and there is traffic and despite having lived in this general area for 3.5 years (and having had one baby, two leg surgeries, and probably about two dozen appointments at this same exact hospital), I still get lost. Today, my luck turned and I made it there just fine. Leaving, on the other hand, was another story. I used Google Maps, because my husband swears it is better than my iPhone Map app (Spoiler—IT ISN’T). So I ask the map to take me to Moyock, my town. It does it’s thing and calculates and sends me on my way. I sit in tunnel traffic for what felt like hours and finally it starts to move some, which is good because by now Declan had had it, and it tells me to exit. I follow, because clearly Google knows more than I do, and it puts smack dab in front of the MacArthur Center ( a mall in Norfolk that is nowhere near where I live) and announces that I have arrived. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let’s just say I got pretty hot. If I had money to spend or time to kill, it may not have been such a bad directional mistake. But I had neither. So I cuss at the app on my phone and swear to NEVER believe a word that comes out of her mouth again, and switch back to my iPhone map, and maybe apologize for ever straying.

On my way home, now on the correct road, the scene that unfolded in my kitchen this morning comes back to me and I remember to get groceries so we don’t have a repeat tomorrow. I head to walmart, just Declan and I, and we are crossing things off our list, and my shoulders start to unclench. We get most of what we need and head to pay. I get in line to pay when I realize, as I am standing there, that it was the cashiers first time ever ringing people up. It became obvious when the lady in front of me took about 10 minutes to check out when she had only 8 or so items. When it was my turn to get checked out, I noticed the line behind me was pretty full and the people looked a little tense. The cashier was struggling with looking up some of the fruits and vegetables, but she was apologetic and I could tell she was trying to move quickly. The people behind me started voicing their frustration and the lady said “why don’t you just call for help if you don’t know how to do it”. I cringed. The cashier apologized again, to the lady and to me. I kept saying “You’re good. I am in no hurry.” But it didn’t help the people behind me. The lady directly behind me made a huge show of taking every single item she was buying OFF of the conveyor belt and loading it back into her cart. I seriously felt so bad but I didn’t want to say something that might make it worse, so I started talking about French Toast sticks and how my kids would think I was mother of the year for buying three boxes of those things, in an attempt to just distract her from the – in my opinion- obvious rudeness. My attempts were futile. The cashier stopped looking up at us but kept saying “I’m sorry” with her head down, as she tried and tried to get things moving as fast as she could. I wanted to walk around to the open side of the lane and just hug her.

I shared all that to say this. I feel like we have gotten so self-centered and entitled, and maybe even whiny (MYSELF TOTALLY INCLUDED HERE), that in our rush and in our desire to look out for number one, we hurt the people around us. Yesterday I went on social media and complained about having a crappy day. It really wasn’t the best, but after hearing some news from a few friends, there was a major shift in my perspective, and I realized how blessed I am, and how I truly do not have any reason to complain. How even the hard stuff that happens, in some way, shines light on another blessing. (1- Our trampoline was ruined in a storm yesterday as it blew over our fence—but no one was hurt, it didn’t crash through our house, and thankfully our dogs and our chickens were inside at the time. 2- My nerve damage is permanent and I wont ever get my quad back- but I can walk and do things today that I could not even fathom doing two years ago.)  I also thought how pitiful it was that I had to hear very sad news in order to grasp how wonderful my life is. That is a problem.  

I started thinking about my attitude while I was feeling all gloomy, and how that may have affected the people around me. I thought about how being in a hurry and focusing so much on my to do list might make me ignore, overlook, or even be unkind to people right in front of me who could really use a smile or a kind word or a hug. That, in my desire to preserve what I can of my sanity, I might write some things off thinking I need to cushion in a break for myself. It totally makes sense in theory. The idea that  I should not bog myself down with things because I need to focus on my home, my family, myself first to truly be able to help others. It sounds good to me. But is that really who we are supposed to be? I don’t know. 

Today in the grocery store, I was totally impatient just the like the people behind me. And I am sure I made some facial expressions like HURRY THE HECK UP WOMAN I DON’T HAVE ALL DAY. But when the cashier looked up and apologized to me, I felt like an ass. I was sitting there being a jerk and getting all riled up  because AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THIS when clearly this woman was doing the best she could and was aware that she was not moving as fast as people would have liked her to. And instead of seeing that right away, I was getting pissy.  It took me a minute to soften and realize how rude and unkind my attitude was.
THAT is what I am working on. Trying to be more present and really LOOK at people and genuinely talk with them and not just ask the obligatory “hey how are you?” while thinking ‘please just say fine, ‘cause I don’t have time to hear it all right now…’. Yep. Good gosh, does my heart need some fine tuning. Lord, please help me be love and goodness. And help me to make less of myself and more of others. Because I am really failing at that these days.

So, friends, that is where I am right now. Doing a lot of thinking, trying to be more intentional with how I communicate and listen to others, stopping to take time to really SEE people and not just glance as I rush on by. And with that, I leave you. I have some chores to finish up before I go pick up my cafeteria diseased child from school. I am sort of tempted to show up eating the cold meatballs and remarking about delicious they are…… (I better add that to my list of things I need to work on…)


Friday, August 23, 2013

I need to change my blog name.... nelsonpartyofseven. We've been busy.

So that was a really long, unintentional blogging break. 6 months. So much has happened. So I am just gonnna give it to you highlight reel style.

My husband left for a month ish. We missed him a lot.

He came home. Tyler played baseball. Jack played t ball. Both boys did awesome and I loved watching them grow and learn. And Jack got what he so desperately needed- his own thing to be the star of. Awesome.

I started going into labor. But not really because my cervix is lazy. So one month of daily, uncomfortable contractions, but our little guy wasn't budging.

Until May 6th. The day he was evicted. It was so amazing. We had to be transferred to a different hospital because the one I was at was not equipped to help the baby if need be. (The medication I was on to manage the tumor was intense and there was a good chance of some residual effects on the baby.)

Anyways. I was sent to a different hospital with a great NICU. And when he was born, he didn't spend much time there at all. We named our sweet little boy Declan Andrew. He weighed 7 lbs 6 oz, and measured in 19.5 inches. He was born at 8:40 a.m. and I have to say, he was amazing from the very start.

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I will share his birth experience later. I don't have pictures of he and I together because my body didn't handle the c-section very well. In short, I barfed. The entire time. They kept trying to put Declan near me but the barfing. It was out of control. And not how I wanted my first picture with my son to be. Blech. So this is how I saw my son- with my husband holding his phone in my face.

Here he is later that day, after mama got her hands on him. And stopped puking.

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My husband and his baby boy.

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Just he and I in the early morning. So in love. I wonder what he was thinking about. I'm going to guess donuts.

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So that was our amazing start to May. Shortly after I had Declan, I went back to the hospital to have the tumor from my leg removed. I was anxious and excited to be done, but the morning of surgery was awful. Having to leave your nursing newborn and worry whether you pumped enough or if he'd even take a pumped bottle.....sitting in a hospital bed as you soak the gown you are wearing for all to see.....being alone in that hospital room because Jeremiah had to take care of all of the was a crappy experience. But I had the most amazing doctor. And he got that nasty thing out.

The day after surgery- tumor free!!!

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So Declan has been the star of the show recently, the way new babies tend to be, but my other littles have been incredible these past few months of many changes.

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She stole my chocolate. I love her, anyway.

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Those freckles. That mischievous smile. If you sleep on the job, this boy will TAKE. YOU. DOWN.

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This girl of mine. Her heart is the most beautiful.

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This boy who made me a mama. I am so proud of him. He never gives up. And his smile lights me up.

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In awe of how we have been blessed.

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Hubba. Hubba.

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Oh baby boy. We just dig you.

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For serious. I cannot handle it.

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They really are.

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sigh. He is just soooooo good.

So after the surgery, we finished school for the year, said goodbye to some amazing Navy friends, MOVED AGAIN!!!., Jeremiah went for some desert training, and while he was there we found out he made CHIEF! If you're Navy, you get how awesome this is and how proud we are. And you also know that with initiation in full swing, we DON'T SEE HIM. EVER. EVER EVER. That's where we are now. Super proud. But really wanting this process over because I miss my man.

We are still getting settled in our new home. We love our new area-- which is about 2 tenths of a mile from the North Carolina border. It is so country, so quiet, and so peaceful out here. It's been like a nice warm blanket to my soul.

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From my front porch.

I will share more about our crazy life in a bit. But I have 5 children who are waiting for lunch and arguing over who gets the last 6 drops of lemonade. Toodalooo.

This is my "5 kids & a husband who is gone can be hard" face.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

some lovin

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Hey friends! From the bloggy world chatter, I've learned that Google Reader will soon be gone. So people are turning to alternative readers-- enter Bloglovin.

If you happen to read my blog, or any other blog, through google reader, you should check out bloglovin, because it will basically move all of your blogs over so you can still keep up with them long after Google Reader says peace out.

Just CLICK ON THIS HERE LINK to get the party started.

And, thank you Sarah, for me getting me all squared away!

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