I crafted! And it was kind of clever!

This weekend we had the pleasure of attending the NICU Reunion -- a time to get together with the doctors, nurses, and staff who took such amazing care of J (and me, too!) when he was born and in those first rocky weeks of his life.

I wanted to do something to thank and acknowledge this amazing team of people who I will never forget.  And if we'd just won the lottery, I would have booked them all on a Caribbean vacation...but, alas, with a real-people bank account and 50+ people to gift, I had to be a bit more resourceful and frugal.  

Reminding myself that, "It's the thought that counts" (thanks Mom, Grandma, et al!) I came up with this little treat bag full of chocolates and mints and a heartfelt message.  I'm happy with how it came out, and I was blown away by how much my little thank-you was appreciated by the nurses and staff...a reminder that we need to thank those people who make a difference in our lives more often, and that it doesn't need to be over-the-top.

Because this gift was for a group of people who truly helped as at one of our worst moments, I really wanted them to know that we still think about them and appreciate them.  And so the pun of "Thank you for getting us through a ROUGH time" and including a piece of sandpaper on the bag to be oh-so-punny.  

Now that I did this and heard so much positive feedback, I've started thinking of other people in my life who help me through difficult times (both big and small) and think I may keep sandpaper on hand at all times -- and not just because we really need to sand, prime & paint the basement steps ; )

Here's the project....which I plan to add to Pinterest:

Step One: Fill a small treat / gift bag with candies or other items (this was a 5" tall bag I purchased from Michaels)
Step Two: Fold over the top inch or so of the bag

Step Three: Cut squares of sandpaper (or another material/medium if you aren't using my pun of "Thanks for helping us through a ROUGH time") and place the piece in front of the bag
 Step Four: Punch a hole through the sandpaper card AND the bag
Step Five: Use a gift tag with your written message (or ribbon, etc) through the hole in the sandpaper card and treat bag to tie both together (and keep bag tied firmly shut)
Final Product



"How Do You Do It???"

The other day, I took C to her Kindergarten Screening.  This was enough of a mindf*ck -- that she is old enough to start "real" school -- but I was also running late, looked a mess, and knew how nervous she was.  Not the way I wanted to start this day, let alone her day.  And of course when I walked in, there were a ton of other mothers there looking tres chic, hair done, great outfits, cute shoes (and all on a rainy day!).  Cue to me feeling even "lesser than."

Once I settled in and gave myself a pep talk (you can do it!  next time you'll have coordinating shoes, makeup, and a blowout!  you CAN be like these other supermama's!) I was going to sneak a rare moment to read or catch up on emails.  But I noticed a friend seated nearby, and we scooted over to sit near each other and catch up.  She's a recent acquaintance, someone I know -- but not that well.  Her daughter will be starting Kindergarten this fall as well.  We started chatting, and as I took in some of the details of her life -- mom of three, including a new baby, a husband who travels a ton, works part-time, volunteers, etc. -- I asked her the question we all dread but can't seem to escape asking or being asked:

"HOW DO YOU DO IT?!?!?!"

Her answer was awesome -- she looked me in the eye and with a wry smile simply said, "Not well!"

Now, I may not have known her for a long time, but I know her enough to know that she DOES do it well, and that she's a great mom, wife, friend, daughter, etc.  But it was SO refreshing that she didn't put the facade up -- it was great that she was being honest, and that she felt she could be honest, about how she is (or isn't) doing.

Women, we are our own worst enemy sometimes.  I realize that it was kind of brave of her to be frank with me.  Usually women spend a lot of time trying to convince ourselves and our counterparts that we've got it all figured out, or even worse, we are looking to (even subconsciously) judge the other women in our life in order to make ourselves feel better.

After we parted ways, I thought a lot about our chat, and over the past days have turned it over in my head numerous times.  I'm so grateful for such a simple statement -- the admission that not everything is easy, that not everything is perfect, and the tacit understanding that we all try our best and let the chips fall where they may.  It was -- and is -- so freeing.

So, I am going to borrow some of the honesty and confidence of my friend, and be a little more open about how I do -- or don't -- do "it".  Some days are full of awesome, I am on my game, and I should get the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, and whatever plaque or certificate that comes with it.  And other days, it is tough not to count the hours until the tiny humans are packed off to bed.  And most days are somewhere in-between.  And that is just fine. 


To Zumba, or Not To Zumba???


I've been avoiding it for a while -- but last night, I went ahead and jumped on the bandwagon that is the ZUMBA craze.  Plenty of friends have been enjoying the release and workout of Zumba, but I just didn't know if it was for me.  However, in the resurgence of wanting to get back to healthier habits and get regain my fitness level of Summer, 2010, I signed up for a class.

Here are my updates to the land of FB and the ladies who wanted to know how it went:

"Full report: I'll definitely go back, but felt like a total idiot. I have NO rhythm, and some moves being in threes instead of fours totally threw me (OCD much, Christy?). It is hard to hold your head high when a 65 year old woman to your left has Moves Like Jagger and four different people you don't know say, "first time, huh?". My core is pretty angry with me for using muscles that have been dormant for too long, and when I went to get Jack after class he came running to me shouting "Mama", but when I picked him up: "You gross!!". That is all -- tune in next week, ladies"

And then (to give you a better visual): 

frankenstein + sweat + salsa moves = christy doing zumba 

I am committed to going back, week after week, and trying to learn new ways to move my body -- not just to burn the calories or admire the determination and insane Zumba fashions of some of my classmates, but also to get to the point where I will pick a spot behind the teacher, right in front of the mirror.  For me, this started with fitness, but I will not stop until I am more comfortable with how I move and what my body can do (or not do!).   

And by that time, hopefully I won't want to stop! 


Made In The USA Challenge -- Check it out!

I'm really proud to know Sarah Mazzone for a number of reasons, but am really in awe of her efforts in regard to buying local, buying safe, buying ethical, and buying products that are MADE IN THE USA.

Read about her project, and definitely check out the very informative gift guide!

Made In The USA Gift Guide
Click the link above for the Holiday Gift Buying Guide!