Fun Ways To Organize Your Jewelry

I am a simple jewelry wearing kinda gal. I don’t wear a lot of bracelets other than my Fit Bit with my everyday attire {which is pretty casual – yoga pants and jeans are my jam}. I will wear them if I am dressing up for something special though. I do wear a necklace and earrings every single day. I have quite a few simple pieces in both gold and silver. These cuties are around $12 each and are available at a lot of boutique stores. Mine usually come from Ambiance in Placerville. Ambiance is a super fun store with lots of amazing jewelry, yummy smelling candles and the cutest boho clothes. It is a great store for birthday and Christmas gifts if you are in the area.

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A few years ago, my husband crafted this fun jewelry holder using a sheet of radiator metal and an old frame. He added cup hooks for my necklaces. It’s awesome and holds a lot but I was starting to gather too many necklaces and they were getting tangled. I decided I was tired of untangling necklaces so I purchased this necklace holder at HomeGoods for a whopping $14.99. I heart HomeGoods and the price point is perfect! I will keep my dainty necklaces on the new jewelry stand but still utilize the framed holder for my other pieces and earrings. It lives in my closet … with my clothes ūüėČ

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The jewelry stand was originally white but with off white cabinets, it felt blah. I wanted it to pop and this pretty blue is a fave around here. It is called Secluded Garden by Valspar. It’s a bit of a robin’s egg blue which is sprinkled throughout my home.

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At the end of this project, I was able to purge and organize my jewelry which gave things a bit of a much-needed facelift. Everything has a place and hopefully, I have eliminated the necklace ‘tangling’ issue that I have been battling for awhile now.

How do you organize your jewelry?

5 Ways To Date Your Spouse

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Well hello! Today’s post is a bit more romantic if you will. Or practical. Or necessary. I guess it’s really a matter of perspective. For me, it’s all of the above. Most of us are busy. Life is full of hustle and bustle and sometimes we are just getting through the days and we might barely talk to our sig others but it’s so important to connect with those that we love. Especially our significant others. Our partners in crime. Our better half. It’s important to set some time aside to connect. Sure, after the kids are in bed is a great concept but a reality? Maybe not. I don’t know about the rest of you but my husband is often times in bed right after the kids! I am barely winding down at that point so that usually isn’t our time to catch up.

This is where, date your spouse {significant other, partner, etc} comes into play. Set aside some time. Even if it’s weekly or bi-weekly for a date. What? A date? Who has time for that? You do. Make.It.Happen. Now, don’t overthink this. A date doesn’t have to be a huge event. A date is simply taking some time to be together. Uninterrupted without kids. Maybe for you, this is after the kids go to bed. Maybe you will sit down, pour a glass of wine and catch up. Maybe not.

Maybe you don’t have kids but you are still a bit disconnected cause well, life. No matter what, date your spouse. Find the time. Make it happen cause yes, life gets busy and time passes. Steal the moments when you can.

My husband is a firefighter and has a pretty great schedule. He is typically scheduled off for 4 days in a row {except for the overtime, meetings, and training that pop up which does happen often}. This means that we have time during the day to hang out. A few things that we like to do?

  • Go to breakfast {or coffee, lunch, dinner, happy hour, wine tasting, etc}
  • Hang out at home. Yep, you can still make this a date. Turn off technology, have a cocktail and play a game. YES! You’ve got this. Which reminds me, I should probably learn how to play Cribbage. It would make the hubs very happy.
  • Take a walk. Even if it’s only for 15 minutes. Little moments really are a big deal. Really.
  • Visit a new place. Last year we went to High Hands Nursery. I had been hearing about it for a long time but had never been. We walked around the beautiful grounds and then had lunch at their amazing restaurant.
  • Get outta town! Yes, this one is a bit harder to coordinate if you have kiddos or pets because you have to schedule child or pet care but guess what? It’s totally worth it! Last May, my hubby and I did a one-night getaway to Healdsburg. We stayed at a rather interesting B&B {I’m pretty sure it was haunted!} and then had an amazing dinner and walked around downtown Healdsburg. It was heaven. On our way home, we stopped at a brewery that he’d been wanting to try as well.

What are the benefits of this you ask? Connection! When we take that time to really focus on each other, it makes us feel connected. That connection brings about endorphins. Guess what? That’s a good thing!¬†Endorphins are associated with feelings of attachment and comfort.

So I challenge you to date your spouse. Go ahead, schedule that time. You’ll be happy that you did.

5 Ways To Style A Guest Room

I love decor almost as much as I love organizing. Almost. I am constantly redecorating rooms or switching things around in my house to refresh and revive a space. I am also a big fan of paint. It is the quickest way to change a space and make it feel bright and new. My guest room is a happy space but I know it could use a few items and I am always looking for a new project. Which is hilarious really because I essentially have a wait list of projects around here. My style is a mash up of things but if I could pick an HGTV show that best describes my style, it would be Fixer Upper, hands down. I love the farmhouse¬†vibe. ¬†Plus Chip and Joanna are adorable and make me laugh. I love to laugh. Don’t you?

Liz Marie is one of my favorites to follow. Her spaces are always beautiful. She owns a cute little store called The Found Cottage that I also love to follow on Instagram. This guest bedroom is peaceful and simple. I love how she incorporated the old windows into her design.

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I am loving this gallery wall above the bed over at Houzz. The light fixture is pretty awesome too.

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Savvy Southern Style gave her guest room a little farmhouse flair by adding a fun cow print above the bed. I also love the navy which feels a bit more masculine but then she added some ruffles in with the bedding which makes it a bit feminine. The balance is perfect.

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Driven by Decor nailed it with this guest room redo. She kept the pallet neutral which makes it feel so serene. Make sure you check out the Ikea hack she did on the side table. I also love the fun mirror. It adds a pop to the room.

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Little Glass Jar got creative and used metal stools as night stands. They take up less space the most night stands and they are fun! I love the vintage quilt too. I also love the quote above the bed. What a fun addition to personalize the space.

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Some must have items for a guest room:

  • a comfortable bed
  • cozy bedding and pillows
  • a night stand
  • a small dresser or armoire
  • a wall hook or closet and some hangers
  • guest towels
  • an extra blanket
  • a small trash can
  • a basket or hamper for laundry
  • access to charge electronics {Yes, this is the world we live in. Power up baby!}

Some sweet extras:

  • a framed picture of the wifi password and other relevant household information
  • a few magazines
  • a cute houseplant or bright flowers

Do you have a guest room? What must-haves do you keep in there?

What Feeds Your Soul?

Many years ago a friend {who had the enviable energy of the Energizer¬†Bunny} said to me, “energy breeds energy”. This little tidbit has stuck with me for over 20 years. Recently it has repeatedly popped into my head as I am finding things that feed my soul and feeling how that energy grows and grows based on the excitement and fire within me. It’s like this perpetual effect. It’s pretty amazing really.

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Today I had coffee with a friend. We met to talk about the 21-Day Fix as she is starting her first challenge on Monday. I have done two challenges in the past year with the same coach that she signed up with. I knew there were some things that I could tell her to make her start an easier one. This coffee date had nothing to do with me but I left feeling so rejuvenated. Now, let me just say that I always feel refreshed after hanging out with friends. Today was a little different. My friend told me how awesome I was and how much I helped her. She said that I could be a coach. What? Me? Why? By sharing what I know. How I cope. What motivates me. What brings me joy. By lifting her up and offering encouragement. I think we all can scoop up energy and little life lessons from others. As women, we definitely lean on each other for support. A lot.

So what advice did I give her? To take care of herself. Yes. Seems basic, right? But it’s so much harder than you’d think. We as grown-ups – as women – as moms – as wives – give and give and do and do and we aren’t overly good at saying no because oh the guilt. Guess what? If your tank is empty, what good can you do? You can’t continue to give without fuel in your own tank.

Last February I challenged myself to be active every day for the whole month. I named the challenge, “Fit in February”. This meant that I needed some kind of physical activity every single day. Some days I got a walk in, other days I did a workout video but I moved my body every.single.day. How did I feel at the end of the month? Recharged. It was so mentally empowering that I stuck to something but it was also so good for my emotional well-being.¬†I’ve learned that moving my body is a must. I have stayed pretty on track with the exception of summer {which entailed so much running around and travel in general that I wasn’t stagnant by any means} but I picked it back up consistently in August and I feel good. Do I look like a super model? Nope. Do I feel good? Yep.

So what feeds my soul?

  • Moving my body. I love walking. I aim for 2-4 miles a day. I’ve also dabbled in yoga over the years. I have recently added that back into my schedule. I sweat like I never have before, I move my body and challenge myself. I leave a class feeling like I am a whole new person. In really sweaty clothes.
  • Date days with my husband. He is a firefighter so his schedule is a bit more open. Date days when we are both off of work are easier than night dates when the kids are home. Reconnecting is huge.
  • Family¬†dinners, game night and vacations. I really enjoy my family and the times when all 4 of us can just be together are rare. Time is fleeting and I am very aware of how much longer I might have my boys at home for. I really try and take advantage of my time with them.
  • Time with friends. I really love girlfriend time. Dinners and coffee are the norm. We’ve laughed and cried together. The amount of support and girl power is priceless. I love my village.
  • Seeing my kids happy. I encourage happiness.
  • An organized home. Yes, really. Something about this really makes me happy and content.

Doing all of the above things fill my tank. Some days are busier than others and we live in a very over scheduled world but try. Try to carve out some time for you. Do some of the¬†things that fill you up. You don’t have time for a 30-minute workout, do 10. Walk around the block. Tackle one thing on your to-do list. Meet up with a friend for coffee. Little things can be a game changer. Take care of yourself. See how you feel. I promise, feeding your own soul will breed energy which is what you need to take care of those around you in the best way possible.

Feed your soul and watch how it changes the ability of what you can give others.

The Power of Pen to Paper

I am a big believer in greeting cards. The real ones made out of card stock with pretty fonts and colors. The ones that you buy at a store, not via a website to send electronically. Don’t get me wrong, that method works well for a lot of people but for me personally, nothing beats a real, hold it in your hands, greeting card. Some people think that they are a waste of money but personally, I am a big fan. There is something about finding the perfect card for that special someone. Maybe it’s for a birthday, maybe it’s a get well wish for a sick friend, congrats on your wedding or new baby. Sometimes I send cards just to let people know that I love them. Cards come in all kinds of styles. The funny. The sentimental. The short but sweet.

A few of my favorite resources for cards:

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  • World Market¬†– they have a really nice stationary section. I really like these assorted boxed cards

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  • Marshalls – I find great cards here at a $1.99 price point
  • Home Goods – same as Marshalls, pretty cards at a great price
  • Target – especially great for seasonal and thank you cards. I am especially¬†loving these pretty floral ones.

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Do you still send cards? Put pen to paper and add a stamp. Just do it, you’ll make someone’s day. I promise.

How The Local Honey Got It’s Name

Day #3 of the 31 day blog challenge asks the meaning of my business name.

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It was around 5 years ago that my brother and I brainstormed on a possible stay at home business. He’s an entrepreneur and always loves a good business venture. At the time when we were talking about this blog, we were focusing on activities in and around the area and things that would draw in local families. I paid to have a logo made and the blog set up how I’d like it to be seen. Later on that year, I went back to work part time which turned into full time during tax season. That became ‘enough’ of a time filler for me and I didn’t blog much. I am still part time but I really do love and miss writing, sharing, projects, organizing and cooking. I am looking to revamp this blog and share the parts of it¬†that my readers seem to love. So local was obviously geared towards my audience and honey was a sweet way to pull people in. Hence, ‘The Local Honey’.

The Local Honey was born because of my focus on my local community. Now I feel that the name is still inviting but I’d like to focus on a larger demographic and not just stay focused on local activities and events {although I do love this little community of mine!}.

 

What’s Your Sign?

No, not your zodiac sign silly goose! I’m talking decorative signs. They are all the rage and I have several in my home to add to my decor. I really love quotes. And chalkboards. And wood signs. I mean seriously. I {heart} signs. So I have to share a few of my faves with you.

First of all, I have chalkboards throughout my house. True confession? My sister in law is my artist. I use old and new frames and MDF {which my hubby is sweet enough to cut for me} and create my own chalkboards using chalkboard paint. My awesomely creative sis in law then uses her magic chalk wielding¬†skills to create a masterpiece. I usually have her change things up for the season but … but …. but .. she hasn’t been here since March and she’s coming in 9 sleeps people. Nine sleeps! So I have a whole bunch of work waiting for her. She’s magical. I swear.

One of my favorites that she did for me earlier this year is proudly displayed in my hall. It is from the Mumford & Sons song, Awake My Soul. Which is one of my favorite bands and songs ever.

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Letter Folk is one of my faves to follow on Instagram. I seriously LOL at some of the stuff people put out there. It’s part giggle fest, part inspirational. One of these boards in on my Christmas Wish List. For real. With a board and oodles of letters, just imagine the possibilities.

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Vinyl Crafts over at Etsy has this sweet Kindess Matters sign. It’s a good reminder, don’t you think?

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Another Etsy find over at Mellisa Jane. These are the lyrics to another song that I love.

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Barn Owl Primitives is one of my favorites. I love this table manners sign. I actually have one of her 2+2 signs which is a perfect addition to my gallery wall which showcases our family of 4.

table-mannersThis was a Pinterest find but without an original source. Bummer! It’s a quote that I love though. It speaks to my soul as I have a super amazing tribe. Lucky me.

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I’ve had my eye on this one for awhile. Soulspeak and Sawdust has some fun stuff over at Etsy.

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I hope that I inspired you with these fun finds. Have a fab day.

Valentines Day Fun

Well hello February. I’ve found several awesome ideas for Valentines. Maybe it’s because this is the last year of elementary school for my youngest but I am feeling super¬†nostalgic. I really want to soak up this last bit of parties. This is a holiday that I try and make extra special. I don’t typically do the store bought cards but instead I find something fun via the web (hello Pinterest). There are so many fabulous ideas – some food related, some not. I also found some fun decor. Read on for my favorite 5 treats to share and decorations that inspire.

Creations by Kara is offering up laughs with this fun Valentine.

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Catch my Party¬†created these ‘smart’ Valentines.

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My Name is Snickerdoodle came up with this Kool idea.

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It’s Always Autumn used Starbursts in her Valentines. This one is on my ‘make’ list for sure.

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These sweet heart magnets over at The Connections We Share are a sweet, non foodie treat.

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Now moving on to my 5 fave decor ideas.

I am loving this little tree of hearts over at Simply + Kierste.

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If you follow me then you know that I am a HUGE fan of printables. I love this one at The Cake Blog.

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DIY Beautify created this sweet heart pallet board.

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Lux and Lace shared this neutral burlap LOVE pennant.

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This heart shaped wreath over at Bower Power Blog is unique. I love how they used grey yarn instead of pink, red or white which are so traditional in Valentines decor.

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I hope you enjoyed some of my favorite Valentines finds. If you’d like to see all of the LOVEly things I’ve pinned for this super sweet holiday, click here and you can visit my Valentines Pinterest Board. I hope your February is sweet.

My Addiction …. To Fixer Upper

First off, Hello! My Mac Book was on the fritz for months. It was sloooooow which made me very unmotivated to use it and then it just broke. But I was too busy to deal with it. I hosted my annual craft fair, my sister got married, I was in charge of the wedding decor {which was so much fun}, then the holidays and having houseguests plus hosting the holidays came around. I put the very idea of fixing my computer on the back burner. I knew it needed a new hard drive. Thankfully the stuff was salvaged on my old one. Replacing the hard drive and backing up the old one cost me 1/3 of what a new one would have cost and this thing is running like a dream. I am thrilled. Big thanks to Cody at Staples for making it happen. Seriously. I had a crush on him for a day cause he was so awesome. Now on to more important things.

I have a confession, I might be addicted to Fixer Upper. I am guessing most of you that read this will know exactly what that means but in case you are a little out of the loop, Fixer Upper is the hit HGTV show featuring the power couple, Chip & Joanna Gaines. They are this super team that redo old houses in Waco, Texas. They also have 4 young children, own a farm, a store, a bed and breakfast and are opening a bakery. The list seriously keeps growing {I am convinced that they never sleep} but if you watch their show, you will love them. They are adorable. They are artists. So I love them. I have an addiction. My Magnolia t-shirt and hat have been ordered. The addiction is real people.

So why has this show become such a hit? Well first off, they do a lot of remodeling at a super good price point. Obviously a lot of this is location and availibility. They are super talented in how they rework old homes and make them new again. Joanna also has the ability to decorate using old and new but without anything feeling overly fussy. The homes look clean, simple and homey when they are done. All of these are features that suck me right in.

Over the years, I have painted. A LOT {that is a whole other addiction – I don’t have time to count the amount of layers of paint in my house right now. I’ll save that for another post}. What I always come back to is neutral colors. I love adding color but I like to do it via accessories and not paint. I think because I have really realized that with my own style, I am especially drawn to the show. Another design element that I am loving as of late is the rustic/farmhouse/industrial look. I love how all of these elements can be pulled together and look like they actually belong together.

Our house is 11.5 years old. We are the original owners. We picked decent upgrades BUT I would love a refresh. Of course what I want and what we need are two very different things but hey, I’m a thinker so I have ideas. We have hardwood throughout most of the downstairs. It’s a light maple. I don’t like it but there is nothing wrong with it so it stays. We have cream cabinets and granite that is on the darker side. I want white cabinets with a much lighter granite. I want hardwood that is a very different color and style. I want to paint everything grey. Again, it’s a want. I’d completely reconfigure my kitchen. Seriously. But financially it doesn’t make sense and we have other priorities.

What I do get to do is a room redo. We have a small front room. It was shown in the model as a formal living room. That’s how it started¬†for us but we really didn’t utilize it as that. Then it was an office that was more for looks and I didn’t use it as I have a thing with doing all crafts and computer work at my kitchen island. I like to be in the hub of the house. About 18 months ago, we converted it to a kids space. We used to have a play room but the kids out grew the space and we wanted a guest room. Well, now it’s a game room of sorts for the kids. They have a TV and an X Box but it’s open to the rest of the house. Its become my project now that the holidays have passed {I always need a project to pull me through the after Christmas let down when I am sad cause my family all goes back home.}

I worked hard to condense my craft supplies and sold a large bookcase as I launched myself into this redo. This space currently holds a tv stand, small bookcase, cheap futon and 2 large dog crates. It has carpet that we hate and the next project is to install hardwood which will match our existing hardwood. I painted the room over the weekend. The color that I have in most of my house is called Faded Burlap by Valspar. I love this color. It’s a creamy beige that doesn’t seem to have pink or yellow undertones. It’s perfect. Click here to see a sample. The dog crates are there to stay as we have 2 big dogs that sleep inside but they have to be crated at night. I’d like to add a couch and a chair or two but I want to hide the crates behind the couch. I will probably repaint the TV stand as we need that for storage for the game console and TV. I also hope to repaint the bookcase and steal a matching bookcase from my son’s room. I am thinking of putting them together and adding a top to make them look like they are one piece. Another thing I’d LOVE to do is install barn doors going into the space. It’s wide open and loud when the kids are playing, especially when they have friends over. I also want to encourage them to have friends over as they get older so I am hoping that by giving this space some privacy, they kids will want to be here, Does that make sense? Also, if we have friends over, the kids can have a hang out space while the grown ups¬†hang in the family room and kitchen. We don’t want them to have TV’s in their room so this is the solution.

Now on to the fun stuff .. the style I have in mind is very much Fixer Upper. I guess I should tell my husband that I want barn doors now eh? ūüėČ At least I am not asking for shiplap.

My inspiration mostly comes from HGTV and Pinterest. I also find myself drooling over Instagram photos.

 

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barn doors –¬†source

 

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color scheme –¬†source

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Jenga on display – source

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giant dominos – source

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sign and gallery wall – source

PLAY Pillows

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So long story long, I {heart} Fixer Upper.

Life

Hi friends,

There have been so many nights that I have laid in bed and drafted blog posts in my head. Then daylight comes and another day slips away without so much as a note from me. I won’t bore you with excuses about how busy I am because we are all busy. I will say that I pay annually to maintain this blog because I truly enjoy writing, so why don’t I just write already? I think I need to start sharing my real life instead of always spending hours constructing the perfect post. Don’t worry, I will still share fun decorating ideas and recipes as those things are so much a part of who I am and what I love BUT I will also share some of my day to day musings and life happenings. I also plan to incorporate more organizing ideas and inspiration into my posts. My brother tells me that I have a knack for this organizing thing and that should share my talents. Highest compliment ever ūüôā

I am a bit of a sharer. A talker. A listener. I know not everyone in my circle is as expressive as me and I am always treading the line of being careful of not sharing my business at the consideration of others but sometimes I feel like that means that I am holding back on sharing me. Each of our stories and opinions are as individual as we are.

This particular post is about as personal as I can get. On June 3rd, my dad passed away. There is a whole book that can be written on the history with my dad. There were some rough years but the before and after those years¬†are forever engrained in my head and heart. I remember a man that would do my hair and make me oatmeal before school. I remember a man who fought super hard for custody of his 4 children. He fought against my mother who suffers from mental illness and a very messed up system. He fought for us and lost when he was the obvious safe parent. I didn’t realize until going through his personal belongings that he fought even after we were all grown. That divorce followed him for twenty years. My mom caused a lot of stress in his life but he didn’t hold it against her. He pitched in money to send her Christmas presents. She never knew. As a mom and a wife, I have a very different perspective and appreciation for him. How he fought for us. He was ornery but loving. He was sarcastic and witty. He was extremely generous. He was Grandpa to my boys and my nephews. We lived close to him so he had been a constant in my boys lives. He taught my oldest how to fish. He taught us all the love of food {although my butt and thighs say I could love food a little less. Ha ha}. Every occasion involved eating. Dad loved to treat us to meals out. He always wanted to give me money for holiday meal shopping. He brought way too many pies to Thanksgiving. He always had cash in his wallet to give to his grandsons, sometimes it was a dollar, sometimes it was $20. He called to check in often. He was the one I looked forward to telling about our adventures. He was my oldest son’s ‘person’. The one he felt the most comfortable being his true self with. He was my husband’s friend. He was my dad. He had cancer.

My dad had cancer. Fuck cancer. I don’t have enough explicates to express my anger towards this heinous disease that steals the lives of so many. He turned 67 the week before he died. He spent his last birthday in the hospital hopped up on pain meds. He spent his past few months as someone who he was not. He had prostate cancer several years ago followed by surgery to remove his prostate. Then he has a small stroke. Then he has a quadruple bypass. Then he has a foot infection cause by diabetes that left him less mobile then he would have liked for the last two years. Two years ago we found out through elevated PSA levels that the prostate cancer had gone to his bones. He tried every medication to no avail. Each one started to work and his numbers went down and then they would start to climb again. His foot would begin to heal and then it would become infected again. He was limited in what he could do. It was a vicious cycle. He was in the hospital for various infections a lot. His eating habits were bad which in turn caused him to gain weight. At Christmas the signs that things were changing had begun but they became even more apparent earlier this year. He stopped driving. My dad was the guy that would jump in the car and just take off. Each of his kids has a little of that in them. We are explorers. He stopped leaving¬†the house for things other then doctors appointments. We couldn’t even get him to come to dinner at our house and we live 4 miles away. He would’t even let us drive him here and then back home. He started to need more assistance. On Easter, he cut his ankle. I spent a few hours in the ER with him. He had lost weight. I knew this wasn’t good and I tried to just be strong and supportive. My dad didn’t do well with emotions and I am incredibly emotional. I cry at everything. It’s pretty much a running joke at my house. “Is mom crying yet?” Happy, sad, mad – I cry.

On May 4th I went to an oncology appointment with him. My aunt, our family friend and his nurse, and I were there. The oncologist explained that we had exhausted all options. We were looking at 6 months. I sat in the corner, unable to look at my dad and just cried. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I had to let my siblings know how the appointment went. We are big on sending each other group texts to keep each other in the know. I didnt know how to send that text. He¬†had just come out of a week long hospital¬†stay for elevated potassium levels. The week of his birthday he went in for a bladder infection. It turned into a lot more. He came home that Sunday, May 31st. He was done fighting. He told us it was over. He knew he¬†wasn’t going to get¬†better and as his best friend said, “If he didn’t have bad luck, he didn’t have any luck at all.” Sadly that was true. he was tired of fighting. I can’t say that I blamed him. He spent a couple of days at home surrounded by his loved ones. By Wednesday, we were all at his bedside. All four of his kids, our significant others, a¬†couple of his¬†grandsons and his sister. We talked to him. We made bad jokes {because dad taught us sarcasm and bad jokes}. We held his hands. We told him we loved him. We told him that it was OK to go. Our last words with him were that morning and then he didn’t talk again. He went peacefully surrounded by those that he loved. Being there in the moment that someone leaves the world is an incredible honor. It was also incredibly hard. When babies enter the world, you are eagerly awaiting their first cry. That signifies that they took their first breath. We cheer when this happens. ¬†It means that they are alive! When someone is dying, we wait for them to take their last breath. ¬†It’s crazy how our arrival and departure into this world are so completely emotional in very different ways.

The last few months were stressful. It was full of what ifs and tears. I didn’t know how to care for my dad and my own family and myself. I felt stressed about what I should and shouldn’t do. What I could and couldn’t do. Thankfully we had an angel of a caregiver step in and take the reigns. This helped us just be able to visit him. I started grieving the moment I heard the 6 month diagnosis. I didn’t know how to be normal. I cried every time I was with my dad. So I avoided any real conversations with him. When he started to talk about giving away his belongings, I had to step away with a giant lump in my throat. I didn’t want every conversation¬†to be emotional. I cried. A lot. I cried at the grocery store when I bumped into a friend. I cried in my car. I cried in bed. I cried. A lot. I didn’t want to be sad. I wanted to enjoy the time with him. The Monday before he passed, I quickly rattled off why I was so grateful for him and how much I loved him. I was glad to have that moment even though it will never be enough. I was trying to say what I had to say in¬†that moment because I knew I probably wouldn’t have another chance. I was right.

I am grateful that he didn’t suffer anymore then he already had. ¬†I am also incredibly sad that I didn’t have more time with him. I am sad that I can’t call him and tell him about our trips this summer. That my boys can’t tell him how they both caught fish. I am sad that my boys feel his absence. I am sad that my boys can’t have sleepovers at Grandpa’s. ¬†I am sad that he won’t be here as I navigate the teen years with my boys. I know I could have used his guidance. I am sad that his diabetes essentially went away and his foot healed when he lost weight from cancer. I am sad that it was too late. I am sad that he didn’t get to take my son on one final fishing trip. I am sad that he won’t see my little sister get married in November. I am sad that his future grandchildren won’t get to meet him. I am grateful that he knows that his kids are in relationships with good people. People who loved him like a dad. I am grateful for the time that we did have with him.

I recently posted a quote about grief on Instagram. Instagram is often my outlet for expressing how I am feeling. A stranger commented that she had lost her dad and that she felt like she had multiple personalities as she was grieving. I totally get that. I am happy and fine one minute and the next, I am crying and sitting in a puddle of grief. Grief is a hard thing. It brings you to a low place. ¬†Then you rebound and are living life and feeling happy. I know grief changes shapes. I know I will be OK. I know my family will be OK but we are in all feeling and dealing in our own way. I have had two friends lose their lives¬†in the last 4 months. Heart attacks at the age of 51 and 43. Heart attacks that left widows and young children fatherless. 2015 has been rough on my own heart. It’s also made me wildy aware of how precious life is. How we need to take care of ourselves. How we need to love hard. How we need to take deep breaths and let go of the petty things. How we need to take care of our own physical and emotional well being. I am a work in progress but I am highly aware of how lucky I am. I am grateful every.single.day. Grateful for the people who fill my life. At almost 41, I am not old. I am also not young. I am in the middle. I see how quickly life passes us by. Grab every moment. Savor every memory. ¬†I will ride this wave of emotions for a long time. Many of us have already felt this loss. Losing a parent is a really weird thing. It’s like losing a part of yourself.

This year, I will serve too many pies at Thanksgiving, it’s what dad would have done. I will love hard. I will allow my dad’s memory to be a constant in our family. I will honor all conversations and stories that can be shared about his life and who he was. I will wipe the tears and embrace the emotions.

To my friends who see my ramblings on social media, I am OK. I like to share my feelings because it is who I am. Sharing makes me feel a little lighter, even if the content is sometimes heavy. I have sad moments but I am allowing myself to feel them. I am also living my life and feeling lots of happy moments and creating happy memories as well. I am incredibly grateful for the people that lift me up and support me. I feel loved beyond words.

In my opinion, the best way to support someone who is grieving is by just being there. Let them express how they are feeling. Give a hug or a listening ear. Nothing that you can say will change how they grieve.¬†We grieve because we love. It’s a process. There isn’s a solution.

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Big hugs to all of you. Make a happy memory today and be grateful.