Another Pay It Forward Project…

There are tons of great groups out there that organize and plan donations to worthwhile causes.  I just participated in the most recent Pay It Forward Project for Crochet Lounge.  This particular project benefits Weed Elementary K-8 School.  In the middle of September 2014, the city of Weed, CA endured the Boles Fire that wiped out 154 homes.  This left the community scrambling to rebuild everything headed into the winter season.  This area experiences winter a lot like we do in Southwestern PA.  The evenings are pretty cold.

So a concept was born to make a hat for every student and teacher attending and working at the school, which means about 330 hats needed (and some still needed) to be handcrafted.  The hats and beanies will all be made in school colors (green, yellow, and white) with the goal of showing that community and school spirit is alive and well.


The patterns I used in support of this project were all free patterns by Crochet Zombie, Moogly, Playin’ Hooky, and MNE Crafts.

If you are already participating, let me know.  If you want information on participating, please let me know that, too.  None of the hats will be distributed until everyone can receive one.


One of the MOST important messages I will ever share…

We all have those days…  We’re in a rush, our children aren’t cooperative…  Whatever the reason, ALWAYS make sure you have the proper equipment to restrain your child in a vehicle and make sure you are using it according to the manufacturer’s guidelines for the child’s height/weight.  Would it be easier sometimes not to do it that way?  Certainly, there’s always an EASIER route.  Is it the right thing to do?  Absolutely not.  It can have tragic consequences beyond anything you can imagine.

I can honestly say that when I read the story I am going to share, I sobbed so hard I couldn’t breathe.  A life cut short…  A tragic choice…  Sacrifice and a willingness to teach others so that no other family has to suffer the same situation.  It’s a hard read.  I hope you read it anyway.  I hope when you’re done, if you have children that need to be in car seats, that you restrain them properly…  EVERY SINGLE TIME!  I love you all…  Be safe! <3


Your body after motherhood…

So I came across this today, and I loved it!

My personal thoughts after reading?

Yes, motherhood changes who you are.  It should!  I hope that it leads me to be an even better version of myself, though.  A much healthier version with a better outlook on life and more optimism, if I’m being honest.

Realistically, am I going to look like I did in high school or college, even if I met all my fitness and weight loss goals?  NO!  Absolutely not…  That doesn’t mean I won’t look better.

I’m almost 21 days into my 21 day challenge.  I know I’m not done yet…  It’s a lifestyle commitment, and I’m not really sacrificing anything.  I’m gaining POSSIBILITIES!

I hope my journey enables me to look in the mirror and have a stronger sense of pride.  I know I’m working harder than I ever have to meet my goals, and I’m doing it for all the right reasons.  Someday, I may even show my pale, white stomach with pride…  Scars and all!  There are a ton of them from surgery for fertility issues, gall bladder removal, BABY REMOVAL…  LOL!  They are a badge of honor…  They show I survived, and I plan to thrive!


Crochet for a cause…

So, be prepared to see these once in a while…  Crochet is absolutely one of my very favorite hobbies.  I love that it can help me put a little bit of handcrafted love and goodness out into the world.  It may even touch a heart or two.  I certainly hope it does.  It is sort of a “if you have the means and the way” share for me.  I can afford the yarn, and I have the skill, so why not doing something to give back?

A recent challenge I participated in was the NICU Challenge hosted by Sunset Family Living.  If you aren’t already a fan of the blog or Facebook page, you should really check it out.

NICU Challenge Hats

The patterns I crafted for this challenge were designed by Crochet by Jennifer, Cre8tion Crochet, Ashley Designs Corner, Two Brothers Blankets, Little Monkeys Crochet, Hatch-ed With Love, and Moogly.

What is your gift and how can you share it with the world today?

The daily cry…

So a lot of days, I am able to find at least one thing that brings a tear to my eye. Today’s find brought me MAJOR sniffles… It is sweet and inspiring and a little sad… For the other momma’s out there (maybe a daddy or two, too)… Don’t say I didn’t warn ya! 😉


Life after (colicky) baby…

So…  I was supposed to participate in a half marathon last year shortly after Liam was born…  Then I was supposed to participate in another in the summer.  Neither one happened…  At least not for me.  It was a lot of things at the time (or it seemed like it was) that kept me from preparing.  It came down to the fact that I wasn’t adjusting completely to motherhood.  I couldn’t find balance in my life.  We had prayed for and worked so hard to have Liam.  Two miscarriages and years of fertility treatments culminated in one successful pregnancy.  It didn’t seem fair not to be with him every second of every day for every smile or tear.  While that’s all well and good, I was losing myself in taking care of him.

Even after I realized what I was doing, it was a hard thing to stop.  I wasn’t taking care of me.  I had lost all my “baby weight” plus another 10 pounds.  Granted, the fertility treatments and medicines to keep the pregnancy viable had caused minor weight gain making it seem like less of an accomplishment.  Regardless, early on my breakfast consisted of a Go Go SqueeZ, and snacks and lunch consisted of rice cakes in between walking the house listening to his colicky cries.  Dinner was usually a salad, and he would resume his nighttime colicky crying around 7:30 PM.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was hard.  I had PLANNED everything, and this wasn’t in my plan…  I didn’t want to have an emergency c-section or a preemie.  I wanted the picture in my head, but it just wasn’t my reality.  I refused to ask for help, and I had the hardest time letting that ideal picture go.  I am sure there are others like me, who have an equally hard time letting go…

Once Liam was through the colicky stage, I still had a hard time getting back into the pre-baby rhythm.  I felt like we were always rushing and never got to settle in…  In the meantime, I settled for eating junk.  If there was a visual dictionary image for a Smartfood Popcorn Addict or Four Cheese Hot Pocket Addict, you’d find my picture filed under both.

I felt like I was starting to get back into the previous rhythm of life in the fall.  I realized I didn’t want to be the parent who would hover, and I wouldn’t do Liam any favors by doing so.  While he was learning to explore the world with a little more independence, I was trying to find a sense of purpose that left me satisfied.  So even though I was doing better, I needed a goal or at least someone to hold me accountable.  Enter two of my friends…  Insisting that I sign up to run the half marathon, they put the pressure on…  One of those two ladies is NOT subtle at all!

It worked!!!  Once I forced myself to pay the registration, I knew I would go through with it.  So here I am today.  I’m one month into training and two weeks into a new healthy eating plan I discovered as a Beachbody Coach.


I’m excited to see what else 2015 brings…  Whatever it is, I’m determined this year to stay positive and meet every challenge head on!

Making changes… (update on the new furry member of our family)

Things are actually going better than expected! The first day was truly the most difficult. Sorting out “family issues” of the furry kind and figuring out how things worked in the household. We also began house training and crate training. These are high on my list of things to accomplish with any new dog.


I am happy to say, we have only had one accident!?! She urinated on the rug going out to the potty area.  I must say I take all the blame for it on my own shoulders. It is MY job to pay attention to her needs until we get this sorted out. House training is simple! You, the human, just have to put in the effort. For some, that can be difficult…

Does she have some bad behaviors? Absolutely! Want me to list them? They are all things that can be trained away or corrected (and I mean in a gentle, positive way). She counter surfs, she jumps up (gently), she tries to chew the rungs on our kitchen chairs, and she has LOTS OF FUN wth Joe’s sneakers…  Shame on him for not picking them up anyway!

But seriously, it’s the funniest thing…  She gently grabs a shoe string and spins in circles letting them fling out away from her with the force of the spin. I could hear her upstairs romping with them while I was running on the treadmill this morning.  Time went faster, and I ran harder as I debated what else she could get into…  So funny!!!

My point is that it’s hard to believe anyone would throw her away.  It makes me sad.  Is she perfect? No…  Am I? Absolutely not!

She has learned to sit nicely and is well on her way to being house trained in 5 days (really we accomplished that IMO on day 2). We are moving on to other behaviors and bigger and better things already!  That’s progress!!!

It’s the story of human existence.  We all struggle…  Our journey lives in overcoming our struggles and finding successes where we can.  Sometimes one hour at a time, and sometimes one day at a time.  We make progress toward our goals…  For ourselves, our families, and even our furbabies!


What are your goals? What are YOU doing to progress toward those goals? Why wait? You never want to look back and say…  Where would I be if I had done “X” a day, week, or month ago.  You can accomplish SO much if you CHOOSE!  PLAN to make it happen, and WORK your plan!

Sadie puts in her “work” with me, plays until her heart is content, and can finally relax…  She doesn’t have to worry about what lies ahead.  I’ll do that for her. <3  Even if Sadie doesn’t know it yet, she’s already following my plan for her.  Things are going just about perfectly…


It’s off on an adventure we go…

So this is the story of a sad, little puppy (or what should have been a sad, little puppy).  If you’ve been following along on my personal page on FB, you know that we decided to rescue a young Australian Shepherd pup from a kill shelter in VA.  So that decision was where the saga began with this picture…


“Puppy” was posted by Buchanan County Animal Shelter and shared on an Aussie Rescue group I belong to. Her previous owner had dumped her.  She was abandoned for three weeks or better.  She was fed off and on during that time by a very sweet girl named Karissa.  Karissa probably meant the difference between life and death for Puppy.  On New Year’s Eve, when she was covered in snow and looked like she might freeze to the ground because she was so wet, the girl took her to the shelter.  She was hopeful that her owner could be found or that she would find a new home.  Little did she know that her owner had deliberately abandoned her, and the owner was notified by a FB friend that she was at the shelter.  For ten days, nobody claimed Puppy while we waited and checked in.  Instead, the friend posted, “idk if they want her so just give her a good home lol.” LOL?!?! Not so much…  It’s a kill shelter, genius!

Finally, the day was arriving when her hold was up and she could leave the shelter and travel to a new forever home.  We went with Harley (resident Aussie) and Liam (our little) and headed south to the in-laws in WV to visit for the evening and get a little sleep.  Then it was up at 3:00 AM and out the door before 3:30 AM to get on the road for the 5+ hour drive from their house to the shelter in VA.  It was so cold…  3* really?!


The sights we saw on this trip (the real story behind the post other than me shamelessly posting pics of the new pup)…  We traveled through a lot of small towns.  These towns had some things I had never seen before… Including products from a successful Shark Tank investment!


We arrived at the shelter and pulled toward the road to realize the bar was still across…  Nobody home.  Joe is frustrated and thinking that the people gave me bad information.  I told him it was cold and maybe the person was running behind…  That turned out to be correct.  The nice gentleman, whom I had been speaking with for several days on the phone, had stopped to get himself a breakfast biscuit at McDonalds.  😉


He ushered us inside, showed us the pup, and we started our paperwork.  She was very sweet but timid when we went back to actually get her out of her small 3×4 enclosure.  She smelled like something that had died months ago…  We leashed her and when we got her outside, she was off like a rocket…  Taking Joe for several trips around the lot.  She had a little help getting in the car, and off we went.

We now knew that we needed to get her a bath ASAP, get some baby wipes to keep us clean on the trip, and pick up some dry food similar to what she had been eating at the shelter.  We knew we would be making several stops so the Walmart that was on our way in was our first destination upon leaving…  But during the trip back down the mountain, we had to first check out the Appalachian Inn! Probably not your first choice in accommodation unless you were looking for a leanto perched on the side of a cliff.


Then we arrived at what claimed to be Walmart…  Unlike any Walmart I have EVER seen…  I will refer to it from now on as the high rise Walmart.  The signs say it is Walmart, but it looks like a 3 story building with a shopping plaza in the basement.  It wasn’t unlike the complex built in Morgantown, WV at Suncrest.  All I saw where storefronts (bottom level) and two more stories of brick.  We followed the road past the side of the building and realized what looked like a steel and beam construction project underway from the main road was actually a parking garage.  Sign says = Walmart Level 3!  What?!?




So we parked and headed up the escalator and at the third level we turned and saw what you normally have after two sets of sliding doors.  We had arrived.  Shopping quickly and heading out, Joe was quick to point out the mechanism for getting the buggy down the escalator with us.  Again, this was a trip of firsts for me. 🙂  Puppy went to the potty, and we hit the road again.




We arrived after several more stops and 5 hours back at the house for some puppy play, baby meeting, and a much needed double bath and quick groom.  All is well at our house today as we try to settle in to the new routine.


What adventures have you gone on that made you feel like a stranger in a foreign land?  Were they outside the US or right here on home soil?

PS…  I’ve asked and begged for name suggestions, and after meeting her we know her name…  It is Sadie (Robertson) Zirkle!  She is happy and perky!!  She probably has one of the best personalities I’ve ever known and is such a sweetheart.  The ability animals have to forget and move on and believe the best in mankind is truly amazing.  🙂

So today will be a first…

It’s my first blog!  Welcome…  You’ve arrived! <3

If you’re reading this right now, you may be wondering what this site is all about.  I have to say, first and foremost, it’s about life!  Granted, it will be a slice of my life, but I’m pretty relatable so I’m sure there will be something here for everyone…  If not, there are tons of things out there on the “old inter webs” that will catch your interest, instead (Fast ‘N Loud anyone?).

My life revolves around dogs, fun family times, crafting, being as healthy as I can (that includes occasionally cooking), and praising God for the blessings he has given.  It’s going to be important to note that the order of those things is not significant.  On any given day, one is always given priority over the other it seems; but nevertheless, we soldier on and try to find balance in our lives!  If those are things that interest you, stick around…  It’s going to be an interesting time; and frequently, it will be a wild, fun and bumpy ride!  If I’ve discovered anything, it’s that life doesn’t always go as planned.  Sometimes that makes the journey all the more interesting!