Saturday, February 20, 2016

If you came here looking for porn...

Hi there!

It recently (as in about 2 hrs ago) came to my attention that due to an uncanny similarity in names, you may have come to my site looking for something other than stories about life with my daughter, Julia. 

And while I am indeed Julia's mom, I am not Julia Ann's mom (actually to be honest, I am Julia Anne's mom, but it's Anne with an E, so still different) - and so, if you came here looking for porn, you've probably already figured it out, I am not the mom you are looking for.

But hey, since you are here why don't you stay for a second - I have something I want to say to you. Yes you! Reader who came here looking for porn but is reading my words instead - I have something to tell you!

You matter.
You matter a lot.
You are incredibly valuable.
Your life has purpose and meaning even if it doesn't feel like it right now. 
You still matter.

I don't know what you are going through. I don't know what you have done or what has been done to you. I'm sorry for the pain it caused, but nothing that has happened could change the fact that you matter.

I am not judging you for choices. I get what it's like to want to distract and numb when life hurts. I do. I happen to be in the camp of people who believe that we are all doing the best we can with what we've got. So I think you are doing the best you can - even if what you are doing is looking for porn. 

But you didn't find porn this time did you? You found me instead...

You found me telling you that you matter. That you are more than your pain, you are more than your past. You are more than the people who have hurt you, you are more than the decisions you have made. 

You matter. 

And so because I believe we are all doing the best we can with what we've got, I now want you to do the best you can with what I just told you. Before you move on to find what you were looking for in the first place, will you pause a second? Will you think about what I just said? Will you consider it? Will you consider that you do matter? Will you question for one second why a search for something far more popular than this little blog led you here instead? Could it be because I'm right? Because you really do matter and you not only needed to hear it, you deserve to hear it? Could it be there is more to your story than hiding and distracting and numbing?

I think maybe a part of you knows it's true, but it's hard to feel it. It's painful to let it sink in. That is okay, it really is. Feel it as much as you can right now, and go do the best you can with what you now have. 

Because you matter, friend. 
No matter what, you matter. 
And you are welcome here anytime.

-Laurie, Julia's Mom

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Julia and Coco: Nearly 8 Times Julia Channeled Her Inner Coco Chanel



So Julia is a fashionista and Coco Chanel was an advocate... who knew? 



1. Best decision ever!





2. Jules, you've opened my eyes to the beauty and necessity of differences.



3. Every day little lady, every day!




4. Even more so!




5. Yes you are!

                           



6. Julia, you are the most fun!



























7. Well, obviously!



























8. So this one isn't actually a Coco quote, hence the "Nearly 8 Times" title, but it is often attributed to her and I love it, and I feel like it's something Coco would have said...you know, since I knew her so well.


























Bonus Photo:   It's really quite easy Coco, what's not to understand?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Slumber Parties and Promises

Every Wednesday night Julia spends the night at my parents' house.

It's true - every single week - on Wednesday night - my mom hosts Julia for a sleepover.

I think she does this because she and my dad like having Jules around. She also does it to give us a little break in the middle of the week.  And back when Julia wasn't sleeping  much it was a way to ensure we got at least one really good night of sleep every seven days.  These are the reasons she might give if you asked her why...

I'm not sure though if she remembers that every time she does this, every single week when Julia spends the night at her house, she is also keeping a promise she made to me 8 years ago after Julia was born.

~~

Most of my pregnancy and the early months of Julia's life were entirely focused on the questions of survival and diagnosis. Will she live? What are we dealing with here?

Life beyond that wasn't in my realm of consideration, I could no longer picture what happens next...

The first time I remember grieving for the future I once envisioned caught me completely by surprise - I guess that's how grief works.

A Pottery Barn Kids catalog arrived in the mail one day when Julia was still a baby - we had no money at the time, but I remember wishfully flipping through the pages thinking about all of the beautiful things I wished to buy for Julia one day, when my eyes landed on a white trundle bed with two smiling little girls sitting on it.

And I crumbled.

Will Julia ever need a bed like this?
What does it mean if she never needs a bed like this?
Will she ever have a slumber party?
What if she never has a slumber party?
What if she never has a slumber party because she doesn't have friends?
What does that mean if she doesn't have friends?
What does any of this mean?
How does this work?
She survived - but now how do we live? How do we do this life?

Somehow I packed us up and we made our way to my mom's house where I fell into her arms and cried and cried and cried and cried and told her about the trundle bed and my fears.

She just held me.
She mercifully did not try to answer my impossible questions.
She thankfully did not try to reassure me that my fears were wrong, nor did she try to convince me everything would be alright. She just held me and let me cry and gave me time to feel what I needed to feel.

And then she said to me the one thing she could say with certainty, "I will have slumber parties with Julia."

And I knew she would.  I knew my amazing, devoted, self-less mom - who always puts her words into action, would have slumber parties with my girl. No matter what came next - no matter how the rest of life worked out - I knew without any doubt my mom would make good on her promise.

~~

So every Wednesday morning as we pack Julia's bag and I say to her, "You are going to Mimi's house today and you get to spend the night tonight!" what I'm really saying to both of us is, "Mimi loves us and she keeps her promise."

Jules and Mimi (and Macaroni the Doodle)


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Bathroom Remodel or My Best Christmas Present Ever!


Hello friends!

I am once again hijacking my own blog to do something a little different - I am writing my very first home makeover blog about our new main floor bathroom!!!! And I'm super excited about it - so prepare yourselves for a many, many exclamation points!!!!!!!!


Before and After modeling courtesy of our Golden-Doodle Macaroni

Quick background:

We moved into our house a little over a year ago - it's a 1950's ranch that had been flipped prior to us buying it. Some of the flip was good, some not so good. The only bathroom on the  main floor fell into the not so good category. The original tub remained and had been glazed, and the finishes were not well done (the tile was bumpy and not cut straight), but the main issue was just that it was super small. The tub served as a convenient, but not optional, foot rest when you sat on the toilet. The space between the tiny vanity and the tub was about 18 inches. Twice Julia walked in, bumped into the vanity and fell into the tub- thankfully both times I caught her by the ankles before she crashed, so it was kind of funny -  but also really scary.I worried about how this room would work for us as she gets bigger.  So all that to say, I really hated this bathroom.  Really. Hated. It.

Shortly after we moved in we consulted with my husband's Uncle Al, who is a contractor, to get his opinion on our options for this awful room.  He suggested that when we were ready to do a remodel we could take down a wall and borrow about 36 inches from the adjoining bedroom.  We loved that idea and started day dreaming about a time down the road when we would be able to do a full gut, expansion, and remodel. To say I obsessed about this would probably not be an exaggeration - I have a tendency to fixate a little when it comes to home decorating possibilities... Wes loves this about me!

So fast forward to this past Christmas.  We were still in the day dreaming phase in regards to the bathroom when I received a call from Uncle Al telling me he had drawn my name for the family gift exchange and he was going remodel the bathroom for me as my gift!!!!! WHAAAAAT??????  I couldn't believe it - he was going way, way over the suggested $50 limit. He reassured me it would be his pleasure to do this for us and so on January 5th the project began!

We had lots of fun picking out appliances, fixtures and finishes - for all of my hours watching HGTV, I had never actually experienced going through a remodel before. It was so much fun and we absolutely LOVE the final result.  It's DREAMY!!!!  And most importantly it's now so much safer and more accessible for Julia -  which is truly an amazing blessing for us! Oh and also, I can now move on to obsessing about other things - yay!

So without further ado, I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story!


Before:

Macaroni, demonstrating how cramped the old bathroom was!


The old bathroom.
                                          
Original cast iron tub.
Tiny vanity, boring finishes... blah!


AFTER!!!!

Macaroni's haircut along with the newly expanded bathroom means he has plenty of room now to relax!


Yay!!! The wall was bumped back creating an extra foot and a half of space!
                                         

Lot's of room for Julia to walk in and not tip into the tub!

The walls are a white beveled subway tile.
The paint is a brownish-black called Pepper from Behr.

We love the rough, concrete look of the floor tiles in contrast with the white wall tiles.
                                        
                                                 
The new tub is great for a little girl who loves to create tsunami waves!


We love how the tile turned out!
 I was planning to go with a darker grout but the tile guy talked me into white and I think he was right!

Thank you for blessing us Uncle Al and Aunt Jan!!!!
We love our new awesome bathroom!!!!!!
                                       
                                              

A few more pictures for people who like to see the in-between:


Gutting!
The wall came down!

The new bump out!
Julia's room is adjacent so we added a lot of insulation.
New tub is in!
I got to do the paint!
I LOVE the color - Pepper - my new favorite!!!

The old floor had to be leveled.



New floor down!


Tiled walls up!


I am so very grateful for this amazing gift - best Christmas gift ever!!!!