Hard Things

It started with perler beads. You know the little, plastic, rainbow colored beads that you ironed to make them stick in shapes? I bought a pack for Bill a few years back thinking she would enjoy playing with them. I was half right. She LOVED the idea of them but was easily frustrated when they got bumped off the board or by the length of time it took to finish a project. She would look at me with defeat in her eyes and say "This is too hard!" That was the first time I told Lilly we could do hard things.

The year that followed was hard. Their dad moved out, my marriage ended, I went back to work, we moved to a new neighborhood, Lilly started first grade at a new school, etc. Lots of things were new and unfamiliar. Days were easily derailed with a little bump in the road. Time for fun projects and play became less. Some changes were good and some were very hard.

Something about that lesson with the tiny beads stuck with me. It became my mantra I can do hard things. I never knew how strong I could be until I had no other choice.

The girls and I found new routines and have grown through the changes. The good days out number the hard but I am thankful that we were able to see our own strength. I'm glad we are able to look back and say "That was hard. But we did it!"

photo by daniellenicholphotography.com

Last week I was helping with a photo shoot for a very talented local artist. We were passing around prints to hold for the pictures and I realized that I didn't even know what I was holding.  I turned the print around the those words were staring straight back at me.


I may have teared up for a second (a brief second!) and took the print home because how could I not.  Life is tough but so are we.

You can check out more prints (and other stuff) at flaxandwooldesigns.com

TDPP Thank You Dinner

The Dinner Party Project is an organization local to Orlando that brings strangers together with the goal of fostering community while eating really great food. I will write more about the organization itself another time. Right now I want to make note of what this community means to me. 

I became involved with TDPP last year. First, I went to a dinner. It was a week night and I had to scramble last minute to find someone to watch the girls after my original sitter canceled. I had already rescheduled so even though I was mentally exhausted from the work day plus the last minute child care change up I went. It was held at a local venue, there were 8 guests in attendance including our host, Katie. 

I walked in the door feeling grumpy from the aforementioned circumstances and left a few hours later feeling full of life. With such a small group you can't hide but that is what is so great. The host helps you feel welcome and facilitates conversation. I saw below the surface of my fellow guests. I really saw them. I heard them- I heard who they are and what they are passionate about. And I was heard which is a beautiful feeling. 

So I asked how I could join in.

Dana, the founder, welcomed me with open arms and walked me through the hosting process. I now host about once a month and it continues to give me life every. single. time. Dana organized a special dinner for all of the hosts, chefs, venue owners, volunteers (etc.) right before Christmas and it was amazing.  I wore a gold sequin jumpsuit with my white high top sneaks and clearly made a fool of myself rubbing the sequins all night long. Great food and amazing people- can't beat that. 

To find out more about The Dinner Party Project visit www.thedinnerpartyproject.co

Six Year Old Lil

Let's take a moment to savor this moment of six year old sass. Yes that is her brand new American Girl doll facedown on the sidewalk. Six is fantastic.

Can I play catch up for a little bit? Lil turned six last summer. We had a small get together with friends and a local/super cute ice cream shop. 

I really dropped the ball last year. We moved in July, I started working full time that same month, and school started the next month so party planning was the last thing on my mind. I am so thankful for friends who come together to support me and my girlies even with next to no notice. 

Lastly, I have that same picture of Lil burying her head in my chest from each of the last 3 birthdays. Love that shy girl so much.

Mermaid Tails with Jordan Emmitt

A few weekends ago the girls and I got to take part in my pal Jordan's first local workshop. It was held at the most adorable shop in Orlando called Paper Goat Post

I took a few pictures of things around the shop that I especially loved. I regret not buying the mug and jewelry dish because they are gone now. I may still go back for one of the animal heads. How many mounted faux animal heads are too many for a child's room? Asking for a friend...

Jordan led the kiddos in making several mermaid crafts- shell necklaces, painted wooden spoon dolls, and no-sew mermaid tail blanket things (don't remember the technical term). The girls loved painting their spoons (both versions of Ariel who were then forced to fight to the death several times) and playing in the glitter meant to decorate the spoons. They also enjoyed watching me tie their blanket sides up for them. 

If you're local and looking for a good time check out Paper Goat's event calendar or Jordan's blog for upcoming workshop news. 

TBT: Lucas Nursery

Flowers forever and ever, amen. I found these pictures in iPhoto from last summer. The girls and I went to a local nursery that has a great butterfly house on property. The house was full of tropical flowers, mini quails (which so adorable af) and butterflies... obviously. 

Bud and Bill had mixed feelings about the butterflies but loved the quails. They were done way before I was and by the time I was finished photographing the flowers they had practically formed a mutiny. Still worth it in my opinion.