Thank you to Laila Laurson of "From the Scars" blog, for the nomination for the Blogger Recognition award! The fact that a fellow blogger took the time to read, absorb and ultimately judge my blog arriving at the conclusion that it is worthy of recognition is amazing and super special, so thank you!
So What is the Blogger Recognition Award?
The Blogger Recognition Award is given to bloggers by bloggers to show appreciation for the hard work and dedication put into their blog. It's amazing award to be presented with, because from my experience starting a new blog isn't as easy as some think and requires a lot of time, patience, and commitment.
My Blog's Story
A lot of people think blogging is all about making money. That may be the case for some, but it's most certainly not why I started Life, Fur, and Adventure.
"One writes not to be read, but to breath."
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Throughout my teenage years, I used writing as a means to escape the reality of life as a teenager. You know, the years when pimples become a prominent facial feature, the world is out to make you miserable, and you think your parents have nothing better to do than make you follow absurd rules that are completely unnecessary because you already know everything there is to know about life and how to live it.
Sneaking away to my room, closing the door and getting lost in the words that tumbled out of my mind and onto paper was probably one of the single most important things I did in my youth. Don't get me wrong I was your typical teenager in the sense that my mood swings were worse than a chandelier during an earthquake, but writing kept me grounded, and out of trouble. I never snuck out to go to a house party and get schnoggled. I never did drugs or found myself in some other unsavory situation. Some might say I missed out on everything fun about being in High School or being a teenager, but being mischievous was never my scene, it never appealed to me.
For the most part, I kept what I wrote to myself. I very rarely let prying eyes read what had spewed out onto paper though I did submit one poem to the International House of Poetry. They published it on page one of that year's edition of their book and invited me to a conference in New York City, or California, I can't remember. I didn't go. I had no interest in reading anything I had written in front of anyone. I was super proud of my poem being on the very first page of that book. It was a trophy.
As I got older, life took over and time for writing slipped further and further away until, eventually, I wasn't writing at all. After several years of discontentment due to on-going medical issues I decided I needed to get back to doing things that made me happy; writing was the biggest and most important one.
Life, Fur, and Adventure started as more of an online journal that nearly no one read. Shortly after I began writing again, life took over sending my husband and me down a road through infertility, miscarriage, pregnancy and eventually the birth of our daughter, Shelby. Now I share the everyday hiccups that new parents go through, as well as my views, and opinions of the world around me and my reader following grew to over 1,000 readers a day.
The blog also contains book reviews and a page strictly dedicated to providing tips and tricks to dog owners. As someone who was very heavily involved in the rescue community (and one day will be again) this blog has served as a means of finding homes for homeless dogs, as well as providing helpful and useful tips to new and seasoned dog owners.
Life, Fur, and Adventure has open many doors for me, but perhaps the most important door to have been opened from the creation of this blog is the ability to breathe again. For someone who uses words to express themselves, writing is like Oxygen and when I don't write, I am silently suffocating. So, while this award may seem menial to some, it truly means a lot to me and my craft.
Being a busy new mom, I spend about a millisecond thinking about what I am going to wear in the morning. Not because I don't care what I look like, I just don't have the time nor the energy to spend time contemplating what shirt will make my waist look smallest or if wearing my hair up will make my face appear less chubby.
The questions I ask myself are: is it clean? Can I get away with wearing this in the office? Do I look like I crawled out of a dumpster? If the answers are yes, probably, and no then it's quickly tossed on and out the door I go. Leggins, a t-shirt, sweater, and flats that's pretty much my day to day wardrobe. Add an accessory of spit-up, maybe some baby drools, and you've nailed my look to a tee. #momsheek
I wish I were one of those moms that slinked into a sexy, fashion-forward outfit for the office, but comfort has always been the name of my game. As someone who suffers from chronic pain linked to Fibromyalgia and Hypermobility of my joints, being uncomfortable to look cute, well, it's just not on my list of things to do. I figure leggings are more flattering than mom jeans, so I have to be ahead of the game, right?
I woke up late a few weeks ago and was having one of those mornings that teed up the rest of the day to be craptastic. After putting on my signature black leggings and tunic, I was feeling kind of glum, and it got me thinking: how much attention do others pay to someone's clothing?
So, for the last several weeks I completed a little experiment on my co-workers without their knowledge. I typically go home on my lunch to tidy up, vacuum, wash dishes, rip out shrubbery I asked my husband to take care of weeks ago, etc. It's easier to attack these tasks without my mini attached to my hip. While home on lunch I would change my outfit completely, from head to toe. I did this two days a week for two weeks. How many people do you think noticed the switch?
Not a one.
I wish I would have taken pictures of the outfits, but I didn't. Frankly, I didn't think I would be blogging about it! I expected someone, at least one person, to notice and prove the point that I really should spend more time picking out my clothes in the morning.
These were not little changes either. One day I wore a tunic with a sweater over it and a scarf with black shoes. I changed into a solid colored dress, no scarf or sweater, and a different pair of shoes. Not a single word was said. Not a peep.
I might think even less about what I decided to wear from now on. Not that I'm going to start appearing to the cube farm looking like a deranged monkey, but for an anxiety-ridden person, this experiment proves that the people I spend my day to day life with don't spend time judging me based on my outfit.
*Enter sign of relief*
Plus, I think it's funny that literally not one person took notice of a complete outfit change.
The point is, this is another aspect of my life that I need to stop focusing on others and focus more on what makes me happy. Wearing clothes is a must, so I should love or enjoy what I'm wearing because I like it, not because others approve or disapprove. Life is too short to spend time worrying about things that will have no barring on my happiness a week from now, or even a day.
Over the weekend my mom and I popped into one of my favorite places, Bookworm a used book store in East Aurora, NY and we were greeted by a bookshelf wrapped in caution tape with a sign that read "be a rebel."
Honestly, at first glance, I thought the caution tape was part of a Halloween display, and I expected the books to be scary stories about ghost and goblins. Instead, the shelves were lined with American classics, and popular books like The Diary of Anne Frank, Of Mice and Men, A Wrinkle in Time, the Harry Potter series, The Color Purple, The Catcher in the Rye, Winnie the Pooh, My Sister's Keeper, A Light in the Attic, Tom Sawyer, Websters Dictionary, etc. All these books, BANNED from public schools, no longer a part of the English curriculum and not found in school libraries.
The Diary of Anne Frank- banned for being too explicit (she talks about exploring her body in a very small section of the book- cause, ya know, everyone recalls that part of the book. *Eye roll*)
To be perfectly frank (no pun intended) if The Diary of Anne Frank hadn't been part of the reading curriculum in school, I wouldn't have the slightest clue who she was. Hell, I probably wouldn't have the same understanding of the Holocaust that I do.
Tom Sawyer- banned for having a questionable protagonist, based on his moral character.
Of Mice and Men - banned for racism, profanity, violence and because some believe it promotes euthanasia.
Websters Dictionary- banned because it contains the definition of oral sex. (REALLY!? Like kids don't have google at their fingertips)
Winnie the Pooh- banned for having animal characters that talk and that's ungodly.
Dr. Suess The Lorax - banned for the possibility of turning children against the logging industry.
I get it, I do. I have a seven-month-old daughter and I want nothing more than to protect and shield her from the ugliness of the world for as long as I possibly can, but I also don't want her to be ill-prepared emotionally for the hurdles life could throw at her. I want her to be worldly, and knowledgeable. I want her to know what her ancestors and fellow humans had to go through for her to enjoy the life she has. I want her to be part of a better future one that doesn't repeat the mistakes of the past.
I also want her childhood to be full of imagination and creativity, I'm 99.9 percent sure that's going to involve talking animals and princesses, maybe even flying inanimate objects. I fully intend to read her Winnie the Pooh and Where the Wild Things Are (also banned for being too scary) when she is the right age.
You know what else? I also intend to take her to Disneyworld! GASP! Where there are talking animals and her imagination can run wild. I know, the horrors.
Books by their very nature, are meant to be educational, explorative and foster a creative side in each of us that otherwise would never have a chance to breathe. They can contain truths we would never otherwise have a chance to experience, secrets that would otherwise never be exposed or shared. Books are a tool used to express, teach, and empower. There can be no wrong book. No bad book. It is all subjective. Obviously, there are books that should not be read in schools (The Fifty Shades series banned for obvious reasons...congratulations overprotective parents, you got one right!) but common sense need not apply to this post...or maybe it should.
I find it ironic that often what defines a book as "bad" is so commonly the very aspect of the book that makes it worth reading, worth teaching. The truth is the world can be a very scary place and sometimes good people make bad decisions and sometimes evil goes unpunished. People use vulgarity and sexual exploration is a part of growing up. Choosing to shelter our children from potentially hurtful or depressing words printed in the pages of books is absurd. Instead, we should be teaching our children how to handle these emotions, not run away from them and hide in a corner pretending they simply do not exist.
Personally, in today's day and age when electronics rule the land and video games zombify our kids, I'd be tickled pink if my kid picks up a book and actually learns something. Whether that something is how to use their imagination or about the suffering of someone who came before them.
So, dear Anne Frank, I am sorry our society has lost sight of the importance of your words and your story. I am sorry a select few have chosen to remember your impact by a single chapter rather than the book as a whole. I'm sorry Celie that today's world cannot see the beauty in your story, to learn how to see the beauty in even the smallest of things.
You see, the world is a lot like Holden from A Catcher in the Rye; adults view childhood as idyllic and perfect while adulthood is the equivalent to death, a fatal fall over the edge of a cliff. I fear unlike Holden who realizes the shallowness of his conceptions, society will only continue to look for ways to blame the problems of today on things like books.
Seriously...Winnie the Freakin Pooh and Dr. Suess the Lorax? The Wizard of Oz?! Silly, just plan silly. SUCH HOGWASH!!!
There are few things more beautiful or fun than the Fall season in Buffalo, NY. Chrisp air, the return of football, pumpkins, apple picking, the smell of hot cider, boots, and hoodies. It's by-far my favorite season. Except, it's also one of the most painful times of the year for me.
Anytime the weather pattern enters a phase of extreme change my body falls apart at the seams. Living with chronic pain is a lot like feeling as though you have the aches and pains of the flu every single day of your life. Some days are worse than others but pain-free days are a fantasy.
After years of unexplained pain, extreme fatigue and just overall crumminess I was diagnosed with hypermobility of my joints, Fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue which goes hand-in-hand with Fibromyalgia. I was 20 years old.
There is no cure for the disease, and there's still a larger percentage of the population that doesn't believe in the validity of the condition. Some just think those who suffer from chronic pain are "babies" or hypochondriacs.
Just because outwardly someone may look healthy and happy does not mean they are not suffering from an illness or disability. We all know looks can be deceiving, we see it in our everyday lives all the time. What differs from person to person is their ability to cope and how they choose to respond to the diagnosis. It is not a death sentence. It does not mean you have to stop living your life and become a bedridden hermit who relies on state support. It took several failed medication attempts, trial, and error exploration of vitamins and supplements coupled with daily exercise as well as massage therapy and sheer determination to find a treatment regimen that worked for me.
The whole point of this post to hopefully raise awareness and help those who don't understand, understand that physical appearance is not a tell all to the trials and tribulations that an individual may be experiencing. So before you judge the person who parked in the handicap spot, but looks perfectly healthy, remember this post and remember that not all alignments are physical.
I hope this post will also help to prove that not all those who suffer from an "invisible" illness are looking for an easy excuse to mooch off the system. I received my diagnosis eight years ago and have been out on disability twice. Once, after a bad car accident that caused an immense flare in pain and again after childbirth when hormones raged causing a flare in pain. Both times I was back to work in less than three months.
Life is a journey, and none of our paths are the same. We should be slower to judge and quicker to share compassion.
It's true what they say, you figure out how to get everything done, or it just doesn't get done.
It's been a struggle to find time to complete household chores while working a full-time job, as well as a part-time job, while simultaneously writing a book, taking care of four dogs, three cats, a husband, and a 7-month-old baby. My life is full and very busy.
I'm normally a pro at prioritizing and remaining calm when it feels like the walls are closing in, but after bringing Shelby home and going back to work when she was just three months old, my superhero powers have been tested.
I struggled to find a balance between being a working mom and devoting my after work hours to quality time with my mini. The dished piled up in the sink, the house went a few days without being vacuumed, and the dust coated any stagnant surface. Then, I fell into a groove. Shelby vacuums with me, attached to my hip like a little monkey. She trolls across the kitchen floor babbling, as I babble back, while I wash dishes.
As of late, I've found it easiest to come home on my lunch hour to power through as many of the household chores as I can. Today, I vacuumed, picked up the living room, cleaned up the backyard and tossed a load of laundry in the washer. I didn't have time to eat, but that's okay with me if it means I get to spend more time crawling around on the floor with my little.
I still need to remind myself that a few dirty dishes or a growing laundry pile really don't matter in the grand scheme of things. Shelby won't remember a few dirty dishes chilling in the kitchen sink, but she will remember her mom spending as much time as she possibly could with her while she was growing up.
Making memories is a lot more important than cleaning up the messes they may create.
Shelby was sound asleep in her crib dreaming of bottles and an endless sea of things she could put in her mouth when the ear piercing, head ringing screams began.
Tim and I had just crawled into bed and were about to turn the lights off when the baby monitor screeched to life.
"Is THAT Shelby?"
"No, it's a howler monkey in our daughter's room; Yes, it's Shelby."
When I looked into the crib she was facing the wall and just scream crying. I scooped her up, which normally would be enough to console her, but these cries were completely different from anything her little lungs had ever belted out before.
I checked her diaper, nothing. Tried the infamous mommy bounce walk, nothing. Tried burping her, got a few little burps and one truck driver burp but the scream crying continued. She was looking around like she was confused like she didn't know where she was, so I turned some lights on, nothing.
The screams were ear piercing. The kind of cries that make your head ring and your heart skip a beat. She was screaming as if someone had slammed her precious little fingers in a car door and left it latched while beginning to drive away.
IT. WAS. AWFUL.
After about 30 minutes of inconsolable crying, the panic set in. Something was clearly very, very wrong and we needed to get her to the hospital ASAP.
Tim loaded her up while I grabbed her diaper bag. We headed out to the car and loaded her into the backseat. Started down the driveway and made the turn onto Transit Road, silence.
We had just experienced our first (and hopefully last) night terror. It's amazing the things you learn when you become a parent. Apparently, night terrors are different from nightmares in that they take place before R.E.M sleep so, once the baby/kiddo wakes up they have no recollection of what they dreamt about. Nightmares take place after R.E.M sleep and older kids will be able to verbalize what they dreamt about and what scared them.
Night terrors can correlate to teething or can be triggered from a busy day where good, restful naps weren't taken. We had been down at "the land" all day Sunday and she had only taken one 20 minute nap the entire day. Lesson learned. Naps = necessity.
Becoming a mother has changed me in more ways than I can say, but Sunday night was one of the most terrifying nights of my life. Not knowing what to do or how to console my daughter, it broke my heart. I pray to the heavens to never have to experience that kind of crying ever again. At least if it does happen again we know what to expect and how to handle the situation.
I think the most upsetting thing about this whole situation besides the inconsolable scream crying is the fact that my 7 months old has something to have night terrors about. Seriously though, what does a baby have night terrors about? A toy being dropped on the floor just out of reach? Running out of formula or baby food? Missing mommy and daddy? I wish with my whole heart that she could tell me what it was about so I could fix it.
Mommy-hood is AMAZING but Sunday night SUCKED! Thankfully, she was back to her happy, smiley self by the time she woke up for the day.