Unsung Heroes: Birth Mothers

I have seen the amazing things that adoption has done. I have several friends that were adopted. Also, I am friends with some pretty amazing people have adopted. But you know who I think the strongest person on earth is? The birth mother.

While it takes an extremely special person to love a child that they are not biologically related to (I love my kids, but I am not a kid person), it takes a whole other level of love to carry a child for nine months, and love them enough to know that you cannot give them the life that they deserve.

A little personal…

This has been on my heart a lot lately. My mom, my siblings, and myself all did an Ancestry DNA test not long ago, and we found a relative that we didn’t know. You always hear stories, but it actually happened to us. I have a first cousin who was born in the sixties to a teenage girl, and while I do not know the entire story, I know that she was unable to keep him.

I cannot imagine the pain that she must have felt, knowing that she may never see him again. Back in those days, no one would have ever thought of DNA testing and a chance of finding each other on the internet.

I worry about how my cousins must feel. What’s it like to have a brother you never knew existed? Had they heard rumors that their mom had another child? This was probably hard for them to swallow.

I’ve been keeping in touch with my new-found cousin. My mom, my siblings, and myself have seen him several times now. I find it so funny every time I see him, he looks exactly like our uncle, there would be no denying him.

To the teenage girl who gave her son up- You are my hero. You gave him an amazing life. I wish that you could see that. I also believe that if you would meet him, you would instantly fall in love with him just like the rest of our family has.

Until next time,
Alicia

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You Don’t Have To Attend Every Party You’re Invited To…

I’ll say it again- You don’t have to attend every party you’re invited to. Those of you who know me, have probably heard me say this at least a half dozen times over the years. I probably remind myself of this every single day.

What does it mean? Well, I apply it to several situations in my life.

Anger.

Once upon a time, I had a lot of anger issues. If someone wanted to argue, I was down for it, especially if I felt that I was right, or at the very least that they were wrong. Arguing grows tiresome and can make you very weary though, so that’s when I first learned that I didn’t have to attend every party that I was invited to.

Drama.

Oh lord yall, I come from a family full of loud and proud southern women. These women are very opinionated and nine times our of ten, they feel that their way is the only way. I got included on an insane group message a few days ago. There were so many things I could think of that I really wanted to say, but guess what? You don’t have to attend every party you’re invited to.

Mental health…

This is the hardest one for me to admit. I’ve broken down and talked with several people about my anxiety and depression issues, but some of you don’t know the whole story.

Twice in my life I have truly wanted to end it all. I was done. The first time it was simply because I felt like I was not a strong enough mother for my children. We were going through a lot, and it nearly became too much to handle. I am so glad that I sought help.

The second time, a customer berated me and belittled me for weeks about an order and some mistakes that were made (on her end, not mine, funnily enough). After my last conversation with her, I was so shaken up that I sat on the side of the road, knowing that I had a loaded gun in my car and that I could end it all right there. Thank God a friend called me.

This customer came back this year, and I almost did business with her again, because things have been slow- but I remembered: You don’t have to attend every party that you’re invited to. My mental health is worth so much more than a small shirt order.

Actual Parties.

Sometimes, it’s okay to just be a homebody. I used to be the life of the party. Now, I prefer staying at home. I live for the days that I don’t have to leave my house. You don’t have to attend every party you’re invited to.

Until next time,
Alicia

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July Goal Check-In

With a week left to go, I thought it was as good of a time as any to check in on my goals for the month of July, see what progress has been made, and figure out what I could do differently in August to make sure that I meet my goals. As a refresher, here are my July goals:

  1. Re-do bathroom
  2. Put $1,000 in savings by July 31
  3. Clean boys rooms
  4. Shop for back to school
  5. Mulch around the entire house
  6. Paint at least one canvas per week
  7. Meal plan for each week
  8. Start working out 5 out of every 7 days
  9. Blog at least 2 times per week
  10. Buy blinds for living room
  11. Get nice porch furniture
  12. Draw on iPad daily
  13. Post a new shirt design daily
  14. Pay Shopify for a full year upfront
  15. Order inventory for August show
  16. Fully stock booths in Dawson and Cuthbert
  17. Create a realistic cleaning schedule to follow
  18. Create a realistic daily routine

So let’s discuss them one by one and see how I did—

  1. Re-do bathroom – DONE! With the exception of Steven doing some trimwork, and then me touching up paint AGAIN, we are done with that bad boy!!!
  2. Put $1,000 in savings by July 31 – This more than likely will not happen this month. Business has been SLOW. I’ll roll whatever money I can into savings at the end of the month, and try again in August.
  3. Clean boys rooms – DONE! As done as it can get for having teenage boys and a 4 year old. I gave each of the older boys a good deep cleaning, and I just attempt to get JW to help me pick up his room every day.
  4. Shop for back to school – DONE! We have school clothes galore, and thankfully there were no school supplies needed this year because our amazing school has found a way to provide supplies to each of the students! We did get new backpacks, lunch boxes, and all of that fun jazz though.
  5. Mulch around the entire house – Again, business has been slow this month, so I did not purchase mulch as I was hoping. This will likely roll over into next month.
  6. Paint at least one canvas per week – I am going to get better at this, but the only time I picked up a paint brush this entire month was to work on the bathroom.
  7. Meal plan for each week – DONE! I sit down every Thursday and make a meal plan and a Friday shopping list. It tends to be flexible, so if something comes up or we change our minds we can move things around, but it is so awesome to not have the age old question “What’s for dinner?” on a daily basis.
  8. Start working out 5 out of every 7 days – I’m going to get better. I truly want to, especially after looking at recent pictures of myself and after having to see myself in a swimsuit. Anywho, this did NOT happen this month.
  9. Blog at least 2 times per week – DONE! And going to get even better.
  10. Buy blinds for living room – This will unfortunately move to next month, unless something happens in the next week. I do want to get this done ASAP though.
  11. Get nice porch furniture – This will also be moving to next month, and honestly maybe a little further out so that I can take advantage of some good clearance prices.
  12. Draw on iPad daily – I don’t know why I have been unable to make myself do this, but I have not been drawing.
  13. Post a new shirt design daily – I have been posting ALMOST daily, but not always a new design. I will continue working on this over the coming months.
  14. Pay Shopify for a full year upfront – This did not happen this month, but hopefully soon!
  15. Order inventory for August show – Not yet, but soon.
  16. Fully stock booths in Dawson and Cuthbert – DONE!
  17. Create a realistic cleaning schedule to follow – DONE!!!!!!!!! I even posted it. I am so proud of how far along I have come with my house too. I no longer get worried about surprise visitors showing up!
  18. Create a realistic daily routine- Still a work in progress, it needs some tweaking, but with school starting back soon, I should be able to get it down to a good workable routine soon.

I would love to hear about your goals, please feel free to leave a comment below!

Until next time,
Alicia

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Amazon Subscribe and Save

Out of blatant curiosity, I wanted to ask if my readers use Amazon Subscribe and Save? I started using it when I had my store in town because I stopped having the opportunity to shop like I used to, and honestly, I hate going to large stores for many reasons… I have to deal with crowds, I can’t always find what I want, I get things that aren’t on my list, and so much more.

Amazon Subscribe and Save has helped me with all of that, and it helps me to not forget to order certain staples for around the house (except last year when I was actually running low on toilet paper and all the assholes in the world bought all that Amazon had, thanks for that people!).

I get all of my subscribe and save items delivered to me on the fifth of each month, which means that now is when I start looking over and making sure that I’m not getting anything I don’t need, or missing anything that I do.

Here’s an example using my August Subscribe and Save:

Amazon Subscribe and Save

As you can see, I save 10 to 15% on each of the items in my subscribe and save, and it’s all things that we use on a regular basis. I love getting my toothbrush heads in because I go ahead and change one out that day, and then mark in my planner to change it out again in 3 months. I do a load of dishes and laundry every day, so having detergent come in on a schedule is such an awesome thing, I never have to worry about running out. The paper, I use for my home business, and I can’t always get my k-cups local (even if I do, it’s actually much less expensive to get them this way), and I don’t have to explain the toilet paper.

What’s on your Subscribe and Save? Do you need more ideas? Here’s a few more things that I regularly order:
Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Daily Kid Leave-In Conditioning Spray- Conditioning Lice Spray for Kids for Lice Prevention – this is great for kids in school and I have it coming every other month… I would much rather prevent than end up treating!
Dial Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap Refill, Spring Water, 52 Fluid Oz (Pack of 3) – I love my soap dispensers and was FOREVER forgetting to get a soap refill, so having these on subscribe and save has been awesome!
Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Pods, ActionPacs Dishwasher Detergent, Lemon Platinum Plus, 70 Count – Again, good to have coming automatically, because you know you’ll never run out!
Glad ForceFlex Protection Series Tall Kitchen Trash Bags, 13 Gal, Fresh Clean with Febreze, 110 Ct

Until next time,
Alicia

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I now proudly introduce “Lemonade”- Our bathroom upgrade!!!

Five years ago we moved into our tiny three bedroom, one bathroom home and even though it honestly was not much, we have been slowly turning it into our dream home. I took it from “doodoo brown” to a beautiful shade of teal on the outside, and Steven has been AMAZING at clearing out and making our once overgrown property look beautiful again (I have at least done SOME yardwork, but it’s not as awesome as what some of you could probably do). The one thing that I have hated since day one, but not had the time or money to deal with, has been our bathroom. While the big boys were gone to their dad’s this summer though, we had to take the opportunity to do some repairs and updates. I am so happy to introduce “Lemonade”, what we made out of the lemons life through at us.

Our home was seriously neglected for years before we moved in (we actually rented for a year before purchasing too). There were leaks that were allowed to go on for forever, on top of cheap flooring, on top of cheap floors. We found our first issue the night of our first Thanksgiving in our home. My poor husband got up to get something for heartburn and fell through the kitchen floor. Turns out, there had once been a leak to the waterline to the old refrigerator and no one bothered to fix it. The fridge was new when we moved in and no one ever hooked a waterline up (didn’t bother us, we didn’t intend to use it) but when the floor was being repaired, we definitely found out why. That brings us to the bathroom…

Our poor bathroom had some of the worst plumbing I had ever seen in my life. While we were still just renting, we made several repairs to the sink drain, the shower, and the toilet. After we bought our house, we ended up having to replace the toilet and making repairs to the floor around it, because it started to cave through the floor. Turns out, someone had repaired a spot in the floor, but the SUBFLOOR was rotten, Yay us! Not being prepared at all to fix those major things at the time, we did the best we could, and put it back together, knowing that we would definitely be getting back to this project sooner rather than later.

The day finally came this summer. We bought all the lumber we needed for the job (and extra, because we didn’t want the same problems as before) and we went ahead and bought new flooring (super cute linoleum from Lowes) so that we no longer had to worry about the cheap peel and stick tile that the previous owners had used. Because of all the leaks in the past, the original vanity (made of pressed wood) was ruined and had to be replaced, so I found one I loved at Home Depot that had TONS of storage (I love storage!!!) that actually takes up less space than the original vanity and the weird little shelf that was attached to it. I found a larger medicine cabinet at Lowes for only $40 that I am still super in love with.

I won’t bore you with details on all the work we had to do, mostly because I am not a professional, we may not have done it right, and most of it is over my head anyhow… BUT, yall… It is amazing what paint, a new vanity, medicine cabinet, and d├ęcor can do!

I couldn’t decide between two bathroom rugs, so I got this Lemon “Squeeze the Day” rug to put at the door and this adorable Lemon Wedge Rug to put beside the tub. We decided it was time for a new shower curtain so I got this Yellow and White Striped Shower Curtain and Double hook Shower Curtain hooks to hang the liner behind it. I’ve actually been impressed that these hooks haven’t tried to pop off the rod too!

My favorite new things in the bathroom are Hand Towel Holder/Caddy and Toilet Paper Holder. They are just the perfect amount of rustic charm for my house AND… yall know how much I love the extra storage. I can’t decide on new towels for now, so I picked up some cute cheap handtowels at Walmart to get by until I can make a decision.

Steven thinks this is crazy, but I had to get the The Cutest Yellow Trashcan EVER to match in our little Lemonade bathroom, and the Perfect Yellow Valance for our window. We still have to update the faucet in our shower, but I did at least get us some nice Shower Caddies to keep everyone’s shampoos and bodywashes in.

I’m so happy to finally have a bathroom that I’m not embarrassed for people to see when they come over. I have a local artist friend painting me some cute pieces to dress it up even more, and I’ll have to update with more pictures once I have them!

Until next time,
Alicia

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