Two Teens And Their Mama

Friday, October 20, 2017

Random Friday Loves

Whew, what a week!  I'm so thankful that Friday is here, and I'm off to visit my college boy and go to the WSU homecoming football game.  Linking up with my friends at The Blended Blog because I think we all could use some love today!

Have you checked out Oriental Trading lately?  When my boys were little, I bought craft supplies and party knick knacks from them.  But now they're so much more!  My friend Dawn does styling and crafting for them, and she has the cutest ideas, like these Over-The-Top Caramel Apples.  Yum!

I hope you had a chance to read my post on Tuesday about Whitney and Bridging The Gap.  The campaign has been a great success and I can't wait to see where it goes from here.  If you need some weekend reading, go here for some really inspiring stories.

Getting a surprise package in the mail from a friend is a special kind of happiness!  Last weekend, the sweetest Deena sent me cozy reading socks, a book from my new favorite author, and some delicious homemade jam.  I can't tell you how much I needed that little pick me up, and I spent Saturday afternoon relaxing and reading on the couch.

I write a lot about Thomas on the blog these days, but don't mention much about my older son, Conner.  He's off doing his thing and I'm not sure he likes me sharing too many of his stories.  I look at him sometimes and can't believe what an amazing person he's grown into - or that I have a kid with a beard.  He's successful and happy and we're so proud of him.  It makes all those tough years of parenting worthwhile.

Are you ready for the next round of TBB Asks?  We're back on Monday, November 6th with "things you're thankful for".  I hope you'll join us!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend, friends!  It's supposed to pour rain on Saturday night for the game, so I'll be the one in the very fashionable poncho, trying to stay dry.  Comfort over style!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

TBB Style: What About The Sleeves

Pants (similar); Sweater (similar)

Welcome back to The Blended Blog Style We hope you'll join us and link up your fashion posts below, and check back to see if you are featured!

So....just last week I wrote about my love for bell sleeves.  But not the long sleeve bell sleeve kind, because they get in my way when I work and cook.

And then over the weekend I found this Summer & Sage sweater while shopping with my mom, and I fell in "love".  Love the graphic, the sleeves, and the oh so perfect weight.  The neutral gray goes great with colored or denim jeans, and can be dressed up or down.

Apparently I won't be able to go to work or make dinner with this outfit on.  Guess I'll be wearing it a lot.

Linking up  with The Pleated PoppyThursday Fashion FilesFashion FridayFabulous FridayPumps and PushupsHow I Style ItNot Dead Yet StyleMy Refined StyleThursday ModaI do DeclaireAgeless StyleWednesday's Wardrobe , Get Your Pretty OnShelbee On The Edge

And now it's time to link up!  I hope you'll join us again this week, and follow along with #theblendedblogstyle.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Blogging Friend A La Mode: Bridging The Gap

Today I'm thrilled to be part of the launch of Bridging The Gap, a new campaign bringing together 200 influencers to "blur the boundaries" and create social change.  We're merging the millennial and midlife demographics to support and uplift each other, because we are definitely stronger together!

When I started blogging, I had no idea that I would make life long friends with women from all over the world.  And the even bigger surprise - some of them were young enough to be my daughters!  After discovering Forever Fierce: The Midlife Revolution, and becoming a contributing partner of The Blended Blog, I've grown to realize that our age is merely a number, and what's in our heart, and how we approach life, is what keeps us young.

The Blended Blog truly epitomizes everything Bridging The Gap is about.  Fifteen women of different ages and stages of life, becoming friends and combining our voices, sharing the spark and freshness of youth with the experience and knowledge of midlife.  

It's there that I meet Whitney of Whitney A La Mode, a kind, smart, beautiful millennial from Michigan, who agreed to be my partner for this important campaign.

Whitney started blogging four years ago as a way to motivate herself to be more creative in her wardrobe remixing and hold herself accountable for sticking to a budget.  Whitney A La Mode still focuses on fashion, but has taken a bit more of a lifestyle turn, as Whitney reflects on who she is without straying too far from her passion for fashion.  Her blog is her creative outlet, something that she can nurture and be proud of.

Born and raised in the great state of Michigan, Whitney developed a love of French language and culture early on and studied it throughout college and graduate school at Michigan State University.  She now shares that passion as a French teacher.  In her personal life, she lives happily with her boyfriend and two cats, and in her free time loves to read mystery novels, try new foods, and travel.

Some of my favorite posts of Whitney's are her capsule travel wardrobe series.  She's the master at putting together a perfect capsule of mix and match outfits to take you through any vacation, be it traveling in Europe or around the States.

Whitney and I decided to interview each other, and because I hate to paraphrase her thoughtful answers, I'm sharing her words as she wrote them:

What is the title of your blog and why?  Even though in English "a la mode" means "with ice cream", in French it means "in style".  Since I'm a French teacher who is on a mission to be stylish, I thought "Whitney a la mode" fit!

What is the most rewarding part of blogging?  Most definitely the most rewarding part of blogging is the friendships I've made with other bloggers.  These friendships start as positive and supportive comments on each others' blogs and grow into genuine support systems.  I can't tell you how amazing and loving these women are!  We celebrate each others' happiness and carry each other through life's difficulties.  I can't imagine NOT having these women in my life.

What makes you the happiest about being your current age?  I turned 31 a couple of months ago so I think I can officially say that I'm "in my thirties".  The best part of being in your thirties, I think, is the freedom to be who you are and to do what you want to do, unapologetically.  If you want to go out and drink an entire bottle of wine on a Saturday night, go for it!  If you want to stay in, wear sweatpants and eat a pizza, you can do that too!  There isn't as much pressure to do the "in thing" anymore.  And personally, I'm in a really happy spot right now - everything seems to have fallen into place!

What have you learned from the midlife women in TBB?  The biggest lesson I've learned from my friends in The Blended Blog is how to ride the waves of life.  I've seen so many of them experience difficult times with such grace.  They always come out on top to find happiness again.  In my moments of struggle, they've shown me that I will get over my obstacles and everything will eventually be okay!

Do you have a midlife blogger that has inspired you?  I have so many midlife bloggers who have inspired me that it's hard to narrow it down enough to answer this question!  I'll start with Lana (aww...thanks Whitney) who takes on life with such calm strength, I hope that I will be like her at midlife.  Then there's my good friend, Carrie, who is such a caring friend and who stays true to her passions, a total inspiration!  And Andrea can wear trends like nobody else I know and is the absolute sweetest!  Ultimately, I wish I could be a little mix of all these women.

Finally, how can we "bridge the gap" in our non-blogging life?  I think we just need to be open to everyone's stories.  You never know who will turn out to be a good friend if you take the opportunity to listen.  Most of my friends at work are in different stages of life than me but I enjoy their company so much!

Thank you, Whitney, for agreeing to share this campaign with me.  I'm truly honored to call you a friend and look forward to seeing where the future takes us.  Let's all go out today, and everyday, and bridge the gap in our hearts and our lives.  As our fearless leader and all around lovely mentor Catherine says, "Always remember, true beauty is on the inside".

#WeAreStrongerTogether #BridgingTheGap #ForeverFierce #MidlifeRevolution #AgeIsJustaNumber #Sisterhood

Go here to read more posts from the members of Bridging The Gap.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Weekend In Skamania

A few weekends ago George and I headed south to Skamania Lodge for a relaxing anniversary getaway.

This beautiful lodge is set on the Washington side of the Columbia River, about five hours from our house, and we had always wanted to visit there.  Unfortunately (a little bit for us, but mostly for the poor people who live in the area), a few weeks before our visit a massive wild fire was started on the Oregon side by boys lighting off fireworks.

I called Skamania to ask if we should still come, and they told us they were open for business.  The fire was visible, but not threatening, due to the huge Columbia River.

We started our drive in sunny Seattle...

And arrived five hours later to this...

So sad.  The air quality was very unhealthy, so we were cautioned to stay inside.  No worries as this meant we "had" to check out the spa and restaurants.

The next morning the wind had shifted and air quality was better.  We had planned to visit Multnomah Falls and go zip lining on the lodge property, but both were closed due to the fire.  Instead, we headed out to walk the trails.  I found Bigfoot...

And George found beer...

We spent the afternoon enjoying the fire pit and the beer, all to ourselves.  You can kind of see the Columbia out there.

While it wasn't the weekend we originally had in mind, we enjoyed relaxing and hanging out together, getting some much needed down time.  

Fortunately for us, we were able to return home to clear skies.  Sadly, this fire is still only 50 percent contained, although the rain and cool weather in the forecast will help. Someday we hope to come back and take advantage of all the outdoor activities this beautiful area has to offer.

Speaking of fires, thoughts and positive vibes to all those affected by the devastating wildfires raging in the Napa/Sonoma area of California.  Praying that the weather cooperates and the firefighters can make headway soon.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

TBB Style: Bell Sleeves

Welcome back to The Blended Blog Style!  We hope you'll join us and link up your fashion posts below, and check back each week to see if you are featured!

The statement sleeves this fall have me smitten.  I love them all - the ruffles and bells and bows.  But truthfully, they're not very practical in my every day life.  Long ruffle and bell sleeves look pretty, but they get in my way. I get tired of knocking things off my desk every time I reach for something, or dipping them in whatever I'm making for dinner.

This Bobeau sweatshirt is the perfect alternative - cute bell sleeves at a 3/4 length.  It's soft and cozy and can be dressed up or down.

Sweatshirt (similar)

And look, I'm wearing accessories!  Last weekend I cleaned up my jewelry drawer and untangled all my necklaces.  HOW do they get like that?  Now that everything is organized and easy to see, I'll try to get my act together and wear them!

Linking up  with The Pleated PoppyThursday Fashion FilesFashion FridayFabulous FridayPumps and PushupsHow I Style ItNot Dead Yet StyleMy Refined StyleThursday ModaI do DeclaireAgeless StyleWednesday's Wardrobe , Get Your Pretty OnShelbee On The Edge

And now it's time to link up!  I hope you'll join us again this week, and follow along with #theblendedblogstyle.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Our Dreams Can Come True

I've officially been given permission to announce exciting news...

Thomas has been accepted to Vet school!

This kid shared his dream with us nine years ago, on his first visit to Washington State University.  He asked me to take a picture of him under the Vet Hospital sign, and told us he would study there someday.  He was going to be an animal doctor.
He's always loved creatures great and small, and I thought he was cute, but did I really think it would happen?  I can't say for sure, but I'm guessing probably not.  How many of us end up doing what we dream about at ten?  I don't remember what I wanted to be at that age.  Although it might have been mom-hood, and that worked out pretty well.

The last few years have been tough.  Mostly for him, but we've been along for the ride.  A challenging high school course load, in order to be accepted to the Honors College at WSU.  Difficult college classes, vet job shadowing, animal volunteer work.  Writing and rewriting the application and personal statement.  The interview, full of moral and ethical questions I wouldn't have been able to answer.  And then the wait.

He drove home five hours to tell us in person... I made it.  I cried happy tears, full of excitement, and relief, but most of all pride.

Heart bursting pride in both of my boys.  I wrote about Conner's dream years ago, and he's continued to follow his passion, becoming the youngest Master Technician for Toyota in the state.

The path might be rocky and difficult, uphill and exhausting, full of doubt. All these years I thought I was leading my boys, but maybe they were teaching me.  

Our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.


Be sure to stop by The Blended Blog today where some of the ladies are sharing a day in the life.  I love peeking at what everyone else does with their day - it'll be fun!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Thank You Mr. Petty

What a week.

It started so high.  There was fantastic, long waited for great news.  I can't share it yet, because I haven't been given the official clearance, but soon.

On Monday, we all woke up to the devastating, horrific shooting in Las Vegas.  I have no words, because they mean nothing.  I don't know what the answer is, but we need one.  Now.

And then...Tom Petty died.  And then he didn't.  And then he did again.  In a day of so much loss, it was finally too much.

I saw his concert thirty years ago, right after college, and it was one of the best shows I've ever been to.  Tom Petty was a brilliant, thoughtful lyricist and it was clear that he loved to share his words with the world.  When he came back to Seattle a few weeks ago, my own Thomas, who appreciates music more than anyone I know, asked if we could go.

I sent him with his dad, bowing out myself because "I've seen him before".  Now I regret that decision.  But regrets don't get you anywhere, and Tom Petty would be the first to agree.

So instead I'll remember his music and his words, and be grateful that in a time of so much violence and uncertainty, there are also Tom Petty's, to help get us through.

Rest well, Mr. Petty.  And thank you.

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