Lessons from a Guinea Pig

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A week ago this Saturday Justin and I welcomed our first pet into the family.

He is a 3 year old guinea pig who we have named Songkran in honor of a Thai holiday that was occurring on the day we bought him.

We decided to purchase him somewhat quickly, well, I guess, VERY quickly, we found out that he needed a new home and then welcomed him into ours less than 2 hours later.

We are not allowed to have cats or dogs in the place we are renting right not, but were told that a guinea pig would be alright. Justin and I had considered purchasing a couple awhile back, but hesitated because we didn’t know if we were ready for a pet.

This little guy just seemed to fit though, it was swift, and honestly a little surreal bringing him home.

But then the next day it really began to sink in.

We had just committed to caring for something apart from ourselves.

Something that was helpless without us.

Something that we could hurt if we weren’t careful.

Something that needed our love and our attention and our money.

To be honest, I got a little scared and freaked out a bit.

Now I know he is just a little guinea pig, but I have not had a pet in almost a decade and Justin and I have never been responsible for one, no matter how little, ever before.

It was in those moments that I was freaking out about the mess, the smell, the fact that he wasn’t responding to me how I wanted and the responsibility and money that he would require, that I realized how much he could teach me.

I had not realized how much I had adjusted over the years to a certain type of living.

I had begun to not only want, but NEED, the environment that I live in to be a certain way.

Clean, simple, organized.

I must admit I myself don’t even have the stamina to maintain the level of cleanliness and organization that I would love to have every day. I thrive on knowing that things are well cared for, in place and clean, and sometimes it is overwhelming to think that something could upset that balance. I had gotten very used to being able to control my environment’s characteristics and space. I had the ability to make it happen and look how I wanted and to keep it that way.

But then Songkran came along, him and his littleness, his excrement, the smell of the hay and the shavings in his cage, the fur, the nails, the needs.

The first day we had Songkran I spot cleaned his cage 6 times. I washed my hands after I touched him even a little or even just touched his cage and I picked and swept up every piece of hay and wood shaving that somehow founds its way around the outside of his cage.

I was so focused on maintaining the same level of organization and cleanliness in regards to him as I did with my house that I was consumed with all of things I had to DO for him and couldn’t even think about putting more attention to just loving and enjoying him.

As I sat on the dining room floor with Justin on Sunday afternoon and looked at Songkran eating his hay that I had gotten for him, so overwhelmed with the little animal that had rocked my world, I realized my terrible mistake.

My mind traveled past Songkran for a minute to our future children.

I realized that if I can’t even relax my intense desire for organization for a guinea pig that stays in a cage, what on earth was I going to do with children?

I hadn’t realized the comfortable state of control that I had become so attached to, and I am humbled to say that our new guinea pig is teaching me far more about myself then I would have ever thought.

I think that every married couple should own a pet before they have children.

I would have never realized before Songkran the significance of opening your world and your heart to something so small and so needy. It changes things, it changes you, no matter the size or needs of the pet.

I am learning how important honest care is, gentleness, patience, compassion for things in need, and being willing to break down expectations and control to give a better life to something else, even if it means giving up things that were once so important to you.

Through all of his quirky, jumpy little ways Songkran continues to teach me how to be better.

And I am grateful to the little fur ball for helping me learn lessons that will be used for the rest of my life.

Cheers to Easter!

To kick off this Easter week Justin and I had an egg dying party on Saturday night! It was wonderful! It was the largest party we’ve ever hosted and it was so fun!! I should have taken far more pictures, more of all the wonderful egg designs, one of my niece in her watermelon outfit, and far more of all the wonderful guests! I suppose memory will just have to suffice :) Here are a few photos from the evening, Justin and I hope to have many more like it through the coming summer!!

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If You Could Only Have One | Season

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If you had asked me this question last year I would have quickly assured you that it would be Fall, however, Spring this year has just taken my breath away and I do believe that if I had to choose just one season today, I would choose Spring!

There is just something about the blooming flowers, the warmer breezes and green leaves that warms my soul right now.

The warmer weather has an interesting way of making me feel safe. No more coats and blankets to fend off the chill and cold, the warmer, humid air is my security blanket when spring comes.

I have always loved the cooler weather, but I am learning lately to embrace all the beauty that Spring provides.

p.s. no matter what, I am always a ‘in between season’ kind of girl, my husband thinks very black and white with seasons, hot or cold, summer or winter. But I just like the transition of the death of nature in the fall and the rebirth in the spring, the vague’ happy medium’ type of weather that keeps you guessing and never gets boring!

So, what about you? If you could only have one season, which one would it be!? :)

DIY | Old to New: Furniture Edition

The topic of today is renovating current furniture!

To preface, the TV we currently own is an early 2000’s giant! It is seriously huge, big square screen and the back goes for about 2 feet! Yeah, it’s massive. We had no idea how we were going to find a unit to house the huge TV and make it look nice and then my mom found us the PERFECT TV unit at Goodwill that looked like it was BUILT to house our TV! I tried to look through my archives, but could not find a picture of how the TV looked in the unit accept for the following two out of focus ones, they kind of give an idea of what it looked like though!

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After about 8 months in our house, Justin and I decided to move the TV out of the living room. I wrote about the reasons for that decision a little bit in THIS post. We moved the unit and the TV out of sight and into the guest room and there it stayed until yesterday afternoon.

I finally decided that I didn’t want the mammoth TV taking up space inside the house anymore and made the decision to give it a new home in the garage :D I decided pretty quickly what I wanted to do with the TV, but I just felt that the TV cabinet had more potential then it appeared.

And then the idea came to me, a picture formed in my mind of what the unit could become and I knew it was gonna be great!

In THIS post I talked about how, due to necessity, I needed to continue redecorating our house without spending any more money. This DIY project is the PERFECT example of how to re-imagine the furniture that you may no longer have use for or love but can’t seem to fit into your room décor. If you are looking to try to reinvent your home, but just don’t have the budget to fit your dreams, I would encourage you to take a better look at your current furniture and try to re-in vision it with a few DIY changes. By using already bought supplies and a little ingenuity I was able to turn a no longer needed 90’s TV unit into a very useful, trendy and somewhat retro record player stand!! And who knows what else this piece could be used for in the future!! Needless to say it has certainly become one of my absolute favorite pieces in our house!!

Below you can find iPhone photo documentation of the process and end result! Let me know about your own home and furniture renovation projects, I’d love to hear about and see them!!!!

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Also, these screws are the WEIRDEST I have EVER seen…

photo 13Finally, after breaking, priming, painting and rebuilding…I give you, the finished project! (Well, almost finished :D I have to clean up the paint job just a bit oh and I did forget to fill in a couple holes on the top, but I think I might love them open, maybe I’ll pick some flowers and put them in each hole!!)

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I LOVE IT! And also couldn’t believe what a difference even just painting it made! Cheers to a DIY well done!!! :D :D :D

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the day I finally realized that sugar hates me

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was this past Saturday.
Justin and I had gone out to lunch, for burgers (OF COURSE!), after which we decided to make a Sonic stop. Now, my love for Sonic Blasts began freshman year of college, I used to order the MEDIUM size and eat it ALL! If any of you have had a sonic blast you will know that the small size is pretty big and the medium is just ridiculous. On Saturday though I felt ‘responsible’ so I got a small. Soft serve ice cream, M&M bits and whipped cream later I had eaten it all and then…it hit me.

The dreaded sugar high.

I can honestly say that I love me some sweets. Cake, cookies, candy, (soft serve) ice cream, etc… I like ‘em all! However, I can also honestly say, that they do NOT like me back.
My ‘responsible’ choice of a small Sonic blast backfired in a major way, the sugar high came and went and then came the crash. You know, once the sugar is done FLIPPING out your brain from its processed ingredients, it just lets you fall, hard.
And I did. Guys, it was rough. Embarrassingly rough. I have not had that major of a meltdown probably ever, and no matter the content of the breakdown I still did not recognize the cause until Justin mentioned that the same thing had happened before when I had eaten a sonic blast.
And that’s when it all made sense and I realized that my body has no idea what to do with processed sugars.
I would like to say that I can eat all the sweet treats I want, and I’m not talking about massive quantities either, I just mean I could eat a few cookies, or some candy, or cake and ice cream when the occasion calls for it, but I just can’t deny the after effects any longer.

Ah well, it’s been nice knowing you classically iced sugar cookies from walmart, so long sonic blasts and all of your perfectly blended textures, candy? Yeah, it’s time to say goodbye, cake? Well…. ;) I may just have to stay friends with you.

In all seriousness though, Saturday was a thoroughly eye opening (and exhausting) experience. I very quickly forget how poorly my body handles processed sugar, until it’s too late, but now the time has come to put some more thought into what sweets I am actually eating.
I’d like to say that I will be able to cut out all sweets right away, and maybe lose a few pounds in the process, but I’m not about to say that I have that much self control right off the bat. It’s gonna be a somewhat long and intentional process day to day as I figure out what sweets are worth it and what ones will only do my emotions and body damage.
Here’s to the venture though!
And now that you’ve read all about my food woes, haha, what about you?

Is there anything you love to eat, that just doesn’t love you back?

Amidst the Crazy and Calm

Blog. Pinterst finds

The past week was so ridiculously busy on all fronts. Things have since relaxed considerably. Between all the crazy and calm however, I thought I would share a bit of Pinterest art that succinctly gives marriage and life advice all at the same time.

Cheers :)

Photography Class Favorites

The University I attend offers one photography class that I have been waiting to take my entire four years as school, now in my final semester I have found the space in my schedule to attend! The class as a whole is an interesting one to be in for me. I have pretty clear visions on what and how I like to capture things via photography, so having to be graded on how I see the world through photography is a little frustrating at times, however the technical side and reminders of terms and numbers has been helpful! Here a few of my favorites that I’ve taken so far in the class, none of the photos can be edited at all, so all of the below are SOOC (straight out of camera) as I used to term them back in my Flickr days. :D

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clothed | five

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I have owned this black wrap dress for probably 10 years now and I am consistently surprised at its ability to be flattering and stylish no matter the season, year or age. It is certainly a vital piece of my wardrobe.

The coat was actually first my mother’s coat, she gave it to me a few years back and I have been quite pleased with it ever since! It isn’t often that a daughter envies her mother’s wardrobe, but for me it is certainly the case! This blue coat is just a preview of some of the great pieces she has had and still has in her wardrobe…I’m still waiting on her to ‘hand down’ some of the dresses she has right now [anytime now mom, any time ;) ]

I would normally have never worn these little black sneakers with this outfit, a nice black heel would have been a great addition, however, Justin and I walk to school each morning so my outfits must be not only attempt to be stylish, but also practical. It’s a give and take with fashion these days due to our circumstances, one that is many times a challenge, but also sometimes a good encouragement to really see how I can make my wardrobe work for me!

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clothed | summary

Don’t sacrifice wearing the pieces you love because of your circumstances, wear your favorite clothes and make your wardrobe one that is a good combination of style expression and practicality!

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dress: Attention| coat: Dressbarn | tights: Simply Vera (Kohls) |shoes: Mossimo Supply Co. (Walmart)

If You Could Only Have One | Beverage

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Today’s installment of ‘If You Could Only Have One’ will be short and sweet!

The topic today is: beverages

If you could only have ONE beverage for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Mine would simply be water. And not just because it’s healthy and what not, but because I just love it!! I like cold beverages over warm beverages most every time and it’s also probably because of habit since it’s all we drink at home and nearly all I drank growing up. For whatever reason, it is the only thing that totally and completely satisfies my thirst and find myself consistently looking forward to a glass of !! If I had to have a runner up it would probably be grape juice [ :) ]but since this is only ONE choice, I am going to stick with water!

So, what’s your one choice beverage? Hot or cold? Sweet or spicy? Coffee or tea? I’d love to know!