Category Archives: Inspiration

Three Years of Marriage

3 Anniversary

3 Years

36 Months

156 Weeks

1,095 Days

26,280 Hours

1,576,800 Minutes

94,608,000 Seconds

“That is how long/how much you have been my husband. We are us. We have made it. I have made a promise to never underestimate how difficult this commitment we have made is. I have promised myself to each year, quantify in this way, just how long/how much you and I have been us, Mr. and Mrs. Ernst. Seeing the years, months, days, moments, seconds add up makes my heart swell with pride. I chose to allow your love to fill my life and my heart and whilst that makes me happy and content so much of the time, I knew going in to this that this was never going to be easy. Not by any fault of our own necessarily but because of the world, society, people that we will meet or have met that will influence us in one way or another, raw deals and lost dreams that we will have to let go of, money, air, wrenches and who knows what else… Easy or not, we are in this together, for better or worse, such easy words to say, so much more difficult to live them, I’m proud of us for doing so.”

This post is ridiculously LATE and overdue, but we’re just going to go with “better late than never”!

Our third year of marriage has been… a BLUR:

  • We went out for our last anniversary to spite me being SO pregnant that all I wanted to do pretty much ever was sleep and hope that when I woke my ankles had returned!
  • We celebrated our last Thanksgiving as “just Jen & Don”
  • We took a trip to Jacksonville Beach and had awesome times with Anita & Chris, ate some amazing food at The Maple Street Biscuit Company, and burnt ends from some BBQ joint whose name I don’t remember, checked in at the local hospital for an NST that would later prove to have been a waste of time… Sigh and got to have brunch with the one and only Mr. Paul Ferlita.
  • We had our maternity photo shoot cancelled at the last minute and you were so kind and sensitive to my super prego hormones and my insistence that it was “THE WORST THING EVER”. Good friends once again came to the rescue and we did end up getting beautiful maternity photos during the busiest time of year for professional photograhers! (Thank you Bobby, Erin and Kai!) I have yet to edit any of these and do something with them… its on “the list”…
  • I did an engagement shoot at 9 months pregnant while you worked your butt off at the shop to try and get ahead for us.
  • I FINALLY got our wedding photos printed and hung up in our home, seeing those photos on display makes me smile on a daily basis. Our wedding day will forever be one of THE BEST days of my life.
  • A week prior to my scheduled c-section I went in for my NST and for the first time didn’t pass the second round of tests, on December 16th around 5:30pm I called you to tell you that they were admitting me and inducing me, you said “Ok, well I still have 3 alignments to do” LOL and I said “All good, we should have plenty of time”.
  • Everyone made it in time and after every one was sent home they were all called back as it was decided that we were going to do a scheduled c-section around 2:30am.
  • You stood by my side in a cold operating room with your least favorite Dr. performing major surgery on your wife and your son and you kept your calm, said all of the right things.  In that moment I had never been more thankful for you.
  • At 4:01am on December 17th, you and I heard our baby cry for the very first time and it was the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard.
  • You managed to not lose your mind going stir crazy being in the hospital for 3 days and you helped me and Baby Don in any and every way you could. Fatherhood looks so good on you my love.
  • We argued about Elf on The Shelf pictures while in the hospital and you not having any jeans to wear for our coming home with baby pictures (I’m pretty sure you had on two opposing styles of plaid at the time LOL!) but, we worked it out and got an Elf picture and you changed into some jeans for our pictures once we got home. (Looking back now I’m not sure why either of these things really mattered but I love you for humoring me!)
  • We somehow survived a mandatory 48 hours of consecutive hourly nursing sessions for our first two days home with the baby AND managed to drive to the hospital two times to get his blood tests. We were speaking in tongues by the end of it, but we were also working together as THE BEST TEAM and we kept our son from having to spend any time in the NICU by bringing his billirubin levels back to normal.  I am still so proud of us for this!
  • Speaking of those blood tests, in my first of what will hopefully not be too many “too much for my momma heart to handle moments”, you took over mid blood test as I could not bare to see them cut his tiny brand new foot anymore! You handled it like a champ and took care of my heart and my baby. Thank you.
  • We had visits from DON ONE when Don Cubed was brand new and also in the summer where we got to splash around in the pool at The Tahitian for a whole day.
  • Uncle Doug has become one of Don Harvey’s biggest fans and has come to visit with him a couple of times now even reading him a bedtime story each visit.
  • We have watched Harvey infect everyone he meets with a smile and love.  He is so much like his daddy!
  • We have been the luckiest to have my parents take on such an active roll in being Harvey’s grandparents, he is SO loved by them and we are so fortunate to have them.
  • Baby Don is incredibly lucky to have three aunts and an uncle that also love him very much!
  • You went on your annual race weekend in Daytona and once again NO ONE got arrested! LOL It was the first time I was alone with the baby, he was just about 6 weeks old at the time.  I missed you while you were gone but I have very precious memories of that special time Harvey and I got to spend together alone.  I also remember having a really sweet phone conversation with you during a 3:30am feeding, it was one of those talks where we just seemed to get one another and it made my heart really happy.
  • We have dealt with all things baby: gas, constipation, sleep training, scheduling, teething, crawling, talking, almost walking and even when our days may not have been the brightest we both put a smile on our face and showed our son the best parts of ourselves.
  • We managed to keep baby Don home and with a nanny for his whole first year which was so important to me and is yet another thing I am so proud of us for because it certainly has not been easy!
  • As I write this post (late…) your “Family Car” #projectslowsaab is said to be almost completed! So sometime soon you and Don Cubed will be able to cruise around town in your own ride, which I know is going to make all of us SO happy!
  • We went to “The Price is Right”and did not get to spin the wheel… But had an awesome time!
  • Went to see Dave Chapelle and we laughed hysterically to spite my weird worry that I was going to somehow not think he was funny and be the only one not laughing!
  • You supported me through 6 months of breastfeeding and willingly took over the morning feedings once you could.
  • I got to meet Colbie Caillat while you got your own alone time with the baby for a weekend.
  • We had date night at Duffy’s, I love our mutual appreciation for SWEET dive bars!
  • We went to bachelor and bachelorette parties.
  • Coordinated a friends engagement party at the very last minute (refreshments and all!) LOL!
  • Went to a Vertical Horizon and Tonic concert at The Water Works Park and walked the length of the River Walk afterwards.
  • Went to John’s Pass for a visit with Laura.
  • Went to lots of birthday parties and dinners for friends that are family, for family and for babies of friends that are family.
  • I set up mini-sessions in our backyard and finally made some good use of our crazy “jungle wall” and you helped as much as you possibly could to spite being worn out and super busy with your own responsibilities.
  • We also DIDN’T do A LOT of things that we wanted to, we missed out on two weddings that were so important to us to be at.
  • We didn’t get the chance to go back to the OH to visit with friends and family like we had hoped we would.
  • We got robbed, more than once in our own front yard.
  • We stayed strong and confident to spite health concerns for our family that turned out to be minor but could have been major.
  • We lost friendships and forged new ones.
  • We lost our way, grew apart and back together again over and over.

In spite of plenty of opposition, disappointments and challenges thrown our way we are still forging our way forward. Marriage and parenthood are harder than I ever could have imagined they would be.  The weight of it all can feel like way too much at times but I am now and will continue to be committed to doing my best each day to be the best wife and mother that I can be. Because at the end of the day knowing that I can always count on our family being together makes each day worth it. Thank you husband for continuing to show up and do the same even on the days when not “adulting” is the much more appealing option! I promise to do my best to acknowledge my own shortcomings and try to improve on them and to continue talking AND listening it all out with you while doing so.

I am still smiling and still falling my love.

I’m quoting this part from our original anniversary post along with the intro because I STILL mean it:

“We are of a generation that is fickle, that runs away from the scary shit. I promised myself and you that I would not run away from the scary shit in our marriage. That in and of itself IS SCARY! But, I meant it, I will mean it. I may write this “review” some years and mostly hate you! But, I will love you, I will forget and forgive, I will smile and laugh, I will let go and move on, I will go crazy and find sanity, I will want to quit and join the majority and I will overcome and subscribe, once again, to the minority. I am yours, you are mine. It will not be easy. It will down right suck at times. I knew that going in. I knew that when I sat in the corner eating two bites of a fish-filet pushing you away to no avail that I had completely jumped into the abyss that is us.

I will get jealous, I will worry, I will cry, we will experience loss in many ways, but we will see our way through it. I will grow old with you, which means that there is so much that will occur, that the seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months, years will just keep stacking up to remind me just how sure I was/am that this is love, this is us.”

“I belong with you, you belong with me, you’re my sweetheart”
With all my heart husband,
Your Loving Wife

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“We love him”

I found myself choked up this morning whilst reading this blog post by Handsfreemama, shared on Facebook by Rebecca of the simple as that blog.  If you aren’t already you MUST follow both of these lovely ladies’ blogs if you are a parent, artsy, crafty, into photography (even if it’s just with your iphone!) or if you just like to be inspired by others.  These ladies continually do a great job at inspiring and motivating me.  I suggest every one at the very least read the blog post “Six Words You Should Say Today” which is the one I read this morning.

I now have a son, his name is Harvey (or “Don Harvey” depending on who you ask!) and he has shifted my world in an amazing way.  Not only mine but my entire family’s as well!  When I read this post I immediately started to think of him and of how I will interact with him with regards to his activities in the future. I don’t know what he will like to do, maybe it will be sports, or instruments, or chess or working on cars like his dad?  It really doesn’t matter though, I imagine I will think that whatever he is into is the coolest and, here come those magic words, I WILL “love to watch him ____________”. I can’t possibly imagine not saying it outloud, but I can also totally see how such a simplistic phrase might fall to the wayside in lieu of lengthier and thus seemingly more sincere commentary.  I hope that my eyes are now opened to the beauty of allowing ones self to keep it simple, to not drown ones thoughts and intentions with unnecessary words.

After my trip into the future with my own son, I then allowed myself to travel back in time to the hundreds of soccer games and practices that my own parents were a part of and tried to remember the types of conversations we use to have with regards to my playing.  I don’t remember the exact words, but I can say that my memory of their involvement relays to me that they did in fact LOVE to watch me play.  The rest is irrelevant and they got their point across regardless of how they might have phrased it because I have no doubt if I were to ask them now or if I had asked them then, they would happily admit to how much they loved to watch me play.

There is something seriously magical about making your own parents into grandparents.  It’s a gift that can’t be measured and one that my parents have embraced with arms open wider than I could have possibly imagined, it’s so wonderful to watch their eyes light up at the sparkle in 3 month old Harvey’s deep blue eyes.  I once again glimpse at the future and see all of us thinking to ourselves just how much we love to watch him play, sing, dance, cook, jump, explore and discover this amazing world we live in. Now I just hope that we will all remember to say it out loud.  I will feel quite accomplished if that practice becomes a part of my sweet boys life in such a way that he lives without hesitation in expressing his joy in witnessing the lives of those he loves.

I do know that I love watching those that I love falling in love with my boy, it makes my heart sing.  And whether my mom, Harvey’s grandma, knows that shes doing it or not, she sends me a text after every time she watches him that simply says “We love him”.  It makes my heart swell with pride and puts a smile on my face every time.

Make a point today to tell someone how you feel and keep it simple with those six little words, “I love to watch you ________”

-thejensspin

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AS REQUESTED: my must have Project Life supplies

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It makes me VERY happy when my friends reach out to me with interest in Project Life!  This is my first year and I have had three friends express an interest in starting their very own Project Life Albums, two of whom are expecting new additions to their families in the very near future.  As I have said before, Project Life WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO HAVE A BABY, I can now say that it seems that HAVING A BABY WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO DO PROJECT LIFE!  Most recently, my friend Jenn, who is expecting a baby boy sometime very soon, and who is also an INCREDIBLE photographer (you can check out her work here) told me that she was starting project life and asked me what else she might need other than a core kit, pages and an album.  Now, I have to say that while one of the most beautiful things about this project is that you don’t NEED anything else, you can MOST DEFINITELY use SO MUCH MORE if your heart desires!  I feel like I am far enough into this adventure now that I can accurately share the supplies that I reach for most often if not for every single spread.  This is in no way all of the supplies I use, that list is embarrassingly long, but that’s because that’s how I like to craft.  I love having lots of options! So these are my absolute faves and all things I would recommend to any and all who might be just getting started with Project Life.  Part of the fun of this whole process has been learning what works for me, hopefully this helps you to decide what works best for you!

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Pictured above MY MUST HAVE PROJECT LIFE SUPPLIES:

Thickers: I use these EVERY single week!  Be sure to check in the tiny craft section at your local Marshalls or TJ Maxx for some great deals!

Roller Date Stamp: I need to use them more, but I love them!

Elmer’s Glue Dot Runner: This is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE of all the MANY different brands that are available!  There are also Tape Runners, some semi-permanent, some permanent (like immediately!) and on and on, I recommend this one as a good starting point.

Washi Tape: BE CAREFUL! THIS STUFF IS ADDICTING AND CAN BE FOUND EVERYWHERE NOW! But, it is such an awesome way to accent alpha sticker, add pops of color with no fuss, and of course it also serves it’s purpose as an adhesive method, so there’s that 🙂

Fiskars Scissors: Any scissors will do, these just happen to my favorite.

Fiskars Corner Rounder: I like having the option to round the corners of my photos, but I don’t always do it.  I do think that I am going to go back and round all of my corners because there is something about that little magical triangle of space in the pockets that make everything come together.  And since my Project Life is completely scattered with constantly changing color schemes and what not, it would be nice to know that there is AT LEAST ONE thing that is uniform throughout!

Project Life Corner Rounder: I just found this at my Michaels, I am happy with it and it’s pretty cool that the corners are the exact same as the Project Life core kits. It is not available on Amazon yet but it should be SOON!

Silhouette Pick Me Up: This little tool makes moving Thickers and the smaller alpha stickers that come in the Studio Calico Kits a lot easier to adhere.

Staedtler Fineliner Porous Point Pen:  LOVE the way these write!

American Crafts slick writer (see below)

Project Life Pen (see below)

Staedtler permanent Lumocolor (see below)

uniball Signo broad (see below)

Custom Stamps (see below)

Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher: This little magic stapler is just SO MUCH FUN TO PLAY WITH!  It’s such a dainty little staple that you will find yourself using it constantly!

StazOn Ink Pad: This ink is great because it will “stay” on most every surface!

I have provided links to almost everything through Amazon or etsy because that is what is easiest for me to do, but these items don’t have to be purchased on the internet, I bought lots of them at Michael’s or Joann’s using their weekly coupons.  You can also check out these awesome scrap supply sites:

Two Peas in a Bucket, Scrapbook.com, Studio Calico, and Simon Says Stamp.

A little closer angle:

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Pictured Below:

Canon Selphy Printer

Studio Calico Project Life Kit

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The Canon Selphy is awesome because it allows me to print, via wifi, directly from my iphone.  It has proven to be extremely helpful in times when I am falling behind and want to catch up quickly on my weekly layouts.  Now that I am almost done with my first year I do find myself using Photoshop or Photoshop Elements to resize, edit and add text to my photos which I then print on my HP printer, but when I need things to be simple I like knowing I have the Selphy available.

Here’s a closer view of my favorite and most used writing utensils as well as the silhouette tool which works GREAT to help align thickers on your layouts.  The white pen is BY FAR THE BEST option for writing on a photo, just be sure to write slow as to give the ink time to flow as well as allowing time to dry before sliding into your pockets.

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These are all great pens, the project life and precision writer are the same pen and are great for writing on all kinds of paper, the slick writer is perfect for writing directly onto your photos.

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The Studio Calico Project Life Kit

photoThis is Studio Calico’s August Project Life Kit, it is part of a monthly subscription program (you can also purchase month to month at a little higher cost).  This subscription is BY FAR the best addition to my Project Life process!  I LOVE their products and feel like a little kid at Christmas each month when my box full of goodies arrives from them.  I have never once regretted signing up for their monthly kits.  This picture does a pretty good job of showing all of the adorable things you can expect each month, but just click here to take a look on their site.  If you do decide to order a kit you should pick up some of these Fiskars Acrylic Blocks for clear stamps, they come in a package of varying sizes which will accommodate the stamps that are included in SC’s Kits.

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Custom Stamps!

photo 1Even if you don’t really think stamping is for you, I HIGHLY recommend picking up a couple that you really love, I think you will find that it adds something special to your layouts.  These stamps are from three of my favorite crafty ladies!

Click on their names below to be taken directly to their stamps shops.

Elise Blaha Cripe “THIS” “FOR THE RECORD” “YOU ARE HERE” “<3” “HELLO”

CarrieLSunday “THIS IS WHAT love LOOKS LIKE” “HUSBAND” “WIFE”

Kelly Purkey “IT’S MY JAM” “#”

And last but certainly not least, I have to give you the list of blogs that I have become a loyal follower of, all of which provide me inspiration for all things crafty, especially Project Life, on a daily basis!

Amy Tangerine

Ali Edwards

Elise Blaha Cripe

Design Editor

Deb Duty

Pink Ronnie

Sudio Calico Blog

Kelley Purkey

For those of you that are prego you might want to pay special attention to Amy Tangerine as she expecting VERY SOON! Elise JUST HAD a baby girl, so I would check back through the last couple of months for some GREAT inspiration from her, she has done a lovely job documenting and sharing her daughters entry into the world! I have linked a few blog posts at the bottom of this post for your enjoyment!

I SERIOUSLY hope that this blog post is helpful for you, it has taken me MUCH LONGER to write/create than I anticipated LOL! Tomorrow is my birthday. and I plan on sharing my “32 Highlights” so keep an eye out for that.  As always, THANK YOU for reading! If you are new to Project Life or a seasoned veteran, What supplies do you love the most?  Please share, leave comments and/or ask questions!  It let’s me know that you were here, that someone is reading and more importantly, I LOVE KNOWING THAT I HAVE SHARED SOMETHING USEFUL!

-thejensspin

P.S. I am not cool enough or popular enough to be getting paid for any of these recommendations! (A girl can dream that some day she might be!)  Everything you see listed here is here because they are all things that I actually use/read/need! Thanks!

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“Clouds”

I spent this past weekend under the “clouds” enjoying my first ever music festival. We traveled to Gulf Shores Alabama to attend The Hangout with my sister, brother in law and two other couples and it was an amazing adventure. Three long days of sun, music and shenanigans.

The Hangout

 

The Hangout deserves it’s own post which I am working on, or rather I should say, “is on the list of things I will/should be/could be working on”? But for now, I’m just going to share the story of our journey home.

Monday, May 20th, 2013:

The whole crew got up and snapped back to reality after a whirlwind of a weekend. Everything was packed, condo cleaned out and we all got ourselves strapped in and ready for the 8+ hours that we would be driving home. I had the pleasure of being a passenger and not a driver. So I spent a lot of time playing games on my iphone, which is not something I usually do (I’m usually busy doing super important things like checking my Facebook, Instagram and Feedler accounts!) but I let myself get lost in Fruit Ninja‘s dojo, played a marathon of SpellTower and read some of Jodi Piccoult’s newest novel “The Storyteller” (which I am loving by the way). I was perfectly content allowing myself to enjoy just wasting time away. About five hours into the trip I caught wind of the tornadoes that struck in Oklahoma and I’ll admit, I let it flutter right through my thoughts and away again, still caught up in my own peaceful reality.

By the time we got to Daytona to pick up our car and head back to Tampa I had had time to look into what was happening and as we all know by now, it was devastating to see such unavoidable hurt and destruction. So many peoples entire lives forever changed in only a few moments. I began to feel a little guilty for the state of bliss I had been in all day, checked out from the world while so much was happening. But, at the end of the day, there wasn’t much I could do but send love and healing energy to everyone, so I did.

 

Don and I regrouped, gave hugs to my sister and brother in law and started the rest of our journey towards Tampa. Along the way I got an update from my CNN app saying that “Zach Sobiech, cancer patient, has died…”. I opened up the story to read more and there is where I first learned of Zach’s incredible story. Heart already heavy from all of the devastation in Oklahoma I played Zach’s Youtube video through the speaker in the car so Don and I could both hear:

 

With a knot in my throat I proceeded to the next video featuring celebrities singing along to his song “Clouds”:

 

 

So incredibly moving, to see such a beautiful message catching like wildfire and to see kind celebrities coming together to bring awareness to something so worthy. Tears were shed, and I laid my head on my husband’s shoulder and embraced the knot in my throat, feeling lucky to have him by my side. What a whirlwind of emotions I was feeling, overwhelming compassion pouring from me for so many, including Zach, as well as concern and frustration for those in Oklahoma. And then there was love, light and happiness still lingering within me from the incredible trip we were coming home from. In that moment I was reminded for the countless time in my life what an incredible force and blessing music is. Music, the universal language that has always been there to comfort me (usually on repeat) whenever I need it. So thankful to be able to not only hear it but to also feel it.

Zach’s song, “Clouds”, is number 1 on itunes, an incredible feat for even the most talented musician. People are talking about it and word is spreading, which is a wonderful thing. It’s amazing to see what “we” can do, when something beautiful, positive and inspiring just sweeps over us and makes something magical happen. Zach lit a fire that shall continue to burn long after his passing.

On that note.

Nothing to complain about from me, happy to be alive, healthy and in love. Surrounded daily by friends and family that greet me with a smile and an open heart. I will sing my song for them or you anytime.

My heart goes out to all of those in Oklahoma who are now and will continue to be coping with the aftermath of Monday’s tornadoes and to those who knew Zach, may you be forever comforted by the beautiful songs that he left behind to be shared with you and with the world. He is an inspiration.

Huge shout out to http://soulpancake.com/ for helping spread positivity, laughter and creativity throughout the world. Thank you for sharing Zach’s story with me and with the world.

“I want everyone to know: You don’t have to find out you’re dying to start living.” -Zach Sobiech

 

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