Live Loudly.

I posted this on FB Monday but I wanted to share it here, too.

Monday morning I woke up to news of the tragedy in Las Vegas & all I could honestly think was, ‘Goddamn it.’ It’s the same reaction I had after the theater shooting during the Batman release in 2012. My brother was at the midnight premier in a different state, but he could’ve been at the target theater. I attend so many concerts- I could’ve been in that courtyard in Vegas. Any one could’ve been there- so many people were there. GODDAMN IT, why can’t we just live?

I get so mad when this stuff happens. Then I stumble across pictures and descriptions of those who lost their lives and my anger morphs to devastation. When I learned about the folks that died in the Pulse Night Club shooting I felt so broken. The stories of lost friends pushing their surviving friends into a safe closet or boyfriends pulling their girlfriends to safety while taking a fatal bullet to the back. It just sucks so so much. And there’s absolutely no explanation for our logic-seeking broken hearts.

What the hell can we do about it?

Without launching into a gun control debate or mental health talk or terrorist rant, I feel like the very best thing we can do is live. Go to the movies, rock out at the concerts, board the plane and travel the world. It’s all you can do.

At the risk of sounding morbid and unsympathetic (which I’m not ❤︎), we’re all going to die. It’s 100% guaranteed. And while it makes me so mad when someone’s life is snuffed out unexpectedly or violently, we’re all guaranteed to lose our lives one way or another. I’ll be damned if someone steals the joy of living away from me with fear and terror.

I’m a Christian and I honestly believe that once we’re done here, if we’ve lived a life of love and compassion and kindness, we go to Heaven. And Heaven doesn’t have mass shootings. I’m praying that my version of Heaven has a boat-load of dogs. But I can 100% guarantee that there are NO mass shootings in Heaven.

But I’m not there yet and, if you’re reading this, neither are you. We’re here and “here” could use a whole bunch of fearless, life-loving people to alter its current state. Be sad and grieve the loss of lives in Las Vegas and Puerto Rico and Mexico and other sites of tragedy, but don’t be discouraged. Don’t give in to fear. Don’t let hate and violence and sadness corner you into a dark space. Grab your closest friend’s hand, tell them you love them, and turn on some music. Drop off some kibble at a local shelter or bake some cookies for your local police department. Volunteer at the soup kitchen or donate some coats and blankets to a shelter. We can’t always do anything about the bad, but we can ALWAYS add more good.

You are important and your life matters and you have the ability to affect many- don’t let anyone make you feel any differently. We’re all going to die; we don’t get a choice. You 100% get to choose how you live, though.

My heart is broken for the friends and family of those who were killed in Las Vegas. It’s really not fair and so frustrating. Please live loudly, friends. We only have one go at this ❤︎

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A Daily Dose of Laughter

I would venture to say that the majority of my friends and family would not describe me as “jolly.” On the contrary, I tend to be an awkward mix of volatile and passionate. I’m not a fan of physical touch and I infuse sarcasm in 95% of my conversations. While I firmly believe I am (mostly) a good time to be around, I also know that I’m not the always-smiling, always-bubbly girl at the party unless there’s lots of alcohol. (I’m usually the quiet one on the floor in the corner with 8 dogs.)

All of that to say, if you’re like me and not in the habit of joking around and smiling on a daily basis (especially during these dark times), I believe we should be. We all deserve to have at least one big belly laugh a day. Not a polite smile or a forced chuckle- a genuine, outburst of laughter.

True to my introvert ways, I often find something hilarious to laugh at when I’m all alone. Jimmy Fallon videos, inappropriate Reddit threads, dog and cats videos… All of those are total winners for me. That said, laughing alongside my husband or best friends is my most preferred laughter outlet.

Some people laugh a lot (is it weird that I’m jealous of those folks?) and this is an unnecessary reminder, but for those of you who go a day or a week without fully utilizing every part of your lungs for a laugh, try to change it up. If you only have three minutes watch a Youtube video. If you’ve got a few hours pop in a comedy or meet your funniest friend for lunch. (Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2, yet? I was gasping for air, crying & laughing.)

I don’t do it as often as I should, but laughter does the soul good. We could all benefit from a little more joy. Tears from laughter always trump tears of sadness or anger or fear. (Pun possibly intended…?)

*Suggestion: While SNL is killin’ it right now, avoid those clips during your daily dose of laughter. Personally, those clips make me smirk- not belly laugh. They’re awesome and hilarious and so on point, but they can stir up outrage, too, and that’s not the emotion we’re going for in these few moments of hilarity.

So if you’re like me and you forget to make laughing a priority in your day-to-day schedule, this is your gentle reminder to sit down for a second and enjoy something funny. The heavy stuff is always going to be there and sometimes we just need a break!

Five Things: JOY

I saw that out there in the blog-o-sphere there’s a #BlogtemberChallenge going on. I haven’t participated yet but I figured I’d give it a go today  🙂 The prompt is Five Things That Bring You Joy.

| 1 | My Little Family
This one probably goes without saying… Just tossing a toy with Lylee or snuggling with Enzo or watching K go about his day puts a stupid smile on my face. Those three really do make me the happiest in the world.

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| 2 | Fall
I know everyone’s lusting over fall right now, but I am so in love with this season. I love pumpkins and Halloween and crispy leaves. My favorite end-of-summer outfit is a pair of TOMS with some jean shorts and a warm sweatshirt. I love pulling boots over my skinny jeans and draping a scarf around my neck and feeling the warm sun on my face while walking the dogs on a cool 50 degree day. Serious perfection. I grin from ear to ear.

| 3 | A Good Book
I’m talking about a book that introduces me to a bunch of new friends and throws me into an adventure with them where we laugh and cry and eventually succeed. You know- the book that’s got good font and the perfect number of pages and an appealing cover. (i.e. Harry Potter)

| 4 | Road Trips
Vacations/trips make me happy, but the getting-there part is always one of my favorite things. Long drives don’t bother me. In fact, I love hanging out in the passenger seat and reading a good book or hunting for license plates or chatting with the driver. Trips with K and/or my parents are my favorite. A good satellite radio connection and halfway coffee stop are a must.

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| 5 | Games
I don’t really play video games, but I’m a big fan of board games and group games (like Cards Against Humanity or Apples to Apples). I also like crosswords and fill-in puzzles and wordsearches, etc. There’s also a Gameboy series (Professor Layton) that I like to play sometimes. It’s a bunch of puzzles and mind-games. K tells me that playing mind-games on him brings me joy, too. *eyeroll*

I thought it’d be harder to come up with five things, but that was easy. What are some things that bring you joy?

Like I said, this post is a part of the #blogtemberChallenge with Love Bailey Jean.

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I’m So Happy!

Do you ever get in a mood where you feel incredibly happy? My mood swings more than a jungle gym, but I just love love love when I’m feelin’ happy for no reason! Nothing has prompted today’s joy, but here are a few things that make me happy!

| Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars|
I just love this song’s groove! It’s so darn peppy and fun! It’s definitely been played to death, but when I’m in a good mood I still wiggle in my seat when it comes on!

| NASCAR |
Race days (which is not a Wednesday) just make me so happy! I love watching NASCAR and I love napping during the race! The white noise is amazing! Also, there’s nothing more exciting than a live NASCAR race! (Come ooooooon, April 19th!)

| Elliot Rose’s Grin |
Last night I got to hang out with my best friend and my favorite chubby cheek-ed baby! She’s 2 months old today and I just can’t believe how much personality she already has! When she makes all her faces I just feel so happy!

| Sugar by Maroon 5 |
This is another song that I crank up to max volume. The music video also gives me all the feels!

| Dog Smiles |
If you have a pup in your life does s/he ever just turn and give you that smile of pure bliss?? I love that! I swear mine do it when they think I’m proud of them (fetching a ball, walking without pulling, etc.). They also do it when we’re hardcore snuggling in the mornings. Enzo prances, too, which sends me into giggles.

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Do you get days of unprompted joy? What makes you happy?

-Louise

My Best Friend Had a Baby

When I see this quote it reminds me of my best friends, Erica & Nic:

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Erica and Nic planned for their baby. Erica has Type 1 diabetes, so they knew the path might be a little bumpy, but they were ready to be parents.

Click the picture for my post on the baby shower!
Click the picture for my post on the baby shower!

Yesterday, at 11:36 am, I received a text from Erica:
Her water had broken and she was settled in at the hospital. She told me not to rush- it would probably be a while until baby arrived- but K and I were welcome to drive up whenever we wanted.

I think it’s safe to say I freaked out.
Actually… that’s an understatement. I called K and told him that I was unavailable all day and I would be making one last baby-related shopping trip and then booking it to the hospital. Then I called my mom because I always call my mom when I’m excited.
Mom told me to cool it. This was actually good advice. I was ready to jump out a window and run to the hospital.

Enzo and I SnapChat-ed Erica!
Enzo and I SnapChatted Erica

K and I decided to run the errands that we had planned and then we’d head to the hospital. I might have annoyed him a bit because the only thing I could talk about all day was babies. Oops!

We finished our jobs and I stopped by Nic and Erica’s house to feed their three kitties. FINALLY it was time for us to join the family at the hospital. (Still no baby!)

We arrive around 5:45pm. Erica’s mom and dad, brother and brother’s girlfriend, and aunt and three cousins were waiting in the hall. Nic’s brother and sister-in-law were also there. We joined everyone and waited (un)patiently to hear a cry (and/or kidnap a nurse for information). Just after 6pm some of the equipment came out of the room and we were told there was a baby. (The messenger was smiling, so we weren’t fearful about complications.)

Just after 6:30 “DAD” emerged from the delivery room and delivered (get it?) the news.

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GRANDPA is in the light blue, GRANDMA is in pink, and UNCLE is in red…

Elliot Rose arrived at 6:05 pm. Six pounds, eight ounces. Eighteen inches and a full head of hair.
We also learned that Erica’s sugar was normal and had been under control the whole time, so she was feelin’ great!

Yay! A healthy, happy, baby!
Yay! A healthy, happy baby (& mom)!

Then it was back to the waiting room until visitors were permitted in.

Of course grandma, grandpa, and uncle went in first!
Eventually we all made our way in to see Erica and Elliot.

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I have a very cute picture of DAD and MOM as Elliot is being passed around, but I swore I wouldn’t put up any pictures of Erica… kinda.

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I’m about to break the rules because I LOVE this picture…

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MOM watches as DAD helps GRANDMA with Ellie’s hat

By 9:30 pm we all had gotten a chance to see Elliot and talk with Nic and Erica. The family started to say their goodbyes and K went to get some pizza for the new parents.

Once Ellie had been fed a second time (successfully! – Go, Erica!) it was finally my turn to cuddle the little peanut. When K got back he took a turn with her, too.

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Is there anything cuter than a grown man cuddling a baby? (The answer is “no.”)

I can’t explain the joy that Elliot has already brought to Nic and Erica’s family. The love between DAD and MOM is so strong and the indescribable joy on Grandma and Grandpa’s faces was almost more than I could handle. This baby is a very, very loved and wanted baby.

Personally, the happiness that flooded my body when I cuddled the little lady was incredible. It’s crazy to know that K and I will get to watch her grow and learn and struggle and succeed. I’m so honored to be an honorary “aunt.”

Congratulations, Nic and Erica! You guys are so lucky and definitely in for a lifetime of happiness!

-Louise