Friday, May 30, 2014

Tidbits from this week

Recovering:  I'm finally starting to feel better, and I couldn't be happier. I know I say this all.the.time, but I seriously think I need to focus on me. Not just working out, but making sure I don't get overwhelmed. Pray for me, please. This is hard for me because I'm pulled into so many different directions, and I'm so guilty of not saying anything until it all blows up in an emotional outburst. (like it did last poor husband.)

A Rarity, but it happens: Last night, we were all able to have dinner together. Due to Gabe's work schedule and my work schedule it almost NEVER happens. We had chicken tacos. They were delicious.

(Late) Spring Cleaning: I'm trying to get my house in order. This isn't easy with everyone and everything demanding my attention, but it WILL happen.

Rhododendrons!: I live in rhododendron country, and outside of the south, I had never seen them before. Now, I look forward to them in the spring.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Turning my eyes upon Him

I don't know how to explain it, but the last week or so I have felt OFF.

Besides being sick, I mean.  It took a conversation with a dear family friend to figure out why I've been feeling so awful. So hateful. So OFF.

I took my eyes off of what is important. WHO is important. Jesus.

He's the most important person of all.

And when I took my eyes off of Him....

*I started feeling off (I'm talking mood swings, unhappiness, general apathy...I was so hateful I couldn't stand myself)

*My anxiety came back

*Little problems had tried to make their way into our family.

After identifying the problem, it's no co-incidence that I've been singing "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus."....

I can't remember the last time I sang it in choir or at all, but it has consistently been in my head. A gentle reminder from Christ.

This is where my focus needs to be.

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
look full in His wonderful face
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim
in the light of His glory and grace."

Sunday, May 25, 2014


I'm slooowly getting better, but I'm never too sick to take pictures for the 52 week project :)

21/52: Ella and her friend Aggy. They were sharing a secret :)

21/52, Sunday: The dress was a dollar at the thrift store. I had a deja-vu moment today. My aunt Sophie used to curl my hair by braiding it, and I owned a dress very much like this one as a little girl...I usually don't see a big resemblance between me and Ella (she is Gabe's twin!), but today it was like looking at little-girl me again. Odd!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Tidbits from this week

Here's what's been going on at the Unbehaun household this week.

Sick: I'm sick. Thankfully, I am the only one in the house who is. I have a scratchy throat, a stuffy nose and no voice to speak of, which makes for an interesting time answering the phone. Gabe has been telling me to take it easy, but....really? I'm the mom. It just doesn't happen.

Something New: Without even knowing it, I was in a cooking rut. I tried two semi-new recipes this week, mini-zucchini pizzas, and Italian Beef. They were both a success, which is awesome considering I was sick and tired when I cooked them.

Prayerful Waiting: I am considering re-opening my hair accessory boutique, and donating 10 percent of the profits to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.

Everybody Needs Space: When I was a little girl, it was the window seats in my Dad's attic. I used to go there and draw for hours. Ella has claimed our laundry room.

Lost and Found: I logged into my myspace account and found a ton of old photos, hurray! Classics like....


Desperation in the kitchen: Mini-Zucchini Pizzas

It's spring in NC, and a produce stand just opened up near my house. Of course, I went and got some zucchini, because I love love love zucchini pizzas.

Here's what you need to make your own.

2 large zucchini
cooking spray
tomato sauce (I used Mid's spaghetti sauce)

Here's what you do:

*Wash your zucchini and cut them into thick-ish rounds
*Put salt and pepper on them
*Throw them onto a sprayed cooking sheet and throw them under the broiler for a few minutes on each side

*Tell your cat she probably wouldn't like zucchini

*Put sauce and cheese on your little zucchini rounds and throw them under the broiler again.


Sunday, May 18, 2014


Ella is one year older! She is 8 now! (although she was still 7 when the first picture was taken)

20/52: Before I got pregnant for the first time, Gabe found the Batman raincoat and bought it "for when we have a boy". We ended up with two girls, of course. It's finally happened. Ella has outgrown the raincoat. I feel oddly sad, like this is the end of an era.

20/52, Sunday: It's cold. I'm talking not even 40 when we woke up this morning. Ella wasn't thrilled with having to wear a sweater, but doesn't she look lovely?

How Far We've Come

Four years ago, I had a major nervous breakdown in the weeks leading up to my daughters' birthdays. When I say breakdown, I mean BREAK-DOWN.
Breakdown of my faith.
Breakdown of my marriage that would take years to repair.
Breakdown of my sanity. Seriously, I think something was wrong with me that year.

Yesterday was my girls' birthday.

The days leading up to it were gentle, and peaceful.

The major part of yesterday was peaceful and joyful.

I watched my living daughter (8 years old now!) release 9 purple balloons into the cloudy sky, and I was able to smile as they floated away.

Yes, it's difficult to not have both of my daughters with me. It's difficult because there is a great void where Riley should be. I miss her. I've missed her for over 9 years now.

Oh, how I miss her.


God never leaves me.
Every passing year, He holds my hand and carries me if need be.
I used to be in such a place of raw, bitter, ANGRY grief.
I still grieve. I wouldn't be human if I didn't.
But I know where she is.
I know parting isn't forever.
I get to watch her sister grow up.

I'm blessed. Blessed. Blessed.
How far He's brought me.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Tidbits from This Week

What's gone on in our household this week:

Weaning: We're weaning kittens! So far, so good!

Homemaking Binder: This week, I looked around my house, realized all that I had to do and became extremely overwhelmed. I read about Homemaking Binders on this blog, and decided to give it a shot. My binder is a simple (bright pink so it doesn't get lost) binder with sheet protectors that contain chore schedules and such. More on that another time.

New Goal: I've decided that within the next six months, I WILL fit into my college jeans, darn it. I've already survived one exercise challenge and am in the middle of another one. I feel fantastic, but those jeans are my first major big huge, jump-up-and-down goal.

Peace: Tomorrow, my daughters will be one year older. Usually, I am beside myself. This year, I am not. I am fulfilled. I am joyful. Yes, I have had moments of weepiness, but that is to be expected. The panic attacks are gone. God has granted me peace and grace this year. I want to celebrate my daughters. Both of them.

Milestone: In exactly five months, Ella and i will be donating our hair to Wigs for Kids and Beautiful Lengths, respectively. My hair is officially the longest it has been since I was pregnant with Ella.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Her Children Rise Up...

It's Mother's Day!

I've decided to dedicate a blog entry to all the Moms who have taught me over the years.

My grandmother, Aniela Lukasik. The first "Mom" I ever knew. She kicked my butt when needed. She dragged me to church EVERY SUNDAY. She loved me and always told me to do my best. I have an Easter card from her on my fridge, and it's moved across 3 states with me. Grandma died when I was 14, and I felt like a huge part of my heart died too.

My Mom, Alina. Our relationship has been difficult to say the least, but I think we are both finally at a place in our lives where we are making a conscious effort to be good to each other. When I was first learning to cook, I used to call her all the time, asking, "How much of (insert ingredient here) do I use?" "What do I do now?" I miss those phone calls.

My oldest sister, Gosia. When I got pregnant with Ella, we were not in a good place in our relationship. BUT, if I ever needed anything or had a "new mother" question, she was always there. I remember the little bags of chamomile tea she used to send me when I was crying from lack of sleep because my newborn was waking me every hour.

My "adopted" Grandma, Jean. From day one, she treated me like her own. She's laughed with me, and cried with me, and always, always been there. When I broke my wrist, she sacrificed her birthday to go and hang out with me to "make sure I eat." Ella just thinks of Jean as her "Nanny", and we refer to Ella as Grandma's "namesake" (Gram's name is actually Ella Jean)

Ms. Lora Cantrell. I can't even think of her without tearing up. She is my biggest and best example of a Christian lady to this day. Before she passed away in October 2012, I was at her house probably 2-3 times a week. Ella adored her. I did, too. I had no idea that she had been abandoned by her children up until right before she died...I had no idea how much our visits meant to her until someone approached me at her funeral to thank me for taking care of her.

My Sunday School teacher, Ms. Betty Burleson. About a year ago, she saw something in me. Potential, a spark. A love for His word. She has pushed me to learn more, to know more, to love more. We've stood by each other when we've needed it most. I hope I can grow to be half the lady she is.

Being a Mom, I hope my daughter learns from me. I hope any future children I have can rise up and call me blessed. Just being a Mom, I AM blessed. Blessed by God. Blessed by these beautiful ladies I know.


Another week of blessed craziness and insanity! And then there's this....

19/52: Ella is a gentle, old soul. She loves animals and they love her. We saw these ducks on our way home from dinner and they just flocked to her.

19/52, Sunday: Look at all that hair. Seriously, it's ridiculous. Somebody yelled at me the other day for "letting her" cut it in October. She is selfless and it was her decision!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Monday Funday and a Giveaway

First off, I'm aware it's Tuesday :)

Mondays are usually my days off and usually the days where I can actually get out and do fun crafts and stuff with Ella. So, I tend to actually do the fun stuff instead of posting about it.

Yesterday, we tested two bubble solutions to see which one did better.

One was a solution of:

2 tablespoons Method dish soap
1 tablespoon glycerin
1 cup distilled water

the other was
2 tablespoons blue Dawn dish soap
1 tablespoon glycerin
1 cup distilled water

The directions for both solutions are the same. Put in a seal-able container, and mix gently.

We found we both liked the Method solution better...mostly because we like the smell of the Method "Clementine" dish soap. They both worked you'll see in the pictures!

getting all the stuff ready....

Method solution

Method solution






the neighborhood cats turned up to see what all the fuss was about.

Now, for the giveaway...I'm going to give away everything needed to make both bubble solutions, right down to the distilled water. No lie.

To enter: Comment here with your email address and how you make your bubbles, whether it's a store-bought solution like Miracle Bubbles or something you whip up yourself!

Winner will be announced May 16th!

Good Luck!

I Survived!

Today was Day 30.

I'm not one to beat around the bush, so I'll say this:

it was hard, but...


Every single push-up, every leg lift, every squat.

I'm a work in progress, but progress has absolutely happened.

I feel fantastic. I made it a point to take a picture of myself in the same outfit. When Gabe saw me in it today, and then clicked on the "Day 1" picture, he said, "Wow. You can definitely tell the difference."
I'm taking tomorrow off to give my muscles a chance to rest. Thursday, I start a 3-week workout, and June 1st, I'm starting "Mean Abs June." Truthfully, I'm a little bit afraid of that, but I'll make it! (Right?????)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Last Mother'sDay Project Update: Thank You

Today, I wrote out the last card.
Today, my daughter decorated the last envelope.

And then I broke down in tears.

I am 12 days out from my girls' birthdays. And I am doing what I love.
Usually, this time of years is full of sleepless nights, panic attacks, and crying jags.

For the first time since Riley Grace died, I feel peaceful. I feel fulfilled. I feel...dare I say it...joyful.

I'm helping people. I'm giving them what I so, so desperately wanted after that awful day in 2005. Acknowledgement. Affirmation. These children, these babies, exist. These ladies are still moms. They are the embodiment of strength. To be able to get out of bed in the morning after such a loss is a feat sometimes.

If anyone wants a Father's Day card for an angel Dad, email me.
I am working toward something big for October 15th.
Anyone with ideas or suggestions, please let me know.

To everyone who supported this project, thank you. You mean more than you will ever know.
To everyone who is receiving a card, thank you for letting me do this for you.
To my husband, who stood by me and told me I was doing something worthwhile, thank you. You're my rock during times where I feel like I am spinning in circles, going nowhere, and everything is out of control.
To my daughter who gave of her time and herself, thank you. You are amazing. Wise beyond your seven years. I am so blessed to be your mother.
To my angel made all of this possible. Thank you.
Lord...thank You. You are good all of the time. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.



Sunday, May 4, 2014

General Life update and Someting New.

I know it's a cop-out to post "we've been busy", but yes, we've been busy.

Our school year ended this Thursday, so we've had lots to do with wrapping up final studies and such. Of course, this does not mean that our school year is really over, as Ella tends to learn year-round.

My Dad is not gaining weight as much as doctors would like him to, (don't worry, the cancer is not back), and it's all due to the medications that he is on (which are beneficial) as well as his mounting anxiety (if you had been through what he has been through this past year, trust me, you'd be anxious too).

My oldest sister and I are in agreement that Dad should be on a mild antidepressant to take the edge off his anxiety. My brother says antidepressants are of the devil and that they don't work. Never mind the fact that my Mother has been on them for about ten years. Sigh. Please pray with me that Dad will make the right decision.

This morning, my beloved Sunday School teacher stepped down due to her husband's declining health. While I saw this coming, I am still pretty crushed. She has been a huge influence, a shoulder to cry on, and most importantly, a friend. She has been the picture of grace under any circumstance, and I am truly blessed to be counted as her friend.

I was blessed to receive a package of Mother's Day cards for the project this year, and I am trying to come up with something to do for October 15th, as it is the only day we have that is truly about remembering our babies. I have been stressed to the gills, and I am trying not to let the devil have a foothold in my life.

ALL that aside...

I have received so much love and support from fellow angel moms about this project. It humbles and amazes me.

I am currently on Day 28 of this 30 Day challenge. I've almost made it! My husband says I look incredible, and truthfully, I feel incredible. The leg lifts make me feel like my ab muscles are going to snap like a rubberband, but I'm totally not going to stop working out after this. I think I am going to do a running challenge after this, and then my friend Brittney and I are starting something called Mean Abs June...which I'm a little afraid of, but BRING IT ON!

Lastly, Ella and I are starting a new monthly tradition. Something called "Girls and Pearls". Today was the first. Basically, we get all fancied up in pearls and such and go out for a meal or a girls' day out. It doesn't have to always be on a Sunday, but I felt like it had to happen today after Mrs. B left.

Ella in her pearls :)

Forgive my splotchy face. I've been crying all morning.

and one of us together.

Today, Ella wanted to go to McDonald's, so there we went. Maybe next time we can do something more fancy/befitting of the "girls and pearls" name :) Or maybe not. That's part of the fun of motherhood!