Always, Katie: September 2015

Sunday, September 27, 2015

#BlogtemberChallenge: Wishlist...

I can't think of much that I'm wanting right now... I have pretty much everything I could want or need.  But these couple of items would be kinda fun to have :-)

Journaling BibleBailey has me completely enthralled with the whole Illustrated Faith movement, and I'd like to give it a try.  I'm crafty and creative, but painting and drawing have never been my strong suits.  But, I like the idea of connecting with scripture in this way... it's new and different, and I can see how it could really enhance my quiet study time. :-) 

Tula Standard Carrier.  I've been wanting a baby carrier for a while.  I loved wearing Abbie in my Moby and Happy! wraps, but she's too big for them now.  (Sam never liked the wrap, and I'm hoping he'd like a soft structured carrier like a Tula better.)   

Blanket Scarf.  I don't usually get super-excited about the annual trendy clothing articles, but I do like this trend :-) It looks so cozy and snuggly.  Plus, it can cover any spit-up that will be on whatever I'm wearing ;-)
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Friday, September 25, 2015

#BlogtemberChallenge: 3 Songs I'm Connecting With Right Now

"Three songs you are connecting with right now."

1) You're Gonna Be - Reba McEntire 
This song gets me right in the feels... I've always really liked it, but now when I look into Abbie's and Sam's faces, the song starts playing in my head.  It talks about the things she hopes she can teach her children about life, and promises that no matter what, they will always be loved by her. I hope to be that steady constant in their lives, while they're learning and growing and changing, I hope they know that THAT won't change.

2) Mom - Garth Brooks
This song came out right about the time we found out that our frozen embryo transfer had worked, and that I was pregnant. I made me sob like a baby the first time I watched this video, and lots of people posted it to my facebook wall or tagged me in it.  It's another aspirational mom song :-)  I want to be the mom in this song, especially in these lines, "'Cause she's gonna teach you everything / You'll ever need to know / Like how to mind your manners / To love and laugh and dream / And she'll put you on the path / That'll bring you back to Me." 

3) Safe and Sound - Taylor Swift (ft.The Civil Wars)
I gave a lot of thought when I was pregnant as to what my go-to lullaby would probably be... nursery rhymes and traditional lullabies kind of creep me out (seriously, they're all morbid), so I figured it would be a "real" song, and liked the idea of this one.  I listened to and sang it in the shower a lot, and hummed it through my days, hoping the babies would get used to it and recognize it after they were born.  I had thought it worked for a while, but now it seems like they respond to almost any song I play, especially if I sing along.  :-)  But this one will still always remind me of that hopeful, magical (painful) time of running my hands over my swollen belly and imagining my babies on the outside :-)

How about you?  What songs are speaking to you lately? :-)
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Thursday, September 24, 2015

#BlogtemberChallenge: Shout 'Em Out

Today's Blogtember Challenge post is all about recognizing our favorite bloggers!

"Shout out five of your favorite bloggers. Who are your regular reads?"
Credits: Rebecca, Beth, Lauren, Kerri, OBB

Two of my best friends in the entire world are bloggers, so I have to shout them out first in no particular order :-)

  • Rebecca at Caravan Sonnet - blogging about faith, chronic illness, and the single life while taking some of the prettiest pictures on the internet.
  • Beth at The Beth Chronicles - mostly parenting and diary-style updates about her beautiful family.  I met her randomly through a guest post I did elsewhere... we became blog friends, then FB friends, then (awesomely) real life friends :-)

I also love following these lovely people:

  • Lauren at 34 Magnolia Street - she has stepped back a lot from regular blogging, but when she does stop by to post, it's always worth reading :-)  A little fashion, a little DIY, lots of deep, relatable musings about life and faith.
  • Kerri at Six Until Me - another type 1 diabetic mom, her blog encouraged me before I got pregnant that a diabetic pregnancy is "doable."  And now I love reading her stories about raising her daughter while managing her diabetes... it gives me ideas about how to make the twins aware in an age-appropriate way, and optimism that I CAN balance it all. 
  • Sara and Kate at Our Best Bites- food you can make and eat.  Not just crazy, fancy, grown-up food, but delicious things I can pop in the crock pot or whip up easily, and every.single.recipe I've ever tried has been really, really good!  Lots of my "go-to"s are from this blog.  Following them both on Instagram is a treat, too - fun, sweet ladies with gorgeous families and awesome senses of humor :-)
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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

#BlogtemberChallenge: Getting Creative with Paper Beads

"Get creative! Sketch, paint, dance, play music, whatever then give us a glimpse."

I shared these on Instagram a couple weeks ago when I made them.  I'd made paper beads once when I was a kid, but haven't in years and years.  Like, a lot of years.  Like, maybe 20.  Ouch.  But I had been craving a bit of a creative outlet, and was in the mood to learn something newish.  

I like that I can play around with supplies and colors without using a huge area to spread out, and I love how inexpensive this craft is (recycle some paper, and what crafter doesn't have modpodge, a paintbrush and some sort of thin thing to make the holes?  All I bought for this was a tiny thing of Minwax).  I don't soooo much like how much time it takes to make so few strung inches ;-)  I still haven't made anything out of the beads yet, but I do enjoy just playing with them :-)  These particular beads are made from pages of pearls from the catalogue of one of my favorite jewelry suppliers.  They're only about a centimeter long, so they're super-cute and dainty. I may do a how-to post on them soon... there are lots of them out there, but everybody does it a little differently, so I may throw my particular technique out there too :-)  Maybe it'll help it click for someone else, too.
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Monday, September 21, 2015

#BlogtemberChallenge: A Favorite Quote

"A favorite quote/expression and how it has impacted you."

I'm not sure who the originator of this quote is, but I saw it on Pinterest several months ago and it resonated with me.  

I have a counselor's heart (as well as credentials) and encouraging those who are discouraged or anxious is a calling and an instinct.  I would like to think I'm good at it, and this quote summarizes my feelings quite nicely.  To know that I have in some way helped someone find the courage to keep fighting the good fight would be the ultimate encouragement for ME that I'm making some kind of difference in the world.  :-) 

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Sunday, September 20, 2015

#BlogtemberChallenge: Guilty Pleasures

"It's guilty pleasure time! Shows, books, songs, foods, whatever it may be."
This is a tough one for me, because I don't really have a lot of guilty pleasures.  I used to, but not so much anymore. Don't get me wrong... I still enjoy those things, I just don't feel guilty about them now ;-)

But let's see... some of the most "embarrassing" or "naughty" things I like in the following categories...

TV:  Teen-angsty stuff... like "Awkward" on MTV. 

Movies:  Mmm... super-girly stuff like "Legally Blonde," "Mamma Mia," "Miss Congeniality."

Books:  Phillippa Gregory books and other books set in that general era :-)  Also, books by Lori Wick, especially "The Princess."  They're easy reads, don't require a lot of thought, but are a pleasant way to wile away a couple of quiet hours.

Music:  My biggest guilty pleasure song is "Paparazzi."  I heard it on a dog show commercial a few years ago, and I was all "This song is really fun, do you know who sings it?"  When Ethan told me it was Lady Gaga, I was kinda horrified.  It's in my iTunes under "That One Girl" because I couldn't bring myself to admit to liking a Lady Gaga song. ;-)   Nevertheless... it's catchy!

Food:  The standard... ice cream, warm chocolate chip cookies.  Also, chewy/sour/fruity candy :-) 

How about you?  What things are you ALMOST embarrassed to love?
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Thursday, September 17, 2015

#BlogtemberChallenge: Obsessed!

"Just for fun, your latest obsession. What can you not get enough of these days?"

Is it just me, or is it hard to notice what you're obsessed with?  I had to ask my husband!  Besides babies, he pointed out that I've been really into Instagram lately :-)

He's right.  I have found myself preferring it to blogging and even Facebook lately.  Part of it is that I love pictures.  Even when I do post to Facebook, I usually include a picture.  Another part, I think, is that I appreciate the shorter captions, almost micro-blogging.  I am connected to a few great communities on Instagram... the infertile/ttc girls, a bunch of "twinfant" moms, friends from real life, blog friends... I feel like I can keep up with all these friends more easily than if I tried to read all the posts on all blogs in all the different categories I follow.  :-)
I share a lot of pictures of the kids, along with my musings on motherhood (especially parenting after infertility), as well as some food, some fashion, and some decor/household type stuff :-)  If you want to follow along, my account is always_katie !
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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

#BlogtemberChallenge: What's in Your Bag?

Today's #BlogtemberChallenge prompt is:

"What's in your bag? Pick up your purse and peruse its contents, then share with us!"

My usual bag is a diaper bag, but I do carry a pouch of "mom stuff" in it.  I use this bag my mom made me because it keeps my things separate and easy-to-reach, and the window makes it easy to tell at a glance if I've packed everything I need :-)

The pink pouch in the corner is where I keep my diabetes stuff... my meter, strips, lancing device, lancets, and back-up syringes and insulin in case my pump malfunctions.  I also carry Smarties to treat low blood sugars.  They're much yummier than the products marketed for this purpose, and seem to work at least as well ;-)

I have Wubbanubs for the babies... I know this is the Mom pouch, but being able to reach these quickly is crucial!!  I also have a pair of socks for each of them.  This is a recent addition, because I grabbed them in case thy got cold some place we were going.  But they rarely wear socks... Abbie's feet are just now big enough, and Sam is a tiny FURNACE. :-)

Lip stuff - A lipstick from our maternity photos... it's a brand the salon I went to to get my makeup done sells.  An EOS ball, in vanilla mint... I got it to stash in my "go bag" for labor and delivery, so I'd be sure to have one but wouldn't have to give up the one I'd been obsessed with at the time.  A NARS crayon sample from my Sephora birthday gift.  :-)

Random stuff - a couple of napkins, because you never know... and a diet Coke lid with a code I haven't texted in yet. :-)

So there you have it... the exciting contents of my "purse"!  Haha!!!
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Thursday, September 10, 2015

#BlogtemberChallenge: Before I Kick the Bucket

Today for the #BlogtemberChallenge, we're talking about our bucket lists!  

"10 items off your bucket list. If you haven't made one, now's a good time to start!"

Brave Love Blog

In recent years/months, I've been able to cross several items off my list... fall in love, see Garth Brooks in concert, buy a house, become a mom... So I had to think of a few more things I've been wanting to do to add to the list... make 'em official :-) 

1)  Be an extra in a movie.  Movies film in our area from time to time, and they're always looking for local extras.  I want to apply some day, maybe the twins will be discovered and support their daddy and me in our old age ;-)

2)  Spontaneously pull my car over and pick a wildflower bouquet.  The spontaneity isthe key here for me... I don't want to go out in search of a bouquet, I want to be so excited about the flowers that I put aside my timeline, get out of the car, and enjoy them.

3)  Return to France and Tuscany... spend some quality time getting to know the people and local flavor, away from tourist paths.  We went to France and Italy on our honeymoon, and hit lots of the big tourist spots.  But our time was limited, and some day I want to be able to take a leisurely trip and see some of the "real" places we missed.

4)  Build a lampworking studio at home and make glass beads.  I took a lampwork bead-making class a couple years ago and really enjoyed it.  I want to take more classes until I'm comfortable, then get a torch and kiln for our house and really develop my skills.

5)  Earn a PhD/PsyD.  I'm not sure which direction I would go.. follow my undergrad passion and specialize in criminal profiling, or expand on my school counselor grad degree, possibly researching around girls with ADHD. 

6)  Be invited to speak to a large group as an "expert."  Related to number 5, I want to establish myself as an expert in something and have the opportunity to share it with others. 

7)  Learn to play guitar.  Ethan got me a guitar a couple years ago, and I played around trying to learn from youtube.  But I have problems with my hands being tiny, and I think I need a real instructor.  But who has the time? ;-)  My goal is to be good enough that I can sit and strum by our Christmas tree while our family sings carols.

8)  Celebrate our 50th anniversary.  'Nuff said.

9)  Take our children and grandchildren on a big family vacation.  Either a cruise, or Disney World... how fun to hang out as one big family and experience either of those things together, through the eyes of different generations :-)

10) Pet a big cat (lion, tiger, cheetah, etc).  I've always loved big cats and just been enthralled with their power and grace.  And how cute they are!!
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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

#BlogtemberChallenge: Favorite Season

"Tell us about your favorite season. Why is it your favorite and what does it say about you?"

I'm probably going to have my blogger status revoked for this, but I really don't like fall.  I like the wardrobe - light sweaters, jeans, boots - but that's about it.  Between all of the allergies and my husband having less time off, fall is always a bit of a bummer for me.  

But winter... ah, winter is where it's at!  It's good for my cozy, homebody heart... warm blankets, a fire going, hot cocoa, the falling snow that sort of muffles everything.  I love Christmas break and snow days, when we can stay together and watch the snow settle perfectly on the trees in our backyard from our nice warm home... and I love Christmas.  Everything about the Christmas season delights me...  I love planning, shopping for, and wrapping gifts for our family and friends... I love baking, decorating, and eating Christmas goodies... I love gathering with our families and groups of friends, and the fun traditions that go along with those gatherings... I love the Advent church services and Christmas pageants, singing my favorite carols, celebrating God's greatest gift... and I can't wait to experience all of these things with and through the eyes of our babies!! 
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Monday, September 7, 2015

#BlogtemberChallenge: Reason Behind My Blog Name

"Tell us about your blog name. Where did it come from?"

I have written on this topic before, so I'll keep it pretty brief today :-) 

My blog is named after my now-indefinitely-closed Etsy jewelry shop.  I liked to think of my jewelry business as consisting of a lot of communication, so I named it after the way I have closed correspondance for years.  

It was an apt name back then, but has grown even more appropriate and meaningful over the years.

As "Always, Katie" grew on the blog, on Instagram, on Facebook, and even on Pinterest, I began to realize that there were even more ways I was communicating and participating in community than I originally thought when I named my business and blog.  

The "Always" part is a little more emphasized in my mind now, too.  I have changed constantly over the years I have been writing, and I love that my ever-changing blog focus and tone reflect those changes.  Despite the changes, there are constants, and I love that my blog name's double meaning acknowledges these constants... that I am still, always, Katie.  :-)
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Saturday, September 5, 2015

#BlogtemberChallenge: Random iTunes Playlist

Today's prompt has the potential for some embarrassing results :-)  Thankfully, these are all songs I'll gladly admit to loving ;-)

"Put your iTunes/music player on shuffle and share the first 10 songs that play."

Credits: Reba, JoDee, Brad, B&D, TSwift, Rascal Flatts, Gary, Martina, Mamma Mia, Mercy Me.

1)  Jolene - Reba McEntire  (Originally a Dolly Parton song, but I have a recording of Reba singing it in some sort of tribute concert... this is a great one to belt on a long car ride!)

2)  Because You Love Me - JoDee Messina  (I was raised on Garth Brooks, but JoDee was my gateway singer to liking all country.)

3)  Letter to Me - Brad Paisley  (Still makes me cry in the right mood!)

4)  Cowgirls Don't Cry - Brooks & Dunn ft. Reba McEntire  (Another good sing-along song...)

5)  Ours - Taylor Swift  (People throw rocks at things that shine <3)

6)  Every Day - Rascal Flatts 

7)  The One - Gary Allan  (This is a sexy song.  It just is.)

8)  There You Are - Martina McBride

9)  Slipping Through My Fingers - Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia Soundtrack) (I love this song... even more so now that I have a daughter of my own.)

10) I Can Only Imagine - MercyMe
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Thursday, September 3, 2015

#BlogtemberChallenge: Blog Mood Board

 I think today's #BlogtemberChallenge prompt is so much fun!  

"Create a collage or inspiration/mood board that describes your blog."

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Brave Love Blog

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Currently: September

This month, I'm jumping in on the "Currently" link-up with Jenna at Gold and Bloom and Anne at In Residence.  :-)  It's a fun, easy little link-up concept, and I'm looking forward to getting to know and checking in with some lovely ladies in this community :-)  

So these are the things I'm reading, making, pinning, anticipating, and loving currently...

Reading: There is a book club within my twin mom club, and we read one book per season.  The autumn book is The Girl on the Train, so I have that on my phone and just need to start on it :-)  I used to get a fair amount of reading done during overnight bottle time, but as the babies get older and are dropping overnight feeds, I'm chatting with them more instead of trying to keep them half-asleep ;-)  

Making:  This is the most recent thing I've made... I've been looking for a twin mom shirt around the internet, but all the ones I've seen have either been SUPER expensive (which I understand, but still can't justify spending), aggressive (because, guys, I know twin moms are awesome, BUT SO ARE SINGLETON moms, so be nice!), and/or use "Mama" instead of "Momma."  So... I grabbed a cute, inexpensive tee from Kohl's (on sale for $7, I had an extra 15% off, and actually just spent Kohl's cash) and made my own with my Silhouette Cameo!  Fun!  This will probably happen again with a hoodie or something very soon :-)

Pinning:  We're hoping to go to our first carry-in with our new church this month, so I've been pinning dishes I think I might like to bring.  Also, fudge.  Fudge is fun to make, and there are SO many tempting varieties on Pinterest :-)  I have a whole fudge board, and make myself hungry on the daily :-) 

Anticipating:  Robert Hogan of No. 9 Images Photography is coming over on Tuesday to take the twins' 3 month pictures.  I'm excited to have more professional photos of them, and to work with Robert (who did our maternity pictures) again.  But I will admit to being the teensiest stressy about what we'll all wear! 

Loving: I got this super snuggly, lightweight cowl-neck sweater from Kohls... I haven't been able to find it online to link to (or buy more, because I need more of them!).  It's so cozy and flattering and easy to wear... I'm really digging simple clothes lately.  I want to be able to grab almost any top and almost any bottom and have an outfit :-) 
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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

#BlogtemberChallenge: Introduction

I am so excited about the "Blogtember" Challenge over at Brave Love!  I have been wanting to sort of ease back into blogging more regularly since the babies came because I miss the community, but I've had a hard time coming up with things to write about other than "LOOK AT THIS CUTE PICTURE OF MY BABIES!!!"  Enter Bailey and her challenge... 30 prompts, one for each day in September, with link-ups every day... solving both my inspiration problem and my blog-friend-loneliness problem :-)

Brave Love Blog

Today, our prompt is simply: Introduce yourself however you like! Pics, vlog, collage, your choice :) 

Since I have a fairly thorough About Me page, I thought I'd share the highlights and a couple "bet you didn't know"s :-)

The Highlights:
  • I'm Katie :-)  Married to Ethan, Momma to Charley (a maltipoo), and Abigail and Samuel (human twins).
  • I love to bake (and eat), craft, DIY, decorate, read, talk... I used to sell my handmade jewelry, but that passion has taken a back seat to baby-making and raising.
  • I take too many pictures of the twins, many of which can be found in my Instagram feed. :-)
  • We tried to get pregnant for five years.  We finally did IVF at Barbados Fertility Centre, and were so overwhelmed with how well we were treated (and our success, of course) that I love to spread the word about them.  More people should know there's an alternative to the usual impersonal and stressful model of infertility treatment in the States!
  • I have had Type 1 Diabetes since I was 12 years old.  I use an insulin pump and sometimes a continuous glucose monitor to control my blood sugar.
  • I have an M.Ed. in school counseling, and am licensed to practice in Ohio.  I don't practice, because we did IVF right after I earned licensure... then I was pregnant... now I have my hands full ;-)

Now for the random things you may not know:
  • Instead of imaginary friends, when I was little, I had imaginary children.  Among them was a set of boy/girl twins.  I've always wanted to be a mom, and I guess maybe I subconsciously had an idea it would be of twins :-)
  • We put a LOT of thought into naming our twins, but I almost rejected the perfect name for our son.  Why?  Because it had been the name of my goldfish when I was 7.  Thankfully, I realized how silly that was and our baby now shares a name with that fish :-)
  • I went from passionately hating lasagna to craving it in the hormonal aftermath of the stimulation/retrieval phase of IVF.
  • I've been tased.
  • My first childhood crush was Doogie Howser.  Ethan's nickname as a kid... Doogie Howser. :-)
  • My back is super-ticklish.  More so than my feet or ribs (although, yeah, those are ticklish too!)
  • I'm terrified of spiders and most other things with more than six legs.  But, I think snakes and lizards are SUPER cute! 
  • My left foot is a whole half-size bigger than my right.  People like me (with fewer scruples) are why the cashiers check the sizes on both shoes when you buy them ;-)  This is also probably why I love to buy shoes but hate to wear them!
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