the boy

weekend love it – so many adventures full of love

The past two weeks and weekends have literally been absolutely amazing. They were chuck full of “little things” that make me completely and utterly grateful. It has definitely been a year of highs and lows and right now I am riding a wave of high that I am just hoping continues on for infinity.

Not only were they long weekends and short work weeks, but they were full of so many adventures, celebrations and love. I have been having some pretty serious withdrawals this week but I am looking forward to another weekend full of love!

Here is a look!

1. hiking for life. I spent almost the entirety of the Fourth of July weekend hiking and it just truly amazing. Plus I got new hiking shoes (INOV8, which fit my baby feet so nicely) so that made it even more amazing. Every day I literally (and physically) felt on top of the world from the hiking, views, slightly sore feet, best company around and post-hike snacks and drinks. I am seriously considering a job change to “professional hiker” so if anyone out there has any connections, please throw them my way.

I tipped off the weekend with an amazing Idaho Adventure to what is literally one of Ketchum’s best kept secret hikes with a few amazing lady friends and then followed it up with a hike to Titus Lake with the boy and one of our favorite couples. Lastly, Krista and I did a short hike to detox on Sunday and it was just what I needed to wrap up the amazingly active weekend.

awesome new hiking shoes (i got them from the clymb for a great price)

awesome new hiking shoes (i got them from the clymb for a great price)

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silver lake

idaho friends in idaho places

idaho friends in idaho places

wildflowers for days

wildflowers for days

evenings on silver creek

evenings on silver creek

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fourth of july watermelon, blueberry & feta salad

fourth of july watermelon, blueberry & feta salad

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titus lake

titus lake

love these two!

love these two!

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2. washington love. Ermygawd. Literally the best weekend of my ENTIRE life just happened. I wasn’t sure anything could top my Fourth of July weekend full of Idaho, so much food and amazing company but this last weekend just did. The boy and I were invited to what will likely be the most amazing wedding we will ever go to for two of our dear friends from college. We also did a bit of exploring and I even managed to make it to an early morning Crossfit session for the bride. It was a giant smorgasbord of all of my favorite people and favorite activities all wrapped up into one.

wedding wod

wedding wod

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handstands for love!

handstands for love!

just some crazy chihuly glass

just some crazy chihuly glass

glass bridge

glass bridge

i stole some chalk from some kiddies and got creative

i stole some chalk from some kiddies and got creative

my favorite people!

my favorite people!

the cutest (and best) cookie i think i have ever eaten at 10:00 am on a sunday...

the cutest (and best) cookie i think i have ever eaten at 10:00 am on a sunday…

3. wedding love. Since this last weekend was literally so amazing, it deserves two spots in my Love It. The wedding was truly spectacular. Not that anyone expected anything less as the bride, Gina Paulson (eeekk!), is quite possibly the cutest, most creative and Crossfit, coffee and cat loving person ever. She happens to be the creative genius, manager, owner and soul proprietor (probably?) of Eleven and West. You must check it/her/the website out now.

Since that evening I have been continually flipping back through the photos on my phone in an attempt to relive all the fun, smiles, love, food and hugs. Literally the best night of my life and I didn’t even get married…ahhemm.

gift bags (i know, how cute!!)

gift bags (i might save this paper bag forever…)

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i just cant even…

fairy lights, white chairs and pretty love notes in gina's perfect calligraphy

fairy lights, white chairs and pretty love notes in gina’s perfect calligraphy

so much love for this guy (looking so fresh!)

so much love for this guy (looking so fresh!)

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you cant sit with us...

you cant sit with us…

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so true

so true

is it free advertising if you work for them? coozie and all...

is it free advertising if you work for them? coozie and all…

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i had seconds and then a truck rolled up with these buggers and literally made my life

i had seconds and then a truck rolled up with these buggers and literally made my life

new friend?!

new friend?!

photo booth fun

there is nothing better than a photo booth & sequins

the most amazing couple! so happy for them!

the most amazing couple! so happy for them!

4. national kissing day. National Kissing Day went down on July 6th and there were so many kisses at our house. Goat kisses that is. I captured the boy being loved on / mauled by the goats and thought it was so appropriate as it happened to be National Kissing Day! Too cute not to share!

goat kisses! (please note bernard taking a little tumble in the background)

goat kisses! (please note bernard taking a little tumble in the background)

goat loves <3

goat loves ❤

5. thug kitchen. My aunt originally shared Thug Kitchen  with me and I have been laughing ever sense. I love good clean food and Thug Kitchen is just that mixed with like seventy swearwords and funnies for each recipe. A must read, follow and even cook from for nommy eats and silly times.

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6. pretty presents. By far one of my favorite parts of the holiday season is wrapping presents. I just love creating something just as beautiful as the gift. There have been several recent birthday celebrations in our lives and I am still just loving this recent wrap job topped with a fresh flower.

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7. j.crew jumpsuits. If I was to ever categorize my favorite things in life, J.Crew and jumpsuits would be right up there with coffee, 30 minutes of dead silence in the morning, sunshine, beans, Crossfit, Uggs, Lululemon, wearing leggings every day, pugs and green tea. So the other day when J.Crew was having 50% off their sale items, I literally almost cried of happiness that a J.Crew jumpsuit that I had been eyeing for months was only $40.00. I obviously bought it immediately. It was fate. I absolutely adore the fun colors and slightly too big fit (leaves extra room for summer celebrations…).

On another note, the boy thinks this jumpsuit is pretty radical as well. He advised me at 5 am when we were leaving for Seattle, “wooo that is quite a jumpsuit! It looks like it belongs in the 70’s with cocaine!” Why thank you Mr Boy, I really appreciate your compliment? Whatever. I wore the jumpsuit last weekend and just loved ever minute of it but figured since there weren’t any pictures of me in it on the internet that it’s totally good to go for another weekend! Love when that happens! #internetettiquette

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8. pugs – peanutbutter & instagram. My pug love is never ending so I figured why not keep sharing my recent pugger life highlights…my little pugger Lizzie loves just about anything and everything to do with food. So more often than not when I finish a jar of peanut-butter I pass it off to her. Because when you’re a 13-year-old pug there is no good reason not to lick a jar clean, or as clean as you can when your nose is flat and your tongue is a bit short.

loving on some peanutbutter

loving on some peanutbutter

And speaking of internet etiquette, here is Doug the Pug to teach us 9 things you shouldn’t do on Instagram (unless you’re a pug of course)…take notes!

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taylor brass

brass blossom

idaho adventures — hell roaring lake + 8 years

“difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.” 

Six months ago, I thought my life would never be the same. All I could think about for quite some time was that I just wanted my life to rewind to “normal.” I wanted day-in and day-out life occurrences. I begged, wished, dreamed, groveled to any life force for what my life was, what we had and what we were going to have. And maybe while nothing will ever be normal, my life has returned to a new normal. And it, despite the somewhat testy road, is beautiful.

Something else quite beautiful is that the boy and I celebrated 8 years of being graced with each other’s presence this month. It has been 8 years full of many wonderful laughs, loves, big things and little things. It has also been 8 years of testing the waters.

So to celebrate we went on an Idaho adventure. We toyed with the idea of a few lakes but finally decided on going to Hell Roaring Lake in the Sawtooth Mountains. Nothing says romantic like a place called “Hell Roaring.” So with the irony upon us we set out on the 11-mile (round trip) hike. The term hike is a relative term as the “hike” is more like a meander through the woods. There is really no elevation gain but by the end of our adventure we were all too ready for some cold water and beer and to get a load off of our feet.

Like all Idaho lakes and adventures there was no disappointment along the way. We meandered along Hell Roaring Creek that was literally roaring (hence the name) for the first mile or so. The creek then turned into a gently flow that Miss Maude Pod had a hay day in and provided the most peaceful setting. It was another one of those times, those places that life seemed to cease. It was quiet, vividly green and we were surrounded for miles by pure, uninhabited (minus the backpackers) wilderness. Another ever so strong reminder of why we choose to live, breathe and coexist in Idaho.

We added onto our adventure with a few beers at Bridge Street Grill, a fabulous night on Redfish Lake and a late night dinner of boxed Annie’s Mac and Cheese. I was even convinced (or deceived by others saying that they would go with me…) to go for an evening waterski on the lake. I managed to use some stored away athleticism and get up on the first try for a little gaunt around the lake. The boy kept making fun of me that I would get my hair wet (as I had earlier that day refused to swim with him in Hell Roaring), so to prove him wrong and obviously “win” I managed to go the entire ski without dunking underwater. #win. The water was smooth and frigid, the sky was crystal clear and the company was ridiculously encouraging. Definitely my type of ski.

While we were hiking that day, the boy (next to the ever so romantic “Hell Roaring Creek” told me) that it was a perfect day. And that it truly was. We were engulfed by Idaho wilderness with wildflowers blooming, enjoying each other’s pure company with Miss Maude Pod trotting along with no real worries, cares or commitments to attend to. It was definitely one of those days that I pleaded for and I am ever so thankful for that day and everyday that I get to spend with the boy. It’s a beautiful destination.

ready to embark!

ready to embark!

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hiking along "hell roaring creek"

hiking along “hell roaring creek”

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letting maude pod cool down with a swim

letting maude pod cool down with a swim

being responsible and signing us in

being responsible and signing us in

not being as responsible and taking secret selfies

not being as responsible and taking secret selfies

always the model

always the model

giving maude a bit of water - sharing is caring

giving maude a bit of water from the camelback – sharing is caring

we made it!

we made it!

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the finger of fate (the pinnacle to the center left)

his & hers (i only carried mine for looks...)

his & hers (i only carried mine for looks…)

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champion

champion

the lonesome morel we found!

the lonesome morel we found!

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good bye hell roaring

good bye hell roaring, until next time

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so idaho

so idaho…

the best post-hike view & drink in stanley

the best post-hike view & drink in stanley

great company...

my fabulous company

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beautiful evening on the lake

beautiful evening on redfish lake

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taylor brass

brass blossom

a thousand thank yous

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A thousand thank yous. A million thank yous. A billion thank yous. A thank you from the bottom of my heart, my soul, my wishes and my dreams to each and every one of you for your thoughts, your prayers, your blessings, your support, your metaphysical and medical genius and your unwavering love. A thank you for everything.

I intermittently find time slowing and I relish in those moments, those moments where everything is relatively perfect. Those moments where I am flooded with gratitude, gratitude to be able to take a deep breathe that fills the depths of my lungs, my heart and my soul. To not feel that at any moment I’m on the verge of hyperventilating because it is all just too much.

Because now there are still things that seem like too much, but it is all relative. Life is relative. I hate when people say (usually to me when I’m spinning at 1,000 miles per hour about something incomprehensible to them) to “not sweat the small stuff.” But I encourage you—sweat the small stuff, but keep it relative. Sweat the A- grades, sweat the dirty floors, sweat the spilled milk. Because if you are sweating the small stuff, you are blessed at that moment, blessed that there is no accident, no coma, no pneumonia, no feeding tubes, no hell to sweat. Because the small stuff means you are alive and full of life and love and things are going pretty peachy. Sweat the small stuff and breathe deeply with gratitude and thanks for those little perfect (and sometimes imperfect) moments each day.

Those perfect moments. Those moments when I feel like I am spinning along with the axis of the world, along for the ride again. Those moments like when I am sitting at our dining room table eating a bowl of soup, while the boy is off partaking in outdoor activities and I receive a text from him letting me know he is on his way home and asking if I need anything. It’s perfect. It’s absolutely, scream to the hills, insert swear word for emphasis, perfect that I still receive those texts, those little check-ins, those times when you know there is someone out there thinking of your wants, your needs or the dwindling supply of goat milk.

Those moments like when the boy, our families or I again come across a little card, a sweet note or a message of “keep putting that one foot in front of the other” from the past several months. It is perfect. It is perfect knowing that even in the deepest, darkest of times we are cradled in a ginormous hammock of love from friendship, family and community near, far and long lost. A hammock whose strings stretched further than I ever thought possible and supported the weight of our world.

Those moments like when the boy is driving and Miss Maude Pod has her head resting on the center between the two front seats, music is blasting, the windows are down and we are driving back into the valley. It is perfect. The physical beauty captures us but also the beauty of a community engulfs us. It protects us. A community that never wavered, never faltered and helped put the light back in our eyes and made it all seem doable. Those moments when you know this is home. This is where you are meant to be at that very single moment.

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It was all of you. From the extraction team, to the Emergency Care team, to the life-flight, to the trauma doctors and medical team, to the ICU nurses (especially to that one night nurse), to the hospital employees that became our friends, to our families near and far that were always close to our hearts, to the friend who reached out from elementary school with a book recommendation, to the guy who gave me a box of tissues after passing me several times crying hysterically in the stairwell, to the transport team, to the people who got outdoors for the boy, to the friends that shoveled and made us food, to the Pulmonologist that always just stopped by to say hi and talk, to the best friends that were just there no matter what, to the long term physical therapy team, to the security guard, to the coworkers who are more than just coworkers, to the rehabilitation team (especially to that one therapist who wouldn’t let us rot indoors), to everyone that took care of Maude Pod, to the nurses that put up with the never ending jokes to the brilliant and most importantly caring doctors that aided in every step of the way, to each and every friend, family member, well-wisher and to the Wood River Valley Community, it was you. It was you that cradled us, pushed us and gave us endless love, support and shoulders to cry on and ears to listen to us, it was you that helped us back to a world that has light, that has meaning, that has hopes and wishes and dreams. And there will never be enough thank yous for that.

Now don’t get me wrong. The boy is pretty spectacular to say the least in my likely biased opinion. But in my eyes it wasn’t a miracle. Not one ounce of the strength that bubbles inside him and his indomitable will that was fortified by the overwhelming support he and all of #teamcasey received was sourced from a miracle. He did the work, but you all did the supporting. You supported in a way that I hope to one day spread further and further into the world. Because to me, to us, to #teamcasey that support makes everything okay and doable. And it was you, each and every one, that I thank for allowing me to have gratitude, thanks, laughter, tears, deep breathes, small stuff to sweat in those moments in life when everything slows and you know it, everything, life is relatively perfect.

A thousand thank yous. A million thank yous. A billion thank yous.

all my love

brass blossom

weekend love it – vampire weather & goats

The past couple of weeks have been a bit gloomy in Idaho. But unlike the weather my last couple of weeks haven’t been gloomy at all. I recently became a new “mommy” and have loved every hysterical moment so far!

Here is a look at the past couple of weeks!

1. goats. I am in love, head over heals, with our baby goats. We welcomed Lemon, Farrah, Bernard and Zoro into our family last week and are now all suckers for their little goat faces and tail wags. We just got goats for fun and they have been a bundle of fun since day one. Visits are welcome and gallons of milk are appreciated as these little buggers are quite crazy for the bottle!

Here are a few pictures with a post dedicated entirely to the goats and many goat questions to follow ASAP!

baby goats!

baby goats!

the girls (lemon & farrah)

the girls (lemon & farrah)

my babies

my babies

feeding baby bernard

the boy feeding baby bernard

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goat selfies

goat selfies

2. vampire weather. Long ago when the Twilight movies had millions of people waiting in line for the premiers, Krista dubbed “vampire weather.” It’s weather like the Cullen Family would appreciate and not be called out for being vamps (think rainy, overcast, dark, gloomy, perfect to kill something weather). And Idaho has had just that recently. Although we live in sunny Sun Valley we have had about a week of rain and rain is on the forecast for quite some time. Even though I adore sunshine and all things related, I am thankful for the much needed moisture that it provides and the good excuse to curl up with a good book, some tea, a puppy, a pug, the boy and maybe a goat friend or two or four….

rainy day hike

rainy day hike

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how miss maude pod feels about vampire weather

how miss maude pod feels about vampire weather

3. dr pimple popper. Warning this is not for the weak of stomach. Skip ahead if you don’t care for the popping of bodily fluids. I however, just like the sunshine, love popping anything I can get my hands on. Zits, blackheads or whiteheads I am a picker. The boy doesn’t quite share my enthusiasm and looks at me like I’m Darth Vader every time I come at him with my finger nails.

But for those of you who share my appreciate look up Dr Pimple Popper (aka Dr Sandra Lee). She has the most amazing YouTube and Instagram accounts that you will ever find. She is literally changing the lives of her patients and making millions on popping pimples. You will not regret it. Just like I didn’t regret recently admitting that my current favorite Instagram accounts are Dr Pimple Popper and Bird Dog of the Day.

dr pimple popper

dr pimple popper

4. cancer cards. Life kinda sucks some times. Cancer sucks, comas suck, brain diseases suck and these cards are just for that. When life sucks and an “I’m sorry” or “I’m thinking of You” card just doesn’t seem appropriate, these empathy cards have your back. In light of recent events I found these cards quite comforting and humerous and the maker’s story inspiring.

emily mcdowell empathy cards

emily mcdowell empathy cards

5. cupcakes. A bundt cake that was frosted and sprinkled with cereal has been dancing in the back of my mind for weeks. So when I was asked to make birthday cupcakes for our two good friends, who also happen to be the cutest love birds, I knew cereal cupcakes would be perfect. Cereal is light, fun, sometimes colorful and doesn’t scream engagement cupcakes (not what you are going for at a co-birthday party…).

I asked what their favorite cereals were and while I was hoping for some colorful Trix or Fruit Loops they both picked very respectable cereals (however slightly boring but I suppose that is what life comes to after like the age of 7). Thus, “Captain Cody” and “Honey Bunches of Tori” cupcakes were born. I encourage you all to add cereal to your next cupcake as these were all gobbled right up!

cereal birthday cupcakes!

cereal birthday cupcakes!

6. book club. Every so often Krista’s and my group of friends participate in a book club. At the ripe age of 25 I have found that there always just seems to be a bit less time to open a book and get lost in the pages. And that is why I really love book club. Because it’s an easy way to keep reading and keep my brain firing. Although book clubs can by synonymous with wine club, I think it’s wonderful regardless of what actually happens at “book club.” It’s a good excuse to pick up a book, meet with some friends and enjoy a delicious dinner.

So this last week I hosted “book club” for All the Light We Cannot See. And while only two out of the five of us actually finished the book by our meeting date, we still had a great time. We talked about the book themes and title a little, enjoyed tortilla soup and a garden grown salad and played and fed the baby goats. All in all it was a wonderful evening!

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delicious dinner

delicious dinner

girls love goats

girls love goats

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nightly bottle feedings

nightly bottle feedings

7. pug hates kisses. Pugs. I just love pugs. But this pug doesn’t quite feel the love. For those of you that don’t like popping pimples, I hope you enjoy this video. And if you don’t enjoy bodily fluids popping and pugs you are officially on my black list.

8. the stanley baking co. Nom nom nom. Every year I diligently wait for the Stanley Baking Co to reopen it’s doors for the summer. I check their website several times starting in early spring for their open date. And since they opened their doors this weekend I made it a mission to go. The boy happens to be quite agreeable with my missions so we enjoyed a lovely drive and late breakfast this morning.

The food at the was amazing but the views today were breathtaking. You can’t beat a delicious Sunday breakfast with astonishing views!

view from galena pass

view from galena pass

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the BEST chai latte

the BEST chai latte

breakfast for two

breakfast for two

nom nom noms

nom nom noms

"wall street"

“wall street”

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a handstand a day keeps the doctor away

semi-failed post breakfast handstands

taylor brass

brass blossom

weekend love it – globe trotting & gratitude

I have super exciting news. Like take a seat news. I am off to Okinawa, Japan. Yay!! I slightly hinted about my upcoming travels in my last weekend love it (because I just couldn’t resist) and have pretty much been thinking and talking about Japan since I booked my ticket.

Spontaneous would likely never be a word anyone would use to describe me. But when my aunt invited me to tag along to Okinawa with her and my cousin I just couldn’t say no. One thing that I have come to terms with this year (and not willingly) is that life keeps keeping on regardless of if you are on board. Four months ago I imagined I would be prepping binders and color-coded folders for grad school and not jet setting off to Japan for the vacation of a lifetime. But life happens. I don’t know if I will ever go as far to say I’m blessed to have experienced what has happened thus far in 2015 but I will say that I am gracious. I am gracious for my current status, mindset, physical location and supposed projected course in life.

So with that exciting news out of the bag, here is what I have been loving!

1. globe trotting – okinawa, japan. Japan has not once ever been a destination that I have thought about going to. But after doing a bit of research, I literally cannot wait to touch down in Okinawa. Something else that I am looking forward to is just checking out and enjoying what our travels have to offer. I have downloaded several books, packed my bag and am just along for the ride at this point. Plus sitting on a beach with incredible company and a view that is worthy of a postcard won’t be half bad either.

A post-travel blog post will definitely be in order!

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okinawa_map

2. yoga girl. One of my good friends who is not only brilliant but also beautiful on the inside and outside recommended that I read (and stalk) Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathen after reading my last post. This friend has also been dealt her fair share of “wtf life” and come out on the other side with such an amazing soul and outlook on life (and she isn’t just all rainbows and sunshine either, which I just so appreciate, she is real life). So when she recommended this book and that I checkout Rachel Brathen on Instagram, I knew it had to be good. Maybe it’s the yoga and all the gratitude speaking but it felt like one of those signs from the universe pointing me to exactly what I needed.

So after a probably not so healthy stalking of Yoga Girl’s Instagram I ordered her book. I have thus far loved following Rachel Brathen on Instagram and reading her blog and cannot wait to dive into her book on the plane. Go follow her on Instagram (if not only for some amazing pictures) for some self love and restoration because everyone needs it at one time or another.

yoga girl by rachel braken

yoga girl by rachel brathen + white vacation nails

3. bikini. Growing up swimming competitively I have a true appreciation for swimsuits. I searched for the perfect bikini for my travels and at the last minute came across this beautyI had never heard of Khongboon Swimwear before and discovered them on Instagram (by far my favorite form of social media). I was immediately smitten by the style of their suits and the fun patterns. Think Mikoh bikinis + amazing patterns at half the price.

Unfortunately the bikini I ordered didn’t arrive in time for my trip, but a trip to Japan can simply not be ruined by a bikini. And perhaps it was for the best though as I was e-mailed just after my order shipped that the bikinis run about 1/3 size small. An exchange may be in order but I plan to wear this suit (if all goes swimmingly – pun intended!) at the pool and lake this summer.

khongboon swimwear - nerja bikini

khongboon swimwear – nerja bikini

4. four five seconds. I cannot tell you why I really like this song. I cannot even tell if I’m even embarrassed that I listen to it on repeat and don’t even know what the song means. It’s just one of those songs that resonates with me and makes me car dance and sing in a way that I should be embarrassed about. Cheers to having a guilty pleasure every once in a while.

Also I’m still confused about what part Paul McCartney plays in the song…

5. balayage. As a natural brunette I have never felt that there is much I could do with my hair without losing it’s natural color. That is until I heard about balayage. Balayage just confirms that blondes aren’t the only ones that can have fun. So I decided to drink the cool-aid and got the most fantastic, hand-painted color in my hair last week by Danielle at Vertu. For anyone looking for a little change without huge commitment I highly recommend balayage!

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waiting in the chair

balayage

balayage

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so many hair pictures

6. spring time sunny hikes. Most people love Sun Valley, Idaho for the winters. There are literally so many snow-filled activities. But I just love the summers. I would love Sun Valley summer all year long and I understand this probably offends many. One of my favorite parts about Summer is hiking. A dirt trail to somewhere breathtaking (since mostely everywhere in Idaho is breathtaking), some people or dog company and the tranquillity that comes with immersing yourself into full on wilderness (ish) is something that is difficult to beat.

I have enjoyed several hikes recently but perhaps my favorite was one that took us off trail in the general direction that we wanted to go with spectacular views of Baldy. When he summited (makes me feel like a badass to say that) we took a hot second to enjoy the view and snap a few pictures. Channeling my inner yoga girl I decided yoga on a mountain was necessary and took a hand stand. Obviously it went on Instagram and then it was miraculously retweeted by Visit Sun Valley. Cue fifteen minutes of fame.

hiking up the backside of taylor canyon

hiking up the backside of taylor canyon

maude pod posing like a good girl

maude pod posing like a good girl

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love these ladies!

love these ladies!

yoga on a mountain

yoga on a mountain

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my fifteen minutes of instagram fame

pugger walks

pugger walks

proof my pug can actually walk by herself

proof my pug can actually walk by herself

love bugs

love bugs

I am off to enjoy my travels now but I wish you all a wonderful weekend and week!

taylor brass

brass blossom

diy wooden banner

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, but one of the reasons I love the boy is that he generally goes along with my crazy visions. One evening in December when he was building a fire and I was supervising (obviously), I told him that I wanted to make a piece of firewood into a banner. I really had no idea what power tools would be required to make this transformation necessary, but I had full faith the boy could make it happen.

And he did. He used a nice saw of sorts and cut me perfectly smooth disks of fire wood. I had originally planned to paint on the disks until the boy offered his creative genius and said they would look super cool with wood burned letters. And lo and behold I happen to have a wood burner! It must have been creative fate.

While this banner takes some commitment (and possibly a creative minion who is good with power tools), it happens to be one of my favorite DIYs. I made a “happy birthday” banner for Krista’s birthday and then another “i love you pobre” for the boy for Valentine’s Day that now hangs in our room. Here is a look!

materials

  • a nice piece of wood with the diameter you desire for your disks
  • a wood burner
  • twine for hanging
  • a chop saw (according to the boy) or other tool to cut the disks
  • a drill for drilling holes to hang the disks by
the boy crafting

the boy crafting ❤

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perfectly cut wooden disks

perfectly cut wooden disks

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a finished wood burned letter "h"

a finished wood burned letter “h”

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happy birthday banner

happy birthday banner hung by balloons

i love you banner

i love you banner

"love"

“love”

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awkward posing… 

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taylor brass

brass blossom

a positive tale continued…

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More than a month ago I shared a positive tale. I shared a tale that was really only a morsel of a beginning. A beginning to a tale that I knew with every fiber of my being had to be a positive tale. It had to be a positive tale because at that time all I had was my love for “the boy.” And now that positive tale has more than just a beginning and it is now slightly more recognizable as my life.

I paused my tale in that place between sleep and awake. The boy had been in a coma for over a week and my life felt like a nightmare in the darkest of nights. It was during that nightmare that one morning my mom took me to a Starbucks in an Albertson’s Market to get coffee and breakfast. The market was almost deserted on a weekday morning except for the cheery barista and bag boy, the latter of which probably should have been in school somewhere. My mom left me to order the coffees while she bought a few groceries in order to get out of the store as quickly as possible. The mundane task daunted me. I was suddenly surrounded by marked down holiday coffee paraphernalia. Good tidings, holiday cheer and the bright colors mocked me. They mocked the misery that I felt in every single atom of my body, which there are approximately 7 x 10 27 atoms in the average human body.

I recall looking into the face of the barista and thinking that my life would never go on. I could never be that cheery again. The world was spinning around me and I was standing still. And no, I wasn’t at the axis but rather just far enough off to the side watching as it just kept spinning faster and faster. Perhaps from one random atom of strength that I had left I ordered after several long, most likely very awkward seconds. It was that or just sit down on the dingy, cracked linoleum floor by myself. And that floor that had seen better days just didn’t seem like the right place for tthe breakdown to end all breakdowns.

The saying “picking up the pieces” didn’t apply. It was at that time during quite possibly my lowest of lows that there weren’t any pieces. There was just me. And thank god I didn’t sit down because I don’t think I could have picked myself up. I felt so alone. I felt that I had lost my identity. I felt that I had lost my life or life as I knew it. I felt that I had nothing. But there was one thing that I did have, and it was my love for him.

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I have known for several years now that I am entirely dependent on the boy. It’s a fact that makes my life complete and scares me to my core. He is my axis to the world. Generally I consider myself to be a fiercely independent person. But that all changed when the boy came along almost eight years ago. He managed to carve an ever growing spot into my identity, into my self-worth and into my life. And there is no one else I would rather share my independence, life and person with. Perhaps that is also the beauty and cruelty of love. When you love someone they become apart of you, and you become apart of them. And when life is entirely unrecognizable and in any given brutal second everything could change, you start to realize you could lose that part. That part of you that has intertwined through all the love, tears, victories, defeats and little moments to make you, you.

So it was on that dingy linoleum floor with the barista that thought I was a nutcase and the bag boy that starred at my publicly flowing tears that I held onto the part of me that is the boy. I held onto the strings of hope that I would one day be able to say with certainty that I would not lose that part of me that has become us. I put the coffees in a to go carrier and got out of that Albertson’s as quickly as possible to return to the boy in the what was then a familiar hospital room surrounded by familiar faces who were strangers just days before.

Riding those strings of hope, all I could bargain for with the world was that the boy was comfortably in that place between sleep and awake and he was just taking his sweet time in returning to me, to us and to the world. But it wasn’t that day or even the day after that, that the boy returned to the reality that had become our life. It was approximately 14 days from the accident that the boy began to wake up. They were quite possibly the longest yet shortest, most excruciating yet most hopeful, days that I have ever lived.

The movies, TV and soap-operas have done us all a disservice. The period of transitioning from a low level coma state to a higher level is not angelic. There are no beams of light or handsome men and hot nurses visiting the room. Or if there are you don’t notice them. All you notice is that person that you love so much is not them. They are still on the coma ride and you are still on the everything sucks ride. Except everything sucks just a little bit less. Because they are awake. And the boy “waking up” was integral. It aligned the axis of my world. It was still spinning fast, but at least I was along for the ride at that point.

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The middle of my story is dark. I felt a hatred for anything and everything. I had never felt a hatred remotely in comparison to the hatred that consumed me. And to nicely counter my hatred, I felt an indifference for pretty much anything that I didn’t hate. I was a walking, talking ray of sunshine (hell, maybe I still am). Each day as the boy improved and gradually neared the end of the tracks of his coma ride, the fairness of reality haunted me. I would never in a million, billion years wish this injury, accident, pain, suffering and just flat out horrible deal of the hand on anyone, but it just wasn’t fair to the boy. It wasn’t fair to me, to our families, to anyone.

We will probably never know the answer to the question why. And maybe I just don’t even want to know the answer. Maybe there isn’t even an answer. Because I can’t think of any answer or any explanation that would make it any easier or justify the situation. And believe me, I have thought of as many answers as possible during those nights of tossing and turning, during those long, radio-blasting car rides, during those times I wanted to sink away into nothingness and reawaken with this all a nightmare.

The boy’s coma ride and subsequent weeks of being there, but just not quite being himself, were dark for me. I desperately held onto those strings of hope. But that is when the true reality of the situation kicked in. That is when the “this is now my reality” thoughts that never occurred to me actually occurred. That is when exhaustion, desperation and pure loneliness engulfed my being and my every move. It was literally the longest the boy and I had have ever gone without talking to or just being together. Since the age of 17, he has been intertwined into every nook and cranny of my life to complete me. He is my morning, my noon and my night. He is my person to send random text messages or e-mails to. He is my best friend and the love of my life. He is my “I love you’s.” I literally would have sold any vital organ on the black market for even a minute of conversation or connection with him during that darkness.

But riding alongside the ride with exhaustion, desperation, anger and indifference, there was that part of me. That part of me that is the boy. That part of me that has become us. And that is the part of me the glowed, radiated and pulsed blood to my angry core to make it slightly less black each and every time the boy progressed and transitioned back to the amazing, confident, exuberant and thoughtful person that he is. That is the part of me that I held onto when there was nothing else, or nothing else remotely positive. And that is the part of me, of him, of us that is going to continue to grow and morph and mold to wherever this ride shall take us. I would like to suggest the Bahamas with a lovely warm cabana for sunning and an abundance of fishing but I guess I’ll go where it takes us.

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And a ride it has been and most likely will continue to be. But it has always been an uphill ride, a positive slope, trending toward improvement. Along with the strings of hope and that part of me that I held onto for dear life, I held onto a phrase that was uttered in one way or another by several doctors along the way, “he has never digressed.” Which is true. The boy is nothing short of incredible. He is quite possibly the strongest, most determined and resilient person that I could ever imagine. He is still on a long road of recovery but he has overcome the impossible, literally. The reality that I get to call him the boy, pobre, sweet pea, sugar plum, love bug and stud muffin is a reality that I can easily live with.

The boy is currently in an Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility. He has surpassed everyone’s expectations during his recovery and is doing what he does best, proving the predictions, odds and norm wrong. He is still cruising on his recovery ride and making outstanding strides, leaps and bounds (literally, like with his legs) daily. Needless to say, the story isn’t over. But it has more than just a beginning and a middle. And it is, and of course will be, a positive tale.

Life will be different. And while I still may not be as cheery as that barista, and to be honest probably never will be, my life has gone on with me, willingly along for the ride. I have accepted and possibly even found a little light in this new reality. This is our path and it will be beautiful, beautiful enough to rival the Bahamas. And thank god I didn’t sell any vital organs because I will need them now to keep back up with the boy.

all my love

brass blossom

a positive tale

The Brass Blossom has been a bit absent recently. And here is the reason why. While this post has nothing to do with crafts, recipes or pretty tables, it is and will be a positive tale.

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On January 4th, 2015 my life forever changed. My boyfriend of 7+ years who I commonly refer to as “the boy” was critically injured in a motor vehicle accident. I received a call at 2 am from his best friend. It was my worst nightmare come true. Prior to that I had been in that place between sleep and awake.

In “Hook,” Tinkerbell tells Peter Pan that she will always love him in the place between sleep and awake. It’s that place where you are entirely relaxed but aware of both your dreams and reality. It’s that place where two worlds collide. And that’s where I was. I was longing for sleep but knowing in my gut that something was desperately wrong when I texted both the boy and his friend several times throughout the night and received no response.

After receiving the news in the darkest of night that he was being life flighted, I managed to gather myself enough to tuck Maude Pod into her kennel and pack an overnight bag. I packed an extra set of clothes, 4.5 pairs of socks and my bathroom bag. Pretty much all you could ever need.

The ensuing hours were dark, literally and physically. I have little recollection of the excruciating three-hour drive other than crying. Tears streamed down my face with each passing road sign. The boy’s sister held my undoubtably sweaty and tear streaked hand for a majority of the ride. But with each tear and each passing road sign we were that much closer to him.

I simply knew I needed to physically see him. I needed to see his strong brow with the bushy eyebrows that I rub most evenings as he falls to sleep. I needed to see the big hands that nine times out of ten beat me in rock, paper, scissors to do the dishes. I needed to see his strong legs that propel him at his constant ADD speed through life. He just needed to be physically there. The tubes, monitors and blood didn’t matter as long as he was there. Which he was, at Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello, Idaho.

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The boy has now been in a coma for over a week. He suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as a broken ulna and a few other scrapes and bruises. From the moment I received the call to now I still question if this is real life. A good friend of ours described it perfectly when he said, “it’s a weird ride of sadness, helplessness and rage.” I am sad because I just miss him so much. I am helpless in that I cannot control anything other than my thoughts. And I am mad that I didn’t go with him. And mad that I didn’t just ask him to stay home like I had wanted to. And mad that other hospital beds in the ICU seem to empty while he remains in his. Every day I ride a roller-coaster of emotions that never seems to slow down.

Despite being here for almost two weeks it seems like no time at all. The days, hours and minutes have run together and I question my ability to complete basic tasks. The hospital cafeteria, the market and even ordering a coffee have seemed overwhelming. After a long morning a few days ago I simply needed to get out of the hospital. I was crying hysterically and sought any sense of normalcy. My mom who has been with me since day one loaded me up in the car and we turned on some country music and just drove.

It was drizzling and started to slush from the sky the further we drove. We passed hundreds of homes with cars parked outside and remnants of happy families stowed out of the weather. Several chimneys were filled with smoke. And it was refreshing. It was refreshing to know that despite that fact that I feel like this is not real life but much closer to living hell on occasions, that the world does go on. There are families and people who are happy, who are warm and who are entirely unaware of the devastating pain that I feel daily. It is nice to see that despite the current circumstance that we will one day be one of those families that is warm and tucked away in a cozy home baked in fire light and enjoying a drizzly afternoon.

The one thing that has held me on course throughout this ride is the boy. He is my rock and keeps me grounded when I am spinning. He is my everything. The pain of these circumstances penetrates slightly less and less each day as I hike the stairs to the ICU to spend another day with him.

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The day before the accident the boy told me he felt like he had been hunting too much. For anyone that knows him you probably think that he could never feel that way. It’s inconceivable, but true. He lives life to an extreme. But that is what I love about him. He lives life without balance. He will spend months on end spending every spare minute hunting with such gusto. To him it isn’t about the birds or the kill, it is about the adventure. And fully living the adventure at that. In a world where we all strive for the perfect balanced day from breakfast to a workout to an after dinner thai chi session, he throws balance out the window. I doubt he has ever or will ever have a balanced day in his life. He blows full force into everything without restraint.

So that day, on his day off from hunting, we did arts and crafts. No joke. I had asked if he would help me with a diy project that required far more power tool knowledge than I could ever muster and he was stoked. We turned a piece of firewood into a wooden birthday banner. His excitement fueled my excitement and he took over creating the majority of the decorations for the party, his creative juices running wild.

He is that type of man. He is as manly as they come yet he is the sweetest person I know. There isn’t anything that he wouldn’t do if I asked him to. I question him pretty much every day where his zipper is. Because if I had it my way I would simply just crawl inside him. I know, I know, it sounds bizarre. But considering my love of anatomy and my love for him, I cannot think of a place that I would rather be than warm inside the most caring, compassionate, light hearted and funny person I know. It would be like we were truly one.

Most days I feel that we have nearly become one. He is my person. He is the love of my life. He is the person that I have become so utterly comfortable with that there is nothing he cannot tell from a look at my face. He is the love of my reality and my dreams. I wake up next to him every morning (occasionally with a sprawled Maude Pod on her back in the middle, I know so romantic) and go to sleep with him only to hog the covers and bed each night, which he never complains about. I listen to him breathing, cling to him for warmth and watch his chest rise and fall while studying the so familiar face, moles and milky skin that I have come to know as my own.

And as I sit there in the ICU watching his familiar chest rise and fall and listening to him breathe I know he is in that place between sleep and awake. He has completely relaxed from the long day but as I hold his hand he intermittently moves his thumb every so slightly. I pray he can hold onto his dreams and slowly transition into what reality has become. He is there and I am there.  And we are there together continuing on to the next steps of our journey.

I will not only always love the boy in that majestic place between sleep and awake but I will also always love him in even the most horrendous of realities. And it is in this new reality that I have grown ever so slightly accustomed to that I will be waiting for him. Waiting for him to wake up from his sweet dreams and loving him even more.

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And that is where I pause my story. As of right now, The Brass Blossom most likely wont have many posts coming in the near future. I may post more about the boy’s and my journey, depending on where the road takes us.

As well, Krista has been nothing but “my person” during this time. She took the ultimate test of commitment and vowed to be my “Brass Blossom Boyfriend” for now. That is true friendship right there. I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart who has supported the boy, our families and me during this time. The momentous amount of love, support and prayers that we have received has gotten us through the beginning of what is going to be a wonderful recovery.

To follow the boy’s journey more frequently, check out: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/teamcasey

As well, a fund has been started to aid in his recovery that has already grown astronomically for which I cannot even begin to express my gratitude and thanks to each and every donor: http://www.gofundme.com/caseyhawkes

all my love

 

brass blossom