My Cure. 

 I love doing my nails. Everyone has their  thing. That thing that relaxes them. That at the end of a stressful week it cheers them up.  

I have a friend that loves to run. Another friend who collects shoes and anytime she is stressed just looks down at her pretty feet. Another friend that sets time aside to read every book that comes out. I know women who love to cook. My sister is an avid scrapbooker. 

Me? I do my nails.

 I had five kids in six year(yes I had twins). It is a lot of work. I sometimes go days without showering. And on a hard day when I have bags under my eyes and baby spit up on my shoulder, I can look at my hands and smile at the Color and whimsy of my manicure. 
I own over a hundred bottles of nail polish, plus several nail art kits, and a UV lamp. I have tried everything from Water Colors to the Sharpie method.  Back in the nineties, long before manicures were a thing and grannie was the only one with more than a nude nail color on, I was the loser with the long brightly panted nails.  As we headed into the new millennium and nail art grew in popularity, I embraced it with my whole soul.   My nails celebrate holidays!  Christmas.  Halloween

My nails get dressed up for events.  First week of school. 

Biker Rallies. 

Awesome Con!Art show. 

It has also become a fantastic way to bond with my four daughters.  We all need something fun that helps us celebrate our lives. Sometimes life is hard and I am of the school of thought that it is not really meant to be easy. But, I am also of the school of thought that, even in the hard times when we often lose ourselves in the many demands of being an adult, we need to set aside time for something special, something that reminds us that we are still important, something weird and frivolous that makes us feel pretty.  

 

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My First Quilt

  
Because I sew so much, people are often surprised when I say I don’t quilt. When I was 10 I checked out a library book on quilting and fell in love with the idea. It seemed very straight forward and simple, but when I talked to my aunt about maybe helping me get started, she got excited and proceeded to explode with information on supplies I would need and technique I would need to master. I felt very overwhelmed and abandoned the idea. 

Over the years I have run into many similar situations. Avid quilters are very passionate about their personal preferences and it can be very intimidating. There seems to be so many ways to do things wrong. 

Finally I just decided to go for it and do it my way. I watched a couple of videos on YouTube and here are my results. 

 

Here is one of my concept sketches next to the finished product. I copied this from a coloring book.  I got many of my ideas from coloring books. For the shoes , I took an actual photo of my daughter’s Mary Janes and then traced it. The bee was an iron on patch that I thought was cute so I copied it. 
 
The purse I saw on another quilt.  

  
And the puppy I found  in a vintage story book. 

  
It ended up being a really fun project and as you can see in the picture, my daughter loved it. Not all the seams are straight and I am sure seasoned quilters could find many flaws in it, but I am very proud of my first quilt. 

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Sofia Mermaid Comparison

On Nov. 24 2013, ten days before my daughter’s fourth birthday, Sofia the First and The Floating Palace premiered on the Disney channel.  

 

Suddenly my daughter’s wish for a Sofia doll for her birthday became a plea for a Sofia-Mermaid doll. But the Disney merchandising department wasn’t making any.  So I did what I do and bought a normal Sofia doll and turned it into a Mermaid. 

 

Now, a year and a half later, Disney merchandising finally cought up with me and started producing mermaids. I can’t help but grin to myself as I compare what I made with what the store is now selling. 

 

I know it isn’t ground breaking, but it makes me smile to see how much alike they look and to know that God gave me skill that allowed my daughter to not have to wait over a year.  

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Green, green dress.  

  

My oldest daughter is in need of some spring/summer clothes. I am a firm believer in letting a child choose their own style. When I asked her what she wanted, to no surprise, I was told maxi-sundresses… Lots of them. 

Cute, inexpensive, modest, sun dresses can be hard to find for a girl her age, so I knew that meant more work for mommy. 

We went to a local thrift store and she picked out this green skirt for $3.99. 

  

  Usually, I would have taken half of the bottom ruffle off, but she begged me to keep it long. The skirt was a women’s Large, so it was much wider than we needed.  

 

So, I cut about 10 inches off the width of the dress.  

That left me very limited with fabric to built a top part of the dress.   

I needed to use the largest piece for the sleeves, so I had to construct the bodice with a lot of little pieces.  

But when it was all done as planned it looked too, “all one color”. It really needed something to break up all the green. So I added some eyelet lace and made a little rosett.  

 

Though it was a little longer than I would have liked, she is in love with it and that is what is important.    

 

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Quite a day I had.

Today was one of those super long days that feels will never end. The moment I woke up, I wanted to roll over and spend the day in bed. This morning I had one of my weekly Ultra sounds to make sure everybody is OK. Hardest ultrasound ever!!! While they were measuring  baby A, my lungs got crushed and legs started to tingle. I almost passed out. I had to roll over and do the rest on my side.

_MG_6233Then when it was time to measure baby B, he would not hold still for anything. He kept rolling over. As they were measuring the blood flow in the cord he actually grabbed it and kept moving it around before he finally moved it out of line of sight. Then when they tried to get just a cute 3D picture, both kids put their hands up and covered their faces. It took forever!

By the time I got my kids picked up from the sitter and home again Lily had leaked through her clothes and it was at that point that I remembered I didn’t do any laundry last week and she had no clean clothes.  So, she crawled around the house in a sheep costume while I did a couple of loads of wash. After the clothes dried I  realize I had washed the pile of clothes that were set a sider to be packed because they no longer fit her.

At that point I just sat back and laughed. It is days like this that good stories are made of. I find some of the ironies in my life poetically beautiful sometime. Here’s hoping for a good night’s sleep.

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My Two Selfies

Pregnancy is such a big topic these days. We have celebrities, advertisements, and TV shows setting a very high bar for us and then dozens and dozens of bloggers supposedly clearing it. Just googling the word “Pregnant” pulls up dozens of pictures of pregnant bumps sporting the latest fashion crazes and beautiful portraits of mommies to be look very angelic.

I even contributed to it a couple of weeks ago when I posted on Facebook a picture of me in a Tardis Tshirt with the Caption, “Look, I am bigger on the inside.” The truth of the matter is that before I took that adorable selfy I showered, blow-dried and flat ironed my hair, added extension, put on about a pound of makeup and slipped into my maternity spanx to add smoother lines.

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But, I didn’t stop there. You will notice that I didn’t take the picture with my iphone like all the cool kids do these days, because all the photo with my phone made me look wide. So I pulled out my trusty $2,000 7D Camera for a better performance. Then, I took 29 shots before I got the one I wanted with the perfect expression and a pose that made my figure look the best. Then, I opened Photoshop and balanced the color, shadows, and cleaned up the mirror so that it didn’t look so dirty, which I probably should have washed before I took the picture. But, by the time I realized how dirty it was, I was out of steam.

As you can see from the picture. My two hours of work paid off. It looks fun and effortless.

“To appear effortless takes a great deal of effort indeed.”

A week later I was looking at the great photo I had taken and then caught a look at myself in the mirror. That is not what Pregnancy looks like… at least not on me. So, I took another Selfy and posted that on Facebook too. Pregnancy is hard for me. It feels like 9 months of having the flu. My allergies flare up and became ten times worse than usual. I have some days where I can’t even function. This is what pregnant looks like for me MANY days.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel pretty or of wanting that beautiful Pregnant portrait. We want to document our lives and we want them to be beautiful. There is nothing untrue or deceitful about the pretty pictures of our lives. Life is Beautiful, but there is still the other side of that coin. These two pictures represent the two extreme sides of what life can be like. Most of the time we are somewhere in-between.

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There are a lot of arguments going on out there that have been dubbed the “Mommy Wars.” It basically comes down to women feeling insecure and poking holes in other peoples live so they feel better about themselves.

I do not want to contribute to that war. I know there are many women out there that enjoy pregnancy and look and feel great the whole 9 months. There are women out there who four days after giving birth look like they are ready for the cat walk. I am not going to say these women are doing anything wrong. Many of them have become internet icon. I am happy for them, for their good fortune, good genes, good cash flow, and if  my life was like that I would want to share it to.

But, you know what, I like who I am So, I am going to share my life how it is. We focus so much on sharing and celebrating the beauty in our lives that to often we hide the other parts. Bit by bit the rougher sides of our lives that exist behind closed doors start to make us feel like the beautiful parts of us are a lie. But both the good and the bad make up who we are and are as inseparable as the two sides of a coin.

IMG_9265I am Natalie Westwood. I spent last year not blogging because I had a high risk pregnancy. She arrived in February 2013 via C-section.(my third girl) In July 2013 I had a big surprise and found out I was pregnant again. In September I had a shock and found out it was twins. This pregnancy is even higher risk then the last one. I am 23 weeks along and am exhausted all the time. I didn’t hit the gene pool lottery. Pregnancy is always 9 months of absolute hell for me. Mandatory C-sections make recovery a very long process. No matter how hard I have worked, my body has NEVER been as strong/fit/thin as it was before I had kids.

I know my life is far from perfect, but everyday I get up and do the best I can with what I have. I do not believe that the way I live my life is the only right way to make things work. I very often feel the need to only show the best side of my life to the world and create the appearance that I have it all together and I do not resent others who do the same.

I am Natalie Westwood and I can love myself and my life when things are Not perfect.

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My Super Cool Garden

As I have mentioned in the past, I have taken up gardening. I don’t have a tiller and I am not about to try and dig up the ground by hand, so I started pricing what it would cost to do a raised garden. Most raised garden kits cost somewhere around $60-$120. How ever at Home Depot I found a deal that was almost too good to be true. Four foot by four foot raise garden for $34.98.

Oh, but we all know that for me it is not that easy. I have come to believe that I am pathologically incapable of not personalizing things… I really can’t help it… It’s a compulsion. So along with the garden kit I also bought a can of Rust-Oleum Painters touch Ultra Cover in Red.

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