Friday, October 8, 2010

Blog Crawl: "My Life is an Open Book"

Hello, Splendor
I am thrilled to be participating in Hello, Splendor's first Blog Crawl!!  Thanks to Beth  for putting this together!  I have really enjoyed reading everyone's stories and hope you feel the same about mine!  Yesterday, we got to read the insanely awesome entry by Erin of  Bows and Sparrows (if you haven' must go check it out) and today it is my turn!'s a little long, so I hope you stay with me.  :)  Over the past few years, I have given a little glimpse into my world, but now for the first time in the blogosphere:

"My Life is an Open Book"

  That's me!  I am Suzie, a former behavioral therapist to preschool-aged children with Autism, former Pre-K teacher, and current stay-at-home mom/wifey-extraordinaire with a love of awesome people, pretty things, good food, and the urge to make the world a happier place.  I am currently laughing my way through life and eating a few cupcakes along the way.  :)

Virginia....Louisiana....Arizona.  I grew up, went to college, and met my husband in Virginia.  We moved to New Orleans, LA, drove back to Virginia to get married, went back to New Orleans for a few years, and now live on the sun in Arizona with our 16-month-old son and our almost 3-year-old dog.

Bryan, Suzie, Connor, and Brody.  My husband and I are best friends and at times are complete opposites.  If we were to be compared to string (or is it thread?), our pictures would look like this:

Bryan is tightly wound, responsible,  logical, and more on the conservative side, while I am crazy, frazzled, opinionated, and messy but a neat-freak, if that makes sense.  When I cook, the kitchen is a complete disaster.  When Bryan cooks, the kitchen looks like it was never touched.  If we cook together, he is behind me cleaning up my messes.  He is somewhat quiet and I am usually loud.  He could spend two years shopping for the perfect sunglasses and I would grab the first pair I saw.  Our son, Connor, and our dog, Brody, are somewhere in between.  Connor is a little more cautious, like Bryan.  Brody is more of a free spirit, like me!

...moving around the country and finding the true meaning of life.  I was a special education teacher living just outside of DC on 9/11 and that day forever changed my life, as it obviously did for many.  Then, there was the DC sniper whose random acts of violence had us living in constant fear for weeks.   We later moved to New Orleans, fell in love with that great city, and then Hurricane Katrina hit and we evacuated to Birmingham, AL and then were relocated to Houston, TX for a month, only to have to evacuate Houston because of another hurricane.  We were extremely fortunate and lost nothing in that storm, but a fully-stocked refrigerator.  Suddenly all of those little stresses life can bring had little importance.  What mattered was my family.  That was it.  As long as we had each other, nothing else mattered.  My obsession with finding the best pillow or the greatest flat-iron or picking out the perfect shade of orange no longer seemed important.  I now knew that life had a deeper meaning.

Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.
~ Emily Dickinson

When we moved to Arizona for Bryan's job, it was like a fresh start...a clean slate.

(image source)
 All of the yuckiness was behind us and we were starting our life and building our family.  We bought our first house and it became our baby.  We really enjoyed  making it our home.  I started cupcake monkey! shortly after our move in 2007 to act as a catalog of things I found pleasing.  I wanted it to serve as inspiration, not only to us as we put our home together, but also to anyone who may have been reading. 

Then came our pup, Brody.  He changed our lives in ways I never knew possible.  He taught us patience and gave us a better understanding of loyalty and unconditional love. Just when I thought things couldn't get any better, I got pregnant with our son Connor.

Between training a puppy and pregnancy and then later an actual baby, cupcake monkey! was sort of put on hold.  I missed it, but couldn't seem to find that balance...and I wasn't even working!  Ha!  The mom part was easy, but I couldn't seem to stay on top of the everyday chores and keep up with the blog without running myself ragged.  But...I finally snapped out of my 'I can't do it all' funk, got it together, and got back to blogging.  I missed my creative outlet and my blog family! 

Honestly, life can't get any better.  I love my boys, my family, and my friends more than anything... but now for the twist...

      (image source)
Much like a  twist of lime adds a little freshness to my vodka drink...  The twist here will be trying to stay fresh...the "twist of life" so to speak. 
Hmmm...where will we go next?  How will we keep things fresh, both in life and on the blog?...that has yet to be determined.  I am guessing another baby or dog or house might do the trick!...but not yet.  Things can get boring when they become new things, new ideas, new activities, new foods....I could go on and on.   Stay tuned...

A big thanks again to Beth of Hello, Splendor for making this whole thing possible!  xoxo, Suzie  :)
...and for Monday, I am handing it over to Lulu at the lovely Lulu in Los Angeles! sure to pay her a visit next week.

Have a happy weekend!

[Cupcake Friday will return next week with the recipe for the cupcakes I made above.]


Danielle (elleinadspir) said...

Great post. I love the pics that you used. The spool of thread one made me laugh. It was great to read more about you and 'get to know' you.

Sarah @ Designmarc said...

Wow, Suzie. I feel like I love your blog even more after reading this. Thanks for sharing. I have followed your blog since you started it and kind of felt like I knew you, but this is like icing on the cake. Thank you for being so open! Beautiful story and beautiful family!!

Have a wonderful weekend! S

Anonymous said...

I really love this! I have never commented before (no clue why), but feel like I must today. I adore your story and wow, you and your family are gorgeous. You sound like you have such a big heart and I just love your blog. :o) Katy

HilaryInspired said...

Wonderful to meet you, Suzie! I enjoyed the read and really loved the husband/wife thread comparison...sounds familiar!

Torrie said...

I need to log off and pick up my grandma (for party planning!) right now, but I can tell this is a post that I want to take my time on, so I'll be back later... can't WAIT to read it:)!!!

Ana Degenaar said...

This is amazing Suzie, you are so much fun and I loved reading this post!... I know how moving around can be, such a sweet post! Love getting to know you better!

Melissa Blake said...

This is really beautiful!

christine, just bella said...

My husband and I are the same way when we cook! It's like a tornado struck when I'm in there!

Kylie said...

I love this, suzie! You have such a great heart-warming story! Beautiful family too. Thanks for sharing all of this with us!

Torrie said...

I loved getting to know more about you, and your family. As someone who has lived in the same spot for her entire life, I am very inspired by others who move around a bit (or a lot) more- whether by choice or necessity, or both:).

And I loved your string comparison! A great visual:). I can't wait to follow you along in your story {of life}!

Rachel @ Delight said...

I am a firm believer in "That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."...sounds like you guys came out of your experiences stronger. I love your story. Thanks you so much for sharing all of that. Your family is perfectly adorable! And are a real life Suzie-Homemaker! I love it!

I can't wait to see how your twist unfolds. As a long time follower of yours, I can't wait to see where you guys go next! Love your blog even more after reading this!

Shannon @ What's Up Whimsy said...

Hey Suzie! What a story you have! I am so glad that you and your family came through all those hardships even stronger. I really enjoyed reading your "book".

And I am looking forward to seeing that cupcake recipe!

Michelle Salz-Smith said...

Hi Suzie! I loved this post and it is so great to learn more about you. I am so glad we have "met" through the blog world and I look forward to your daily stories. Can't wait to see what's next!

Freckles Chick said...

I am such a bad blog friend! I've had on my blog to-do list: "Send S @ cupcake monkey an email congratulating her on the birth of Connor". It's dated Oct. 2009. GAH!!

Anyway, I ADORE this little peek into your life. And just want to say THANK YOU for popping into mine as loyally as you do. I look forward to every one of your comments, I really do.

(I am writing that Emily Dickinson quote on our framed chalkboard pronto.)

Sahar G said...

That string comparison is brilliant! I love it!!! I am definitely more like your husband and you are like him! :o)

You have a really beautiful story and as someone who once worked with children with Autism, I know how challenging that can be. It was the hardest (and most rewarding)job I have ever had. Just based on what I know about you from having read your blog since you started it, I bet you were a wonderful teacher.

Looking forward to your twist...though your current life seems pretty perfect!

Suzie @ cupcake monkey said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to read my story, ladies!!! Your sweet comments truly mean so much to me!!!

Travels in Heels said...

You have a great story and you relay it so well! I enjoy following your inspirations and recipes so keep them coming!!