Gretchen Schock shares her love of recipes, crafts and frugal living. She also speaks very opening about the challenges and triumphs of parenting a neurotypical child and a child on the Autism Spectrum. After a breast cancer scare in 2012, she decided to say goodbye to her nightly glasses of Chardonnay. It was time to get sober and live life with eyes wide open! The CocktailMom name remains, however with a new focus on healthy and authentic living.

8/31/2009

I am Enough.

A group of women who call themselves the lovebombers recently got together for a week retreat in Oregon to fuel their souls, create and just be. From following their different blogs and seeing snip its of pictures it seems like the most amazing week.
The picture above is from their week. Katherine Center, one of the women at the retreat, painted words, poems, declarations on each woman's body. This picture has really spoken to me. It lives on my desktop. It fills my soul with breath, calms the to-do ticker running through my mind, my shoulders relax.
Their creative escape has inspired me to think of creating something similar. Anyone interested? Kelly Rae Roberts posted advice on how to get one started on her blog. Think of how amazing a week retreat would be, surrounded by natural beauty and creative women who you admire.
Sounds heavenly.

Here are links to the blogs of the women who call themselves Lovebomb.
Kelly Rae Roberts
Superhero Journal
Ali Edwards
Jen Lemon
hula seventy
Mother may i
Jen Gray
Jen Lee
Katherine Center
Ordinary Courage
chookooloonks
Gypsy Girl's Guide

8/28/2009

Welcome Home!

Since Dharma has come into our lives so have some remarkable friends who I've met at the dog park. Lauren, Mike and I can often be found cracking up laughing on a nightly basis.
We dog park it together, go on bike rides together and my personal fave..drink mojitos together, typically after a long bike ride. Mike can make a brilliant mojito! Sadly Lauren had to be away for a while because of a death in the family and Mike and I were trying to think of some way to welcome her home. And what better way than to break into her house (with the key she gave us, of course) and surprise her with things around the house like fresh flowers, ice cream cake and a picture of me and mike on her bedside table. This was the part that made us laugh and laugh. Of course I had to craft it up and took a plain wood frame and decoupaged it with a mojito recipe that I printed out on standard copy paper. Fun little gift that brought a smile to Lauren's lips..a great way to welcome her home.

8/25/2009

I am an Iron Girl, Again!


They are contagious..once you do one...you are hooked. Especially when it's an Iron Girl Triathlon hosted by the Columbia Triathlon Association. Not only is it a really well run event, this thing is a machine with the friendliest volunteers imaginable. And the swag bag is awesome!
I did this triathlon last year, you can read about it here, this year I did a relay. Originally it was suppose to be myself and 2 friends but sadly one of my friends had a family emergency and was unable to participate. (we missed you Lauren!!!)
I did the swim and the bike and Heather did the run. We totally rocked it and finished in 2 hours and 10 minutes. There were 56 relays and we came in 16th!!!
Yeah, I'll definitely be doing it again. And next year I'm even going to attempt a bigger tri, an Olympic distance!

8/24/2009

It's a New Day...

This song has been playing in my mind for days preparing for today, Logan's first day of school. I know the artist is referring to Obama becoming president but it could easily be the theme song for any parent who's child has an IEP and they are left fighting the school system. (Click on the tag "autism" on the right hand side to read some of our journey.) Here is a link to the lyrics.

Yes, it's a new day. A new year. And I am hopeful. So very hopeful.

Logan has a new teacher and the same aide who he had at the end of the school year. We were both greeted with hugs from this amazing, kind and caring woman. I am so very thankful to have her assigned to my son. Oh so thankful, I've met some of the other aides...yes...thankful is exactly the right word.
At orientation last week Logan was able to get a feel for the classroom layout and there he discovered the Science Station. Each kindergarten class has stations throughout the room that the kids go to at different times throughout the day. Last year he was never excited about the stations cause to be honest, they sucked. But his new teacher has a very tidy, organized classroom and many more choices of stations to go to, one being the science station. As I was helping him navigate the morning finding his cubby etc., he asked more than once "I'll go to science station today, Mommy?"
God, it warms my heart to hear that. It makes me giddy that he's excited to learn about science. Oh the possibilities! And for someone on the spectrum, it's a perfect fit!

After last year and the experiences I had with staff at the school I decided to take a proactive approach this year and I distributed this information on a sheet a paper and deposited it into all the mailboxes at the school. Please feel free to reuse this idea to help your child.

Autism is the world's fastest growing developmental disability.

Helpful hints for interacting with someone on the Autism Spectrum:

· Speak slowly and use simple language

· Use concrete terms

· Repeat simple questions

· Allow time for responses

· Give lots of praise

· Remember that each individual with autism is unique and may act differently than others

Logan looks forward to getting to know you this year.


(raising glass) Here's to a new year, a fresh start.

8/21/2009

Logan is 6! Thank You Cards

Do you ever find yourself at Joann's and completely overwhelmed by the choices? I had hopes of being inspired, finding a paper that would fuel me to create. That didn't happen. Instead I was overwhelmed with the choices, too much "stuff". I stopped myself from buying one of those Stack sets, I always regret it after using the 3 or 4 prints that sparked me to buy it in the first place. I walked away with Lucky You Clear Border Stickers. The whole line of Lucky You products are pretty darn cute...I'll be back for more. Definitely.
So these are the thank you cards I made for Logan's b-day, a picture adhered to white card stock with border sticker and random "L" stickers from my stash. (thanks to Corie and Wendi who sent me a huge collection of L and Z's)
Simple. No point in overdoing it, get 'em made and in the mail!

8/20/2009

I am blessed...

I am blessed...
I am blessed to have the most amazing women in my life.
I am full of laughter.
I am full of love.
I am blessed.

I spent the morning creating this layout to honor the amazing women I have in my life. The pictures make me smile, you can almost hear the laughter. And for those of you who know me, in real life, laughter is a LOUD part of my life. Even if you aren't a scrapbooker take a moment to honor the female friendships that surround you. Send a letter, slap a post it on her computer monitor..tell her you appreciate her. It doesn't have to be glamorous, just take the time to tell her you love her in your life.
We are all so blessed.

8/19/2009

The Covered Bridge Metric Century



I like to ride fast. It's not because I want to get to the destination or the finish line. No. I'm definitely enjoying the journey. I just like the speed. I like to look down at my odometer and see that I am powering my body and my bicycle to go down this country road at 18 miles/hr. I like the thrill of gripping my handlebars down a hill as I lay low on my bike and feel a tingle throughout my body. I like the quiet it creates in me. My breath being my only companion as I pump up a hill.
This past weekend I did The Covered Bridge Metric Century Ride within the beauty of Lancaster, PA. The Lancaster Bicycle Club organized and executed one of the best rides I've been on to date. The route was clearly marked, the rest stops were stocked and the bridges were breathtaking. A perfect way to spend a Sunday, did I mention there was Turkey Hill ice cream at the finish?

8/12/2009

Summer Haircuts

Well we finally have summer here in MD. The air conditioners have been pulled out of the attic and properly placed in the windows. I can barely hear the sounds of summer whispering through the windows and instead the constant hum of the air conditioner replaces it. I prefer to live with the windows open. To hear the barking of dogs in other yards warning our dog, Dharma, that someone is out for their walk, the laughter of children on the playground outside of our house or the sweet smell of onions and peppers on the grill wafting through our windows.
With the heat comes haircuts. I will admit part of me didn't want to do it...I love my boys with long locks. Logan's is so straight and blonde and my word can he look any more Californian? And Zane with the sweet curls, love! They both chose their own hairdos though half way through cutting Logan's he changed his mind. Thank goodness I started the clippers in the back! And that would be the official Captain America pose Logan is doing and Zane..well that's just him.

8/11/2009

Dharma the destroyer, quilt #2

We are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, or so we think. Dharma has destroyed many little boy toys and stuffed animals and has long ago destroyed the first quilt I made for her kennel and lately she seems to be mellowing out. (knock on wood) So I made her a new quilt yesterday. I took a bunch of scraps of fabric that I had in my scrap bin and cut them into 4 inch squares creating a diagnoal stripe pattern. I used fleece as the backing and decided to not even bother with binding, I sewed wrong sides together turned it right side out and sewed around the edge of the whole quilt. I then sewed across the seams, in the ditch or whatever that quilting term is called. A productive morning while the boys were in camp!

8/10/2009

Living Room Cafe Curtains

Ok seriously I am done with curtains. Clearly it's all I have been working on since pulling the machine out of it's vacation. Done, moving on. I swear!

Here are the cafe curtains I made for the living room. We are a middle townhouse unit which means we don't have a lot of windows so I really didn't want anything that would completely cover the windows but I did want a bit more privacy from the teenagers who hang out on the public playground right outside of our house at 11 pm every Friday night.

As with the other curtains I made I didn't want to buy fabric, I have more than enough fabric in this house that needs to be used...I just had to get a bit creative since I wanted 3 identical panels but didn't have any large pieces of fabric. So I used what I had..white fabric left over from curtains I made in a previous apartment, strips of tan corduroy which weren't quite long enough so I had to add another fabric. It's funny how something that you think is a hangup, that it isn't going to work at all and then it turns into the thing that ties it all together. And the added bonus is that I have plenty of that striped fabric to make a throw pillow! Future blog post!

8/06/2009

Front door curtain: finally some privacy

We just celebrated 2 years in our current house. And I'm still finding things to make and do around the house. Granted I think I've moved the furniture around in the living room on almost a monthly basis. It's become a long running joke amongst family and friends. Right when they walk in, they look around and try and guess what has moved or how the room is different.
The newest thing I've made is a curtain for our front door. Once again I wanted to use what I had on hand and because our living room is one open space I wanted it to coordinate with the living room valance. Our front door is normally open when we are home so the curtain isn't going to get much love but it will supply a bit of privacy for those rare moments when I have to make a naked dash to get something out of the laundry room. I'm not the only one who does that right? :)

8/05/2009

Mini Album: Jitterbugs!

While in Seattle I was taken away by my friend Corie's basket of mini albums, they were amazing and completely inspired me. I've made some as gifts but I haven't really made any for our house. No idea why, just haven't. I typically scrapbook within one album and when that's full I move on to the next one. I really like the idea of making these mini books for special trips and I forced myself to step off the line of how I normally scrapbook. Typically my pages are very precise, clean..a tad OCD. :) So with this mini book I played around with different sizes and used things in ways that I normally wouldn't. The overall size is 5"x7". Because I want my albums handled a lot I purchased the protective sleeves at Staples (which cause a glare in the pictures, sorry.). Corie and Wendi took me to their favorite scrapbook store on Mercer Island and I purchased only things for this mini album (also not something I normally do). I am now in love with the acrylic overlays. So fun! I used my Xyron to laminate the pictures with an adhesive on the back to add photos to the overlays. I LOVE how this mini album has turned out and I feel compelled to look at it often, to lay it in people's laps when they settle on the couch. I'm just so proud of it and it also helps that 3 of my favorite women are on the pages.

Click on the image above to see a larger picture of each page.

I wanted to highlight each woman and journal about them along with capturing their kids. Some of my favorite parts:
Corie: Corie and I stayed up late into the night talking. No cocktails. Just us. We talked about how we are feeling...honestly...about parenthood and our roles. Corie is my sister, my lifelong friend.
Wendi: I adore this woman. A constant reminder for me to not take this "motherhood" thing so seriously.
Nikki: I just want to wrap my arms around her and kiss her and fall into that friendship on a daily basis.
And yes ladies I promise to upload all the pictures I took very, very soon. Love you girls!

8/04/2009

Office Curtains

Oh the sweet hum of my sewing machine filling the air..it's been too long. Zane has been out of school since early May and I haven't had the chance to sew. My mom (more often than I would like) reminds me that Zane is just like I was as a child...he demands constant attention. And I want to give him that, I want to honor his spirit and who he is within. So sewing has been non existent. A lot of crafting has been put on the back burner and sadly it shows with my lack of blog posts. The thing is I need sewing like some need mediation or prayer. I've come to realize that feeling fabric run over my fingertips as it creeps across my machine is like rosary beads are to a Catholic chanting the Hail Mary. So how can I deny myself that? And isn't it my duty as a mom to come to this role whole in mind and spirit?

Neither of my kids nap, haven't for years. And I have loads of guilt about putting them in front of the TV for any amount of time. But there comes a point when you have to. And I am embracing that. Honoring my need to fill my well creatively so that I can return to this mother role with my heart full and my mind at peace. I want my children to remember a mother who took time for herself so that she could give back to them and the community. I want to be an example for my boys that women and men too need to honor their self, their spirit.

So without further ado...curtains for the office! I didn't want purchase anything. I wanted to feed my creative well while not emptying the bank account. The actual curtains were handed down from a friend but were too short for our window so I added the prints of fabric to the bottom which came from my scrap pile. Love free crafting!

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