July 30, 2015


Hello Everyone!

Thank you so much for stopping by The Finishing Touches! I have labored and loved this blog and after much deliberation, I realized it was too limiting and not going the way I want it to. Therefore, after much soul searching I started a new blog!

I will still be touching on DIY and posting inspiration, but the new blog is less....formal...if you will. I would love for you to stop by and have a look around, Granted, it was just started (like this week) so there isn't much out there (yet), I would love for you to continuing following me in this journey. You can now find me at 4Sythe Trail.

Be sure to check out About Laurie and What I'm Talking About when you stop by.

I haven't decided when I will take this site down, but it is only a matter of time. I'm sad to see this one go but I am so EXCITED for the new one!

THANK YOU again for continued support! I APPRECIATE YOU SO MUCH!


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April 20, 2015

Dreaming About Houses

Looking for a new home can be really fun! and really stressful at the same time. Especially if you also need to sell a home before you can buy that new one.

My move is about 17-18 months away, but we already have a visit scheduled with a realtor to go through my house and tell me what has to be done before putting it on the market. It won't go on the market until spring 2016, but we have limited time to accomplish any outside projects that need attending to. We can have winter up to what feels like 6 months around here, so we have to jump on those projects now. Plus, since Kevin and I live in separate cities right now, we can only accomplish so much when he's here, which stretches the time to get things done quite a bit.

I can already tell you some of the projects the realtor will come up with. I mean I've had a list since I moved in 6 years ago. 6 years ago??? Where did that time go??? Sadly, many of those "want to" projects will go uncompleted. The house has served me well. I hope it sells and the new owners will enjoy it as much as I have.

This leads me to looking for a new home. I know, I know, I'm not buying now. But I can't help but look and be excited for Kevin and I to buy a house together. I'm ready to go to some open houses...NOW. But I have to remember to live in the now and enjoy the time I have remaining in my current home and all the changes coming forth. And I am. And I do. But still...I catch myself daydreaming...

What kind of house will be buy? Bi-level? Ranch style? 2-story? Single story?

What style will it be? Craftsman? Victorian? Bungalow? French Colonial? Mid-Century Modern?

How will we decorate? Soft colors? Bold colors? Modern? Vintage? Rustic?

What about landscaping? Flower garden? Perennials? Shrubs? Grasses? Rock? Mulch?

The questions go on and on and on and on...my brain is tired...yet I can't stop thinking about it all. I guess I'm just excited! I'm so looking forward to finally making a home with Kevin. One all the kids will want to come and spend a little time in with us. One we can read bedtime stories with our (future) grandchildren in. One where we can entertain friends and family or curl up just the two of us with a movie and popcorn.

I look at pictures and I think "that might be nice" but I'm not narrowing my options down at all. I want to keep an open mind. Once we walk into a house, we will know if it will be our home. And then we can start making some choices. But it's still fun to look!

For me, the kitchen is most important. For Kevin, he really wants a two-stall garage. We both want a minimum of two bathrooms. I would also really like a home office space. We are open to possibilities. Which means, we may fall in love with a house that has a single stall garage, but space to add another stall. Or we love the layout of the kitchen, but need to upgrade it. We are good with that. We both love a (small) project, we just aren't looking for major renovations. I like doing a little work because I think it makes it feel more like mine that way. Plus, I can post about it here on the blog! Win-Win!

So, kitchens, home offices, garages, bathrooms, bedrooms, have all been on our minds lately. I've been spending lots of time on Zillow Digs and Pinterest. One thing I have to remind myself of is to be realistic. There are some beautiful home offices and amazing kitchens out there...but I likely won't be paying bills or whipping up a soufflé in them. They just aren't realistic for us. I want this to be fun, not a "I want that but know I can't ever have that" fest. So here are some kitchen, home office, garage ideas I've been pinning and tagging. (Hint: If you click on the headings "Kitchen Ideas", "Home Office Ideas" and "Garage Ideas" you can view my Pinterest boards on these topics.)

Kitchen Ideas

This kitchen make over is so wonderful! I love everything about this kitchen.

I seem to have a thing for U-shaped kitchens. (shrugs) And white cabinets apparently.

Now for some...

Home Office Ideas

I love the colors used in this space.

The peninsula going down the center of this home office is perfect! Hubs and I would have separate spaces but a common space we can look over finances together as well. I would add a small bookcase to the end of the peninsula to cap it off and give us more storage.

This is a similar idea and one could add the peninsula down the center rather than the printer stand. Lots of options!

And finally some...

If I could choose, I would want separate overhead doors for each stall. And I love how they made these look like carriage doors.

I like a two stall garage as well, but organizing a garage is where it's at for me! I could do so much with this set up!

All of this dreaming/preparing is overwhelming, exciting, scary, fun, stressful, and awesome all at the same time! No wonder I'm tired by 10:00 pm. My brain can't take anymore by then!

What are some things you looked for in your home? What did you learn from the buying process? What would you change about your home? What do you absolutely love about your home?

Thank you for stopping by. If you enjoyed this post, please share it! Be well!
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This blog is about my journey and my life experience. It in no way is my judgment on how anyone else looks, feels or lives.
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March 27, 2015

I am Relocating!!


Soon, I will be relocating! I'm super excited about this but there is so much that goes with relocating. This isn't just moving across town. I'm moving to a different state. 6.5 hours away from where I live now. And even further away from family. I'm not going to lie. I'm excited...but a little scared, too.

My hubs already lives there so I need to catch up. My daughter graduates high school next year so I need to get through that first. But there is sooooooo much to do before the move takes place. I'm starting to freak a little.

I know, I know, you're all like "it's not until next year, why are you freaking already?" and "isn't it early to be doing all this now?" My answer is...

I have a graduation to plan and get through (and that sh*ts ruff people), I have 7 years of crap to go through in my house, I have a house to prepare to sell...and then sell it, I have to pack, I have to find a job, I have a son going to Italy for a month (over graduation no less) and then to move into his new place when he returns, I have a step-daughter graduating from college (possibly the same time as the daughter) which could also prompt a move for her, I have to move my daughter to college (wherever that will be!), I have to find a new place to live (hubs is renting right now and we want a house once I'm there)....so NO, it isn't too early and time flies people!



I know I will get through this just fine...because my hubs is awesome and he will see that I do. We have a realtor coming to the house in a few weeks to do a walk-through and let us know what has to be done for selling. We have limited weekends to accomplish whatever the realtor thinks needs to be done since Kevin is 6.5 hours away and only here a limited amount of time.

To torture myself even more I find myself wandering over to the Zillow site and looking at houses. It's just fun to dream I guess. So I created a new Daydream Homes board over on Pinterest. (You can check out all my boards here if you want). When looking at homes on Zillow (no, I'm not paid to advertise Zillow, I just like the site), I find myself being rather critical of kitchens and bathrooms. I don't mind a fixer-upper, I just don't want to do any major renovations. We also don't want to move again. We want this home to be our forever home.


What did/do you look for in a home? What is something you couldn't live without? What is your favorite room?

Thank you for stopping by. If you enjoyed this post, please share it! Be well!
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This blog is about my journey and my life experience. It in no way is my judgment on how anyone else looks, feels or lives.

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December 07, 2014

The Inevitable

May 15, 2005 my life was altered. My husband (at the time) and I were not getting along. We hadn't been for quite some time. Though he probably would've disagreed at the time, our marriage was not a happy one. It was unfulfilled...for both of us. I can only hope he sees that now.

May 15th was a Sunday that year. I was getting ready for church when my husband became quite angry with me. He had been going through my purse and found some of the journals I had done. My counselor had told me to journal. I did. I thought those writings were private. MY feelings. MY thoughts. MY words. For ME to try to work through some things in an effort to make us stronger.

Sometimes, as I write, I write in the present tense. Even about things from the past. I focus on a moment and go back to that place to bring those feelings to the surface. Relive them. So I can learn from them. My journal was written in just that way. Present tense. He was angry because he thought these feelings should be in the past. But they were affecting our present...and our future...regardless of what tense they were written in. And they needed to be dealt with. I wasn't given the opportunity to do that in the way I needed to. I couldn't do anything right.

He was angrier than I had ever see him. I was more afraid than I had ever been. I just wanted him to calm down...

I was so afraid of him at this point that he was served with divorce papers the next morning. It was the hardest and scariest thing I've ever done. It was also the most liberating thing I'd ever done.

If I were to describe how I felt in that marriage in one word it would be...


I'm not saying it was all him. It takes two people to make a marriage. It takes two people to fail a marriage. At least in our case it did.

So there I was, 34 years old, terrified, with two young children and no idea how to be a single mother. My parents were great and supported me through the entire ordeal. As did a few close friends.

It was interesting though, how people took sides. How some people I would've thought would be there for me no matter what, simply weren't. It was like I was suddenly an outcast. I found out who my real friends were. There weren't many left. Did they think this was the marriage I wanted? Unhappy, suffocating, depressed, and ending in divorce? Did they think it was better to remain silent, not offer even an I'm sorry you're going through this? Pull away as if I had done some injustice to them?

This wasn't my plan when I got married. I should never have married. That was my choice. My fears making choices for me. My mistake. But going through all I did has shaped me into the person I am today. And the today me is great. The me back then was not. I was going through the motions. Becoming numb to my situation and the world around me because it was easier. Less painful.

I've heard going through a divorce is similar to losing your spouse to death. You go through stages of grieving. This is quite true. The stages can last years. Beginning when still married while the marriage is falling apart. It's called denial (some never leave this stage and live unhappily their entire lives). Then there's anger. Then there's sadness. Then there's shame. Then there's healing. And sometimes you take one step forward only to fall two steps back. My healing phase has really been over these last three years. It took six years to finally reach this stage. And the last three to finally feel like a whole person. Which has brought me to this new journey in life...falling in love as the real me. The me I want to be. 

It was work. I had to make choices for myself that others didn't understand. That others questioned. I had to be strong and know in my heart they were the right choices for me...and my children...at that particular time. I had to grow a thick skin and remind myself weekly, sometimes daily, that this is what I needed to be the best me and mom I could be. I had to decide it didn't matter what others thought, as long as I knew the truth.

I will delve further into those choices in other posts, but for now, I want to leave you with a few thoughts...

First, if you are going through a similar experience, please know you are NOT ALONE even if it feels that way. You need to take care of yourself so you can be productive, not just for you but if you have children or others you are caring for, for them as well. Be selfish. I know that sounds odd to say, but make the choices that will make you a stronger person and don't let what others think or may say sway you. Trust your gut. It doesn't lie to you.

Second, if you know someone going through a similar experience, be there for them. You don't have to solve all their problems for them. They don't want or need that from you. Sometimes, what they really need is someone to NOT talk about their problems with. They need to just be in the moment and connect with a friend. Go to lunch, grab coffee together, give them a hug. Let them know you are there for them. If they want to talk, just listen. They usually aren't looking for answers (though sometimes they may be looking for advice depending on the moment) but just need to talk it out. I know many times I could come up with a solution just by talking to someone and all they did was listen. I just needed to get out of my own head and talk it out. Simply be their friend.

Lastly, I said it before, this is a life altering event. Everyone has to adjust. The person going through the divorce as well as the friends/family involved. Give things time and have patience with each other. Good things come to those that wait. Trust me.

Thank you for stopping by. If you enjoyed this post, please share it! Be well!
You can also follow me on  Facebook   Pinterest    Google+  and   Hometalk .

This blog is about my journey and my life experience. It in no way is my judgment on how anyone else looks, feels or lives.

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October 18, 2014

Weekend Inspiration: Roundup of Autumn Decorating

Autumn is in full swing and it's a good time to freshen up your surroundings. The colors are beautiful and the weather is the kind that makes you want to snuggle in to your favorite sweater (but you don't need a coat!). What do you think of when you think about preparing for fall? About decorating for fall?

I find it a good time to do some things around the house. You hear a lot about "spring cleaning" but what about Autumn? Soon our windows will be closed tight for winter so why not make the most of it. Get some things in order and freshen up your surroundings. If you live somewhere that gets hit hard with snow and cold, like me, you won't be out much and looking at the same old decor can be...blah.

But first things first. The weatherizing has begun at my house. The leaky back door has been de-leaked and the windows have had plastic placed on them. This can drastically cut down on your heating costs. I can feel the difference already in the house. If you wait too long to install the plastic, it may not stay put. Once the cold settles in it becomes difficult for the tape to adhere because the windows are cold. You can try heating the area with a hairdryer, but honestly, it's best to just get a jump on it now. Everything will stick better and you won't have to put up with the nasty drafts all winter long.

I still need to cover my outside spout and turn off the water to it. Better safe than sorry! Flooding my basement isn't on my to-do list this winter! It's also time to put away the patio furniture and get everything covered. Should still be nice enough around here to accomplish these tasks. Then I can enjoy some hot chocolate and Nebraska Huskers football!

After the work is done it's time to put on The Finishing Touches and spruce up the house for fall! Here is a roundup of some ideas to get your creative juices flowing and get you through Thanksgiving:

Candles - I LOVE them! and have lots of them around my house. It's so easy to take them from season to season with just some simple, seasonal changes. I have mostly white or off white candles. They are versatile and can be easily altered for each of the seasons. Adding things like corn, peas, lentils, cranberries, beads in fall colors, etc. can take your candles from summer to fall without a commitment. 

candle, fall decor, corn

candles, fall decor, peas

fall decor, peas, beans, pumpkins, candles

A Wreath (or two) - Wreaths are a great way to seasonally decorate. We use them for winter/holiday decorating so why not for Autumn, too! They can be fun and really beautiful with all the fall colors.

sunflowers wreath, fall decor, fall wreaths

fall wreaths, fall decor, apple decor

fall wreaths, feathers, wreaths

Pillows - Pick up some seasonal pillows in fall colors to spread around. Or cover your current ones in fabric just for the season, like I did here for Christmas. You can easily do this for fall as well. Adding some silk, fall flowers can transform a pillow from summer to fall in an instant. Splashes of fall colors easily transform any room. Or how about sweater pillows? Now those will take a room into fall! 

fall pillows, silk flowers, fall flowers

pillows, fall pillows, orange pillows

fall pillows, sweater pillows, pillows

Pumpkins! - Can't forget about pumpkins! It isn't fall without them. They can be used in so many ways...carved, painted, glittered. Big, small, mini. Tall, short, stout. So many options and an easy way to bring fall into your home.

pumpkins, fall mantel, fall

pumpkins, pumpkin with mums, fall

fall mantel, pumpkins

You thought I was done, didn't you? Nope. Can't forget about...

Apples and Pears!! - When people think fall decorating, pumpkins always come to mind. But apples and pears can be really beautiful.

fall mantel, fall decorating, apples, fruit

fall centerpiece, fall fruit, fall, fruit basket

pears, pear candle, candles, fall centerpiece, fall mantel

And finally...last, but not least...

Leaves - I know, who likes leaves? But if you don't have to rake them up they aren't so bad! They can add splashes of color to any vignette. Add them to your candles, wreaths, pillows, pumpkins, apples and pears and you will be creating a warm, welcoming home with The Finishing Touches of fall.

fall leaves, fall mantel

candles, fall candle, fall centerpiece, berries, leaves, fall leaves

fall wreath, leaf wreath, wreaths

pillows, fall pillows, leaves

outdoor fall decorating, pumpkins, leaves, house number pumpkins

Have you been inspired? What are you doing around your house to prepare for fall? Have you done any fall decorating?

For more fall ideas you can check out my Fall Decorating board on Pinterest!

Thank you for stopping by. If you enjoyed this post, please share it! Be well!
You can also follow me on   Facebook   Pinterest     Google+   and   Hometalk .

This blog is about my journey and my life experience. It in no way is my judgment on how anyone else looks, feels or lives.
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October 16, 2014

Single, By Choice

My divorce became final in 2006. I had filed in 2005. Between 2005 and 2010 I did a little dating. This is an entirely new concept once you have been married before. Having children complicates things even further. I dated one guy for around 4 months. Nothing ever longer than that. Why you ask? Well, here is what I can come up with...

First, I didn't really like it. It was uncomfortable. I live in a smaller community and EVERYONE knows EVERYTHING. So when I would go out it felt like being in front of an audience. Not sure how those reality TV show people do it!

Second, honestly, I think I didn't like it because I wasn't really ready. I had ideas of what I wanted/needed, but truthfully, I didn't have a clue what those things were. So I dated the wrong people. Period. It sucked.

Third, if I couldn't see you being a part of my kids' lives, if I didn't want to introduce you to them, I wasn't going to waste my time, and yours, by dating you. What's the point?

Lastly, I wanted to focus on my children and raising them. They were my one priority and being a mom was fulfilling. Both my children are very active and they kept me very busy, which allowed me to socialize without dating. So...I quit. I needed to focus on them and I put myself on the shelf.

I personally needed the shelf time. I needed to find myself. I've heard people say that before but I didn't know what it meant until I realized I hadn't a clue who I was. I lived how others wanted me to live for so long that I simply didn't know myself any longer. Not sure I ever did. I mean while growing up you don't really know yourself. That's what growing up is. The process of figuring it out.

I was still figuring it out when I got married. That's when I became a wife. Not Laurie. A wife. Then I became a mom. Not Laurie. Nick's mom. Then I became Gabbie's mom. Not Laurie. The only part of me I knew anything about was being Nick and Gabbie's mom. I tried to be the wife I thought I should be. Playing the part, but never really comfortable with the role. Which wasn't fair to any of us...me, him or the kids.

So in 2010 after a particularly awful dating experience, I said, "Forget it! I'm done! No more men. I am meant to be single." It took me a few months to completely stop thinking about dating, but once I was comfortable with it and started concentrating on the kids more, I realized I didn't need anyone. I was fine. And I started liking myself better. And even those not-so-great experiences (with some) have played a part in my evolution. So I should thank you. (thank you) You've shown me what I don't want and what I absolutely need. While those experiences were difficult at the time, I don't regret them. I don't regret putting myself out there. These were simply growing pains. Some more painful than others, but each equally as effective.

After some more time, I really started to focus on me. And I started making more and more decisions that made me happy. Which in turn, made the kids happier because I was a better mom. I was becoming an improved version of me all the way around. Getting more and more comfortable in my own skin. Laughing, smiling, happy...and learning how to say "no."

And "no" I did say. I was asked out. I said no. Friends and co-workers asked if I was dating. I said no. Some tried to set me up with their relatives or friends. I said no. I was done...and content to live my life alone. I wasn't lonely. I was perfectly fine on my own. And I needed to be single. So I said no. Of course, there were moments when I thought, "boy it would be nice to have someone to go to this event with." But ultimately, I wasn't willing to compromise. I was never going to settle for anything less than the fairytale ever again. So I went alone or met friends/other parents at the events or took family with me. And I was content.

The funny part about all this is everyone else seemed to have a problem with it. I was supposed to be married, I guess. Or at least in a relationship. Others seemed to feel badly for me. Why? I have never understood that. I was happier than I had ever been. I saw a t-shirt once that said "the only thing worse than being alone, is being with you." Ouch. I know. But I lived by these words. I was not going to date someone for the sake of dating. That is when you compromise yourself. 

If you're with someone because you would rather not be alone you are setting yourself up for a world of disappointment and hurt. If you stay with someone because it's easier than breaking up for now, you are only hurting yourself...and them. You are cheating yourself out of true happiness. If I had been dating for the sake of dating, I may not have been single at the most important time. I may not have met my true love and soul mate, because I wouldn't have been available to.

I will not compromise who I am ever again. I worked long and hard to become the confident woman I am today. Taking this time made a world of difference for me. And once I realized that what other people thought about my situation was really none of my business, it got easier. Some of the people that questioned my choice I know only did so out of love and caring. Others just made there own assumptions. And we all know what happens when we assume, right? Those other people simply do not know me and I didn't let public opinion sway my decision.

When my ex remarried I had several people say, "I see your ex got remarried this past weekend, how do you feel about that?" And my reply was, "I felt something I never thought I would feel." And they would look at me with sympathy until I continued to say, "Relief." I was happy for him. He didn't deserve to be with someone that wasn't completely invested in the marriage. That wasn't fair to him...or me...or the kids. I wasn't ready to get married when I did. I wasn't marrying the right person. I can't regret that decision, because I was blessed with the two most amazing children God has ever granted a mother, but I do regret the lost years of happiness that both my ex and I missed out on. Neither of us deserved that.

So I remained single. Until one day this man showed up in my life. Completely unexpected. Out of nowhere. And tripped me...

Thank you for stopping by. If you enjoyed this post, please share it! Be well!
You can also follow me on  Facebook   Pinterest    Google+  and   Hometalk .

This blog is about my journey and my life experience. It in no way is my judgment on how anyone else looks, feels or lives.

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October 07, 2014

Four Little Letters - One BIG Word

Four little letters, one BIG word.

Have you ever lived in fear? I have lived in fear my entire life.

Fear of being judged.
Fear of being rejected.
Fear of being embarrassed.
Fear of being last.
Fear of being first.
Fear of being laughed at.
Fear of being the one to hurt someone else.
Fear of being loved.
Fear of being liked.
Fear of being a failure.
Fear of being disliked.
Fear of being misunderstood.
Fear of being yelled at.
Fear of being humiliated.
Fear of being hit.
Fear of being wrong. And even,
Fear of being right.
Fear of the unknown.
Fear of being MYSELF.

I'm sure I've left 'fears' off this list. But you get the idea. And I'm guessing many of you have felt at least one of these fears in your life. I have felt all of them. Lived all of them.

Fear takes over. It can be crippling. If you allow it. And I've allowed it. I know this. Sometimes I can't stop it. Not all of it. There are some fears on that list I have overcome. Some I have not.

I won't delve into all of them. Most are self explanatory. But you may look at that list and wonder - why do you fear being loved? Liked? Right? First? Yourself? I mean these are all positive things, correct?

Yes, they are. But please understand. When you have lived without such things, when you are placed in a situation that brings these feelings up, it is uncomfortable. Uncharted territory. I didn't know how to be loved. To allow myself to be loved. That opens me up to so many of the fears on that list. And I have never felt like I deserved it. So I pushed it away. Fearing I am doing something wrong by allowing it. So I stayed in my comfort zone.

Regardless of what others may say to me, my brain and my heart reject it.

You may say you love me.
You may say I'm amazing.
You may say I'm sweet.
You may say you adore me.
You may say I'm beautiful.
You may say I'm sexy.

I love hearing it. But my brain rejects it. Doesn't believe it. I will thank you and I will mean that thank you with all I am. But my heart doesn't believe I am those things. You may believe it... but years of being told and reminded that none of those things are true is easier to believe.

So I stayed still. Stayed in the comfortable distance. I didn't get hurt (or didn't I?). And no one else did either (or didn't they?).

BUT - I am not continuing like this. I'm finding self worth. Finding...MYSELF. And I hate to be the first to say it - but I think I like me. And so I wonder...could someone else too? The real me. All of me.

That is one scary place to be. But I'm getting stronger. And certain people have helped me overcome some of these fears without even realizing they've done it. Just by simply being who they are. Loving me unconditionally. Leading me out of the circle of fear. Holding my hand and whispering, "you can do this".

Thank you. It means more to me than any of you will ever know and I have stepped further out of the circle than I ever thought possible. And now, finding true love after all these years...I have a new fear.

Fear of not moving forward.

Now that I have come out of the old comfort zone(s) I don't want to go back. I like where I am, who I  am and who I am with. I like the friends I've surrounded myself with. I like love the man I have given my heart and soul to.

Change starts with taking one small step in a different direction. I know it's hard and it's scary. But you won't know what you could be missing if you don't take it. Not just in love, but in everything you are and everything you do.


Thank you for stopping by. If you enjoyed this post, please share it! Be well!
You can also follow me on   Facebook   Pinterest     Google+   and   Hometalk .

This blog is about my journey and my life experience. It in no way is my judgment on how anyone else looks, feels or lives.

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September 30, 2014

Long Distance Love and Its Advantages

The first few days following a weekend with Kevin are always such a letdown. I miss him like crazy. It hurts. I know we will get through it and will see each other again soon, but damn I just want to hug him...right now. So people, do me a favor. Don't take that wonderful person in your life for granted. When you see him or her tonight, pause for a moment, wrap your arms around them and squeeze for a while. You don't realize what you could be missing.

Kevin and I live in separate cities. And not just separate cities. But cities that are in separate states and 6.5 hours from one another, by car. We don't have the privilege that others do of seeing each other every night. Of being able to reach over and just hold hands. Or steal a kiss. Or simply enjoy having that other person in the same room.

This situation is temporary but will be longer than others realize. Two more years. Yes. I said years. But we are worth it to each other. The long drives, the long waits to see each other again, the longing to be together.

People have said to me "I don't know how you do it" or "Isn't it hard?" or "Are you going to make it?" All good and valid thoughts. My responses are "Be glad you don't know how we do it" and "Damn right it's hard" and "There is no question in my mind we will make it." Why? Because we are in love with each other. We don't just love each other. I love a lot of people. But I am in love with Kevin.

All the waiting, all the driving, all the separation, all the longing is so worth it. Because when I get to see him, when I get to touch him, when I get to just be with him, I feel complete.

Many would choose not to have a long distance relationship. Kevin and I don't have a choice right now. It's just a situation we have to deal with for the time being. But there are advantages to it. I see you crinkling your brow at me. Yes, I said advantages. So with all that said, here are a few:
  1. Talking. Being long distance forces us to talk. And talk some more. And then talk a little more. We have had some deep conversations and have discussed pretty much everything under the sun. Because we have the time. And we take it. We have to. We need to, to feel connected. We have little other contact. Talking on the phone or FaceTime or Skype are what we have. Which means talking. And many times those conversations are downright amazing. We can't always show each other how we feel but we can express it with words. I've never had anyone truly express how much they love me the way he does with words. I love hearing it.
  2. Time Appreciation. When we do see each other we have a set amount of time. There is no "oh we can just do that tomorrow or next weekend" because it may be 2 or 3 weeks (or God forbid a month) before we see each other again. So we appreciate the time we have. And we are selfish with it. We don't share each other much. We simply don't want to. (I apologize to those of you I haven't introduced to Kevin yet, but I just don't want to share him when he's with me!) When you are together daily it's easy to take each other for granted. I know this. I've been there. It isn't done consciously or even realized. We will have this time to reflect on later and remind us to appreciate what we have. We all need those reminders, at times, and we are fortunate enough to have been given this lesson.
  3. The Little Things. We all appreciate the little things. Most of the time. But when you live long distance and don't have the little things taking place regularly they get amplified when you are together. Something so small becomes a "Wow" moment and fills your heart so full you could almost burst. Those "little things" become HUGE moments and are reminders of how we feel about each other and why we are making this work.
  4. Sex. I'm just going to say it. If you don't want to "hear" it shield your eyes now. The distance forces us to get...creative. And when we are finally together, after not being together for an extended period of time...well let's just say making up for lost time is A-MAZ-ING. Which, again, reinforces how we feel about each other. Nothing makes a person want someone more than denial. Long distance is the ultimate in denial. We can't have each other every day so we want each other every day. It's like 2-3 weeks of foreplay. Then it's like 2-3 days of honeymoon. You will just have to trust me on this one. =)
All in all...we have it pretty damn good when it comes to "us". Other than the zip code issue we are solid. And really the zip code thing isn't an issue, just a situation we have to get through. And we will. And boy will it be amazing once we do.


Because all the talking has brought us closer than either of us could have ever imagined on a deep level; because we appreciate every minute we get to spend together and look forward to more; because all those amplified little things remind us of how important the other one is; which makes us want the other one more and more. Which prompts further talking...which prompts deeper appreciation...which makes us do more of the little things for each other...which makes us want each other...and so on and so on...

I realize that not everyone will experience a long distance relationship and that's okay. Would I have gone through all this for just anyone? No. Kevin is my soul mate. So to go through this with/for him isn't even a question. But if you meet someone and they live a distance away, don't just discount them because of the distance. Take a little time to get to know them. You might be surprised by what you find and you just never know what you might be missing.

I wouldn't trade the connection the long distance has granted us but boy do I want to change my zip code!!

Please don't forget to take a moment tonight and see your significant other. I mean really see them. We aren't promised tomorrow so appreciate them today.

~Laurie Ann

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September 23, 2014

Eating Your Feelings

(Photo Source)
Ever heard the expression, "Eating your feelings?" I have. Not only have I heard it, but I've lived it. There are different ways to do this.

I struggle. As most do from time to time. I've struggled my entire life with my weight and feeling good about myself. I was a chubby kid and didn't really grow into my body until I was around 16. Everything seemed to shift to the right places about then. But just because the outside was more shapely doesn't mean the inside had shifted with it. Regardless of how your body looks on the outside, it doesn't always mean those images are felt on the inside.

And so those negative images lived on. I married. I had children. And my body continued to change. I continued to abuse it because my life was bad. And I could take my anger out on myself. It was easy to gain weight. I chose food to fill a void.

When I was 30ish I had a life changing event. I almost died. I had two surgeries within 16 hours to make sure that didn't happen. It was just before Christmas. As I was healing, my body started to change again. And I wanted to live differently. I lost 10 pounds due to being unable to eat much after surgery. I wanted to keep it off and I wanted a better version of me. A healthier one. Inside and out. So I started walking...

Pretty soon, walking wasn't fast enough. So I started incorporating running along with walking. Before I knew it, I wasn't walking anymore, just running. I would run 4.5 miles 3 days/week and 6 miles 2 days/week. And I would force myself to just walk on Wednesdays (because I really wanted to run), with Sundays being my rest day.

I was addicted. But you see, when I was running, I still was eating my feelings. Just in a different way. Ever heard of a runner's high? I would reach it. Frequently. And I wanted more. I didn't have to think or feel when I was experiencing it. All my feelings were pushed aside. I could just be. And I could go on for what felt like forever.

I started incorporating strength training. I lost a lot of weight. By the time I stopped losing, I was 12 pounds lighter than when I was in high school. But I didn't feel good. I thought if I could just lose a little more, then maybe I will feel good.

I felt tired all the time and I realized I was too thin for my frame. I gained back about 9 or so pounds and I felt great. On the outside. Here I was, in the best shape of my life and I felt awful. Why? Because I kept eating my feelings. Stuffing myself.

Years and years of gorging myself on my feelings, never sharing them with anyone. A person can only take so much. They will burst. And I did. And it changed the course of my entire life.

Then I started eating my feelings again. Because I felt like a bad person. Ugly. So I ate. And I ate. And I gained every pound back. All of them. Plus a couple more for good measure.

My life changed and I adapted. And I started to like me. On the inside. And I lost weight again. And I felt better. I felt good. Healthier. Inside and out. But the cycle keeps shuffling through. I've abused my body again.

I need to take care of me. I will never be as small as I was 14 years ago. But I wasn't healthy then so that's okay with me. I will be healthy, inside and out. My weight still fluctuates, but I go off how I feel and not how I look. If I feel good that's what really matters.

I now realize that I am worth it. I am worth getting to know me better and loving me. All of me. I know where I need to be to feel like me. Inside and out. I've suppressed all these feelings for so many years. Now they are pouring out of me. I am looking at them. Examining them. Accepting them. Loving them. And trying desperately not to eat them. Some days are better than others. =)

It doesn't matter what size you are. What color your hair is. What color your eyes are. How full your lips may or may not be. What matters is that you are healthy. Inside and out. Healthy comes in all shapes and sizes. And healthy is beautiful.

~Laurie Ann

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September 17, 2014

Let's Do a Makeover!

I've been thinking about starting a new blog. One that will be more "life" driven. I've been through a lot in my 44 years (and counting) as I'm sure many of you have. Sometimes it's nice to know that someone else has felt a similar way or experienced a similar life event. Sometimes just reading about someone else's experience and how they dealt with it and came away from it can make all the difference.

There have been times I've felt entirely alone. That surely no one else could understand what I was going through or how it affected me. It would have been wonderful to have read something and connected with the author during those difficult times.

But not just the difficult times. Sometimes you are having an especially happy time in your life and you don't have anyone to share it with because the people surrounding you don't know how to be happy for you. Or you live away from your family and the "friends" you have are competing for mom of the year and don't want to hear about the successes of your children.

I think social media has played a role in how people react to others. How less supportive we are of others...especially in the good times. Seeing how great everyone else lives on a daily basis can make one feel like they are failing at life. We forget how edited and photoshopped those posts really are.

Writing is very therapeutic for me. I starting writing a book (which I will finish one day, just not today) but I need a different outlet for my writing style and needs. Blogging offers that for me.

While talking this all over with my fiancé and taking some time to really think about what I want to do with blogging I have come to realize I want it all. I want to do the fun projects. I want to talk about the amazing love I have found the second time around. I want to talk about how my kids amaze me with who they are and what their talents are. I want to talk about the good times. I want to talk about the bad times. And how the bad times have brought me through to the good times. What it will be like to get married for the second time and how it is so very different. And all other wonderful things life has in store for us.

I want to talk about all of it.

I thought I needed two blogs for this. One for the projects and one for the rest. But wait...

Today I realized I don't need to change the name of the blog or start a new one, because life is about The Finishing Touches.

So there you have it. This blog will remain. It will remain The Finishing Touches. But it's getting a make over! And who doesn't love a great make over?!

Hope you stay along for the ride...

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July 22, 2014

Graduation...Oh and Some Centerpieces

My son graduated from high school this past May. It was traumatic...from this mom's point of view. This little boy that I have nurtured since 1995 is no longer a boy. He works hard and he plays hard. He's made the most of his 18+ years. Soon, I will have to leave him at a new "home." He will move into his dorm and begin his life. Truly begin it.

Getting through these 18+ years with him has made me realize that life doesn't "begin" when you are born. I'm not talking about the technical term "life" here...so please keep your hats on. These first 18+ years were just preparing him for what's to come. And he has worked hard. He took advanced classes, was involved in many activities, and graduated in the top 5% of his class. He was asked to write a song for graduation and did just that, where the top choir sang it in it's debut. The kid amazes me. Correction...the man amazes me. I didn't have that much drive back then. I don't have that much drive now.

I'm worried and excited and sad and happy and proud all at the same time. He leaves in a month. One month. And he will move into the dorm. On his own. Which brings me now to what brought us here.


What an experience! Graduation for me, when I went through it, was entirely different from having your first born go through it and watching from the sidelines. The more I willed time to slow down the faster it seemed to go.
And so a party needed to be planned. Luckily, he knew pretty much what he wanted. I knew I wanted to do cupcakes...and that I didn't want him to be all grown up. I could control the cupcakes. Not the other. So cupcakes it was. And a lot of them!
It was decided that the cupcakes would be part of the centerpieces because I didn't want too many left over and I figured if they were on the tables they would be eaten. =)

I created a centerpiece constructed of a vase, some shredded paper in Nick's school colors, a pizza pan, a doily, a fun graduation table decoration, some picture frames and some hot glue. These took very little time to actually construct. What took the longest was choosing the pictures for the frames (and baking all those cupcakes!). Plus, everything was from the dollar store so it was very cost effective.

I filled the vases with the shredded paper...

 I took 12" pizza pans and glued them to tops of the vases (centered on the tops)...
I placed large doilies on the tops of the pizza pans. Here is how they turned out!
I added the graduation table decorations and some confetti to make it more festive. (Note, I used a little hot glue to hold the table decoration down so it wouldn't fall over.) After adding pictures to the frames I placed them around the vases, under the pizza pans so guests had something to look at and could see how Nick has grown. We added cupcakes around the outside of the pans for guests to gobble up. Throw in some trail mix in fancy bowls and you are set!

I received many compliments on these and they cost between $2-$3 to make (not including the frames). The frames were also from the dollar store so the total for each table centerpiece came to around $7.00.

Fun and festive and really set the mood for the day. We had a great time. It was a bittersweet experience. Below are some personal pics from the day.

Nick and I then and now...
Nick and his sister...this was a difficult time for her as well, but she made the most of it...
The three of us...
His final moments of high school...
My graduate...
I mentioned earlier that Nick wrote a song for graduation. Mom has the first signed copy. =D
This mom survived. The centerpieces were a hit and the cupcakes were eaten. Life is good.


This post is linked to:
The Dedicated House
DIY on the Cheap

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