Monday, September 14, 2015

The Precious

Meanwhile in Kansas...

It was this past Christmas and Smart Husband really, really wanted to buy me a new, shinier, bigger rocked, wedding set.  I had been hearing before this though that this is what I deserved.  I just am a Momma and Wife, always putting the Hubs and Sons ahead of myself.  Days, weeks, months crept by with a wisp of winter and hope of spring.  Then I relented.

OG engagement ring in box.
Backstory, it was hot summer back in whatever year it was we first crept onto the scene as a pair.  He was leaving for Iraq, I was not.  We were dirt poor, love rich.  We both had emerald Ford Escorts with the combined mileage of roughly one million miles.  Basically the engagement ring was worth a whopping 25 to 30 cents total, love rich.  I think that it was entirely assembled from found bits on the ground and a grocery store vending machine.  It's priceless now.  It's traveled a few of those million miles and still resides with us at our home.

The wedding ring, circa 2004,  my husband let me pick out was so beautiful to me.  White gold and princess cuts.   Later that year he picked the wedding band to go with.  Perfectly mismatched.  I loved it but he always wanted a bigger stone for me.  Fast forward to him seeing a few PFC's wives with mortgages on their finger and still telling me that I deserved a bigger ring.

The ring my husband initially showed me was at a big box type jewelry store at a hefty price of $7000.  SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS.  Ah, no Momma's got groceries to buy, a house to keep up, two boys who eat and grow and need things like you know dental visits... the ring idea was just too self centered for me.  However, we discussed the possibility of a custom ring and it being a possibility IF a good price was attainable.

Being from a former small business owner's family, have friends with their own business, and my small time small dollar producing furniture restoration business I know the value of the dollar.  I wanted to use a small business, local if possible.  I knew I didn't want the status quo or a safe, normal ring created.  A google search and a few positive reviews later I arrived at Vernon's Custom Jewelry, LLC in Junction City, Kansas.

First sketch.
From moment one I was treated with respect and was given a variety of options.  Of course, me and my complicated self couldn't find anything in their store to buy.  When I mentioned the possibility of a custom piece the Store Owner Chris, sat down with me and discussed options.  He drew a sketch of something he thought I may like based upon what I'd told him I thought I wanted.  I was there maybe and hour and left with a sketch to take home to Smart Husband.

Smart Husband and I mulled over the options.  Thought a bit and he countered with a drawing of his own. Masterfully creating a ring of the stones we had bought, been gifted, and inherited.  Stones hundreds of thousands of years old and from half way across the globe. Love rich.  This was what we took back to the Jeweler.
Blueprint by Smart Husband!

From the Smart Husband sketch the Jeweler sent measurements of all of the stones, this approximate sketch, and all other technical specs off to a CAD company.  This took a large chunk of time but it was worth it when we saw the CAD model.  Super unique, again love rich.  We gave the "ok" to go ahead with casting the ring!

CAD work of up the Precious.

Once the ring was cast the rest was history.  Ok, not exactly that quick.  Chris, the Jeweler, had never seen a "princess cut halo" let alone ever assembled one.  Have we seen this type of halo since?  Nope, but we're willing to start the trend!  After hard work and dedication the Jeweler worked his magic and master his craft.  The precious was done.
Sides are set.  So close!
Love rich, Smart Husband and I ran uptown to see the amalgamation of not only metal and precious stones but love and time.  Stones from Grandparents, Parents, In-laws, my Husband.  Love rich, the Precious was done and it is BEAUTIFUL!  We cannot say thank you and give high enough praise to the Jeweler.
Too Smart has her ring!
If you happen to be love rich, time rich, thought rich, and would like to dream up your own custom piece, do so.  The sky is the limit especially with the best Jeweler in the land!  Fly in, road trip, send your items, whatever the case please consider Vernon's Custom Jewelry, LLC in Junction City Kansas to make your vision a reality.  If it's not custom then they have lots of awesome items that may be what you need.

Vernon's Custom Jewelry, LLC
716 N. Washington St.
Junction City, KS  66441
(785) 223-5999

Vernon's Custom Jewelry Website
Vernon's Custom Jewelry Facebook Page
Close up of the Precious. Thank you!
--Thank you to my Husband, my Parents, Grandparents, In Laws, and to the Jeweler.  With out you, your love, your contributions this would still be a dream.  

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Great 8

Dearest Karter,

When I write "Great 8" in no way to I mean this is a Great event but definitely an event in our hearts.

Happy 8th Birthday Littlest Son!

The world was just to small of a place for you, you decided to exit upon entry.  Sounds like some space stuff.  Maybe the basis of the real life Interstellar.  Better get our watches on because I'd love to hear from you across space and time.  I'll wait my turn as I can still hear that big roaring voice of yours like it was yesterday.

My heart, our hearts, is always a bit heavier on this day.  Instead of planning a small birthday party I gather the courage to write you another letter.  Lucky you, I'd rather write than plan anything social.  How well you know your Momma.  ;)

Emoticons aside I wish to get to the celebrating you part.

Eight years.  Eight.  Years.  Tears well up in my eyes when I read that.  Eight years we've been apart. Eight years old you are today.  Eight years you've been gone.  Gone.  Eight years old.

No video games to be had.  No lego sets to search four different stores for.  No exclusive t-shirt with a famous game logo emblazoned upon it.  No gifts.  Instead, you my Son give us a gift every single year on your birthday.

Momma has said it before that strength is the gift you've given me, year in and year out.  The strength of a million oxen.  The strength of Hercules.  The strength to perceiver when sometimes it seems much easier to give in.  The strength to be Me and realize that despite it all I am able.  Strength to teach your Brothers life lessons.  The strength to make it through the times Dad is gone away on official business.

Just yesterday big Brother and I were discussing you.  He asked questions to which I answered as best as I could.

He asked "why did this happen to Karter?"

I replied with "it just did."

He then asked "are there others like him and did they survive?"

"Yes, but generally they need at least one if not two kidney transplants almost right out of the womb.  We didn't want to put him through that, we couldn't. "

"Why Mom?"

"Two reasons.  One, the reason his kidneys weren't developing on time was because there was little to no amniotic fluid.  We couldn't have a procedure done that would allow for more fluid, more lung development, because it was too risky for him and I.  Second, it takes years to get one kidney who knows how long it'd take to get two.  It would require a lot of pain and suffering for all of us. "

Your Brother then sort of nodded as if he understood the master plan.  Did he realize that I felt so sad yet so proud in that moment that I could both explain in an adult vernacular to him and FEEL every word I said to him.  Proud because he asked more adult questions.  I told him the odds of having what you did were very small.  Maybe a few hundred people in the world have it.  Funny that just earlier he was asking me about playing the lottery and the odds of winning it.  Maybe we already had.

A few long seconds passed, maybe minutes and he said to me "I just wish I was a big brother."

At this point I was unraveling on the inside.  I told him with great strength and no tears "Oh, but you are a big brother."  He sort of had a half smile.

Why on Earth am I including this?  You were probably right there.

Eight years old to your big Brother's nearly 9 to your even bigger Brother's nearly 15.  I love each of you equally and differently.  Thank you for gracing us with your short life.  Thanks for being a little Brother.  They grow by leaps and bounds every single day and I'm sure you are right there with them.   Eight years old, I wonder what your biggest wish for this year would be as you blew out the candles.

We love you.  We miss you.  We think of you randomly but maybe not so randomly.  Happy Birthday Littlest Son and Brother.  Momma, Dad, and your Brothers love you.  We miss you.  I didn't make it through this years letter tear free.  In fact, I really need a tissue.  As much as I do NOT want to leave you, do NOT want to stop writing to you, I must.  I will keep your memory until my days are over, until we meet again.

Until then Karter I love you, I miss you, you are always with me.  Happy 8th Birthday!



Friday, June 20, 2014

Lucky 7

Dear Sweet Karter,

Again I write as I promised I always would once yearly upon your day of entry to life and exit to the unknown.

As you can tell, we are in homeless once again.  Seems our tri-yearly, mandatory move always falls upon Your birthday or your Brothers' birthdays.  That's ok, Dad and I are trained professionals in the way of preparing for birthdays on the fly, Army moves, and other such fly by night/by the seat of your pants occasions.  We have landed gracefully upon Kansas soil.  Our temporary home (as you can see) is a historic flat, this building was the 1st EVER Fort Riley Post Exchange.  Many have passed through these doors, the old souls here have probably cried a few tears here as well not unlike your emotional Momma.

My lucky number has always been 7.  Dad and I were married on the 7th.  Kalvin was born in the 7th month.  Our last two address' have had two 7's in them.  Along with other random tid bits of 7 throughout my life.

Today is your 7th birthday, Happy Birthday Littlest Son!

Momma hopes beyond hope that this year, your 7th year, will bring us good fortune, good health, and good times.  I need you now more than ever, Karter.  I need you to give me that strength you blessed me with.  I need that strength to get through the gauntlet of health issues without giving up.  I love you Littlest Son but I don't want to leave behind Dad and your big brothers anytime soon.  As much as I'd like to be reunited with you, I'm very much so needed here.  Please return the strength you've given me to fight for my rights as a patient, as a woman, and as chronically ill person.  Thank you, Littlest Son.

Happy 7th Birthday, Karter!  We love you.

Dad is still doing a great job in the Army.  I may be a bit biased but that's because I love him.  His job has brought us here to Kansas, where we hope to settle for more than 3 years.  Your Brothers are well, happy, and tall as weeds.  I know you are with them always, helping protect them from the harsh ways of Earth.  I know you are with them when they build hide outs in the woods, when they throw every single Lego on the floor to sort through them to build the next holy grail, and when they sleep at night and have those not so nice dreams.   Thank you for keeping watch over Dad and Brothers.

Your 7th year, 7 years with you in our hearts.  We love and miss you.

This year has brought us loss and grief.  I take comfort in knowing you are there to usher in our family members to the afterlife.  I'm glad you finally get to meet them.  If you could, please relay these messages to them.  To Aunt Cindy, thank you for being a amazing role model as a strong woman, for showing me creativity is beautiful, and I love you.  To Grandma Lola, thank you for always being a ray of sunshine and full of love, every time I see a butterfly or cardinal I think of you.  Thank you and I love you.  To Grandpa Gradolph, thank you for spoiling me rotten in my early years, for taking me on my first plane ride, and for affording me the privilege of living in the Bahamas, I love you.  I learned a valuable lesson this year which was to always tell those you love how much they mean to you.  We never know when the last time will actually be the last.

I love you, Karter.  Happy Birthday.

With tears a streaming down my face, it's time to bid you adieu once again.  It's not really good bye but a pause until I think of you again.  Thank you Karter for gracing us with your short life.  Thank you Karter for giving me strength that I often forget I have.  Thank you Karter for giving me hope beyond what I can see.  Thank you Karter for being our Son, our Brother, our Grandson, our Nephew, our Cousin.  Thank you.  We love you and we miss you dearly.  I love you and miss you dearly.  I love you.  Until the 8th...

Love Always,

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Free Money!! $50!!

Hello Smarties,

Capital One 360 is offering a $50 dollar bonus to new members opening accounts.  Click the link below to help me out, then once you have your account you can have your own refer a friend link which could earn you up to $1000!  I opened a free 360 checking account with a minimal amount of money.  I've made my three purchases and on day 50, will have $50 deposited to the account.  I spent less than $10 btw, it can be 3 purchases for $1 each.  Just make sure it's three separate transactions with your new debit card.

Here's the link:  Help Too Smart and earn Free Money!

Thanks Smarties!!  Remember I do not get paid for what I write at least not yet this is a great way to say thanks!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Too Smart for Her Own GOODS!

Dearest Smarties,

Since the beginning of the blog I've used this as an outlet to rant, rave, laugh, and distract.  Recently I discovered a new love.  I swear, rant, rave, sometimes laugh, and distract myself from my pain.  This new love is refinishing and/or refurbishing furniture pieces and various wooden items.

I had taken a very long break from writing.  A few health issues appeared so graciously and took over my life.  My mind was hostage to my illness.  Therefore throwing up the good ol writer's block.  Smarties, thanks for sticking around by following here and keeping the Facebook page liked.  I was and still am pretty darn active on Pinterest, it's mindless enough. Oh hey also you can find me on Instagram, a newer venture I decided to take the leap into this summer.

Earlier this year, in January I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  I've been in pain for many years, after crippling headaches that lasted for much longer than a month I was given a battery of tests.  Good's ONLY fibromyalgia said the Neurologist.  He sent me on my way saying there was nothing more he could do for me.  Hmm, ok.  Back to the Primary doc at our lovely Army clinic.  He sent me off to a slew of specialists.  All of which seemed to not know how to help me or made things much worse.  It wasn't until about August I finally said screw it all, screw the meds that don't work I have to help ME.  No doctor seemed caring enough to want to help or believe what I was telling them.  Around this time I found a cheap and battered dresser online, bought it, and refinished/painted it.  It was for my youngest Smart boy.  It turned our great and it's Super Mario Brothers themed complete with chalk board drawer faces so that Smart boy may draw his own "levels."  It brought me great joy being able to work with my hands to make something we both loved.  While the Mario Dresser was being born I realized that I really liked what I was doing and it distracted me just enough from my pain that I felt "better" while working.

And so Too Smart for Her Own Goods was born.  I scoured our local online sites for worthy furniture items that I may take the plunge with.  I've collected a few pieces.  Some really cute ones but the first lesson I learned was a vexing one.  ALWAYS inspect the items before your load them up and pay.  Two items I bought from a person were photographed in such a way that online they looked great!  Cute vintage features and all.  Well, I didn't sift through them with a fine tooth comb before having the young man load them into my vehicle.  Get them home, unload, and see that it seems a pet dog used one of the legs as a chew toy.  Awesome!  The pair of end tables will most likely just be one.  Smart hubs is helping me with those.  They were photographed to showcase their unique cut out designs that were slats.  Guess what?  Yes, those beautifully photographed slats pretty much disintegrated upon first touch on one of the tables.  MEH!  Since then I've bought 3 more items, all in MUCH better condition.

Which brings me to my very first finished piece!  A very cute and comfy accent chair fit for any home.  She's also my first item in my Etsy shop!  Cool, right?  So send your friends, neighbors, and wealthy onlookers over!  I am in the process of finishing up another chair like this one but in a different color/fabric.  Then onto the rest of the items.  So, come by the shop often to see what I have available!
Thanks Smarties for sticking with me through the long pause.  I hope to be writing more and owning my new venture in life.  I plan to fill you in every step of the way, whether you like it or not.  Hehe.  Let me know what you think of the chair, I welcome ALL comments, questions, and even constructive criticisms.  I'm new to this so everything helps.  Thanks again Smarties!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Good Morning, Jensen

Stressful morning?  Kids got ya going and you are screaming to get them into the grocery getter so that they may make it to school on time?  Well I have just the stress reliever for you and it isn't coffee, though, it may be taken with coffee...or any drink you prefer.

Dispense Daily as Needed for Stress Relief:

Other bloggers have affinities for certain celebs. Throat Punch's Tina Fey and YKIHAYHT's Johnny come to mind, I'm sure there are more like these ladies and myself. I've figured out after months of silence on the blogwaves that my celebricrush is that of Mr. Jensen Ackles.

If I wasn't such a geek maybe I'd never have came upon this modern day Adonis. Jensen is an actor in the TV series Supernatural on the CW.   Jensen plays Dean Winchester along side another worthy stress reliever Jared Padalecki, aka Sam Winchester.  Nearing 9 long years of stress relief in the form of man meat, amazing green eyes, eyelashes to make women jealous, so on and so forth. Stress relief, yes that's what I call it...tehee/schoolgirl giggles.
Jared and Jensen /swoon
Did I mention Jensen seems to have quite the sense of humor? I'm sure that when he reads this he'll giggle to himself...because like Throat Punch, I hope my celebricrush Is scouring blogs to find mention of him and will most definitely reply to me in the form of humor or song. This little outtake solidified the stress relief and full blown obsession. Check it out:

Still not convinced he's "the one?"  I'm not sure how else to convince you.  Maybe you need to marathon all seasons of Supernatural on Netflix this weekend.  Hurry though because Season 9 is fast approaching.
Seriously, how can you not deem this amazing? 

Ladies, gents, and in betweens...if you happen to run across Jensen tell him Too Smart needs him.  Ask him to drop me a line, send me a text, My Instagram, Tweet me (ok he doesn't have twitter), etc.  I'm hip, I'm cool...I have a son we can work out an arranged marriage between his Lil J.J. and My Smart boy.  In any event, I think it's time I stopped the writer's block.  Thanks Jensen, thanks for the stress relief.  Wink wink.  CREEPY...MAYBE?!

Jensen, call me maybe?

Ok Smarties, I'm out.  /swoon

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Dearest Karter,

My littlest son, it is again your birthday.  Your first and last 6th birthday to be exact.  I love and miss you so very much.  I know that you are being taken care by Judy, I know she's there with you today.  I believe she's playing with you as she did Momma and your  Uncles so long ago.  I'm sure you are celebrating with Lucy, Grandpas', and Grandmas' as well.  Don't worry, we would've made the biggest cake and had the best ice cream if you were here with us today.

I love and miss you.

Not a whole lot has changed since your last birthday.  We haven't moved, changed schools, or traveled very far.  Ok, maybe a bit has changed.  Your brothers are so TALL.  Momma needs to put bricks on their heads.  Dad and I think they are going to be very tall.  They are both so smart as I'm sure you would be too.  They obsess over video games but Momma does not  mind as long as their work is done.  Daddy is half the world away once more in our lives.  He's stayed safe, kept fairly busy, and is always talking to us.  I'm sure you are watching over him, thank you Karter.  We also have a new addition to our family her name is Daisy.  She's a beagle.  She is hyper as all get out but Momma loves her all the same.

We love and miss you.

Momma is doing ok.  I'm sure that you are watching over me as well.  Momma has been through a couple operations and diagnosed with a couple painful things.  I have done the best I can to just plain survive.  I'm still adjusting to this normal I must face.  Luckily, I was given a wonderful Son like you who has shown me how strong I can be.  Not everyday is perfect but I'm still living.  I doubt my strength sometimes,  then I remember that gift of strength you've given me.  Thank you Karter.

I love and miss you.

I thought about you from sun up until sundown and more.   I think about you everyday or am reminded of you.  Your Brothers talk about you often.  I think they think of you just as often.  Big Brother wishes you were here while Biggest Brother is away for the summer so he'd have someone to play with.  Well littlest son, it's that time.  The time I hate most and the time that brings tears to my eyes.  The time to tell you that I will talk to you next birthday.  Lucky number 7 next year.   I love you, we love you, keep watching over us.

Love you,