Saturday, May 23, 2015

It's not just about barbecues and trips to the beach...

Remembering our heroes this Memorial Day weekend. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It finally happened!  I wasn't the first to tap out on one of our runs...though she maybe (totally, completely) gave me a sympathy win to keep up my spirits.  We're ("we" because more often than not, she is the motivator in this gig) trying to run at least once a week in the evenings when it cools down.  I'm up to four miles with mostly running, but a nice collection of walking spurts too.  Bella would be up to four miles at breakneck speed, but she doesn't like to flaunt her stats in front of me.  She's a gem....and also a diva.  When she decided she didn't want to run any longer, she gave me these...

"You're totally gonna carry me to the car, right??"

Monday, May 18, 2015

It's all fun and games, until someone thinks he sees a's goin' down for real...

This is the cleanest they've been post-baseball...sad fact.  Here's a quick look into what the span of ten seconds is like with these two...oh, the range of emotion.  Pass the Oscars... (there was no spider...)

The "calm" before the storm...can't you see the "muahahahahaha" from Camden???

"Colin!! I think there's a spider on you!!!"

"Stomp it!!!"  (There was no spider.)

"Don't you even think about saying it's on me now!"

"AGGGHHHHHH!!! I feel it on me!!!"

"Is it gone?"

"I think it's back on you!!"

Friday, May 15, 2015

One of my very favorite teachers from middle school posted this yesterday on Facebook and I wanted to share it.  We've received so much support from folks in our decision to home school Camden, but of course not everyone agrees. (And I'm totally okay with that.) But a few times we've been told that we're "going to have to let Camden learn to handle the "real" world eventually"  and it's never sat well with me because...

How stinkin' sad is it that the world, the real world, is now unquestionably considered hard, mean, and unfair?  Of course life is never truly fair or easy, but why do we make excuses that allow cruelty to be the norm?  The so called real.  There's a subterfuge of excuses for literally everything these days which are then used to qualify acceptability.   Is this our real only because we accept it as so??

I've decided that I want only two things for my children.  For them to be kind and for them to be happy.  I want them to create their own REAL, even if it goes against everything this world finds excusable.  I honestly don't care what Colin and Cam end up doing for a career (currently one wants to be a waffle taste tester and the other something along the lines of a raider of lost arks.) It doesn't matter how much money they make, or if they want to live at home for the rest of their lives (one swears this is going to happen - complete with his wife, kids, and sheep...and maybe that doesn't sound so bad!) But if they will be kind to others, to try and see the good in everyone, to understand that someone's outside doesn't always match up to his inside...that we all live with much of our story inside us and it isn't always pretty, then that is what I want for my boys' lives.  Everyone, EVERYone deserves to be treated kindly.  It's in kindness that we find empathy and in empathy, love.

Love is patient.  Love is kind.

Here's to some day the real world not being cruel and heartless by default...where our kids don't have to be hardened and tough just to face it.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

Happiest of Mother's Day to all the mamas around the world!

It's true what they don't realize how much your mother did for you (or put up with) until you have a child of your own.  This mom stuff ain't easy! My own mom...let's just say...put up with me a lot, y'all! From my less-than-stellar attitude to tennis lessons, tennis clothes, tennis tournaments (play all the tennis!!!) she definitely deserves an award for surviving my childhood and adolescence.  Mama gave up so much of her time carting me around to tennis tournaments and out of town lessons. Being a mother now, I see how valuable TIME is.  It's truly the most precious thing a mom can give her child, and I'm most grateful for all that time my mom and I spent together.   It was time she could have been doing something else, but she sweltered out many a miserably hot day watching me on the courts.

This is one of my very favorite pics of us - the morning of my wedding.

I love you, Mama.  Thank you for all you've done for me and my family!

Growing up, I was never one of those girls that daydreamed of her wedding or her life as an adult.  I certainly never saw myself as a mom.  When I was a teenager, babysitting nearly drove me up the wall and I could not imagine dealing with a kid 24-7...seriously, who would DO that to themselves.  Ooooh, little did I know! Maybe some folks are born with that maternal desire, but for me, it wasn't until I was actually pregnant that it hit me - I wanted to be a mom more than anything.

College attempts (and failures), left me floundering and questioning my calling in life.  Throughout high school, I had such concrete plans - goals, a crystal clear destination...but when that all fell through, I wondered if I knew myself at all.  Definitely up there in the top five most difficult times in my life, the period after my college plans imploded, was quite the mess.  Meeting Les really helped because then I felt like I was at least moving forward in life - going somewhere instead of wallowing in the stagnate.   Even before we were married, we discussed having children and one silly night driving back from a date, even named them! Two boys, two girls.  Oh such lofty and abstract thinking on my part.  Discussion was so very, very far removed from reality at that point.  It was fun to talk about, but I just couldn't wrap my head around it ever being REAL.

The moment it became real, it's like this feral mama bear came out.  Before even holding him in my arms, the love I had for this little being growing inside me was greater than anything I had ever felt.  It's an all encompassing, give-your-life-in-a-second-for-him, kind of love.  Another human being is being formed and grown inside of me.  How awesome did God make that??? Mind. Blown.  Babies are truly miracles.

I'm so thankful that God gave me these two precious little boys.  They are my everything.  They are my purpose and calling in life.  After they were born, it was like God said, "Here's what you were born to do."  I spent many years looking for a label for myself - how to answer when someone asked me, "So what do you do?" Sports medicine major, doctor???, nurse, business admin?  Never thinking that God would call me to be something I'd never considered.  He called me to be a mama.

And finally, while some of us celebrate our mothers here with us, or in being mothers ourselves, I cannot help but think of those that have lost their mothers, or who are struggling to have a child they desperately long for.  A happy day for many, it's also a reminder of loss and struggle.  I have friends that just lost their mamas, and some that are wanting a child more than anything -- my heart and prayers go out to them on this day especially.

Much love, you guys!!

Monday, May 4, 2015

DIY Ribbon Tie Flats

Occasionally, my husband will venture into brave-man's-land and gently, maybe/hopefully subtly, comment on my outfit and not get flogged upside the head.



Okay next to never, is he...*deep breath* he heeeee riii....

Is he right.  There.  I said it.  He's probably going to print that out and paste it to our fridge.  (You know I love you, dude.)

In all seriousness, I do value his opinion...even when it's not what I want to hear.  Even when I pout and tell him he has the fashion sense of a Golden Girl with an extra helping of the 80s, so what does he know?  ;) When he (with all the best of intentions, seriously)  mentioned that I may or may not be dressing a little bit like a hobo lately, he was saved a flogging because, alas...he was right.  Working from home, and having "been home" for the last 10 years it's not like I get out a lot.  (haha!) I don't have a reason to get dressed up or be all that "put together."  Also, I have no fashion sense.

My thought process has been: Being on trend is not really in our budget, so I decided some years ago to adopt a "no trend" closet...because if it's a "no trend" will be a "no trend" in 5 years from now, thus no reason to invest in clothes.  No trend for the win, y'all! Also... I have no fashion sense.

Les mentioned that maybe if I didn't look so down in the dumps, maybe I wouldn't be so down in the dumps.  Occasionally, I think that man should write a book.

I'm trying to accept that I'm an adult and need to get it together.  Who knew Pinterest could teach you how to dress? That place needs an award...'and the Oscar for most helpful with EVERYTHING website goes to...'  Apparently, there's something called a "classic" look that works in the very same way my wayward "no trend" philosophy worked...only you don't have to look like a hobo...for reals. Who knew? (No fashion sense here, remember?)

Geebs! That was a very long round-about way to get into this DIY I worked on the other day.  In my Pinteresting, I found these awesome little ballet flats with ankle tie ribbons.  Then I found their price tag and thought about crawling back into my hobo-hole.

As I pondered the bank someone was making off of a shoe that couldn't have cost thaaaaat much to make, I decided to see if a DIY option was possible.

I mean, this doesn't look too complicated, right?? Black flats, some ribbon?

There's this heeled variety, but I don't do heels.  I could (would) die.

In addition to the lower-to-the-ground version, I preferred the ties that just went across the ankle and not the them less of a ballerina look.  Nothing against the ballerina look, but I wanted something more simple.  (And I was a horrific ballerina.)

So...on with the actual DIY.  I probably should have put a warning at the top of this just saying to scroll down if you wanted to avoid my time, folks.  Next time.

Here's my finished product:

And here's how I made them.  (They're easy peasy!!)

Materials needed:

Ballet flats - I got these from Wal-Mart for less than $6.  *To be able to sew the ribbons inside, the inner part of the shoe must be lined in a cloth material*  You could maybe use glue to adhere the ribbons, but I've never had a ton of luck with hot glue, etc. providing a strong enough hold for something like this.

7/8" wide ribbon 

Clear nail polish

Scissors, sewing needle, strong thread

Measuring tape...when all else fails, your child's notebook ruler.

The how-to:

Measure your ribbon straps.  ALWAYS err on the side of more than you will need.  You can always cut the ties shorter when you see what length works best for you.  I cut mine 39" each. You will need to make 4 ribbon "straps," each of this length.

Brush one end of the cut strips of ribbon with clear nail polish.  Though these particular ends will not show in the finished product, it really helps to keep the ends neat when trying to sew them into the shoes.  Yes, I am a dork, but check out my nails!!! I've been a nail biter for over 30 years and never, ever been able to stop.  I'm going on nine weeks of no biting right now! Word!! The secret is keeping them covered in nail polish at all times. ;) Seems my fear of being poisoned to death by nail polish overrides my nervous, maniacal nail biting habit.

Now, you are going to sew the ribbon straps into the shoes.  With the ends that you sealed with the nail polish, position them inside the back of the shoe, forming a "V."  The "V" will help the straps lay flat across the back of your heel. Whip stitch (red marks) all around the edges of the ribbon, then straight stitch along the widths. Make sure the ribbons are sewn in securely.

Try on the shoes with the ribbons sewn in place.  You'll need to tie the ribbons looser around your ankles than you think.  If you tie them snug, they will be super tight when you stand up. You'll need wiggle room to comfortably move your foot while you walk. Play around with what feels and looks best for you, then clip off the excess ribbon.  With the new ends you've made, brush nail polish across them to seal and prevent fraying.  Then ta-da!! You are done! :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Lately...In Photos

Life has been a whirlwind lately as we've tried to settle into our new schedule of home schooling.  It's been an eye opening experience into just how much teachers do.  I cannot imagine teaching a class of 20 or 30 something kids...hello, responsibility! It's wearing me out with just one!!  Thankfully, Cam's teacher has been extremely  helpful in letting us know what Camden lacked to finish up the rest of the year.  Having some direction has made it less of a freak-out on my end.  Camden has settled in, but I'm not going to lie, he misses school.  He said one day that he was "school sick" - likening the feeling to being "home sick."  I still feel like it was the right decision, pulling him out; Camden also agrees that he feels so much less stressed..  In the two weeks we've been at it, I've seen huge changes in his demeanor.  I think he can finally let his guard down again.

It's been a while since I last posted a "Lately" post, so I thought our last month would best be described in photos...that, and my head is so swirly-whirly with what I need to get done this week, that it's just better for everyone involved. ;)

Here's Cam's tap costume - they are doing the Mexican Hat Dance.  He is super stoked!

My Birthday dinner at my parents' and the boys' last day of spring soccer 

Our little family on Easter morning

The wild looking sheep cupcakes I made for Easter dinner...they oooonly took 6 hours...but then again, I'm not the best of cooks. LOL!

Shots from Merle Fest...I didn't get many because we only stayed a short time...the natives were restless...and it was all kinds of wet and cold.  *alas*

From soccer to baseball...the littles keep us on our toes!

And finally, us being the silly goons that we are...being able to sleep right after consuming an entire pot of coffee is a super power too, right??? ;)