Friday, March 20, 2015

Wear Yellow Friday March 27th!

Y'all, please read this story and watch the video about this precious little fellow.  Seth was born with no immune system and needs another bone marrow transplant.  Wear yellow next Friday to show your support and post your pics with #wearyellowforseth  (His favorite color is yellow.) His family is going to print all of the photos for his room.

Thinking of you, Little Man!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Think Spring!

I'm slightly hesitant to say spring has officially sprung here in the foothills of NC, but it's certainly close.  Yesterday was a gloriously sunny 73 degrees!!

Time to break out the SPF 1000 - my paleness and the summer sun are not friends.

This weekend, I stored away the flannel, sweaters, and corduroy - leaving a few lighter, long sleeved things for the more brisk days.  Always one of the boys' most "favorite" days, we took inventory of last year's warm weather wear to see what still fit.  It worked out that a lot of items can be reused, but I'll definitely need to be on the lookout for shorts.  Both boys are getting taller - Colin especially - and even though shorts are more forgiving, I don't think he'll be able to fit any from summers past.  Changing out clothes is always a little exciting - a new season is coming!!

Being that it's spring, a lot of folks do a big clean-out...I'm just over here trying to keep my head above the laundry pile.  Will I EVER get organized??  Do tigers have spots??  Alas.

Saturday, we drove to Raleigh to watch Les' and my high school alma mater play in the women's State Basketball Finals at UNC Chapel Hill - at the Dean Dome! It was so cool to visit the university and see the basketball arena - including the retired jersey of Michael Jordan.  After a total nail biter of a game, our girls pulled out a three point victory when the buzzer finally sounded.  Whew!! It was an incredibly intense game!

Afterwards, we had hoped to tour the campus a little, but rain dampened those plans.  We saw the baseball stadium and practice football field...we drove by the famous wishing well.

Here are a few shots I took that day - prepare for Carolina Blue overload. ;)

We're Tarheel fans, so it was extra awesome getting to visit for the first time.  What are your favorite teams?  And hypothetically speaking, if "someone" were to need an Organizing for Dummies crash course, where would you suggest he/she begin?? Bonus points for suggestions for someone who is absolutely hopeless in that category.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Many times in my easy to throw out the infamous "why" when in the eye of it all, only for the situation to become the catalyst for something so much greater.  It's in the space between that I've learned the most about myself.  If I hadn't gone through "X" I wouldn't have wound up in "Y"...I have so many "Xs" to be thankful for.  Now to work on not questioning, but realizing it is all part of the plan.

Monday, March 9, 2015

On Letting Go, When It Once Meant So Much...

Les and I met 14 years ago in the most unlikely of this day, we call it fate.

Back then, we were two of the least inclined folks to ever audition for a show.  Like, seriously...the LEAST.  Both shy, both with zero experience, both taking a leap so far from our comfort zones, we might as well have jumped into shark infested waters without that cage-protection thing-y.

For each of us to have shown up at that auditorium, on that day, for that show...kinda kismet, don'tcha think?

I don't know about Les, but for me, it was extra-super-scary because I had grown up idolizing this group.  I saw them perform Annie, The Sound of Music, and The King and I when I was much younger, and dreamed of being on that stage.  To me, they were larger than life...something I couldn't touch with my shyness and total lack of singing ability.  Once, I even took voice lessons to try and better my odds, but as it turned out, I was too shy to sing for the instructor!

I kind of got this wild hair my first year in college that said if I was ever going to try theatre, I'd better do it then.  My parents didn't believe I'd ever do it.  I didn't blame them.

The night of THE audition, I sat in the parking lot for 30 minutes talking myself out of it.

Thankfully, there were a few other kids from school auditioning, so I convinced myself that I would go inside...if for nothing else, but as a tag-along to watch them do their thing.  I didn't fill out the audition form that was presented to us upon entering.  I sat in the back and tried to hide.

They started reading a group scene and I was asked to fill a spot...which turned into me reading a little more and once I even read for one of the bigger parts...all alone on stage.  Red faced and on the verge of panic/tears/tossing my cookies, I did it...kind of.  I couldn't get off the stage fast enough, though.  It was definitely one of the hardest, scariest things I'd ever done.

Les' nerves showed a lot less...he was a natural.  When it came time to audition for the romantic, kissy scenes, he worked it like a champ.  I took the stairs to the exit like the champ of chickens that I am.

There was another night of auditions that passed in a blur, but I do remember standing on the steps of the auditorium and reading my name on the list of characters. Whoa, Nelly!! Les' name was on there too.

Over the next several months the cast spent virtually every evening together, rehearsing and preparing for the show.  I was having a blast!  There were so many cool people to get to know...and I was making some incredible friendships.  These cool people wanted to be friends with me??? And this one boy was talking to ME??

I look back on those times as truly some of the very best years of my life.  I was coming out of my shell, I was going out and having fun, and the stage stuff was just as I'd always imagined...awesome.

Les and I officially started "dating" the night the show opened.  A few of the other cast members had worked hard playing matchmakers.

So there we were, the Shy Ones...together thanks to this show.

The show continued to play a strong role in our lives...our theatre friends were the first to know of our engagement the following February, and they all attended our wedding in December...several were even part of our wedding party.  I could not have asked for a better wedding day - sharing everything with the folks that were there from the very beginning.

Les and I took a few years away from theatre when we had our boys...we missed it, but time with our babies was so very special.  As soon as Colin and Cam were old enough, they started doing shows, and Les and I got to join them.  I couldn't believe how lucky we were to do theatre as a family.

Five years ago, we rejoined the show that started everything for us...all I could think about was how full circle it had come.  Our boys were joining us in what carried our most special memories!!

Les and I had larger roles in the show this time, both on stage and behind the scenes.  I helped with marketing and did some designing and one point I was president of the organization.  It felt  nice to give back and show support for the show in ways outside of acting.  It was nice to be accepted by people with whom I never thought would consider me a peer.

But perhaps it was getting so close to the inner workings of everything that was our downfall.  Turns out, there's a lot of DRAMA in drama.  Big time, major drama that was difficult for me to handle.  I'm a people pleaser and a wanna-be fixer.  There were times when things were so very sticky, and people started choosing sides.  There became this great divide and lots of people got hurt.  I'm sure that I was part of causing some of that hurt...the show was something I loved dearly, and I felt fiercely protective of it.

There was a time I thought things would calm down, but they only got worse.  Looking back, we should have pulled out long before we did.  I got too wrapped up in it all and started becoming a person I didn't like.  Things came to a head last summer and we knew we could no longer continue.  It's hard now to look upon the show with good memories because of how it ended for us.  My heart hurts.  It's hard for me to understand how something so cherished can sour so badly.   People we thought were friends, really weren't.  An activity that our family once loved was now gone.

In the months since, I've thought often about it.  I've worried over it.  I've mourned it.  But mostly, especially as of late, I've felt relief.  Some things, no matter how much they once meant, can change and become something entirely different.  It's good to get let it go.  Life is way too short to be involved in such heavy stuff.  I try to focus on the good memories, and hope that one day they will outshine the bad.  The bad is still fresh and the backlash is hurtful's only been about 6 months.  I know when the show goes on to be performed this summer, I will think about it again.

Moving on takes making that solid decision, that step, to do so.  Maybe it will be a difficult step, but maybe it will be the most important one.  I do feel that our decision to leave was the best one for us.  I have no regrets about leaving at all.  I only wish we'd done it sooner.  My desire to fit in and be accepted got in the way of my better judgement. There were times when I didn't see it, or didn't want to see it, but it wasn't a healthy place for us.  

We are finding new friendships in our church and have thankfully, thankfully, mended some old ones...surely, there is another adventure awaiting. :)

Is there something that you once loved that you let go of?  How did you handle it?  Did you deal with a lot of backlash?

Love and hugs to you all!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Barlow Family Outtakes

I love outtake and candid photography - it just screams personality!  While posed photos capture everything nice and neatly, outtakes from those shots can show the real story! haha!! With our silly family, sometimes all you get are outtakes...but I cherish even those because they capture who we are - imperfections and all.

It snowed again last night!  Six solid inches of the fluffy, heavy, wet snow that isn't great for sledding, but perfect for snowmen and snowball fights.  I'm trying to get over some bronchitis, so I was stuck inside while the littles ventured out to play.  They have gotten old enough that I can trust them to play a few minutes unattended.  We are fortunate to live far off the main highway, so Bella can romp around with them as well.  I keep all of the window blinds up so I can sneak lots of peeks...and capture unsuspected photos along the way.  ;)

Here are some outtake shots from their adventures...

I really hope that was clean snow...have we had the yellow snow talk????

Out. Of. Control

"Bella, get on the sled."

"It will be fun!"  (She looks like she totally believes them, no?)

Aaaand, breaking loose now!

Let's throw snowballs at Mama!  (Good thing there was a door between us!!) one point I look out to find this...they are cleaning the snow off my car...with a paint stir stick...good thing it is an old car...but they get an A for effort, for sure.

"Can't hold on much looooonger!"

Colin being a good sport...a few years ago, this would have ensued in a war...

More good sportage...

Have I mentioned he's a good sport??

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Diary of a Snow Storm...

It finally happened.  We got our first snow of the season this past Monday.  I'm really not a snow person, but I do love that the boys got the opportunity to do some sledding - Les was even off work on Tuesday to join in on the fun.  With temps staying steadily below freezing, and tomorrow's high barely in double digits, it ain't goin' anywhere, either.  AGH! Cabin fevah!! The littles may not have school at all this week.

For this week's Capture Real Life in 52 weeks course, our prompt was nature, and though this wasn't what I had in mind for working on this week, at least it was a nature event that kept me from it.  

Here's our winter storm in photos starting with the first few (giganormous flakes) that started falling late Monday afternoon.

Rather spot on observation from my phone...

Image of the sky the next day - true to Carolina Blue form...

Across the way, there's a nice bank for sledding...BUT the ditch at the end is always a wee shocking to the system.

Someone is determined to jump the ditch at the bottom...

Alas, it gets him anyway the next time down...

Seems there's an even deeper side ditch, as Colin discovers after being swallowed whole.

To all my northern US blog buddies and readers, hats off to you for putting up with this far more often than we do!! I couldn't imagine dealing with snow the depths or frequency of which y'all have this year.  

How much snow have you seen this winter?  Anyone else ready for Spring???

Friday, February 13, 2015

I've Convinced Him of Chickens...Now....Alpacas, Anyone?

If you follow my Instagram, you may have noticed a turning of events over at the Barlow household.  Someone changed his mind regarding the foot down on "We're never having chickens."   I'm not sure why or exactly when my luck turned in this department, but you better believe I'm on to asking oh-so-sweetly (i.e. begging till he breaks -muahahaha!!!) for an alpaca after that!  ;)

Becaaaaause.... alpaca's have the greatest, snuggliest fluff for spinning into yarn...and as of late, I'm a bit all like:

(As long as it can be done on a loom...'cause, well, you know...I still haven't actually learned to knit or anything.)  

My latest little guilty pleasure (I'm way too boring for anything scandalous) is making warm, chunky, infinity scarves...and for this you need yarn...and for yarn? You need alpacas, right???

Cue collective "dawwwwwww!" 

How can anyone possibly say no to that face??? 

(I'll be sure and keep you updated!) 

It should be noted this post is for inclusion in my Capture Real Life in 52 Weeks course.  This week's prompt is "Guilty Pleasures."  That term has always eeked me out a little.  Maybe eeked isn't the right term there, but I'm a big believer (after soooooo many years of being waaaay self-conscious) in being cool with liking what you like.  Own it, girls! However, I know this is all in fun, so I decided to capture what I'm into at the very current moment.  (I've been known to hop around from one crafty obsession to another...alas.)  I'm sure my yarn "needs" will never necessitate alpaca you can breathe a sigh of relief there, Mom.  (Hi Mom!) The grand-chicks thing, though??  I can make no promises.  :)  <--Smiling sweetly...