Monday, July 16, 2012

Shaking Hands ~

I'm not sure if this is human nature in general or just my neurotic personality, but I guess I just expect my kids to be like me, think like me, do things the way I want them done, etc. It is a struggle for my type A personality to just step aside and let them be the unique people God has created them to be. Take R's string art project he's working on...I don't know how many times I have walked by him as he's working and tried to get him to do it my way; because my way is best right? I have said out loud, "Ok, it's your project. Do it your way. It will be awesome," and walked away at least 5 times over the last few days. And you know what? It is awesome! He's worked diligently on this project and I'm proud of him. He's even working on one to give as a gift right now.

I've talked in the past about how I'm an introvert, but what I haven't revealed is that I've always felt really uncomfortable in situations that I have to take the initiative to be friendly. This sounds terrible. I really am a friendly person;, I'm just more comfortable when people come to me and make the effort first. So you can imagine that my least favorite part of the church service on Sunday mornings is, of course, the part where we have to mingle around, hug necks and shake hands. Yesterday morning we were settling in to our usual spot about the time our preacher is encouraging everyone to greet one another...K had already grabbed her colors and notebook and was getting ready to create another masterpiece when all of a sudden she hands me all her stuff and says (rather urgently,) "Here Mom, I have to go shake hands." And with that she was off and I was left holding her crayons, mouth open, totally amazed by her. I've said all along that she is a social butterfly, but this was different for some reason. I'm a social person. I like to be around people. But she has no fear when it comes to walking into a crowd. She's not afraid to walk up to her Sunday school teacher and give her a hug. She'll walk across the entire church to say hi to someone.

Ever since I realized we had been blessed with not one but two strong willed children, I have been telling myself that these personality traits will be a good thing in the future. As tough as it is to parent a strong willed child, I know that as adults, these traits will serve them well. I'm hoping for leaders, not followers. I'm hoping for do-ers, not just be-ers. And I'm hoping for children who will inspire others to be better versions of themselves, just as K did for me yesterday when I put the crayons down and went to shake some hands...

Friday, July 13, 2012

12 Random Things ~

For several months now I've been following this fun blog. She has lots of great ideas for those of us who love digi stuff. :) Right now she's in the middle of her "Summer Tour" where everyday she features a new site that she loves. Her "Tour" posts are not all about digital scrapbooking and I have loved learning about these fun sites. So, on the 12th of every month (but not this one because she's touring) she takes and posts 12 pictures she has taken that day. This challenge started a few years ago (not sure where;) the point is to take 12 photos on the 12th of each month and it just so happens to be 2012...pretty cool. I have not been doing this, but yesterday when I got my email photo prompt from Katrina Kennedy at Capture Your 365 I thought I might as well...12 pics of 12 things I love (not in any particular order.)

The first thing that popped into my head when I grabbed my camera was a dozen eggs. How appropriate ~ 12 eggs on the 12th day of 2012. Seriously, I love eggs! I eat 3 eggs in some way, shape or form every single morning. If I don't, I feel bad and my day is off. If you think this is too much of a good thing, I encourage you to dig in and do a little research on the health benefits of eggs. They are, in mine and many others' opinions, nature's perfect food. 

This picture is a two in one. :) I love my camera! This is my second Canon Rebel. My first was stolen out of my vehicle. It was horrible and I don't want to talk about it. What I will talk about is how much I love my camera and my new haircut. I feel like 10 lbs has been removed from my shoulders; literally. I have really thick hair. I'm really wondering why I ever let it get that long. Oh well, let's move on...

Not a morning goes by that I do not have a cup of this...with a little spoon of Xylitol, a Tbsp of coconut oil and a dash of almond milk. I really love half and half, but I've had to back off the cream because it makes me crave carbs later in the day. Yes, I know my body that well. Don't laugh.

Happiness is a few squares of this chocolate about 3 o'clock in the afternoon...just sayin'

This has been consuming my life for the past week. For the past 8 years I have led music for VBS. It's a lot of work learning the motions, but I love it! The kids and I still sing songs from past VBS's. I can still remember the words and motions to the very first year. It was called "Dig Deep," and I was an idiot because I didn't realize there was motions to the music. Imagine my horror when I got there the first night unprepared. It was horrifying, but I survived and here we are 8 years later, so I guess I survived. :) I pray that the music this year touches little hearts and opens their eyes to the wonders of God's creations!

No, my kids are not glued to this stuff all day, but I am glad that they are learning their way around the web and are able to enjoy the technology that is all around us. 

R has been working on a string art project. I finally remembered to buy him some more nails, so yesterday he sat down and hammered away at it. :) I will post the completed project one of these days. I love that my kids love to create. We haven't crafted this summer nearly as much as we did last year, but it seems we've been busier. R's been helping his daddy more, they've spent way more time with grandparents and add in the camps that K is finally old enough to attend and *poof* the time is gone.

There are few things I love as much as a good love note from my girl. This one about made me cry. It's posted on the fridge for all to be reminded of this simple truth.

I really should have posted this up by the tea pic. Oh well. I consume alot of this stuff. I promise you it's good for you. Again, research it. Not to get too off topic, but all through my twenties and most of my thirties I suffered from adult onset acne; or whatever you want to call it. I called it a major pain in the patootie!! It was only after I cut out grains and added coconut oil to my diet that my face cleared up. My skin has never looked better. Love love love coconut oil!

I love that the cotton is growing. It's crazy how after a good rain you just wake up one morning and the plants have almost doubled in size. The plants are happy, the farmer is happy, which in turns makes the family happy. Rain is a good thing!

And here it is ~ the embarrassing picture that my kids will kill me for posting. No, I didn't take this one yesterday, but I had to include this funny little story. Several weeks ago my dad and I were reminiscing about how my sister and I used to lock ourselves in the bathroom and stuff our back end with wash clothes and hand towels whenever Dad was after us with his belt. Gasp!! Yes, we were spanked as children. On this particular day, I had had enough! I marched to the closet to grab a belt and when I returned to the living room both kids were locked in the bathroom. I thought, "Good, as long as they're quiet and not killing each other." So I went about my business with the belt under my arm. The next thing I know they are locked in my bedroom...again, all is quiet all is good. Before long they started running up behind me trying to scare me, I would turn around and chase them with the belt. This went on for a while. I finally decided to hide in K's room and jump out and scare them when they came by. I wish I had thought to grab my video camera. The looks on their faces when they realized I was behind them (with the belt) was priceless. The look of shear terror was hilarious. The picture above shows what they were up to in my bedroom. R is wearing my favorite GAP t-shirt stretched out about 5 sizes with a twin size blanket stuffed in it. They had towel and pillows stuffed everywhere. On this day they learned to work together to avoid the wrath of the belt (which they rarely get btw) and I get a funny story to tell.

I hope you've enjoyed my "12 little pics" project. I encourage you to do it too. It's fun to capture the details of everyday life!

ps ~ thanks to spell check I will never have to learn to spell the words embarrassing and reminiscing. :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Our Family 4th ~

This Fourth of July was only the second in 15 years that we haven't been at R's mom and dad's cooking, playing in the water and popping fireworks. The first was two years ago when it rained so much that the road to their house was impassable. Rain wasn't a problem this year, we just decided to have it at our place. R's mom and a few of our nieces helped set up the day before and when they left we had a little lull around here; you know, kinda like the calm before the storm. The kids were restless waiting for the party the next day. I had been battling my inner Walmart demons for a few days...on the one hand I knew I didn't have any 4th decorations and how lame is a party without decorations? On the other hand I didn't want to go spend a bunch of money on junkie stuff that's going to end up in the trash hole (country word for incinerator.) I decided we would drag out my paper scrapping supplies and make a few handmade decorations. I've held on to my paper crafting supplies thinking someday we would use them. Well, that someday finally came. Yea!

Ta da! We got the idea off the Family Fun site. It was the first craft we came to so we went with it. Our's didn't turn out exactly life the original, but that's the beauty in crafting right?

Ribs...yummm! We look forward to this meal all year. R is a whiz at the pit and this year the ribs were the best ever. I had ribs for dessert ~ that's how good they were. :)

This was little R's plate(s); ribs, mac and cheese and fruit; now that's Americana at it's finest.

We had our Ag teacher and his family over for the day. Isn't she the most precious thing you've ever seen? This little girl is the reason K wants a baby sister. :)

We set the water slide up and Bo (R's mom) supplied the kids with water artillery. Little R was very resourceful and kept a steady supply of ammo ready to fire. 

I have to talk a minute about the water slide. We decided about 6 years ago to all go in together and buy one of those blow up water slides. At the time all the kids were little and the slide was huge. Fast forward 6 years...the kids have grown and the slide has shrunk, but it's lasted and has been one of the best $150 investments ever. We've all definitely gotten our money's worth out of this fun toy! If you have small children and have toyed with the idea of getting one of these, go for it! It'll be the best money you'll ever spend.

 I'm pretty sure this was Big R's contribution...

Speaking of...isn't he handsome? I won't show you all the out takes, but it took a few different photographers and several shots to get this picture of us. First Little R took a few, but we (or should I say "I") were taking too much time away from his Ripstick, then I called K over to give it a try. She took a few ok shots, but then Papa asked for the camera. This was a first in family history. I don't think I've ever seen a camera in his hand. He's pretty good! He said something funny (that I won't repeat) and whalha! (How do you spell whalha?) Thanks Papa!

Ok, so I said I was not going to try to take  pics of the fireworks. Because all I usually end up with is alot of frustration, but when that big beautiful moon started rising I couldn't help it, I had to run in and get my camera. Our neighbors' fireworks looked so cool right next to the moon. The moon looks a little wonky (and kinda like the sun) thanks to my lack of expertise, but oh well...

This one is from our yard. Pretty cool.

Holy moly that's alot of sparks.

I'm already looking forward to next year! And whether we have it here at our place or at my in-laws, we will  be making memories surrounded by family and friends. 

Happy Birthday America!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I want to be Hands Free ~

We're having everyone over tomorrow for the 4th so last night I promised myself I would get up and work out first thing before I finished getting things ready. Thanks to my sweet hubby for waking me up at the crack of dawn I fullfilled my promise. After my work out, I cleaned a little and decided to sit down, have a cup of tea and catch up on some blog posts...

I have been sitting here crying my eyes out for the last five minutes. I often share the latest posts from the Hands Free Mama blog on my FB page, so when I saw she had a new post up I told myself I would read it but I wasn't going to share it. I don't want to overdo a good thing right? Well, I get half way through the post and I'm bawling like a baby. This is good stuff people! And I mean in a way that makes me want to reverse time and go back to when R was a baby good.

I can hear his little 2 year old voice in my head just as if he was standing right next to me, "Pay toys mommy. Pay toys wif me mommy." Yes, I played toys, but I also cleaned constantly and talked on the phone ALOT. No, I didn't have a cool phone or an iPad or WiFi back then, but I had a cordless phone and that's all I needed to be distracted from my little guy. I think he's so grown up now and he's only 10. He still wants me to play games, sit with him and watch t.v. Right now we're in the middle of reading Tim Tebow's book together. We do connect, but I feel like there are so many distractions that in the middle of being together that we're still disconnected.

We watched a show on the Discovery channel the other day called "Head Games." It's a pretty neat show that shows how our brains work in different situations. It's scientific and he loves it. On this particular show they were showing how people react when they are listening to one end of a phone conversation. In short, they get annoyed and cannot concentrate on what they're doing for trying to figure out the other person's conversation. What must my children feel like when they are the third party to my one way conversations. Yuck!

I cannot tell you how many times I've heard K say, "Get off your stupid phone!" Alot of the times I'm texting moms of friends setting up sleep-overs for her, but that's beside the point and yes "stupid" is a bad word in our house, but it's still said ~ don't judge me. :) The fact that she says that is proof enough that she is resentful of my phone. Pathetic.

You know how people say ~ When you're on your deathbed you're not going to wish you worked one more day or cleaned your house one more time (I'm ad libbing here.) Anyway, I'm pretty sure we're not going to be wishing we had sent one more text or posted one more status update, but we are going to wish we had spent more time with the ones we love!

If what I've said has resonated with you, you can go to The Hands Free Revolution page on FB and join the many people who are vowing to put down their phones and iPads, turn of their computers and connect with their children.

I just want to be present in the moment. I want my memories to be crystal clear and not muddled by technology. I want my kids to know THEY are what's most important. I want to be a hands free mama!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fall or Fly ~

This morning was beautiful; cool and breezy. The perfect morning to sit out under our live oak and enjoy a cup of heaven. As I was taking my last sip and trying to decided whether to sit and enjoy a few more moments or head inside to sort laundry, I caught a glimpse of what I thought was a baby bird in the grass across the yard. I put Sam in the garage because the last thing I needed to witness on this serene morning was...well, you know. As I got closer the bird started trying to fly away; of course it couldn't and it was pitiful. The next thing I know, it had made it's way to our retaining wall. I had to turn away because a fall like that for a baby bird ~ not good. I chose to water my flowers instead of watching this poor helpless creature take the plunge. Sure enough, when I turned back he was gone...and all the birds in the tree above were having a fit. It took 10 minutes for them to finally calmed down. They were calling to the baby, but there was nothing they could do. Heart wrenching. That poor little creature just needed a few more days, a few more lessons from his mama, a few more big bird feathers and he would have been fine...

I can't help but think about how we're raising our baby birds. Will they be able to fly out of the nest when the time comes or am I going to worry that they just needed a few more lessons before taking off?

I can literally see some lessons being learned right in front of me. R is finally understanding the value of a dollar and earning a few by learning a life skill here and there. K still doesn't care whether she has money to spend. I know that will change as she gets older, so I'm not too worried about that. I do want my children to understand that hard work pays off and you must earn it to spend it.

I like to think we're teaching compassion and a willingness to help others, but I'm not so sure. I know as parents we must model the behaviors we want our children to possess. I listened to a podcast the other day about how random acts of kindness are the key to happiness. I'm not sure about it being "the key" but I do know it's a biggie. Yes, I hold doors open for people, I smile at people when I'm out and about, I might even let someone go in front of me in the parking lot, but the big RAK's I can count on one hand. This is something I really need to work on and work on when the kids are around. They need to know that their willingness to be kind and help others has a ripple effect and may touch people we will never see or know about. Can you imagine what this world would be like if just half of us focused on being more kind to just one random person a day...

These are just a few of the thoughts I had before K woke up. She walked in and found me typing. I told her about the baby bird and she wanted to go out and see it. What we found was not a baby bird, but several feathers scattered around and one hanging out of Sam's mouth. The outcome was just as I suspected and it wasn't good for that little bird. 

My prayer is that when it comes time to test their wings, they soar. We will do our best to teach, guide, direct and point their hearts in the right direction but in the end we will have to let go and watch them fly ~


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