June 29, 2012

saved!

Warning: You are about to read a totally transparent post in which you may or may not want to be friends with me anymore...read on with caution.

There's no doubt, I have not hidden my feeling about VBS week. It's not been my favorite. I've been a bit of a brat. Yes, I know we are all called to serve. This is true. But I also have to raise my hand and say that we are all very different.  I am not the same as Patient Patty over there across the room completely loving her time with 12 three-year-olds. I love my kids to death, could not ask for a better job, would do every minute of my mom life over, just to love on them all over again...I just don't love everyone else's kids like that....does that make me a terrible person?? I love my friends' kids...for real. And mostly that's because they discipline like I do. I can spend a week at Beck's house because she will tell her girls if they're being obnoxious.  I can spend all day at the pool with Carissa because she will plop her little sassy pants in time-out for 20 minutes when he needs it.  I have trouble with the kids I'm left in charge of that are completely out of control/kicking Alicia in the face/"you are not the boss of me"/hiding under chairs/drawing on tables.  That's not my thang. I run out of patience right quick and want to leave...like an hour ago.



So yes, I do believe we're called to be servants in the Body and to serve joyfully. In the same breath, I'd like to add that I would probably be more effective doing the decorating jobs or admin jobs...but that's just me.  I've been involved in VBS for years and have absolutely loved it! We had a total kick-butt VBS at our old church in So Dak...but there was a big diff here. I was pretty much the co-director...case in point: make me the boss-lady and I'm fine with it. Kidding...sorta.  But seriously, it is very clear to me that God did not call me to open a day care or to be a preschool teacher.  Very very clear.  But the bottom line is: I signed up to help in any way, that's where they put me, and I was a butthead about it. I'm proud to say I did not hurt anyone...including the very patient/oh my gosh, are you serious?!/overly zealous co-leader...yeah me!

But then....well, as I drove two boys home last night still damp from their public proclaimation of their asking Jesus into their hearts that day...I had to silently ask God for forgiveness for being so ugly. If I had acted on that urge I had Wednesday night to call myself in for a mental health day on Thursday, keeping my kids and myself home to rest up and chill out that would have been a big mistake.


Both my boys stood in front of their peers yesterday morning and asked Jesus to be their personal Lord and Savior. Of the 600ish elementary kids 145 of them accepted Christ and 23 of them asked to get baptized last night. My boys were two of those. I can hardly keep it together even still.

I was outside blowing bubbles with my 3-year-olds when I got this from Jack's teacher and my friend:
I went and found him right away to give him hugs. Then afterward when I picked up my kids and Noah was sporting a new bracelet that read "SAVED" and his gaze told me he had made the decision too, I could barely keep it together. I asked if they'd like to be baptized that night at the VBS family night celebration (that I had already decided we were NOT going to before all this) and they both said YES in unisen.

So they did.


It was truly one of the sweetest things I've ever seen. My heart melted into a little puddle around my ankles and my cup raneth over. We've never wanted to walk them through these steps...never wanted to pressure or force...never wanted to say, "ok repeat after me and you'll be entered into the kingdom with the rest of us, Christians." This was just the way I didn't even know I wanted it...their call...and together...their decision...as brothers.


They're still sleeping at 10:30am...must be Jesus'd out. But with time to think about this week, I've realized...once again that it's not about lil ol' me. If I would have done what I wanted we would have skipped VBS all together this year...and missed out on this awesome night. What a pity that would have been.  I'm learning...


Signed your not-so-preschool-friendly and proud mama friend,
{alicia}

June 27, 2012

Happy Day Challenge: It Ain't Always Easy

So quite recently it's come to my attention that God did not mold me to be the teacher of 10 three-year-olds. I will finish the week strong...with my head held high, but I can sleep comfortably knowing something more about myself.  That nugget paired with changes on the horizons, decisions to make, and sore muscles; it's been a tough week to be super joyful.



You would think that being around 10 3 year-olds that run in 10 different directions and do 10 different things every time they're asked to do one, would make me appreciate my well-behaved children causing me to treat them with things like gummy bears and cotton candy. Oh the contrary, my friends. For some reason I do the opposite.

I've been really crabby this week. Really anxious-feeling. Kinda pouty. Sort of confused. I'm worried about summer...I know that sounds weird. But it's racing by. I want 'simple' and things just seem to be more complicated. I want to sit and do nothing but Smash the stuff in my Smash book that I've had accumulating for weeks. That's all I ask! Can you tell I'm kinda still in that mood??

This week, this challenge is mostly for me...and for all you crabby Nancys that feel confused/anxious/pouty/and pissy like I do. So here's the challenge...that's not really a challenge, but a poll more or less.

What do you do to shake a bad mood?

I would not say that mine is completely shaken but I did my best yesterday afternoon/evening as I was holding down the fort alone while Jarrod was at a work thing. Here's what I did:



1. Took the kids to the pool.  If I stayed home I would just be crabby with my kids...who I really am so appreciative of at this moment. I decided going to the pool and getting nothing done at home was better than staying home and being crabby.

2. Phoned a friend. Do you have a phone friend? Like somebody who won't just say what you need to hear? Somebody that will let you vent but still have a positive outlook for you and still level with you and still get you????? I do. I have a few of them actually. I am blessed with such great friends. This one made me feel instantly better yesterday. I hung up relieved to have spewed a little bit, knowing that she doesn't think any the lesser of me for it.

3. Made a Kashi frozen pizza. It was dinner...in the summer...when Jarrod's gone...and it wasn't cereal. Instant confidence booster.

4. I opened the door and let the lace curtains sway. I should really remember this one because it always seems to make my house feel like a sweet little island cabana or a beach cottage on the Outer Banks. Instant mood changer.

5. Thanked Jesus for my kids that really DON'T make me that crazy. I mean really, I think they do, but I know now that they don't . They are so good. They love each other. They love me. They are happy. They make me smile most of the time. They fall asleep after a long day of VBS and swimming on the couch at 6:30pm. And they eat Kashi Spinach and Trio Mushroom pizza...how cool are they?! I love them. Thanking Jesus for them is a good shaker of a bad mood.




6. Grabbed my pen and paper and make lists...of all sorts. When my mind is a jumble, I have to sort it out somehow. For me the best way to do that is to make a list; lists of prayers, lists of to-dos, list of groceries I need, lists of blessings, lists of things that are confusing me...just lists. When I see things on paper my mind feels like less of a mess. Are you like that?

I did all these things yesterday afternoon and evening and I can't say my mood was totally turned around, but it was definitely better. It's a challenge sometimes just to be in a good mood! So that's your challenge...tell me, how do you shake a bad mood?

If you did last week's challenge, you're probably in a great mood...seeing your freshly fluffed room(s). I can't wait to see what you did!!!!

Link up below...

June 26, 2012

Summer School Tuesdays: Cultivate Learning


Last week I started a little summer series called Art on Tuesday. It took all of 6 days to decide to change it. Which totally goes with the rest of my blog life right now, which appears to be having a total identity crisis, I hope you'll understand. I think I'm done now...for real.

So Summer School Tuesday? It's because of this: I get the question all the time, "do you school all through the year?" My answer? We never really stop learning and whether you homeschool or not, your kids are learning constantly too. On Tuesdays I'll be here sharing ideas, crafts, books we're reading, and projects that could be considered "Summer School," even though my kids have no idea! It's great!!

I think summer "school" is the best because we aren't actually sitting and pushing pencils around...we're just playing, reading, exploring. To be honest, I really let them do it. I am the guide person, but I want to cultivate their learning...guide them into learning more on their own.


Summer is a great time to explore and learn about things you don't have time for during the school year. One of those things for us is oceans. I gathered up a bunch of our sea books; sea creatures, oceans, pirates, hurricanes; and put them in a box next to some jars of seashells. I'm planning on adding some coloring sheets for Sophie too. 



I like to pull things off the shelf once in a while and set them out in plain view. We have so many books, sometimes my kids forget about them. A few weeks ago, I had a puzzle with inventors on it with a stack of books about inventors. They read all about them and did the puzzle over and over for a week.

Now they're identifying seashells they've found at the beach with their books and naming different types of sharks.



I also had to add my sign I just listed in my shop. It'll be there adding to my display till it (hopefully) sells, then I'll have to rearrange :). I listed a couple different signs today and am listing some summer banners and camera strap covers later today...stay tuned.


Another thing my kids are really into right now is birds. Especially Jack, he's all about the birds and figuring out what kind is what. We've got hummingbird feeders and birdseed feeders hanging and we've seen several hummingbirds getting sugar water.


When my mom and dad were visiting, they got Jack some books on NC birds and NC animal tracks. I I gathered up some other bird and animal info I had and put them in a basket beside the front door for easy usage.



I found this cool wheel thingy at the Pottery Barn Outlet of all places. You spin it to see the scientific names of insects, how long they are, and other info. I also added a few manifying glasses too, just in case.



We work so hard during the school year to learn and I hate to think they're losing it all during summer. I think it's a good break and a chance to learn a different more laid back way for a few months. Say NO to brain drain, right!?

Ok, gotta go identify a bird ;)




xo,
{alicia}

June 25, 2012

A Southern Summer


It's VBS week, the boys are off to camp next week, then there's a trip back to So Dak, and a family vacation to the beach. Summer always goes too fast in my opinion, but the days are still long...if that makes any sense. How about this?  The days are long and the weeks are short? Sound right?

Summer in Asheville has meant a few things:

1. Swimming...like everyday. It's been pretty nice. My house is abandoned, the bathrooms are dirty, but we all have tans and the kids crash for 11 hours straight at night, so I guess its all ok.


2. The beach. The Carolinas have beautiful beaches. I'm in love with the beach. The kids love it for the giant sandbox and all the sea creatures they find. I'm slowly working on a shadowbox/shelf/memory something or another to display some of their finds.

3.  Quick and easy meals, like sandwiches and fish tacos by the pool...thank you Carissa Graham for the best fish taco recipe ever!!


4. Summer creatures. One of these nights we're going outside to catch some of those lightening bugs flying around outside. There's so many of them!! They are new to us. Also, teeny butterflies that land on your feet. Oh, and goats...tied up to houses...1/2 mile from my Target...summer in the South at it's finest. I love it!.

5. The ice cream man.  This guy is so unbelievably awesome! I chased him down on my way home last week. He was at the park and I asked if he would drive through my development next...not wanting to get ice cream in my new car ;)



He's been back three times since then. All the parents are cursing me...all the kids are loving me for inviting the ice cream man to come to our neighborhood. The white outfit and hat and bow tie are about enough to do me in! I run for my kitten heels and pearls and I'm living a Norman Rockwell painting...pure summer bliss.


6. Summer projects. I decided to do just a few things for my shop this summer. I'm not taking any custom orders right now, but I did make a few things that I will be listing later this week. Here's snap of one lil thing...


Off to VBS for us. I'm corralling 3-year-olds this week. Wish me luck!!
Happy Monday to you!

xo.
{alicia}

June 22, 2012

8 Reasons I'm Feeling Happy Today

Maybe all it takes is a phone call letting you know a high school friend's two-year-old baby has just been diagnosed with leukemia. Maybe it just takes the neighbor boy whose been left alone for the day while his mama's at work knocking on your door at 8am to play. Maybe it's the little boy at Target wearing his bald little head like a name tag saying, "Hi, My Name is....Sick Boy."

Maybe that's all it takes to look at your life and want to scream from the mountaintops praises to Jesus for healthy kids, the best job ever, and a husband that treats you like a queen. Whatever it is, I have a full heart today...a grateful heart. Not a naive heart that thinks the worst couldn't or wouldn't happen to me, but a grateful-for-this-season-of-peace heart. A God-You-have-blessed-me-so-much heart. We all have our seasons, we all have our turns for grief and heartache. Sometimes it takes the reminder of someone else's tough season to realize that if our biggest "problem" is our camera being in the shop for three weeks, we're doing pretty darn good.

So today, I'm praising Jesus in the mountaintop season, storing up for the more valley season.  Happy for these things:

1. Summertime and all it's Vitamin-D, Banana Boat oil glory.


I love all the seasons. I love the changes that they bring. But I'm a summer baby and thrive off the summertime. Flip flops and tanning lotion are the best combo ever. Throw in a bomb pop and you're golden for three whole months! It's really amazing.


2. A banker man with a heart of integrity and some kick a** talent.

The Mister and I took a giant leap of faith moving to North Carolina. The city was unfamiliar, the state was like a foreign country, the job even was a new gig. He's in banking, but his current job was not something he'd done in the past. After eight months on the job, Banker Man has been ranked number one in both Carolinas in his position and even number 10 or something crazy in the whole Eastern U.S. (These stats change like every day, but really...I'm pretty proud. Dude didn't even tell me his rankings either...I had to have a convo with this boss man to learn these things.) I don't give you many shout-outs, my love, I prefer to tell them to your sweet face, but this is my public proclamation of proudness to you :) xoxo.

3. Lazy days.


Sometimes even with a list, you're just not feeling it, but you still feel guilty for not feeling it...does that make any sense? Wednesday, I did nothing. Nothing.  I called my mom, shared with her my list of things to do/organize/check off and my lack of motivation for doing any of those things. Her response was to go to Target and blow off the list completely. Well gee, isn't that a great idea. So we did.



Coming back home from Target I started feeling like I should actually do something with my life that day, naming off my tasks to my kids, asking them which one they thought I should do. Sophia's response? "Just don't do any of that stuff. Just read a magazine and drink coffee." Well...can't argue with that one either.

So I did nothing. Lazy day.

4. A fool proof house with no strings attached.


When we moved here, choosing to rent first was definitely the right decision. I knew that. But I still had a hard time going from a great old house with my own yard to sharing walls and ceilings and white carpet. Since our first townhouse, we've since moved to an identical one (except with way more character, windows, etc.). These last few months I've really felt the benefit of this shared type living. No lawn work, call the landlord when the fridge is acting up, no projects taking up a week at a time. I'm really digging this laid back time right now.

There are moments when I really miss a house, but for right now I'm content where I am.
I like that feeling.



5. The pool. The pool. The pool.


Dear Pool,
Thank you for ruining us forever. We are pool rats. There is no way we'll get by without one when we move again. Thank you for a job well done.

Sincerely and Tanned,
Alicia

6. A rescued camera.

That's right. She's coming home today.

7. Blogging.


Just thankful for it. That's all. You girls are such encouragement to me. Thank you for reading every day.



8. Hope in the unknown.


We don't know where we're going to live a year from now. I have my preferences, but that might just not happen. And really? I'm ok. I don't have a clue what our future holds, but I'm really at peace with it.

That's a good feeling too.

Have a great weekend, my friends :)

xo,
{alicia}

June 20, 2012

A Happy Little Post


It's Happy Day, folks and how's your week going so far? Are you feeling good? Have you been busy? Bored? (I doubt that) Have you been working on Summer projects? Most importantly, do you need to take a sec just for you?

When I say "take a sec for me," that comes in all shapes and sizes. If you've been here long, you know that can come in alllll shapes and sizes.

Yesterday I did some fluffing. Do you like to fluff? It's my thing. I fluff all the time. I don't like my house getting too comfortable, you know? It needs to change things up a bit.

So yesterday at the grocer's I saw sunflowers...for $3.50! I brought those home, added a metal tray, one of my old fans, a candle, and a container of napkins and made myself a fun summery table.


A couple of weeks ago, I totally copied Sasha @ Lemonade Makin Mama and made my own "French" linen table cloth. I used regular red paint, taped off where I didn't want the paint to be and painted straight on to the fabric. I would have liked to go pick up a fabric that was more "linenish" but I already had this long piece of white sackcloth type of material and it looks pretty good. The paint did not fade in the wash like Sasha's did, so I just flipped it over and use it that way...the other side is way too dark for me.


Either way, I love it for summer. It's fresh and light. I saw another table runner in Country Living this month that might just have to make too...


So there's your challenge: fluff something for summer. Redo your table centerpiece, rearrange your furniture, switch out your pillows, clear off a table and set up a place for treasure from nature walks...just do something happy for summer to your house. You can be creative!

If you're new here and don't know how this Happy Day thing works: I give you a challenge and a week to do that challenge. You blog about it between now and then and come back next week and link up to the linky thingy and get a new challenge for the week...it's fun, you'll see! :)  Also, please add my button from the sidebar and link directly to your post, not your regular url. Thanks!!



For last weeks challenge, you were supposed to make your summer list. Did you do it? And do you like how I timed it with the first official day of the summer season, June 20th?? I know, super clever of me...

I hope you know I'm totally kidding.

Ok, link up! :)

Happy Day Peeps!
xo,
{alicia}

June 19, 2012

Art Project: Summer School


Hey there, my friends! Can I just start out by saying technology is not my friend!? I have messed around forever on my blog the last three days; messing with my header, background, sidebar...I get it just right, then something messes up in the process, it looks great in the "preview" view, then when I get to the actual blog, it's not right...what is that about!?!? I have to walk away for a minute...take a breather...then I'll be back to mess with it some more. Gah!!

Ok, just had to get that out of my system.

I'm feeling a little lost in my blog life without my camera...it's been two weeks without it. TWO!! They told me at the service place it could be up to three...Lord, help me. Without my camera I'm feeling uninspired. I love instagram, but instagram pics just don't cut it after a while, you know? #practicingtheartofpatience....

So on to the post, right?? I have made a folder full of really fun art projects I've found on pinterest for the summer. We did our first one last week...hopefully we'll get another done this week too. Here's the link to this project.

I love Starry Night. It's got to be one of my favorite works of art. I loved this project because it was simple and we had everything we needed.


First, on black paper we "drew" Starry Night with regular Elmer's glue and let it dry.  The next day we used our oil pastels fill in the colors. I love oil pastels because they go on that paper like butter and you can blend them together with your finger. We just followed the glue lines and filled in all the black space. I love how they turned out.




and ever the rebel....


Noah was reading and did not want to partake (whatevs).

In other news; I cut my hair...a lot!
I've had it this short, but not for a long time. I'm still getting used to it, but I love it :)


I'll be back tomorrow with a Happy Day Challenge...and I hope you're back with your summer lists!

xo,
{alicia}
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