Friday, February 6, 2015

A lot has happened

A lot has happened since my last post, since we rang in the new year! 2015 has already proven to be one of life lessons and reflection. Every day there are life lessons to learn if we listen and sometimes those lessons are much more blatant and in your face that what you would like, but that being said lessons and simple reminders that cause me to pause and take note.  I have encountered  celebrations and loss. I have been inspired by others big and small, old and young. I have met new people, and encountered bizarre situations. I have enjoyed watching growth too!

Let me try to take a minute to explain.

My son turned 7! (I KNOW SEVEN)  It is truly hard for me to believe.  SEVEN.. Wow! It is a true statement that kids grow so quickly and that whatever you can do to enjoy every single moment of that growth is well worth it.  I have been fortunate enough to see Ty grow and develop into a smart, funny, caring and empathetic young boy.  I have seen his academic success and struggles and I have learned about him through that process.  I have seen the way he cares for his younger brother but also strive for independence.  I have seen his tenacity, and desire to build lasting friendships (he sure is social).  I love hearing his laugh and listening to his stories he shares.  He is beginning to ask great questions, and loves to be read to about random things (facts really).  He surprises me with some of the knowledge he acquires around inequity in the world and shares stories of faith too.  So we celebrate.  Unlike many other birthday posts that have preceded this, I did not plan and execute a party where there were matching napkins, prizes, d├ęcor and cake.  Rather this party was all Ty.  He wanted what he wanted (and honestly I did not mind).  There is something to say about no clean up and less stress and a place where kids are allowed a little bit of freedom. NO Ty chose to have his party at our local Pietro's Pizza parlor (which was great because for us adults there was beer on tap) and enjoy the many games that the game area offered the kids.  What a great party!  Of course we had a low key family party the next day where we enjoyed root beer floats and each others' company.  Ty is 7.  I took a moment to write a letter to Ty. I place these letters in a keepsake box for my kids for them to read handwritten notes and letters from me about their lives. I am not sure when I will share them or if I will.  It might be something they will find after I am gone (unless I change my mind). 

Celebrations have been happy and sad for us.  Recently my husband and I suffered a shocking loss of a friend and co-worker. It does not compare to the loss that his wife has endured and I certainly do not pretend to understand or even know the void that she and her kids must be feeling.  At 41 our friend passed away due to heart issues.  What is most shocking about his loss of life was that Bill was one of the most real "gentlemen" I have ever met. His work ethic was insurmountable, filled with pride and he was a genuine human being. He had a remarkable way with students, and had a funny sarcastic dry sense of humor.  He was the most humble man I  have ever met.  Truly someone who inspired others to do great things. He was a gifted person in all areas of his life.  His passing and the passing of another young man recently have really put our lives in perspective.  Byron and I are truly trying to walk the walk and talk the talk.  We are open to all experiences with our family and are not taking any of those for granted. 

I often wonder about my own death, my own celebration of life (odd I know) but the reality is that we all will pass at one time or another.  I can only hope that the decisions and choices I make today will support my family, my kids and help them reach for greatness in their own ways.  Maybe I will begin putting ideas and words on paper to my loved ones. Or maybe I will just embrace each day and say the things I mean and mean the things I say!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Welcome 2015

This year I welcomed 2015 by falling asleep early and waking up to hear the sounds of our neighbors firing cannons, and letting off fireworks. A great way to ring in the New Year!  Instead of making my traditional resolution to loose weight, or better myself in someway, I decided to be present in everything that I do.  What I mean by that, is to be so organized that I can enjoy those little moments with my kids, enjoy the big moments life has to share, and continue to be comfortable with ME!

This year has been quite a year! It has been filled with celebrations, lots of change and a new found respect for living and being honest to MYSELF.  It is sometimes hard to take time out for yourself, especially as a mother.  I work full time outside of the home, I am the parent club president for my son's school, I coordinate fundraising efforts, work out, play with my kids, tutor and so, so, so, much more.  One of my own faults is to take on too much.  I rarely say no. 

BUT WATCH OUT I am OWNING my NO this year. 

It is great to be busy and feel like you are fulfilled.  It is great to be able to feel the accomplishment.  It is also wonderful to relax and just kick back.  Well 2015 I am doing it!  I am staying true to myself, I have goals, I am kicking back and enjoying stuff and I am going to rock this year!

Happy New Year..  Enjoy 2015!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Michelangelo, Donatello and More

Today's craft activity with the boys included one of their favorites the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!!!

Here are the things you need: ribbon in the mask colors of turtles. Eye balls (I chose the ones with sticky backs). Green ornament balls (I bought at Hobby Lobby today for half price 2.00$ for the box.) and hot glue gun not pictures here. 

Cut ribbon to fit around the ornament. 

Hot glue the ribbon on the ornament then peel the sticky backs of the eyes and place on the ribbon!!! Done. Easy, peasy!!


Each day our advent calendar we are doing a craft activity and talking about one of the readings during advent together as a family!   

One of our activitities was to create gift bags and gifts for our teachers.  Here's one that my boys completed. 

A few scrabble pieces from our local craft store Hobby Lobby. Super glue, only because I couldn't find my wood glue.  Christmas ribbon which we keep on hand during the season and scissors. 
Shhhh don't tell but here is one of the things my son made for his teacher! Super cute.  

We also made stamped gift bags to put our presents in!  

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Beginning of Advent~

Prepare the Way for the Lord~

This morning after mass I brought together my family and we discussed over our lit purple candle the beginning of Advent.  "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light! (Isaiah 9:1-2) I shared with my kids (6 and 3). and we talked about preparing the way for Jesus' birth!

We are making sure that our children know the meaning of Christmas and keeping that at the heart of all that we do.  We discussed some things that we can do for each other to help others out who may not have what we have and we decided to join in some efforts this year.  I am so proud of my 6 year old for wanting to join in!

Preparing for our Celebration~

This weekend we began preparing for our own Christmas celebration.  The family helped to put up our Christmas lights out on the house and in the yard.  Each year we add one more thing to our display.  For me it is the wonderful feeling that the twinkle lights bring when you squint and see them all a blur in your mind.  We talked about the excitement that searching for Christmas lights on houses brings, the songs we sing in the car and all of the other Christmas sounds we hear!

Kids took silver Sharpie pens and colored in the pre-placed stencils
Once our Christmas lights were up on the house, the tree, bushes and the nativity and deer were up we left them lit, so that after dinner we could go outside and see them a glow! Next the kids were a bit antsy so we opened our first Advent Daily Countdown bag hanging on the frame.  Our first activity as a family! Today we were to make Tin (mason lids) ornaments. See below.  What fun we had! Super easy for the kids (a bit of prep work for Mom) but fun all together.

Even my 3 year old got the hang of it!


Cork cut outs with sticky backs ready to put in the tin lids.

Now to add the baker's twine with a hot glue gun!

The final lid rustic ornaments for the kid's tree!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

When it goes ALL wrong!

Perfectionist? I think...maybe?

I love it when things come together.  Love events, planning, hosting parties, and most likely am the person that will host Thanksgiving each year, or go all out on creating crafts.  I love Pinterest. I love the ideas that I get especially when it comes to making  things that look expensive.  A few years ago I found several frames on sale at my local Craft Warehouse.  I bought a few.  One I used as a photo prop with our family photos and then I saw something on Pinterest.   It was this framed piece of art which had a deer in chalk on the glass that had been painted with black chalkboard paint. I loved the look but didn't want the chance that the chalk would get rubbed off.  So I came up with a different idea (hoping it would come together). 

I took the glass and sprayed it with black matte spray paint. (let it dry for several days).  Then I took the silhouette stencil I made with my Silhouette Cameo machine and placed it over the top.  It was then I think I should have done something differently. Like maybe use the non-painted side to place the sticky stencil.  I left the project for a day or so (life got in the way as it should :-)).  I had my husband find at our local Bi-Mart some gold and silver glitter spray paint (I love that stuff).  I covered the outer part with plastic bags to protect the black painted part.  Then I sprayed!

It was covered in silver glitter spray paint!

I was careful to pull the sticky stencil off of the painted glass but alas a large chunk of the spray paint pulled off.  So I decided to take some black spray paint again and cover it.. NOT a HUGE mistake.  Immediately it crackled and became worse.  I tried it again.  UGH (wouldn't you learn the first time?) Not me. 

I so want to add a RED nose (could be a cute Rudolph)

So here's what I have.  It will look good in the frame.  BUT I HATE it because I don't like the mistakes. I am still trying to figure out how I can save this.. Hmm or I guess I could just start over!  What do you think?  Share with me your ideas.. Can it be remedied?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Kick Starting our Holiday's

The Polar Express

I could not share with you the excitement I felt when the movie The Polar Express (with Tom Hanks) was released to the big screen a few years ago! It has always been one of my all time favorite books and for it to come to life in movie format and done so well was fabulous. The book has always been part of our family tradition's even without the movie and so this was just one more thing to share with  my kids.

This year I felt it was worth it and a great time (age wise) for my kids to experience a live Polar Express!  I actually planned it out and purchased my tickets early as they tend to sell out well in advance.  What a wonderful way to kick start our Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season.

So  a few recommendations for others as they might want to plan their Polar Express Trip! We live in the Pacific North West. So I am not sure if there are other train excursions like this except in our neighboring state Washington (North from us).  So first do some research to see if there is one near you! For us.. it is the Mt. Hood Railroad that puts on The Polar Express excursion.  It is a little expensive so when you are ready and I would recommend kids ages that you feel they would remember such a magical event.   My boys were 3 and 6 when we did this. But I noticed older kids and their parents as well as many young babies (they really couldn't participate in all of the activities or understand what was happening so some babies seemed scared.) 

Secondly I recommend having the kids dress in their pajamas as part of the full effect.

Third, read the story or watch the movie or both prior to the event.  We not only did that but we did not share with our kids that they were going on the excursion until the night before! What a surprise that was for them.  And built some excitement for the drive up.  For us it was a 2 hour and 15 minute drive from our home.  (Some of you might live closer to the train depot that may put this on.

Finally, be prepared with a camera because you will get a personalized visit with Santa!  We did and it was amazing.

The experience included: a personalized ticket (just like in the movie), chef's serving cocoa and cookies, elves, Santa and the "hobo" from on top of the train (like in the movie).  We received mugs, and the kids were given the bell for believing! It was magical!

One last note: for our particular train ride it was super rocky so if you are susceptible to motion sickness come prepared with your Dramamine or whatever pill you might need.  If not sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!