thoughts

Happy Halloween….A Million Days Late

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Life….am I right?! I took these photos on the Wednesday before Halloween and it has taken me that long to just to get them edited and a looking nice! Yikes! It took that long because the wind and the sun were just not allowing me to take pictures that were worth a crap. On top of that…….well life happens! Things have been busy and with some attitudes here that needed adjusting, and lots of fun stuff going on, it just hasn’t happened! But I know that you my fellow humans of our insane world, will understand and not think its totally nuts to post these a million days late! I took alot of pics of our homeschool group for Halloween and they were all just adorable all dressed up! But I will spare you the hundred pictures of everyone…….wait…….no I wont! ūüėČ You know me better then that right?! Well I will start with my own girls so you see then first before you get board……lol Bunny was Nancy Clancy (in case you are unaware of who that is, it is Fancy Nancy all grown up. Click here to see). Pup was Strawberry Shortcake! We made all the costumes and had fun doing it! I think that the wigs really make it all work! So……I proudly unveil…….Halloween pictures:

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Hobbies Meet Real Life

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Have you ever had that realization that your hobby is just really hard to fit into real life? I love to be creative, to take pictures, to make cool stuff. But things like teaching kids, cooking food, and cleaning messes seem to take a lot of time! ūüėČ So much that sometimes it feels like I don’t have¬†those¬†stretches of time to devote to my random things. So I try¬†do what every busy mom knows how to do really well…..multi-task! Photography is one of my fun things that is a little easier to work with! Its all¬†about capturing a moment and telling a story¬†with that! So I set up my tripod and my camera exposure. Then I¬†took pictures of us working on our school work¬†together. I was sitting on our couch reading and doing some lessons and, with my remote, I would take pictures!¬†So I got to¬†work on my fun stuff while teaching really usful subjects to my kids! The results were interesting and it is a¬†good way to hold onto the daily realisty here! I don’t have pictures of us doing school work and since this is something that is a huge part of our lives it seems silly to not have some! The more I think about taking pictures, the more I realize that the pictures that speak the most to me, both that I take and that I see of others, are always the ones that are real. Where the family or the subject is engaged in something that is real and meaningful to them. Portraits are nice and look good on¬†a wall, but the photos that invoke true feeling in someone are the unstaged ones. I guess that means my style of photography is leaning toward lifestyle photography. Here are my pictures from our lesson. I did some edits on them, just in case you are wondering!

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What do you think? Do you have a hobby that you try to fit into the daily business of mommy life?

PS……I haven’t forgotten Halloween pics! I will post them next! ūüôā

Looking for Beautiful!

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Today I was at Church and there was reading from St. Paul (to the Philippians if you are wondering) that really touch my heart! So I will quote it for you:

“whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worth praise, think about these things. Keep doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the peace of God will be with you.” Phil 4: 8-9

Wow! What a message. To me, hearing that we are to look for the beauty, joy, and goodness is life is a lesson in letting go. Letting go of fear, of guilt, and of comparisons to others. Good things come from God and we are constantly being blessed with moments of goodness, but so often those moments are swallowed¬†by the fear we encounter in life and online. Do you ever read an article online that just makes you feel like we are all going to die and there is no way you could ever protect your kids? (Yes? Me too! Hello Ebola). When I start to focus on these things, they grow to crazy HUGE worries that start to cripple me. I just want to take my husband and kids, hunker down into a hole, and never leave (kidnapping, sickness, fire, gunmen……the list of worries way too long sometimes). But what does that do for your life, for your faith, for your peace…..NOTHING! When we find something horrible it is crazy easy to hang onto it.

However, I have noticed¬†when we find something amazing and beautiful, we are quick to see it and move on. Why? I know that this is not just me. Take a look at anything in the media. The nurse that adopted the son of her cancer patient and took them both to live with her family while the patient is sick…….beautiful. We heard about her and then she was gone. But the Ebola scare…..while real……is EVERYWHERE and endless. It gets in your head and never goes away. Now every time your kids sniffles, you are certain they are going to die! (Ok maybe not you…..but me maybe)¬†ūüėČ How much would life change if we merely acknowledge the bad things, and focus instead on the good. I am not totally unrealistic. It is good to understand, and analyze the bad things so we can move past them and even end them. It is good to understand the dangers that are there, but there comes a point where those things can be over exploited. Why don’t we hear more¬†about how the doctors are working to find new ways to try and end sickness? Why don’t we hear more¬†about the deeds of the soldiers who are stopping attacks in the Middles East? Why don’t we hear more about the good? And why do we not look for it?

We should and must see the good. We need to find the blessings and joys. Find Honor and Justice and Excellence! What a change we would all feel! I believe that the word in the bible was PEACE. Don’t we all want that? Peace that God is overseeing it all and has his hand in¬†all parts of life. He is protecting and guiding, even through the bad things. When we can look for the beauty, we can better see God and when we see God we can allow ourselves to be free. And with freedom comes peace. We are enough, we are safe in his care, and we are loved. This is the legacy I want to leave my kids. Educations is important, money is necessary, but the knowledge of how to find beauty, to find God, in every part of life is the best thing I can think to pass on to them. I want them to find beauty even in the hardest, most challenging part of life. There is always some tiny scrap of beauty to find, even in the darkest places. So look for those things, think about them, reflect on them and find peace!

What about you? Do you think that good is found everywhere? Is it something we need to focus on more?

Time to Stop Gawking…..Seriously!

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Sometime too much of a good thing is bad and sometimes too much of a bad thing is good! Everything in life is all about balance. Balancing out the good things with the less good things and making it all work out. Sometimes I find that without the proper balance in life, things seem to get really hard……really stressful. And that is something that pulls everything down in your own little world. And when your own little world is a hot mess, everything else seems to be too! The schedule doesn’t work out, the kids seem out of control, and laundry……well it never seems to get done unless someone needs jeans RIGHT NOW! (Not that I have any experience with this at all). It is just so easy to sit. Sit on the computer, sit on our phones, sit in front of the tv…….and all this sitting is good…….but too much is bad. On top of that, when people get stressed they tend to jump into some unhealthy things……..like overeating (again I am sure there is no personal experience here). Sure, this all very old information and pretty common knowledge right? And yet don’t we all keep doing it to a certain extent?

Ok‚Ķ‚Ķmaybe not you, but I do. In fact I am sitting here right now. When did I decide that this is how I wanted to spend my days? Oh it‚Äôs not that I don‚Äôt do anything or that I am somehow not busy, but it seems that I am so busy that sitting feels so good, and I can sit my whole free day away. Yikes! When that happens, I inevitably feel the pull of guilt later in evening of all the things I meant to do or wanted to do but didn‚Äôt. I wanted to clean out that cupboard (you know the one with the containers falling out every time you look at it funny) or I wanted to take a walk with the girls (even if they didn‚Äôt want to go anyway) or even to do that craft project that I found on pintrest that looked amazing (if I am really honest I should do some exercising too). I find so often that I sit. The girls tell me I do it all the time, ‚ÄúMom you are always on the computer‚ÄĚ. And my excuse is that everyone is posting new things and awesome thoughts that I just have to read‚Ķ..but do I really? No (not that all of you bloggers out there aren‚Äôt amazing and totally interesting). When did my happily ever after become reading about someone else‚Äôs?

You see, I love to see what friends are up to, and what insightful post that blogger wrote, and those things are good……but too much of it is bad. Connecting is powerful thing, but only if the connections are personal. Reading about someone’s day or seeing someone’s pictures is fun, but it can only be called connecting when you comment or talk or somehow share your thoughts with the person whose work you are viewing. Otherwise it is just gawking. And unfortunately most of my viewing is that. I don’t comment much (I am lazy people…….seriously! I love you all, but sometimes I am lazy) and I am notorious for following a blogger and never saying a word (and being a blogger I know that this is really rude……even when there is like 100 comments, you still appreciate comment 101). So I am not connecting with the world. I am too busy gawking to connect with my kids. And what does that really give me…….not much. I am becoming a passive observer of life rather than an active participant. Bottom line is that I need to change how I am……no more random sitting and not staying focused (see the post before this one on that) and more real connecting. If you comment, I will answer. I will like photos you post, and share love on posts I read! I will talk to my kids more and watch the computer less. I will make sure that they see me loving and connecting with them. I will get up and be an active part of my happily ever after and a less passive observer of it all! This our one chance to be everything that we want to be, so why waste it all gawking? Connect…..for real time……not just screen time!

What do you think? Weigh in! Is internet making us more or less connected?

Why Stay at Home?

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Today I read a post by Danielle at Today’s the Best Day about being a stay at home mom. She shared her reasons for dropping her career and becoming a stay at home mom. It made me think about why I stay home. Like she says in her post, I HATE the mommmy wars. There is no one¬†right way to parent or live as a family. We are all doing our very best for our kids and my best wont be yours! What we do here, may never work at your house and that is perfect! If we could all do the same thing, then the world would never work at all.¬†For me, I never had a real career and my plan was always to be a stay at home mom. I wanted to see my little people grow from itty bitty babies to the young women they will become. I want to see their happy smiles, their moments of discovery, and to help them through the hard times. I want to laught with them, and cry with them. They are part of me and my husband and I want them to be a part of our life. I even went father with this idea¬†them some people¬†and kept them home to homeschool them. We are now learning together and becoming better people together too. For me it is a blessing to be a mom at home. This is what I remind myself of when the days are hard and the insecurities set it. I am not perfect and they know that! We¬†have times when I feel like I am bombing it pretty badly and that being home doesn’t make me a productive person. I yell and they get snippy with me (and each other). And I feel awful when¬†I spend more time on the computer then I should.¬†But what¬†I am learning is we are working together on this. They see me loose it , but they also see me apologize. We can work on changing tones of voice and the way we respond to each other moment by moment. We work on it all day, not just bit by¬†bit when they get home from school! I am in the thick of it all the time and as my mom always told us, if you cant be nice to everyone a home, you cant be nice to other people! So we work……some days we work harder then others! But we are also happy! Isnt that what life is really truly about though? Living together, working to¬†be better, and learning all the way? It is the thought that keeps me going day by day, and even without a paycheck, I feel like this is a gift I am giving to my girls and to the community. I am giving them a chance to be kind, real, able to think outside of the typical ideas, and to know how to better themselves. It is not an instant process, it is a long one, and I am blessed!

What about you? Do you stay home? Why do you do what you do?

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Fall~ NOW it is pumpkin time!

So here it is! What do you think? Do you like the new blog layout and style? I hope so. My dear brother has been encouraging and helping this along! I am loving the new colors and I hope you do too!

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This week was the long awaited first day of fall. To be honest, it is something that I neither look forward to nor really dread. I love all the seasons and frankly when they are timely they all bring some joy! Who can resist snowflakes falling gently on a hill while you sled and kids covered in piles of auburn leaves? No one, right?! Who can resist Popsicle on a pool filled day or the bright new green of spring leaves in the sun! Each season is awesome……but only when they come in their time. Everything seems to start soon and end sooner then ever! I get especially bugged this time of year. Pumpkin lattes in August……no thank you! I am one who staunchly refuses to make pumpkin treats before fall and to put up my Christmas decorations before December! I will not carve a jack-o-lantern before October and I dont start pulling out green until March. What is the point of rushing things along? After all the feel of the season comes with the actual weather that is part of it! Pumpkin farms when its 80 degrees are not fun! ¬†The beach when it is 50 degrees can be fun(…..but only because I love the water). Its way too cold to enjoy! Rushing things along never really makes them better. You cant force things to make them happen faster…..as much as we (me included) would prefer it. Hmmmm…this is a really important thing. Happy moments, sad moments, and life really, happens only in its time. As much as we try we cannot force it along, we cant. Enjoying your life, your happily ever after starts with loving your daily small moments. If we wish moments¬†away by trying to move life along faster, all we get is a life waiting for happy instead of a life full of happiness! So choose happy and slow down…..after all there will still be pumpkin lattes in November (and I will let ¬†you in on a little secret…….they sell pumpkin all year long at the store, so you can make a sneaky treat in May too! Shhhhhh).

Where was your happy moment today? Was it a pumpkin latte? ūüėČ

Sept. 24, 20141 Sept. 24, 201419(Here is Bunny’s Fall Pumpkin Stand she made to honor the season!)

Parenting in Dark Places

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Things have been quite here because we are frankly not doing anything new or fun or exciting! Bunny is working on her book work, Pup is bopping along with up working on those elusive letter sounds, and I have been taking pictures in an attempt to become a photographer of sorts. But really not much of that is fun, child related blog post material. We are all still up to our thighs (literally) in snow and we cant get out to do much right now! Plus I have been very unmotivated to do fun things. I read a blog post called Parenting from the Dark Pit and oh, did it ring true for me! The author describes barely being able to bit back the loud PG-13 rated comments that she feels like throwing at her kids as they sit in the toys she has already asked them to pick up. And Oh, have I been there! The Dark Pit is a place. It is a place that seems to pop up in my journey here and there and I hate it. In fact I feel rather guilty that I am there. I have amazing kids, a husband whose love and support should win prizes, and really nothing that I should ever complain about. The things that are troubling me are all part of the life I have chosen and the one that makes me happy. But I am coming to realize that happiness comes in many forms and sometimes happiness is the deep calm that is under the raging currant above. Happiness can be a deep layer. Just like love isn’t always warm and fuzzy, sometimes it is just plain challenging and hard. I have been married for almost 9 years and in those years I have learned that love is not a feeling. Sometimes you feel close, in love and romantic, and sometimes you feel like being alone would be the best thing. None of that changes the love. The love is there in the darkest day and the brightest ones even though the feeling ebb and flow like the waves on a beach. Parenting is like that too. No one says that but it really is. Some days your love your darling kids with all the fiber of your being. Each moment in happy and you want to play and sing with them. Someday the sound of their voice will just make you want to hide. I hate to say that but it is true. Almost every mom I have ever met has felt this before. You love them, would die for them, but sometimes you just want the little bits to go away. How mat time do you need to answer that question? Why cant you just tie your own shoe? Your patience gets thin and maybe you yell (I do). It doesn’t help much, but somehow it does. Maybe you stay in this place of chaos held together with love and bits of routine for a while or maybe it is just a day. But, as I have discovered, the lightness appears again. Maybe it is a new routine, or a good long cry, or even a best friend that says the right thing that makes that happen, but I always does. Up and down, up and down, is the name of the game. Dark and light. Each place is a part of the journey and one that you cannot control. Its so easy to say I ill never yell again or I will always use positive parenting to fix what is happening here, but there are no “always” in parenting. The only “always” is the love, short of that anything can change and change it does. The trick is to let it g. Hanging on to the guilt only makes you feel worse and makes the dark darker. This I know. It is the choice to let it go and try some more. Love…..it is the only constant here! Relationships are a two way street. Sometime parenting doesn’t feel like that. We listen to our kids problems, kiss their boos, forgive their mistakes, and help them with anything they need. We do this as automatically as breathing, but sometime they are going to be the ones forgiving, listening, and helping us. And we need to let them. I am not saying dump your problems on them and share your deepest thoughts, merely that you give them a chance to forgive you for your yelling (make sure you ask for it) and let them do those little things that kids can do to make you feel special. Maybe its a note, a gift, a hug, or a snuggle. Whatever it is kids want to be in a relationship that is real. A relationship that is a two way street. Only if we show love even though we want to scream, and only if we ask them to forgive the times we messed up are they going to learn that this is how life is. Life is not perfect. There are no parenting (or life) formulas that will give you the best result all of them time. Sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t, and sometime they only work for a period of time. The trick¬†is not box yourself into one plan, or parenting¬†style.¬†There are no happiness guarantees, but if you have love underneath it all, you can keep going with grace and dignity….or at least with humility when you mess it up good! So here are my prayer for you all in your journey and I ask for yours for me!

My Photo Discoveries

Well we have been a bit under the weather here and that has made our days less then energetic! So this afternoon, with a moments time, I thought I would practice taking pictures from different angles using my zoom and the portrait setting on my camera. With my kiddos sick and sitting (fairly) still, I tried some new techniques out on them! ūüôā I was interested to see the results. I think that I am getting some interesting shots and I look forward to doing more, but maybe when they are feeling better! Poor Babies. Here are some of the pictures¬†I took. None of these have been retouched or fixed in anyway. And also the girls are not looking their best. I swear that hair got brushed and faces got washed even though it doesn’t look like it! Here are the pictures:

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I still have some work to¬†do as you can see! ūüôā But I am hoping to be able to figure out the camera and all the amazing thing its supposed to do!¬†As I took these pictures, I realized something that was just so amazing.¬†Our eyes. We see things in crystal clear,¬†vivid color.¬†And¬†when light, shadows, or objects, get in the way, all we need to do is move and everything¬†come¬†back into perfect focus. When we are taking pictures, we are doing nothing but trying to capture this play of light and color forever!¬†¬†However, to capture the same image as the eye, a good photographer has a camera, several lens, and YEARS of experience! While our eyes just see it! Wow! What a gift and something that is something to pay attention to! How many times do we take the time to see? To see the sparkle in their eyes, the snow on a tree,¬†or the bright colors of the flowers? What sadness to miss these things while being busy with all the random things we make so important! What do you think? Do you take the time to see?

 

Winter Focus

Winter has been a lot of fun here and also a lot of gray. Do you ever find that? It is amazingly beautiful when the snow if falling in delicate unique flakes all around you. The sun that they sparkles on that pristine whiteness is a gift to see. But when that sun shines for while, those beautiful white flakes turn a dirty gray color as the edges of the mud underneath it starts to show through. When that happens, there really isn’t anything outside that is pretty anymore. In fact it amazing how everything looks like it is the same color. Trees, bushes, houses, streets, everything! So how does one avoid depression with all that gray? I honestly don’t know! But today, since it was 45 degrees, and we have had a bit of a cold here, I thought that getting outside might be good for all of us. Guess what? It was! There is something so great about getting outside and in fresh air! I took the girls to the park to play and was hoping to play with my camera to get some¬† fun pictures. But with all the gray, it was hard to find anything that caught my eye. But then I got on the playground with my kids and I found something! Something beautiful, happy, full of life and color. The girls. I know, this is nothing new, but somehow I thought that the winter allowed for a chance to focus on the things that matter most! In the winter, the color of nature is dormant, the fun we have outside is curtailed, and there really is not much to do. But there is family. And winter seems like the perfect time to look away from the dull, gray, lonely outside, and focus inward. Toward the family that lights up our lives, and toward the happy faces that make the snow and the gray glow brilliantly together! Somehow that gray cloud seems to become a pretty silver winter atmosphere, and that brilliant snow, becomes a world of color and joy in the presence of people we love. Perhaps that is the reason for this dull gray season with moments of intense brilliance, is to make us look for the color, the joy, and the beauty in the places closest to us. After all, when we are not looking around us for beauty and entertainment, we are able to see the best things we have in their full color right next to us!

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Happy New Year (and a Blogiversary)!

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Happy Happy New year to you all! Last year was a good one. It had its challenges, but it also had its amazing high points! And here is to a new year filled with much of the same!  And here is to another year of blogging! Can you believe that it has been three years? Three years of sharing, of learning, of memories, and of really amazing friends from around the world! Thank you so very much for reading my thoughts, sharing my dreams, and popping by here to leave comments! All of it means the world to me as I have said before, but I mean it from the bottom of my heart!

Now that we are officially into a new year, it always make me (and most other people) start thinking about what this year is going to be. What are we going to change? What are we going to keep doing? Where do we want to be? How can we make things better? Well that depends on each person, but for me, I think that this year is bit different. I know that I need to loose weight, and I know that we can always use less technology, but honestly, those are the small things. The things that really matter are love, peace, joy, happiness….not my waist line. While I was at mass the other day we talked about being the light of Jesus. This is not a new thought, but it is one that still seemed to really make me think. Light. Light¬†makes us¬†feel safe, confident, happy. The light¬†of the sun¬†can perk up your whole attitude. The light of day makes¬†doing things¬†easier. And light is something that literally filters through everything making¬†everything look clearer. So the question is, can the light of God be seen in me? Are my kids feeling safe, happy, confident, and at peace with me? Is my husband? So this a goal of mine this year. To be light to the people around me!

Another goal, that is slightly less deep, is to start Project Life.¬†I have been scrapbooking since I was really young and it is something that means lot to me. However, keeping up is hard. I still have to finish 2012, all of 2013, and now we are heading in to 2014! Ahhhh!!!!! Project Life is a simple way to scrap as you go through the year. Basically, each week you create a page or a spread of the pictures from the week. Maybe they are the simple ones of the girls playing together or the big moments like vacation. It can have anything that shows your week! Plus you all a little journaling to remember what was going on. Simple….in theory! We shall see. Hopefully I will have a page or two a week for you to see!

Finally, my goal, as always is to encourage happy, creative learning. I love that we have a strong base of work for Bunny, but now I want to be sure that there is some good project work of her choosing to do as well. Pup needs to have a strong base and we need to make her a plan! Learning is fun and it needs to have a great place in our life. That means we are going to make it a bigger priority!

So there you have it! These are a few of my plans for this new year! Now it is your turn. What are your plans, hopes, or dreams for the new year?  It is my hope and prayer that this year is amazing for you in every way too! Happy 2014!

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