first field trip.

 Last week Moses got to go on his first field trip...the only catch was that I had to go with him...and to do that Aaron had to stay in the backpack per school policy.  Luckily we all managed just fine. :) 
 Moses loved the pumpkins of course...
 And while he loved the hayride...he spent the rest of the day avoiding the tractor.
 The orchard is located on top of a mountain...with a beautiful view.
 We picked apples...
 And got some of the worlds tiniest pumpkins.
 The boys had a great time...even if it did take a couple of days for my back to recover. :)
 It was fun getting to see Moses interact with his teacher and classmates...and to get to chat with his teacher.
 Aaron was asleep before we got down the mountain...
And we made yummy things with the apples that Moses got to pick...you have to try Bakerellas Easy Apple Cake
It was a great first field trip. 

And the winner of the Cutting Edge Stencil is YOU.  If that is you email me your address so I can get your stencil in the mail to you! :)
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yo ho ho...a pirates party for mo.

a pirate party at moses' request...
 At least the cutest pirate I have ever seen...
...who is somehow four (at least he will be on Tuesday).
I made each boy a pirate type shirt...and each got an eye patch and a bandanna.
Pirate cupcakes...
...make a happy pirate.
This one we dubbed yo hoho! :)

We had a treasure map for Captain Stinky Pete (aka Moses)...to lead him to his hidden treasure.
First stop on the treasure hunt...

There was gold along the way to keep him on track.
Found it!
Checking out the loot..."Pirates Booty" popcorn, cars, chalk...
Singing happy birthday...the first time in his life that he didn't plug his ears for it! 
 At one point Moses said "This is the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!"
 Made this mom happy.
Hoho was just pleased to have a cupcake. :)
I really can't believe that he is FOUR.  It seems like just yesterday that we brought him home from the hospital...sat him on the coffee table, still in his carrier...and said "Now what?". 

I'm afraid to blink...time goes by so fast. :)
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be brave-stencil giveaway

Are you ready to be brave? Don't dismiss this giveaway because you think doing the stencil will be hard...because it's as easy as using a paint roller.  I PROMISE you can do it.
I'm giving away the same stencil I used...a new one of course...from Cutting Edge Stencils.
That is how much I love my new wall and how much I believe you can do it.

All you have to do to enter is tell me something great about your life right now...any blessing will do.  Leave your comment on this post and I will choose a winner on Monday! 
 
Good luck! :)  


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contemplating...

...if I have it in me to make another eleven of these for Moses to take to his class for his birthday on TUESDAY!  The pattern is SUPER easy and is from Winter Peach.

P.S.  I'll be doing a stencil giveaway on Friday!  See you then!
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feeling brave.

 While perusing one of my favorite places...etsy...I stumbled upon Cutting Edge Stencils. I was immediately smitten by their enormous selection of HUGE, funky, stencils.  I don't know about you...but when I think of stencils I usually think "country"...or 90's for some reason.  Not the case in the selection of this Etsy shop.  I asked Doug what he thought when he got home...to which he responded "You've already decided haven't you?".  

Well, yes.  And I couldn't wait for my stencil to come in the mail.  But first I had to paint my living room...you know, for a nice new canvas. :) 
 Then it was time to be brave...to trust the vision I had in my head for wall awesomeness.  I turned on Netflix...and about an hour later I fell in love with a wall. 
 Allow me to be a commercial for a moment...only because I LOVED the stencil...it was sturdy...and since I got a little level with my stencil it was EASY.  Their directions were easy to understand and follow, even if you have never stenciled.  The edges were sharp and clear.   And cleaning the stencil-the part I dreaded the most- was as easy as running it under water. 

And the result? 
Stunning...if I do say so myself.  It makes the whole room cozy and warm and beautiful.
  For the color I used some of the "Crystal Aqua" (from Valspar-cause I know I will get asked) to tie it all together. :) I only did the one wall for now...but I am tempted to keep going around. 

Being brave paid off...don't you think? It also added a slew of new projects to my list...new curtains...enormous wall art...etc. :)

Aaaaaand I loved it so much...I am going to give one away soon...stay tuned for your very own opportunity to BE BRAVE. :) 

xo

P.S. Click on the photos for a better view of awesome. :) 
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i did it.

I listed the quilt on ebay.  You can go HERE to bid on it.  Not a thing wrong with...it is lovely and wonderful and freshly washed.  I have a couple of other random things listed as well including our awesome but no longer needed carrier. :) 

Good luck! 
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question...

I'm toying with the idea of listing this quilt on ebay...for no other reason than to fund me making another quilt...one that is more me.  It's good sized...maybe a twinish...not really used...washed and folded. :) I would start the bidding at $75.  So tell me...would anyone be interested should I choose to list it?  Baby not included. :)  
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learning.

I think if you go back to every difficult moment in my life...I think it would punctuated by learning something new.  Ever since I saw THIS NURSERY I have been a little obsessed with the color scheme (can you say next craft room?) and the granny square blanket that is featured in it.  
 My only problem was...I can't couldn't crochet.  But thanks to google, you-tube and netflixed episodes of L.A. Ink...I am proud to say that I CAN crochet.  At least granny squares. :)
 I am still perfecting my technique...via one giant granny square...that will end up as a baby blanket...and probably in the shop...
 It's a very therapautic process...I have a couple more colors to add to the mix but I am very pleased with the results...
In other news...Doug and I have had lots of talks...and we have collectively decided to make moving home our goal.  We know it won't be a fast process...who knows how long it could take for Doug to get transferred...our house to sell...etc.  For now we are focusing on using our energies to make our house as sell ready as possible by tackling all those "when we sell the house" projects.  Tons of things that we wanted to do anyways...only now we are no longer putting them off. 
 One of those projects...if not the first...is giving the kitchen and cabinets a fresh new coat of white paint and then installing knobs and pulls (that I managed to snag on ebay for .99 each!). 

Your prayers would be coveted...and appreciated...we have a long way to get to where we hope the Lord will lead us. 

xo 
 
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a little sunshine.

A little ray of sunshine to break up the mood here. :) 
I finished up my project from THIS post.  
In case you missed it...the smiles are drawn by Moses and embroidered by me. 
I LOVE how it turned out...could not be happier.  And I see more in the future...he just started drawing pirate ships...and flags and all these other fun things that I just know I will want to preserve.
His artwork adds just a little ray of sun...or rainbow...right by the front door.

And because I know I will be asked...the hands print is from HERE.

The other prints are from HERE.
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and...


Sharing here never ceases to amaze me.  Since I began blogging three years ago I have learned that putting myself out there leads to encouragement AND hurt.  Some people get it...some don't.  Some people want to read fluffy, happy, blogs where the sun always shines.  Some, like me, choose to share the good and the bad because that is what I feel is the most encouraging and God honoring thing I can do.  I keep this blog to share, not only with the world but also with my boys...so that they can one day go back to these pages and read about how their mom really was...not how she portrayed herself.  I share the ugly so that when I share the beauty of how God came through...it is all the more awesome.    
If you are coming here thinking I am a constant whiner...you are wrong about me.  If you think I am not thankful for my blessings...you are wrong about me.  If you think that I don't know that I am living a life I don't deserve...that is full and blessed and rich...then you are wrong.  Wrong.  And clearly you have not read this blog long. 
I am also going through a phase that is really painful TO ME.  I get that some may not see living in a city that I dislike as a big deal.  That is awesome for you.  It's painful to me.  I get that others may LOVE this place.  That is OK.  Even if I don't get it.  I know my experiences.  God knows my heart. 

I know that I have tried and worked and pushed myself.  I know that I have gotten up and tried again and again.  I know that not ALL of Charlottesville is the pits.  I have great neighbors next door...while our church is not ideally what I would want, we DO love it...our boys have great Sunday school teachers, Moses has a great preschool, Doug has a great job, I have a great marriage and family.  Yes, I am blessed.  None of that makes what I am dealing with any different or less painful to me. 

 Hurt is hurt and I am hurting.  I am being honest and showing a REAL person here.  A person that is being tried and shaped and cultivated to be something better than she is.  I am SO THANKFUL that God is not content to say I am good enough where I am.  I am grateful for the growth.  I know where I am on my path and my experiences...and I don't for a second pretend to know where others are.  I don't, for a second, want to pretend to have it all together and take away the glory that is God working in my life.

I was just telling Doug that it is amazing to me to be 30 and look back on how dumb I was at 20 and how I can't wait to be 40 and see how far I have come since 30.  And that is so true...and I am thankful in a weird way for the pain...because it means change is happening...and that gives me hope. 

I said in my last post that I didn't really want to move back to where we came from.  And that was true then...but now...not so much.  Not that we would move to the same location and do all the things we did before...but the area is sounding good to me.  And those feelings are a first since we moved here.  

Isn't it human to want to be where your soul is fed? 

I called and talked to my pastor and a friend in Radford...and though the calls were brief and punctuated with tear induced silences...I felt all the things I have been longing for in Charlottesville...being loved...being prayed for...having what I have to offer being wanted...being understood...being authentic...being ME with no facade and no fear of rejection. 

   So, yes, my feelings are valid.  And yes, this is my reality.  I don't think sharing hurt and struggles is pitiful.  I think it opens the doors for God's good to shine through.  

I am thankful for each of you who has commented or emailed...or encouraged and given me hopeful words.  I thank you for understanding that my pain IS real and I thank you for your prayers.  I still have no resolution at the moment, still hurting and crying a lot...still don't know what to do other than turn to Him...and request a lot of prayers from a lot of people...and maybe that is part of the lesson.     
xo
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the post where i whine about charlottesville.


I think I got to the core of my gloom. 
I hate Charlottesville.  Mostly because I feel like it hates me back.

That is the long and short of it.  Ever since we moved here it has been a series of painful events for me.  I feel like I am doing my best to throw things against the wall but nothing sticks. 

We moved here from Radford.  A place where, on every corner was someone we knew.  Someone we went to church with, someone who knew us and loved us.  My pastor was like an adopted father to me...who knew each and every hurt I had and prayed for me on the same level that your best friend would.  I had been at that church since near the beginning and knew most of the souls that came through the door.  Most of them had been in my home...or I had taught in Bible study...or who had taught me.  We were a network of friends and family...a church choosing to build relationships with each other.  There was no end to the people I could call on to help or talk to or be with.  Loving and being loved was easy and effortless...though it still took work.  It was like there was no end to building relationships and there was always room in the circle for more.  It was wonderful.  

Fast forward to Charlottesville.  I have been through a number of churches and Bible studies and mom's groups.  And have nothing to show for it.  I have put myself out there time and again and still have an empty lonely place to call my own.  I have lost the energy to continue to try.  It just hurts TOO much.  I have been told (literally)that what I have is not enough...that there is no time for me...that it just won't work.  Rejection over and over again is painful.    

I was crying talking to Doug about this last night and I gave him this comparison...imagine your blowing bubbles...sometimes you get those bubbles that just stick to each other and build up together and become this huge massive collection of bubbles...still individuals but collectively together...one unit.  That is Radford.  Then you have the other kind of bubbles...the kind that float around alone and when they bump up against each other they pop...unable to group together in a healthy way.  This is Charlottesville.  I can remember the first time I hugged someone here...it was like I passed along the plague...I can vividly remember the look I got.  I have gone from a hugger to a non-hugger.  That is sad to me.      

I have lost my ability to build relationships here.  I have tried and pushed myself and continue to hit wall after wall.  I hate this place and miss (terribly) the place we are from.  I know the answer is not to move back there.  Not that that is even an option, nor something that I would even choose if given the chance.  

I am just at my end.  I am tired of trying and being rejected.  I am tired of not belonging where I live.  I am tired of being at a church where we can come and go unnoticed.  I hate that we are at a church where not everyone knows and loves my kids...which is something we would have had in Radford.  I hate that there is no one here I can call "just because".  I don't know what else to do and I am so. tired. of. trying.  

I long to be part of a community.  A tight knitted one.  Where I am loved and needed.  I am tired of this life in Charlottesville and I am longing for what is next. .   

I also hate that I am not content.  I hate that I am so resentful of the place that Lord has undoubtedly brought me to.  I want to learn the lesson the Lord is trying to teach me here SO I CAN MOVE ON.  I know that sounds ridiculous...but when have you known me to not call it like it is?  This is where I am right now.  This is real and this is my life.  Right now.  

I feel like in Radford I had x but was missing y.  Now I have y and am missing x.  I just want to be where x and y can live together.     
I HAVE however gone from crying "How can I get out of this (here)?" to "Lord, what DO you want me to learn from this?"  I am trying.  I am seeking.  I am still hurting.  I am still knowing that this is part of the process.  That shaping and forming is not meant to be painless. 

I just want to be content.  And done already.

So I am not sure of the point of writing all of this...other than to share and relate.  And document the process so that one day I can look back and say "ahhhh-ha!".  I realize that this may be my most whiny post ever...shining a light on just how pathetic I may be.  But that is OK with me...because at least it's all true and real.  And I am OK with sharing the ugly, lumpy parts of being a chunk of clay that is being sculpted into something better.  

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord,
"Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Jeremiah 29:11
 
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