Wednesday, April 30, 2014

catch the moment 365: week seventeen

We are getting spoiled with all the wonderful weather we've had. I'm starting to believe wholeheartedly that we're doomed to have crappy weather on the day of Dexter's outdoor birthday party (coming up in a couple weeks!)  Can't control it, so why worry about it right now?  Currently, we're just taking each day for what it is and enjoying the season before hot weather takes over. 

Linking up with Mindi at Simply Stavish, Stephanie at Behind the Camera and Dreaming, and Sarah at Nurse Loves Farmer for week 17 of Catch the Moment 365. It's not too late to jump in!

113/365: April 23rd.  I was floored when I received this sweet card and gift card from the team I work with. I'm not an administrative professional but they wanted to thank me anyway since there's not a "Care Coordinator Day."  YET. Hallmark's workin' on it.

114/365: April 24th. Thursday night date with my friend Brandy at the bowling alley. She smoked me, twice, but I didn't care. We had a blast talking and felt like rebels...sneaking out at 9pm after the kids were in bed. This is how a couple of moms get CRAZY.

115/365: April 25th. A trip to the park in the afternoon. I love the nervous concentration on his face as he navigated across small swaying platforms.

116/365: April 26th.  Another trip to the park on Saturday with a friend. She looks like she's feeling some of that same nervousness as she climbed up a high, curving ladder.

117/365: April 27th.  Sometimes I wonder what they are talking about when they are just out of earshot. Sometimes I don't want to know. I like that they are brothers and buddies and I hope it's always that way.

118/365: April 28th. I bought a giant ham on Saturday and made a few meals out of it. This simple ham pasta was a huge hit! So savory and mmmm...comfort food to the max.

119/365: April 29th.  Hard to believe May is almost month makes a big difference. I'm pretty sure temps were still below freezing a month ago and now everything is blooming and/or turning green. This is my favorite time of year!

The nature / landscape shots are becoming a favorite of mine...I do like day 119 this week! I also love day 117 because this is so typical of the boys these days. They love playing Legos...sometimes they don't always play so well together, but when they do, my heart nearly bursts.  I love that they have each other and that their relationship continues to grow and evolve. 

Which photo is your favorite this week? 


Monday, April 28, 2014

meaningful artwork in our home

In February, Theo's teacher shared the picture below with the caption "Working on the class project" in the school's private Facebook group's newsfeed.  I'm always pleasantly surprised to see Theo's little face pop up in my newsfeed, but this picture is especially cute to me because I love what he is doing. 

His class began working on this in January. Each day when I pick Theo up, he leads me through his Montessori classroom, past the class project ("the globe in sequins"), to show me something he worked on that day. I've been admiring the progression of this neat project for over three months.  Each individual sequin glued on, one by one.  Theo and his classmates collectively have spent countless hours working on this beautiful art project.

Last week, it was announced that this piece of artwork would be up for bid in a silent auction at the school's International Fair.  I immediately looked up that picture of Theo working on the globes.  I forwarded the picture of Theo as well as a photo of the completed, framed piece to my husband, mom, and sister asking "how much is too much?" and "am I crazy for wanting this so bad?"

I have never bid on anything that I cared so much about. I didn't realize that "silent auction" means you write your name and a price on a piece of paper and everyone can see your offer. I thought we just wrote down a price privately and whoever had the highest offer would win. WRONG! It was a little intense and I felt a nervous adrenaline as the end of the auction drew near.  Me and two other people were bidding for the piece.  Part of me felt terribly guilty as I could only assume these other bidders wanted it just as badly as I did.

We bid with just a minute or two remaining and no one else snuck in with another bid. We won. I tried to act cool as a cucumber but inside I was saying Eeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I felt immense relief and guilt at the same time. More than anything, I'm glad to now have this meaningful, beautiful piece of artwork (that my son helped create) to enjoy in our home for years to come!

I'm in love with it. Just disregard the mess.

One of a kind masterpiece.  :) 

Theo asked to hang it in his room but I had to say, "Sorry, Charlie...this belongs to the whole family." I told Ryan I'm all set for Mother's Day this year. No need to shop.

Have you ever had an intense bidding war in person? What did you win? So nerve-wracking!


Sunday, April 27, 2014

spring break catch up

I went through a month-long blog drought during which I only posted my weekly Catch the Moment posts. Part of me feels like Catch the Moment is to blame because I'm posting one photo from every day of my life so it seems that there's not much to talk about that wouldn't be redundant. On the other hand, maybe I wouldn't have blogged anything at all for over a month if it hadn't been for the project. We all get in funks sometimes.  Sometimes I just don't have much to say. Sometimes I'm just not in the mood or get busy with other things.

Theo's school was closed for two weeks for Spring Break and the babysitter was closed for 7 of those 10 days so we had to make some alternate arrangements. Ryan and I took off work the last two days of the first week and surprised the boys with a trip to Big Splash Adventure Indoor Waterpark and Resort.

We went 2 years ago and had a blast. I just remembered leaving that place feeling euphoric, thinking we would go back every few months. Well. Time flies.  We never made it back until this spring and turns out, we were okay with that. I ended up writing a fairly negative review on TripAdvisor. Despite the negatives that were hard to ignore, overall we had fun because the boys loved it.

They were both such big boys going down the slides. Theo was mad that he wasn't tall enough to ride the REALLY big slides.  We were surprised how much they loved the lazy river and how much time they wanted to spend in it. It will be fun to take them to an outdoor waterpark sometime soon.

Scenery on the way home.

Friday night bedtime stories with my boys. 

Saturday we lounged at home and Sunday we went to the Lego store (about 30 minutes away) to let them pick out some new toys with money Grammy had sent early for Easter.

They always cooperate for posed pictures. ALWAYS never.

Monday and Tuesday the boys went to our former babysitter. She was gracious enough to watch them for us and they had a blast. I was worried that it would confuse them and they'd be asking every day why they can't just go back there, but they seem to understand.  

Dexter Jay couldn't even stay awake for the 10 minute drive home on Monday. 

Tuesday we stayed for dinner and the boys had fun continuing their extended play day.

Wednesday morning the boys went to Ryan's parents to spend the rest of the week with Nana, Pop Pop, and cousin Spencer.  I picked up all three boys on Friday afternoon. 

Stopped for pizza on the way home.

Fun driveway play on Saturday.

D tripped over a ball and landed on his nose.  :( 

Sunday was a fun day to go to Monkey Joe's for some bouncing before Spencer headed back home. 

And the next day it was back to the ol' grind. I think the boys had a pretty great Spring Break!  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

catch the moment 365: week sixteen

Week 16: Check!  We've really had a great week. This is, without a doubt, my favorite time of year. I can't help but be in a better mood than usual. Have more energy than usual. Want to be outside ALL.THE.TIME. Enough small talk - on to the pictures!

I'm linking up again this week with the hostesses for Catch the Moment 365, Mindi (Simply Stavish), Sarah (Nurse Loves Farmer), and Stephanie (Behind the Camera and Dreaming).  It's not too late to join in. Do you think you could keep up with taking at least one picture every day for a year?  Hard to believe we are just about a third of the way through already.

106/365: April 16th. Fresh from their first trip to the Barber Shop, I present to you...Theo and Dexter!

 107/365: April 17th. Dexter still loves cruising down the driveway on this baby riding toy. He calls it the Bat-beel. (Bat(mo)bile).

108/365: April 18th. Reading his book upside down on our way to Ohio for Easter weekend.
109/365: April 19th. Celebrating our nephew Spencer's 9th birthday.
110/365: April 20th. Easter!
111/365: April 21st. Stop it, rural Indiana, with your unexpected beauty.
112/365: April 22nd.  No Dexter, you're not supposed to eat the peanut shells. 

All of these pictures make me smile but I have to say that I love day 111 for it's beauty. You can't see all the colors in the sky that I saw that morning, but this roadside scene on my way to work was enough for me to pull over and get out of the car to snap a few pictures.  As much as I hated winter for photography, I'm realizing now that so many of my summer/spring pictures look the same. The boys playing in the yard or driveway.  Oh well! That's our life. 

I'd love your feedback. Which picture above is your favorite? 


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

never too late to say i'm sorry

Was I bullied? Maybe. But not really. I don’t know.

Me, probably my junior year of high school.

I was different. My family was Pentecostal – full blown Pentecostal with the long skirts, long hair, no make up or earrings, the whole kit and caboodle. That’s how I was raised. My parents were strong in their faith and we followed the Pentecostal standards. For the most part, I don’t remember many people being mean to me directly, but at the same time, I didn’t have loads of friends at my public school from age 12 or 13 and up. The friends that I had were outsiders, with the exception of a few. The only thing we all had in common is that we didn’t fit in with the majority of our peers. I was the furthest thing from “popular.” I just wanted to be normal. I wanted to be like every other girl who painted her nails, wore jeans, and had her hair cut into those phenomenal Jennifer Aniston layers. I longed to play sports or an instrument and have some sort of place I fit in. I wanted a boy at school to like me. To ask me to be his girlfriend. Never happened. Not once. I learned to shrink and become invisible. Unnoticeable. To blend in with the background. 

Almost a year ago, I got a private message on Facebook from one of my former middle and high school classmates. She was more than a classmate at one time. In 6th and 7th grade, we were the very best of friends. We shared a seat on the school bus, sleepovers, and secrets. We were inseparable. Two peas in a pod.

Until all the sudden, we just weren't anymore.

 As if it were yesterday, I vividly remember approaching her in the middle school cafeteria to ask if I could sit with her, after feeling an awkward tension between us for a couple of weeks. She told me no, because someone else was going to sit there. I mustered up every ounce of confidence I had and asked, “are you mad at me?” She answered with 7 words that would haunt me for years.

“No. I just don’t like you anymore.”

 Right there in the cafeteria, in front of our peers, my heart broke into a million pieces. If I remember correctly, she had made the cheerleading team and clearly my companionship was easily replaced by a set of newer, cooler friends. I observed from the sidelines as she became more popular throughout the rest of our school years with the “in” crowd. Boyfriends, homecoming dances, prom. All normal things that high schoolers do. I was jealous. Bitter. I was an outcast at school. I’m not saying that I never had fun and never had any other friends. Because I did. I met the girl who is still my best friend when I was in 9th grade. Our friendship has matured and grown with us. 

My best friend Emily (left) and me in 1994.

And in 2013.

But for the most part, high school was not a pleasant time for me. It did nothing to build my confidence, which I continue to struggle with today. I can recall the names of a few popular students who were kind to me. They were few and far between but I remember a handful of specific incidents in which popular girls were nice to me. It made me feel so special at the time. It seems silly now that my self-worth hinged on such seemingly insignificant interactions.

Did I ever tell anyone what happened in the lunch room? No, not until recently. How do you tell your parents, "I feel like a loser, no one thinks I'm cool." I don't know if I could have even put my feelings into words at that time. My social life improved when I made friends at the new Apostolic church our family began attending. There were plenty of teenagers my age and I finally found a social group where I was ordinary instead of odd, but I still struggled to fit in at school.

Last May this girl that rejected me in middle school reached out to me. She said God had spoken to her heart and told her to apologize to me. That she knew she had been cruel and had been using the “kids are mean” excuse to justify her actions so many years ago. That she should have apologized sooner. That she knew she missed out on the blessing of my friendship (her words, not mine). That she made the decision to end our friendship out of selfishness and not as the result of anything I did. That she was so sorry. I sincerely appreciated and accepted her apology with tears in my eyes. And I did it while re-experiencing every emotion I’d known as that timid middle school girl standing in front of her, trying to hold on to my blue divided lunch tray as much as I was trying to hold on to my dignity.

A woman that I met as an adult before we had babies told me today that I was one of the first true friends that she’d ever had because I never hurt or used her or brushed her off like others had. That began a conversation about “kids are mean” and we shared past experiences. How these mean kids turn into adults… some continue to be mean, oblivious to the impact of their actions. Some figure it out and try to make things right. Regardless, we are now becoming the adults who are shaping our world. We talked about how apologies, even years later, are meaningful and a good indication of whether or not people ever truly change.

What I went through was not that severe. I realize teens go through much, much worse. Kids are still mean and, years later, I can still feel that pain and self-doubt if I allow it to creep in. Our experiences, good and bad, shape us into who we become. How we approach life and do our jobs. Parent our kids. Interact with strangers. The thought of my children experiencing that kind of angst breaks my heart, but I know I have to let them feel it. I hope it helps them grow, not shrink. I have to let them accept disappointment as children so they can adapt. Disappointments only get bigger and have deeper consequences as we get older.

I hope they are nice to others. I hope someone remembers them for their kindness one day. And I hope they are humble enough to say they’re sorry for their mistakes when they should.

I said all that to say this: If you feel guilty about the way you treated someone and you've held on to that guilt, the recipient of your actions probably held on to the feelings they had about it too.  Whenever it happened, whatever it was, man (or woman) up and say you're sorry. It’s never too late to apologize.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter 2014

As always, I love looking back at the posts I do annually to see how the boys have changed. So bittersweet to see their baby faces.
Easter 2013
Easter 2012

I can't find a blog post about Easter 2011 when I was 8+ months pregnant with Dexter. I know I have pictures on the external hard drive but don't feel like dragging it out right now. Bummer.

Anyway.  We went to Cincinnati for the dual purposes of celebrating my nephew Spencer's 9th birthday as well as Easter.  The weather was so perfect, I could not have asked for better. My little fall and injury was the only downer to the entire weekend. We enjoyed great family time, amazing food, and the boys weren't half bad considering they were getting no naps and far fewer hours of sleep each night than what they are used to at home.
Just a little light (and upside down) reading on the way to Ohio.

Morning Lego play between cousins. 

Cousin Spencer loves his little pals and he is their hero.

Some sleepy boys in the car.

Playing "which hand is it in" with Uncle Bob.

Little boy in a big world.

Loungin' with pop pop.

Dexter decided to help himself to some frosting when no one was looking.

The birthday boy, in all of his royal silliness.

Easter morning cutie.

Easter bunny popped by!

Eager little boys.

Do you like our audience (in the neighbor's yard)...haha! They love watching the kids have fun.

Anyone that knows me in real life knows I won't shut up about the weather right now. It's my absolute favorite time of year. Did I mention how nice the weather was over the holiday weekend?

After the neighborhood's little egg hunt, we headed back home in time to play outside a little more and grill hotdogs for dinner. Perfect ending to a wonderful weekend!

I hope you and your family had a great weekend too.