Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Making Art

 Last year I was so organized with activities for Abigail. Each week had a theme (space, insects, dinosaurs, etc), and every day had a craft, activity, sensory bin, and lesson relating to that theme. She loved it! I was careful to never call it "school," "learning," or anything else that might indicate that we were doing anything other than playing (since she'd just finished a little bit of a rough adjustment to kindergarten and had loudly expressed her desire to not do anything school-related all summer). And she loved it.

We're four weeks in to summer so far, and between a week spent at the pool, lake, and beach, a vacation with her parents, and the VBS program last week, this was our first week of having a "normal" week, so when Abby turned to me today and asked, "Are we going to do any of those - those fun things - where we learn stuff?" Well, I was ready! ;)

Since Saturday is July 4th, our crafts this week are patriotic in theme. I've had this craft pinned for a looong time now, and I couldn't wait to try it!

We used four straws instead of six, and lots of colorful (and sparkly!) paint instead of just red, white, and blue, and I love how it turned out. (The only thing I would do differently next time is use black construction paper instead of white. I think the colors would really "pop!")

  

  

 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

More Busy Life Randomizer

- Remember my kitchen window that was leaking? And those thunderstorms that came through? Well, we had another line of them over the weekend and I spent most of it wiping up the water that flooded over the sill. Lovely. One more thing to put on the to-do list (which, honestly, probably won't get touched til August and swim break).

- Tonight was our final VBS drama performance and we nailed it! So proud of my cast. It was a long day for everyone involved (we did lunch together after the morning service, then spent the afternoon blocking entrance/exits and getting the scenery changes figured out, then had just enough time for hair and makeup before the performance). The audience laughed more than they ever have in the past, a couple of us lost our composure one or twice and laughed also (which the audience loved), and all in all, another successful year is in the books. I'm tired. :)

- And I have so much to get caught up on lol... laundry and cleaning the house being at the top of the list. This week ate me alive. 

- I'm hoping that this marks the turning point of the summer, since I have no major projects planned for the rest of the year and no more major commitments. I'm looking forward to a slower pace. It probably won't happen, but it's nice to think about.

- Is anyone else doing any special Fourth of July crafts or projects this week? Abigail and I will be doing this straw firework painting project, making a red, white, and blue (strawberries, blueberries, and cream) icebox cake (I've made it before, sans blueberries, and it is SO GOOD), and finally, we'll be throwing paint-filled balloons to make "splatter" fireworks. ;) I'll also be doing the balloons with the triplets on Friday - I think this qualifies as a messy craft, dontcha think? ;)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Busy Life Randomizer

- There's a really good reason why I haven't posted nearly at all lately: summer is busy. Busy, busy, busy! Somehow I always think of summer as a season with more time and lots of really great little moments to savor. And that's true, but the part I always forget is that, like a goldfish that expands with a bigger bowl, life just gets busier to fill any spare time. Oh, well.

- Some of those moments that I'm savoring lately: swimming with my coaches before class. (We arrive from our various day jobs hot and tired, can barely wait to jump in, and then act like kids until the students begin trickling in. Unlike my regular coaches, who always kept me at a respectful distance no matter what I did, everyone  here seems unfazed by my presence, possibly because they find my boss incredibly intimidating - which I think is just funny - and I look pretty nonthreatening in comparison. Connor is on a quest to be able to balance on as many stacked kickboard as humanly possible - his current record is sixteen. And as of today, there's a little friendly competition to see who can swim the farthest without thing a breath - again, Connor is leading with something like thirty five meters. He's got a wicked dolphin kick). Watching a friend's daughter and former student come in first in her heat at summer swim team (go Lills!). Cuddling up with Abigail on the couch after we come home from VBS, exhausted. Everything coming together in a rare moment of universal kismet for me to take a day off and go on a trip with Cris, Dar, Ruth, and Isaac. Eating fresh mangos cross-legged on the couch after a hot day while the AC cranks out frigid air.

- Some not-so-great moments: getting jumped on by a student - I had a heel mark on my abdomen for a week, but an inch or two higher and she would have broken my rib, so I consider myself lucky - and then getting kicked in the nose tonight by another (everything went black for a second and I almost called over the next coach, but there was no blood, just a suspicious scraping sound, so I'm assuming it's not broken. Again, lucky). The atrocious heat (which, thankfully, seems to be leaving) followed by the huge thunderstorms (which are a bit hard to sleep through when the WHOLE PLACE is shaking), during which I discovered that my kitchen window is leaking like a sieve. Lovely.

- We're wrapping up drama team for another year (last day of VBS is tomorrow, final performance is Sunday) and I'm relishing every moment. Lots of good times, we're all in our groove, and it's just plain fun to work with a group that's been together for five years and has gotten good at what we do. I'm excited about Sunday. And extra excited about having my Sunday afternoons back for long lazy naps when it's over! :)

- Tuesday will mark an entire month of drinking my coffee unsweetened! (Technically I added a packet of Sweet-n-low to a cup last week after I couldn't choke it down black, but I only took one sip afterwards before deciding that the problem wasn't lack of sweetener but crappy coffee, and I threw it out. So I say it stands).

- I am super excited about: going on a late-night girl's date to see Inside Out tomorrow after work. The John Williams concert at the college next week (and fireworks!). Getting to train with my coaches next week. Elena coming home (I MISS her!).  Really excited about starting a new swim year in September (although there's a month of NO swim between now and then, which I'm definitely less excited about).

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Happy Birthdays

It's the first thing I think in the morning when I open my eyes and see the light filtering down from the skylight onto my beautiful gray walls.

It's usually the last thing I think when I return to my bed after the (usually long) day and contemplate the quiet.

I am so blessed.

I am. There's no doubt about it.

My life is full - of really, really good people, of kids (lots of kids!), of joy. I have warmth, protection from the heat and rain and snow, nourishment, a soft bed. The fact that these things are also beautiful and lovely is just grace.

Which is why it breaks my heart a little to remember that on this day a year ago, I struggled to be anything but devastated. I thought that this was probably due, at least in part, to the fact that the previous two weeks had been filled with travel, vacationing, and friends. My birthday neatly coincided with the first day back to "real life" and the inevitable emotional letdown. And I tried hard to convince myself that was the only reason.

I remember that every time I looked in the mirror that day, the gray hairs that had begun to sprout in the past year laughed at me. I don't know why, but they made me feel like a failure - like time was slipping through my fingers and I still hadn't figured out a way to matter. To be worth anything.

It was a complicated time in my life, and I was tired, and a bit conflicted, and months later, I would struggle with God for wisdom, and He would supply it (along with a new level of peace). But on that day, all I felt was sad.

I want to go back and hug that girl, and laugh, and say, "If you thought three gray hairs were bad, wait until you see the 'glitter strands' in your head now. And if you thought gray hair was disaster, now you have wrinkles!"

(They're so obviously formed by smiling, I can't regret them even a little bit. In fact, I'm kind of fond of them. There was a time in my life when I thought I'd never spend enough time smiling to cause wrinkles.)

And I'd want to tell that girl, "In this moment, right now, you have all the pieces of your happiness already. You haven't quite figured out how to put them together yet, but you will. Nothing in your life will change in the next year, except you, but you will be happy. So happy, in fact, that you can't imagine anyone you'd be willing to trade lives with. Don't let people talk you out of your joy."

Happy birthday to that girl. You are blessed. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Monday Morning Randomizer

- I have a week (and weekend!) of staycation that started on Saturday. I am so excited! A chance to putter and accomplish (my to-do list has been crazy-long lately) and relax (I bought myself a floating lounger and I plan to spend at least a good chunk of this week in the pool reading). And it's my birthday week! :) And on Wednesday it worked out perfectly so I could take the day off and

- I bought Abigail an inflatable dolphin for her birthday. I didn't realize it was six feet long.

 Nor did I realize that they also have a whale, a sea turtle, an alligator, a shark, and a stingray.  I'm thinking maybe we need to start a collection! (My seven-year-old self would have LOVED these!)

- I've had a little more time to cook lately, and I'm gravitating back to the paleo-ish  things I ate while doing my Whole30 last year. I'm thinking maybe it's time to do another one. Would doing a second one be harder (because there's no "I have to do it at least once!" feeling to keep me going?) or easier?

- VBS is next week, and the cast is in crunch week. Not really, actually. We're pretty confident (one person said "the most confident we've ever been going in."). I love these folks, and knowing that I might not be able to do this again (if life gets any busier), I've tried to enjoy every last minute of our time together.

- Lately, I'm aware that there is a lot of blue coming into my life. I'm not sure if you'd call it cobalt or royal, but it's been gradually making a presence - a new water bottle, a shirt, a handbag that instantly caught my eye. I've been finding myself drawn to it, almost unwillingly. Not sure what this means. According to some (very shallow) Googling, orange is all about energy and happiness, joy, creativity, enthusiasm, determination, and encouragement. Blue, on the other hand, is depth and stability, trust, wisdom, confidence, faith, truth, and calm. I guess my life has become more ordered, more stable in the last six months or so. Is this a sign of changes to come? (I'm a little apprehensive. I've liked the orange.)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Summer Bucket List 2015

1. Learn to drink my coffee unsweetened
2. Get dressed up for a girl's night out
3. Go see live theater
4. Watch a sunset
5. Do a messy craft
6. Go to the movies
7. Get a new singalong CD for the triplets
8. Go stargazing
9. Spend a day exploring a local history site I've never been to
10. Take the triplets to the pool
11. Buy new sunglasses
12. Leave a really big tip
13. Make treats for the summer coaches
14. Go to a concert
15. Go on a people-watching date
16. Get a new toe ring
17. Take Abby to the Richmond Zoo
18. Save money ;)
19. Make popsicles
20. Tile the kitchen backsplash

Friday, May 29, 2015

Life, Lately

- Now that the produce in the stores looks appealing again (for some reason everything looked really sad this winter, and I was reluctant to spend money on stuff that already looked half-spoiled), fruits and veggies have totally taken over my grocery bill. Last week I found this baby pineapple:


Apparently it has a soft, edible core and is super sweet. I'm looking forward to grilling it! This week the find was tiny bell peppers (about 2"). And strawberries were $1.50 for a big container! I bought two; might be time to make more of the homemade whipped cream I whipped by hand last week and was so proud of. ;)

- My birthday is coming up, it worked out for me to take a day off (from everything but swimming) and I'm trying to decide how I want to spend the day. Spend the day in D.C. in the modern wing of the art museum? Sleep in and putter around working on projects? Spend the day driving around corners of the county I've never seen before? So many choices! :)


- Abigail's last day of school was on Friday, Thursday was the last time I drove her as a first grader, so we did our traditional first-and-last-drive-to-school donut stop. :) I cannot wait for summer to start! So much fun planned and there's never enough time to do all the cool stuff we want to do (but we're sure going to give it our best shot LOL!).


- Last weekend I started my very first batch of ginger ale brewing, yeast, sugar, and all! On Wednesday, Maggie and I tried it, and I loved it; a little sweeter than I prefer, but still good. I'm looking forward to trying another batch soon so I can play with the sugar and ginger proportions.