Monday, June 28, 2010

Everything Is Going Swimmingly

Can you believe that the dreaded first day of the traditional work week has arrived once again?  Yes, it is Monday already.  Surprise!  My day started off swimmingly!  Yes, it's 100% true.  You see, this morning was my sons' last  swimming lesson for the Summer.  Sitting beside the pool and baking in the heat for the past two weeks while my boy swam, left me feeling a bit jealous.  Thankfully, after today's final lesson I was able to join my boys for the open swim pool party!  Nice warm pool water on a sunny summer day felt amazing.  

As our swimming lessons come to a close, I am amazed at how far my boys have come in such a short amount of time.  M removed himself from the steps after 2 days of fear induced sitting.  His instructor was able to bring him out into the water a number of times during those first couple of days, but he was terrified to do much else.  Today, he didn't want to get out of the pool!  He may not be ready to lose the swim training device and kick board, but the tears and nerves have certainly left him.  

O was also very nervous about pool time when he began.  He went from saying "I can't," to saying "watch this!"  Seeing him pick up on the actual swimming strokes and technique leaves me feeling amazed at much he's accomplished.  

My boys lessons of conquering fears and embracing their courage has been a wonderful inspiration to me.  As many of you know, putting yourself in a position where it's sink or swim, fail or succeed, makes you feel very vulnerable.  However, giving up before you try is not a good option.  

With these thoughts running through my mind over the past couple of weeks, I made a decision to step into a role that I've considered for some time.   I'm extremely nervous to fall flat on my face, but who isn't when they are trying something new?  While embracing my ultimate crafter heart, I'm stamping into the roll of a Stampin' Up! demonstrator!

If I'm not suited for this position, I don't know who is.  I love creating cards, scrapbooking, and doing all sorts of different crafts.  As I browse through crafting blogs, I am quick to notice many of the projects I fall in love with are created with Stampin' Up!  products.  They are so versatile and everything coordinates easily.  The best part about it...  it is FUN!  

My Stampin' Up demonstrator website should be up and running soon and you will be able to find the link here on my blog.  I will also update with the information.  In the near future, I am planning on doing workshops, classes, and possibly even oline/video classes.

My dear friend Ally has encouraged me to step into this role for a long time.  Friends and family members have also boosted my confidence and pushed me towards this new adventure.  I can't wait to get started!

Have you taken on anything new lately?  Do you have any big announcements to share?  How is your day stacking up so far?  Are you longing for Friday to make a speedy return?  Do you have a quiet week ahead?  

Are you interested in having a Stampin' Up workshop with your friends and/or family?  Are you interested in taking a traditional/online class with me in the future?  Do you want to get crafty with me?  

Happy Birthday today to my husband Chris!
I love you!  xoxo

I'm looking forward to catching up with all of my blogger friends this week as I check out all the latest posts!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Growing Pains

On Father's Day, my family went to see Toy Story 3.  I promise no spoilers!  A few of my friends who had already seen the movie, suggested that I bring along some tissues.  As Andy is ready to go to college, the concept of the movie is geared towards growing up, letting go, and moving on.

During the previews before the movie began, we heard from creators of the new Toy Story 3 video game.  One of the comments that they made was, "kids are playing less with toys in the ways that we used to."  Imaginative play is less common in today's world, so they created a "toy box" feature on the current game to encourage children to be creative.  While I listened to their statements, I realized how true it is that a lot of kids are letting go of their "plain jane" toys at a younger age in favor of the latest tech savvy device.

Today's kids are expected to act older at a much younger age.  Maybe some of the persuasion comes from adults, but a great deal comes from their peers.  From t-shirts, to lunch boxes, to what they watch on tv and in the movies, there is pressure from classmates to lose the "baby-ish" characters.

Buzz & Woody are loved, but at 7 years old, my young son already feels that kids around him may think it's just for "little kids."  I'm sad that today's children, mine included, are growing up far too quickly.  Andy, who was just a young child in the first two Toy Story films, is all grown up now.  Although he's heading off to college, he held on to some of his favorite toys all of these years because they inspired the character's imagination (and even some of our's).  I'd like to picture my boys holding on to some of the special parts of childhood, just like Andy did.

There's always going to be pressure to fit in, but following your heart and being true to yourself is much more important.  I hope my boys will embrace who they are and what they love... even if it's not the cool thing to do.  Childhood will be gone soon enough, so I don't want them to give it up too quickly.

Have you struggled with seeing your kids grow up?  How young were they when they started to feel the pressure to act older?  Do you think today's kids are acting older earlier?  Any advice for those of us seeing our kids starting to feel the pressure not to be "little" kids anymore?  Have you seen Toy Story 3?  Did you enjoy it?  Did you cry?  

Monday, June 14, 2010

Two Evil Words

My husband and I recently discussed those days when it seems as though nothing is ever going to be easy.  Over the past school year, we've had more than our fair share of them.  Our conversation touched on the feeling that each time we were back on our feet, something pushed us backward and knocked us down again.  We laughed, cried (during some of the moments, not the discussion), and marveled at how much people can endure.

How many of you know someone, friends or family members, who have been through some very big challenges in their lives?  I doubt that any of you are saying, "NOT ME!"  Was it was a battle with cancer, being unemployed, or some other obstacle that they (or you) had to overcome?   What would have happened if they had given up before they started?  How would things have been different if they used those two evil words, "I can't!"

Today as my sons struggled at their first swimming lesson, my youngest said those two evil words.  He was scared and didn't want to try.  His swim instructor, Mrs. M., didn't let him give up.  She pushed him to keep trying.  While my oldest was also a bit frightened, and panicked a couple of times, he was very excited to discover that he could do more than he first imagined. 

Afterwards, with my two boys wrapped in Transformer beach towels, I walked to the car and thought about the challenge placed before my sons.  This experience is more than just a swimming lesson.  For these two young children, they have to overcome their fears so that they may accomplish what they have set out to do.  If they don't find it in themselves to wade into the water, they won't have a chance at their goal.  My boys may not master the sport of swimming during two weeks of lessons, but they will have dipped their feet into the pool as beginners.

I'd be amazed to hear of a person who has gone through this life without feeling frightened.  Being afraid to fail can be disabling, but we don't have to let it be.  Can you imagine what life would be like if people didn't rise above their fears?

What is holding you back today?  Are you afraid of what might happen?  What might not happen?  What fears have you been able to overcome?  What was the result?

Courage is not the absence of fear, 
but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.  
~Ambrose Redmoon

Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly. 
~Robert F. Kennedy

What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?
~Robert H. Schuller

Monday, June 7, 2010

Beware of Mama Bear

When most people describe me, I often hear kind comments.  I've been called a sweetheart, cute, kind, loyal, friendly, and the list goes on.  No, this does not go to my head and I'm not here to toot my own horn.  Rather, I'd like to showcase a different side of me.  Today I present to you, the rarely seen "mama bear."
While I dearly love the fabulous Berenstain Bear family books and tv series, I'm not referring to the lovely and wise matriarch of the family.  I'd like to think I'm both of those things, but that's not what I'm talking about today.  The instinctively protective nature of most mothers can bring out the bear in even the mildest mannered mommy, myself included.
Since I became pregnant with my oldest child, I've been presented with various situations that have brought out the grizzly in me.  If my children are threatened in any way, I can become a ferocious defender.  Yes, every inch of my under 5' frame has the ability to fill with adrenaline as I stand up for my offspring.  I'm not rippling like the Incredible Hulk, but I believe that the love for my boys would make me a strong adversary.
Truth be told, being a mama bear is not about physical strength.  It's about love, heart, determination, and protecting those you love.  The situations that provoke this portion of our personality come in all forms and do not usually result in a physical altercation.  I should clarify here.  Honestly, I've never been in a fight.  In my younger years I stood between people to stop them, but that's as far as it goes for me.  My kids need me to keep them safe in whatever way that applies.  At this stage in their young lives, it is my responsibility (and my husband's) to keep them away from people and out of situations that I feel would be unhealthy for them.  If I didn't do that, what kind of mama bear would I be?
Are you a mama or papa bear?  Do you feel it is your responsibility to protect your child?  Does that mama/papa bear feeling ever go away?  How far would you go to protect your child?

Beware of Mama Bear!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Today Is Not Monday

Wow!  It's not Monday!  The plan was to blog yesterday, but life had it's own ideas.  Beyond the thunderstorms that flashed, boomed, and shook homes, we had a few unexpected items on our to do list.  It involved stripped beds, pillow cases, and couch covers.  We cleaned carpets and used up a can of lysol.  All of this was a result of our oldest son coming down with a case of pink eye!

We had a nice visit with some of our East coast family this past weekend.  It wasn't nearly long enough, but we enjoyed every bit of our time with Grampa & P.  We celebrated my father-in-law & M's birthdays during their stay with us.  The boys had a hard time saying goodbye.

M's birthday is today!  My sweet baby boy is 5 years old!  Time goes by so quickly.  When I think back to the day M was born, I remember anxiety, excitement, and anticipation.  M's birth was scheduled, due to the complications of my previous labor and delivery, so it didn't hold the same amount of surprise as my first.  However, it was the day that my family became complete.  My husband and oldest son were the only ones (besides hospital staff) to hold M before I did.  While I was being stitched up and recovering from surgery, they bonded with M.  I felt so blessed and grateful to hold that little man in my arms for the first time.  I cannot believe how quickly 5 years goes by.  Happy 5th birthday M!  I love you!

It's been a whirlwind in our lives lately.  Birthdays, holidays, illness, end of the school year activities, and the list goes on and on.  As Summer vacation is fast approaching, I've decided to make some blog changes.  From June 1, 2010 through September 2010, I will be blogging once a week on Mondays.  My Monday and Wednesday blog schedule should return to normal in October.  Much like my previous "Holiday Blog hours,"  there may be unpredictable blog posts scattered amongst the Summer days.  Possibly even a craft induced post.

I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.  Thank you to all of our veterans and the families who support them!  *  Happy Birthday to my father-in-law (yesterday)!  Happy Birthday to Diane tomorrow!