Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A little family time at the Georgia Aquarium


Bryan has a great job, but he works long hours. He leaves before the kids are awake for school and he gets home only 2 hours before bed time. It doesn't give us much time to do anything as a family, especially with Church and Girl Scouts taking up some of those nights.
 
This past weekend, Bryan decided we needed some time spent together as a family and he surprised the kids by taking us all to Atlanta to go to the Georgia Aquarium. The kids talked the entire way in about what they hoped to see. Ayla wanted to see a clown fish and the 'Dory' fish. Zach wanted to see a hammerhead shark. Bryan loves otters, so he was looking forward to seeing them. I told the kids how much I like the rays and the sea dragons. Caleb, well Caleb just enjoyed his breakfast from McDs. LOL!
 
When we first got there, we went straight to the AT&T Dolphin Tales show. It was a very good show and it was exciting to see the dolphins perform. Ayla was hoping we would get splashed, but we only got misted by the rain.
 

 
We went through all the exhibits, taking our time and taking photos. I only posted a couple on this post, just to save space...



 
Ayla got to touch a couple rays at this touch pool. Zach got to touch a hammerhead shark! By this point, Caleb was deep in the middle of a power nap. 



 
It was great to see so many amazing animals in one building...

 
And of course, I took photos of both otter exhibits... this is one of the river otters. 

 
We watched the 4D 'Deepo' show. Caleb hated getting wet and curled up in my lap to hide. Ayla was excited that she finally got splashed. LOL. We did stop and get souvenirs in the gift shop before we left.
 
We decided to lunch at Varsity. The kids all got their paper caps. It was a good day spent together as a family!!! I hate that we missed church in order to have a special day together, but since it is the only day that Bryan gets off most of the time, we couldn't help it. We don't get to go away for vacations and rarely have date nights, so I guess this was our little day-vacay for a while... I really enjoyed the day together.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Words

I have a long list of things I could tell you about my childhood to help explain why I am the way that I am, but I don't think now is the right time... Let's just say that I never fit in. I moved around a lot. I escaped from my life by reading - total bookworm right here - and it showed. I was an A+ student for most of my academic years. I was overweight until my freshman year of high school. I had serious self-esteem issues. I made some changes in high school - got contacts, dropped almost 50 pounds, and tried to join activities to make myself more 'acceptable' and outgoing. I found approval and acceptance, at least I thought I did. I still didn't fit in the way others did. Everyone had their clique that they were a part of, except me. I seemed to be a part of a lot of different groups and for some reason, I could cross boundaries that others couldn't. I could be preppy, country, goth, nerd - just about anything - and I could connect with almost anyone... but I still didn't feel like I belonged. I did a lot of things in high school to try and find that feeling, many of which left scars...

I look back now and I understand what I was looking for and why I couldn't find it...

I didn't feel comfortable in my own skin. I didn't feel accepted or truly loved by my peers, although there were times when I convinced myself that I was. Of course, I had friends and my loving mom and sister, but I didn't love myself.

I always compared myself to the girls around me. I was either too tall or not tall enough. Too curvy or curvy in the wrong places. Too smart. I worked too hard. I just wasn't the right kind of girl...

I have even struggled with some of these issues since getting married, having children, and moving to Georgia. I was the transplanted northern cowgirl. With my talents, my college degree, my eclectic fashion sense, and my taste in food/music/books - I just didn't fit in to the 'southern, church-going, housewife' mold... I compared myself to everyone around me and never quite measured up to them...

Until recently. In just the past few months, I have struggled and overcome a lot of those feelings/issues. I realized a few things in the past few months...

1. God made me to be me. Not you. Not that other girl. Not perfect. Not substandard. God made me exactly as He meant for me to be. He knew exactly what traits, talents, and trials I would need to mold me in to the person He wants me to be. If God meant for me to be a 5 foot 5 inch, 115 pound, trim and slim - He would have done that. I am 5 foot 5 inches, but my body carried 3 beautiful and healthy babies to term. My body works tirelessly to care for my family. My children and husband don't care that I don't weigh 115 pounds, so why should I? God made me to be me and I trust in Him to know just how I should be.

2. I have taken a closer look at those people that I compared myself to. You know what I learned? They don't like who they are. They wish they were thinner, or younger, or had less grey hairs. They have insecurities. They have flaws and failures. They are not perfect. So why should I strive to be more like them?

3. People are blessed by my presence. Yeah, I know this one sounds a little highbrow and pompous. What I mean is - there are people who like me for being the nerd that I am. They are touched by the caring acts that I do. They are relieved to have me sit and listen and hug them when they have a hard day. They are thankful for my talents - be it organization, sewing, baking, photography, or education - and they appreciate my willingness to share my skills and knowledge with them. There are people who care about me and love me for who I am. I have had people tell me that they feel comfortable, accepted, and joyful to spend time with me. Why should I want to change that?

I am exactly who My Lord means for me to be. I am no where near where I strive to be, but I am far from the person that I used to be.

I have noticed one very important thing concerning my attitude toward myself and found it worth sharing. It is going to sound very cliché, but I hope you continue to read this - hey, you made it this far!

Words. As a bookworm, I know how much one word can change the meaning of a sentence, or story. The same goes for our lives. One word can ruin a happy mood. One word can damage a hurting heart. One word can leave a lasting scar in someone's life. Why do people say things without really thinking about how their words are going to affect the person they are talking to? Innocent statements can be damaging when said at the wrong time or in the wrong place...

If anyone has read this... if anyone has made it this far... I challenge you. I know most people cannot refrain from the negatives of life. Comments slip. I understand.

Today I challenge you to pin a rose on someone. Actually, pin 3 roses. Choose 3 people, any 3 people, and tell them how wonderful they are. Tell them how important they are to you. Really tell them. Don't just say a few words or a couple sentences... We can say flowing and wonderful things when we lose someone - don't wait for that. Tell 3 people how amazing they are today.

Let's change the way we use our words. Let's lift each other up. Make someone's day amazing, just through your words. Encourage. Inspire. Love.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

As usual...

So, as usual, my intentions to post more regularly were totally thwarted by real life...

Zach had a good 6th birthday.

The kids started school for another year. Zach in 1st and Ayla in 3rd. They are both doing very well, above average. Both were referred to the advanced program, Quest, this year. However, since we decided that we are homeschooling this fall, we chose not to place them.

Bryan got a job with a local union that works on movie and TV sets in Atlanta. It was such a blessing. We were able to get caught up on our bills, celebrate Christmas, and are slowly getting out of debt.

We tried to move to a larger house, but things didn't work out. We will be renting our house again for our 5th year. We decided to buy some new furniture and decorations and to fix the place up and make it nicer and more functional for homeschooling come fall.

In the past few weeks, I started fostering dogs with a friend of mine. I guess it is just another way for me to try and make a difference in this world. I currently have a 3 month old black lab female that we are taking care of until she can be transported up north and try to find a permanent home.

There are so many little things that I could write about... but I can easily say, life is overwhelming me again.

I lost the password to this account a while back and now that I have access again, maybe... just maybe... I can try to type a little here and there...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Updates...

We were able to go to a chiropractor about my back. After x-rays and all the 'bend here' and 'does that hurt', we found out some information about what was going on...

At the bottom of my spine, where my hips are, my spine was out of alignment and leaning left. It was compressing the discs in my spine and causing nerve pain and damage. By the time my spine reaches my neck, I had lost 50% of the curve to my spine. This was causing nerve pain, headaches, and such...

They started treatment and I improved drastically. I was going 3 times a week, but I am now going once a week. I have had little to no back pain and minor shoulder/neck pain. I have had to slow down and stop doing 50thousand things every day. I have to carry a smaller diaper bag and carry it in hand, not on my shoulder. I have to not carry Caleb around as much. (P.S. He is NOT AT ALL HAPPY about that!!!). I just have to be smart and slow and not do as much as I normally do. I also have to use an ice pack regularly to help with the swelling around the nerves.

We also gave up the dog. She has found a wonderful new home. I am still upset about losing her, but at 65 pounds, she was just too big for me to take care of right now. I still get up and feel like I need to feed her or let her out... I know it will pass... It's just going to take a little time. She was by my side through the bed-rest of my last pregnancy. She was a wonderful pet for the 2 years we had her...

I know I need to stick to the Dr's orders and keep on the right path so that I can do what I need to for my family...

Anyhow...

Zach turns 6 years old tomorrow. His party is Saturday. He chose a puppy dog theme.

The two big kids go back to school on August 2nd. That's one week away. Maybe the chaos of life will calm down once we get back on schedule.

Bryan is still looking for another job. I am still selling things online. We are still sinking... I know God will provide before we actually hit bottom, but my type A personality has certainly struggled letting go and letting God handle this financial valley we are in. We have been helped by a few dear sweet friends and we are so blessed to have such wonderful people around us right now. Bryan is waiting to hear from a possible job... just praying and working and waiting...

That's about it, I guess...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

10 year anny - Vow renewal - dream wedding - plans 3 years in the making...

A few years ago I started planning what would have been my 'dream wedding'. We were going to have a vow renewal for our 10 year anniversary coming up in August. Due to a lot of different things, we won't be doing it after all. I had it all planned out though, planned just how I wanted, to the detail... so I figured I'd share... from the beginning to the end.

The invites would have been tan or brown paper, maybe with a cream lace pattern on it mailed out in tan craft paper envelopes. Just something simple inviting our friends and family to celebrate with us.
Like this...
 

The tables would have had cream colored table clothes with a burlap table runner. The plates, cups, and flatware would have been clear plastic. The napkins would have been brown or sage green. The centerpieces would have been split - lanterns, sitting on lace squares, filled with moss and tea lights with moss, pinecones, baby's breath, and acorns scattered around them. The other half of the centerpieces would have been mason jars, with jute and lace wrapped around them, filled with moss and tea lights, sitting on a lace square with moss, acorns, pinecones, and baby's breath around it.





We would have had trees, ferns, plants all over the fireplace.

We would have a food table, drink table, and cake table. They would have all had the same cream/burlap/lace theme. Decorated with moss, rocks, pinecones, acorns, sticks, log slices...




We would have water, tea, lemonade, and coffee for drinks.
I wanted a tiered cake. Vanilla and chocolate layers with buttercream icing. I wanted it decorated like tree stumps/logs stacked on one another... like these





For the food, I wanted simple... like a picnic... sandwiches, rolls, cheese, meats, spreads, crackers, fruits, simple pasta salads or Caesar salads... I would have included smoked salmon, shrimp salad, and cold carrot salad (which my mom used to make) because of what they mean to me...





I also want to have two other cakes on our dessert table - a red velvet and an apple spice cake with caramel frosting - because of what they mean to us... maybe a banana cream pie and a lemon meringue pie too... that's a lot of sweets though...

If we have a ceremony, and I carry flowers - it will just be a mix of fern leaves, baby's breath, and fiddle head ferns.




I would have wore a cream dress - an old prom dress of mine - unless I could get something else. I'd do my hair something like this...



I'd have Ayla in something like these...

 



And all the boys in something like this...


Other neat things that I wanted to incorporate...

 
 Smore Favors?
 
Princess Bride quote - Love it!!!

Arch for vows?

Hangout space outside the fellowship hall

food labels written on log slices

or written on window panes...
 
 
And while I am dreaming... my wedding band no longer fits my finger, it could easily be widened just a bit to fit - or I love these bands, if I was to ever get a new band...
 



I think that pretty much sums it all up... oh, except...

If we have a ceremony, I want to come out to an instrumental version of the song "Storybook Love" from 'The Princess Bride'...

Anyhow... that's how I have it planned... whenever we get around to doing it...

... I hope I had enough photos for ya! LOL!

Zachman!!!



Ayla Bug