Saturday, July 12, 2014

Christmas In July

Is anyone else as excited about Christmas in July as I am?? I'm currently obsessed with all the Hallmark Christmas movies on T.V.  I LOVE everything about Christmas!!
Now I can go in several directions in talking about this holiday. The first, being a Believer, is my excitement about celebrating the birth of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I don't want to overshadow the true meaning of Christmas with some of my my secular traditions. But I do have many traditions instilled.
One of my favorite things to do around the holidays is decorate. I don't throw up decorations and a tree in one day.  I love to draw up a plan of which decorations go where and pretty much decorate every flat surface. Pinterest is one of my favorite go-to places to find decorating ideas and crafts to make. This year I want to add more Christmas inspired artwork, ornaments, and throw pillows. 
The advantage of getting the holiday bug in July is that you can start shopping early for supplies when they are on Sale or at least spread spending over a month. That's right, this girl starts the day after Thanksgiving! I'll share more posts on the specific crafts in the upcoming months.
Another benefit to planning for Christmas now is setting aside funds to use for the holidays. Do you throw a holiday party? Have a long gift list? Donate extra to your church or favorite cause? Now is the time, if you haven't already started, to set funds aside with each paycheck or find ways to earn extra income.
My last Chrstmas in July thought is planning to help a child or family in need this upcoming season. Call a local shelter for women and children or non-profit that helps vets.  These places can use extra help too. What items do they recommend? You can grab things at the dollar store (toiletries) or on sale anywhere over these months.
You can be sure I'll have more Holidays posts coming soon!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Time to take a Facebook Hiatus?

Have you ever just wanted to drop Facebook like a bad habit?  Do you feel like you have to scroll though too much drama, negativity, and vague-booking just to see some cute vacation pics of your best friend's family?  Do you post things just to constantly read comments and see who liked your witty post or pics of your dinner plate? If you answered Yes, you might need a little or long break to reset.

I went on my first hiatus this past January. I just wanted to unplug, but I wasn't sure see I could even do it. A friend (ironically on Facebook) posted something she was fasting with church for the month of January. That's when it hit me. I could fast from Facebook for the rest of the month. I was already into the second week and it didn't seem too long to commit to. So I started my hiatus right then and there. Alright, just after I posted to let everyone know I was taking a break.

What happened after, I wasn't expecting.  First I went through withdraw. I found myself constantly thinking "Oh, that would be so funny to post on Facebook!"  I had to reel in that feeling and get past it and it took about a week and a half to 2 weeks.  I couldn't believe how strong of a hold FB had on me for the reaction I was getting from people from my posts. Like just checking to see comments and who liked a post.  Mind you, I didn't even post daily before this hiatus, but I was blown away by its stronghold on me.

One thing I reflected on was my lack of anxiety. I found that what I was reading from many friends' posts was only the best news and worst news. What an emotional roller coaster I was putting myself on in such a short period of time. I truly care about the well-being of my friends and family, but there are other ways of communicating this info with people who can help or listen, not to the masses.

So some benefits I gained from being off the Book of Faces were: more uninterrupted time with my family, a better attitude, more patience, feeling like I'm enough - just as I am - without comparing myself to the facade people were posting of themselves on FB, more time for projects that make me happy (crafts, painting and decorating projects - I'll save my Pinterest obsession for another post), and reading for FUN.

My first hiatus lasted much longer than the rest of January. 2 1/2 weeks turned into 2 1/2 months.  Halfway through May, I started having the feeling again that I needed another break. I waited until the end of school and for a few other events to pass, and started my second hiatus on June 22. My phase of thinking of possible posts went much quicker this time. My clarity has returned along with more drive to accomplish more things. I plan to be off Facebook until school restarts in the Fall.  In the meantime, our family has more things from our "Summer Fun Checklist" to check off.  I hope this has given you some insight and recollection of what life was like before this social media boom!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Summer Fun is Here!!

Every season I love to list out fun things to do as a family. I usually decorate our chalkboard wall with seasonally colorful checkboxes and to-dos. I've seen a few other creative ways of displaying the checklist, whether writing each item on a wooden clothespin and clip around the edge of a sand bucket or even using a plastic hanging shoe organizer and putting each fun idea in its own sleeve. As a working Mom, my creativity feels zapped after coming home from the office so I need to get "the list" out of my head and displayed somewhere as an easy reminder!

I've made my Top 20 List and want to share with you.
- Make ice cream
- Make a mural
- Make concrete stepping stones
- Write letters
- Make a slip'n'slide
- water balloon fight
- Camping
- Fishing
- Canoeing
- Find a waterfall
- Make exploding sidewalk chalk
- Make stenciled t-shirts (blog to follow)
- Tie-dye party
- Have a Lemonade Stand
- Movie party in the backyard (I think the whole 'hood needs to hear the entire Frozen soundtrack sung at the top of little lungs! Scratch that, I know the adults will sing too.)
- Trip to the Zoo
- Go to the lake
- S'mores Night
- Make a movie
- Write a song about our summer fun

We'll be sharing more with you this Summer, especially in the crafty Department.
Now go have FUN!

Friday, July 8, 2011

From the Heart

We've been absent from the blogging world for some time, and have lots to catch you up on. But I'm saving this blog for one purpose, and on purpose only, TO SHARE from my heart! I stopped posting on this blog around the time when we miscarried our baby. It was a very sad and emotional time. I didn't feel very positive, and felt like I was just going through the motions. So I didn't want to blog and 'pretend' to be happy when I wasn't feeling it. Now that I'm in a much better place, I'm ready to share again...
That miscarriage shook me to my core.  3 years later I'm still saddened, crying, and have obviously not come to terms.  It's not something I can just dismiss and say "Oh well!  It wasn't meant to be!".  At the time I mourned the loss of what could have dream of holding another beautiful baby in my womb, in my watch them take their first learn to get married and make me a grandmother.  Children bring SO much joy to me. 
It was also a dragged out process as my hcg (hormone) levels in my blood were roller coastering rather than just diminishing back to nothing.  I had false positives, false hopes that the tests were wrong.  I shut myself off from the world and went inside my sad soul alone.  I would find times to cry alone.  I know Shane was sad about losing the baby too, but we were distracted with exuberant and full-of-life Ben that we just didn't come to terms...together.
One way I'm going to come to terms now, is I'm going to plant a tree our baby's honor.  Something that can live and thrive.  A reminder of how good God is... what His promises are to us... and a reminder that things happen according to His plan.  After all, if I hadn't lost that pregnancy, I wouldn't have my sweet Ruby...
Thank you for letting me share. xox

Monday, November 3, 2008

Trick or Treat '08

We thought we had one more year to toy with before Ben became opinionated enough about wearing a costume, but we were wrong! We got him a Thomas the Train (actually James) costume from Target, and he wore it Friday at school for their Halloween Party, but that was it. Instead of a costume, he wore his Thomas sweatshirt and hat Friday evening. We used to pride ourselves on Ben not eating candy, but that all changed Friday night. It was hard to keep the cauldon out of his reach and accessible to the adults, so he dippped in a few times. Mostly taking out lollipops, unwrapping them, taking one good taste, then handing them off to the closest person to finish.
We pulled our firepit out into the driveway (that is a shoutout to you Lynne and Tripp!), and stayed warm when it got cooler. Our friends, the Mumpower's, came over with Ben's girlfriend, Emily, and helped celebrate. >
Menay, Ampie, and Uncle Taedo (Caleb) came over too. We met some great neighbors, and a few fellow Mountaineers!
The sugar shock was still present througout the rest of the weekend, but that was expected. Now if we could only get used to the time change...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Visit from Gina and Nathan

August was a very busy month. We were excited to get a long weekend visit with Gina and Nathan. Gina is one of my dearest friends, whom I've known since we were in 4th grade together. Gina's son, Nathan, is 5 months older than Ben. They had a blast playing together. We had fun relaxing at the pool, going to the beach, and hitting the water park. The boys played with every single toy in the playroom throughout the course of the weekend. We were sad to see them go, but know they will be back next year for round 3. And we hope to go visit them in PA beforehand.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sometimes one of those forwards grips your heart and makes you speak from yours.

This was written after a forwarded email story really touched me, whether it was true or not.... God touches our lives in ways that we may not ever realize. We’ve been going through a tough time. Have been for over about two years now. Shane has developed a problem with his hip called Osteonechrosis. Minutes before we got his diagnosis, Shane received a call that he lost his job. We could have been really sour at that point. But we had faith that there was something better out there for us. As we waited for Shane to undergo surgery up at Duke, he amazed me. He enrolled in a Real Estate class, passed with flying colors, and landed a real estate job that isn’t normally giving to new agents. His persistence was untouchable. He now works for a wonderful company that is very compassionate about his health concerns. Two Mother’s Days ago, we decided we would put our house on the market and build our dream home. So in June 2007 we signed a contract to build a beautiful home that would be the perfect size for the family we wanted to have. In July 2007 we place our house on the market. Shane’s hip didn’t get better after his hip surgery up at Duke. As the closing date on our house got closer, we got scared that we wouldn’t get our house. Then the best thing happened. We DIDN’T get the new house. We took our house off the market, got our money back on the house we built, and awaited Shane’s next hip surgery in Dec 2007. There would have been no way to afford this new house with the surgery, his time off work, and slow real estate market. God once again looked out for our family and put our best interests first. Things may sometimes look like they are falling apart around you. Like you have no control over what is happening to you. That is because this isn’t YOUR plan. This is His plan. We have realized this, and are rolling with the punches. And they feel so much softer than they used to.
Shane is doing much better after this past surgery. We put our house back on the market Feb 2008 and decided to build a new "dream home". June 10, 2008 we closed on our old house. Funny to say that after 5 years, 112 Droos Way is now in the hands of a great guy and his girlfriend. They are starting out like we did when we moved into that cute little house. Several days later we closed on our new home. It will have all the space we need for now and many years to come. We’ve met our surrounding neighbors already and are excited for this next chapter in our lives. I just wanted to share how thankful we are, and thank all of you for supporting us through our roller coaster journey these past two years. Your prayers and thoughts were heard and felt.
Love always, Hannah, Shane, and Ben