Thursday, December 15, 2011

29 Jeans and counting...

Fridays are normally my go to day for getting the house clean for the weekend, laundry gets done, etc. Well today I wanted to get it all done because the plan is tomorrow is cookie making day. So I have cleaned a ton and had the kids bring their laundry down. Easy Peasy right. It has only been 5 days since the last time we did laundry so it can't be that bad right? 


As I sorted the clothes I now got why my hubby is always complaining about how the laundry seems to multiple on us. He told me, when I called him down to look at it, that he normally spends an hour sorting clothes...AN HOUR!

Piles of clothes after only 5 days!! On the right is a stack
of dresses that hadn't even been worn but ended up
in their dirty clothes baskets...somehow!!
I decided this was ridiculous. I called the girls downstairs to see the piles of clothes I had made. Here is the dialog:

Me: How many days in the week are there?
Boo: 7!
Roo: 7.
Loo: (looks at sisters and says quizzically) 7?
Me: How many outfits should you wear a day?
Boo: One.
(they now seem to see where this is going)
Me: How many jeans do you think we have in the jean pile?
Roo: I don't know?
Loo: SIX!!!! 
(oh to see  that pile through a 3 year olds eyes)
Me: Nope! Lets count them!
All: One, two, three...TWENTY NINE!
Me: In five days how did you manage to wear twenty-nine pair of pants? That is like at least almost two pair a day. You also have dresses and skirts here. And I am not even going to count all the shirts in the pink (and redish) pile!!!
(realization that what comes next won't be fun hits the children)
Me: Ok. We can't keep doing this. Each of you are going to have to wash, dry and fold a pile all by yourself!
Kids: YAY!!!

Apparently that was the point...they wanted to do laundry! Ok, maybe not but they were all excited about it. The oldest, Boo, now has her load in and when she swaps it to the dryer, Roo is going to start her load and the Loo! She is the lucky one who gets the smallish load!

We have also decided we are doing one load a day and each family member is responsible for one day...including the three year old! I am sure she will need a helping hand with the detergent but she can start it, transfer to dryer and fold to the best of her ability. 

Oh, and me? Well I get the 29 pair of jeans :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

{Project Life} It's Here!

I have been a scrapbooker for years. When I first really started was when I got married, about 10 years ago. With only a family of two, one of the rooms in our 4 bedroom house became my scrapbook room. I spent hours sometimes tediously working to create the perfect layouts. I had every color eyelet I think that Making Memories sold! I had distressing kits, dyes, sizzix machine and a cricut. I subscribed to Creating Keepsakes magazine and soon felt like I knew people named Lisa, Becky, Heidi and Ali. They were my best friends, or at least my scrapping idols. I had their books and products and loved them!

Fast forward to having kids. I couldn't fit in the time to scrap like I used to and if the pages couldn't be that good then what was the point. Slowly my tools and supplies got packed into boxes and in their place were cribs, toys and kids books. I loved my new life but desperately missed being creative.

In the Summer of 2010 my dear friend Annisa introduced me to digital scrapbooking and I fell in love as many of you know. However,  I wasn't getting the layouts printed and couldn't keep up with just the everyday moments in life. I love digi-scrapping (I now design kits too) but I wanted an easy way to keep up with just the daily life stuff.  It needed to be simple. It couldn't be messy. Had to be affordable.

Remember Becky, my BFF/idol, who I had read and followed in the magazine? She has come out with a incredible way to do just that. It is called Project Life and I have the Amber edition! It is a quick and hassle free way to have an incredible scrapbook. Print photos, pop them in the page protectors, journal on the cute journal blocks she has to match and are on your way.

My boxes arrived tonight from Amazon and I am super excited. Even the boxes look cool to me!

My Album and 
The big box houses the album. I got the amber edition because it was on sale awhile back. Next year I am getting Clementine though :). This is a great album to in that it lays completely flat. I LOVE that!

I currently have only one style of the photo pocket pages (B), but have wish listed many more! She has the most creative pocket pages so you feel like you can have a ton of variety with your "layouts" at the same time!

Remember that  little box in the first picture? Well this is the one I couldn't wait to get! Inside this box lays the secret to the ease and beauty of Project Life.

Top off doesn't it look pretty!
It contains stickers to label pictures or journaling in cleared and colored. It also has bi-fold cards for the days when you have a little more journaling then you thought!

It has a bunch of  4X6 space filler cards that match the kit as well as over 400 journaling cards to put into the journaling pages. They also have cute filler cards and did I mention they all come in amazingly cute boxes! I can so use those afterward for something. I am sure of it!

I am super excited because this is going to produce a great album at the end of the year and it happens to also be easy, straight-forward and in a way that is still super cute! I will try to post pictures randomly throughout the year of my project as it takes shape! So many thanks to my BFF Becky from your BFF that you don't know, Aly!

One last view of awesomeness!
PS. If you want to find out more about Project Life you can also just go to Becky's site! You can also stalk er um follow her on FB!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Lesssons: Gratefulness

This Christmas season has already been a challenge for me. I adore Christmas and all that comes along with it. However I just can't get into it this year. We are somewhere new. No family in the area.  I feel lonely. I don't even want to give my kids presents (at certain moments of the day) as they don't seem to be grateful for the ones they have.

Gratefulness. There is so much in that word that doesn't come naturally for most of us...or at least me. It is one of the things I want to learn the most in my life. I want to be content with what I have and even more then that grateful for it. I don't want to care if we could have something bigger or better or more of  something. I want to be thoroughly happy and enjoy immensely what everything I have. Take nothing for granted.

So today I am choosing to be grateful.
Grateful to have family that loves me and are blessed with homes to keep them warm no matter where those homes are.
Grateful to have children who play with their toys that are littering their floors.
Grateful to have hands that can help them pick them up.
Grateful to have a home that our family can stretch out in and play in and share our love in.

Grateful for what I have.
At this moment.
In my home.
In my heart.

I found this video and just made me really ponder these things. They are grateful for cup of noodles and cards from strangers. Hence a few more things I am grateful for.

Grateful to have the freedom to walk out my door and to a mall and not have to worry about being blown up at a stoplight.
Grateful to be able to worship a Saviour that came to earth freely and with no fear.
Grateful because soldiers through time have spent their Christmas away from families so that I can have these freedoms.

So to these soldiers, on behalf of a grateful heart today, thank you from every corner of my heart!
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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Life Lessons: Teaching how to ride a bike

We watched movie yesterday about people biking down the continental divide from Banff Canada to Mexico. It is an amazing journey that few have tried and even fewer actually finish. Will have to remember to post about it later (if I remember LOL).

Boo, my oldest,  is always inspired by these kind of things and this movie was no exception. I was inundated with questions on if she could do it, how hard is it fix a bike and finally the one I didn't want to hear in December. Can you teach me to ride my bike?

Rewind to our old home. We didn't have a paved driveway. We had one filled with rocks and ruts. So when they tried to ride,  honestly it was just easier with training wheels. We tried once or twice maybe.

Fast Forward to our new home. We now live in a nice development with wide sidewalks and a paved driveway and cul-de-sac's. So I took her out and tried to help her learn. After watching her carefully I realized what her issue was and once I talked with her about it and kept yelling "Keep peddling" "Tell your brain you can" and "Keep your body straight" it was like she just took off.

I took her to a cul-de-sac and decided to video tape her for all to see. She was doing so good going around and around. When I finally got the video tape going she decided apparently to give us a surprise ending :). Enjoy watching it!

So have you ever tried to teach your kids how to ride a bike? How did they do? Any funny stories?


PS. My youngest, Loo, told me she thought I could do the Great Divide trail. Glad she believes in me but don't see that as a journey I would ever want to do!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Been awhile...but I am back!

Sometimes life throws unexpected curveballs at us. After my last post I went to Florida for 5 days for Usborne training with my fabulous friends and fellow teammates. I came back and settled back into life ready to start blogging again and then it hit....that random curveball!

I got in a weird funk....a depressed and anxious state of mind. I prayed, ate better,  started exercising more and tried to figure out what was causing it. Obviously this last year has been very stressful with all the uprooting and changing but it hit me when I felt like I was finally on top of everything. Sure I had started homeschooling and that is kind of tough, but I thought I was the happiest I have ever been. Yet, I would see something random and start crying over the loss of my friends in MD/PA. Take my kids to an event and start tearing up over missing our old church family.

Still not completely sure what was/is going on. I have heard about your body having kind of a letdown affect when things do start to even out. Not sure if that was it. I am still struggling and battling it. But actually admitting that I am struggling with it to myself and my husband has helped me get a hold of it a little more.

I have started reading a great book, Resolution for Women, and the first three days have focuses on being thankful for what we are blessed with and the secret to contentment. This has been so helpful to me. When I start to feel the emotions rise, rather then get mad at my kids, for example, I am trying to stop and think. Will this matter in 5 years or even 5 minutes? How would Christ talk to them? It is helping me slow my quick and often unChristlike response to a more thoughtful approach. They still have consequences but from someone who is calmly informing them of what they are.

I don't know if any of you have ever struggled with these kinds of feelings, but just know that you aren't alone. We all struggle. Sometimes we all put up our brave facades...but that is all they are. Masks so people don't see into our real lives. Just know that admitting to yourself that you are is a huge step towards healing. Being able to admit it to someone close to you is yet another step in that direction.

Just so you know, if you ever need encouragement, you are welcome to write me:


Sunday, September 11, 2011

{Sunday Song} Fall Apart & The Story of our Last Year Part 1

This is the first of my Sunday Song posts. I will be sharing music that has inspired me. It won't just be a song but a post about what this song means to me. This first one is going to be kind of long and the next couple might as well as I am going to recount the story of our last year: My hubby's lay off and God's leading to move our family to Texas! So hit play and read part one of our families story!


Why is it that we seem to so easily give praise to God in the good times? Why is it hard to trust Him when everything seems to be falling apart. This is going to be the first post detailing the amazing changes God has worked in my family, home and my life in the last year.

About a year ago, the Review and Herald Publishing Association, one of our denominations biggest publishing houses announced that they were going to be laying off about 40 people.  Trent had worked there for over 19 years. We played many scenarios out in our heads, some involved Trent being laid off others didn't. We were trying to prep ourselves for what many in America face frequently. We had just enrolled our daughter, Boo, in our church's private school since we got some subsidy and life seemed to be going pretty good.

The next few months are a lesson in learning to trust in God and that He will do anything to save us. But that is getting ahead of myself. Back to the story at hand

We knew the day it was going to happen there was a buzz going around that lay offs were going to start. I remember praying like I hadn't in years that God would spare Trent, asking family to pray for us and what we may have to go through. I never really thought it would happen. I just held out this hope...but God had another plan...something much bigger and larger then our own little imaginings for our future.

I remember clear as day the phone ringing and hearing my husbands voice on the other end.

"They called me upstairs"

We knew immediately what was going to happen. I got off the phone with tears streaming down my face and called my mom. She reminded me not so gently, but lovingly that this wasn't about me and I needed to be strong for my husband. I knew she was right, wiped the tears from my eyes and when he called again told him we were on our way down to help him pack up his office (it was effective immediately). I collected some boxes, grabbed the kids and was out the door.

The rest of the day was kind of a blur...we packed up, picked Boo up a little early since I didn't really want to see people, and headed home. The next morning we woke up together very early and just talked. We both felt really strong moving forward not knowing the road ahead but knowing we were going to just move forward together.

Later that evening, Trent got a call from one of his friends, Mark, who lived in Texas and worked for the Union office. He said he had heard about Trent's lay off and wanted to tell him about a possible job opportunity. He had heard from a secretary who had heard from her brother who had heard from his wife who just happen to be Trent's sister. Apparently Southwestern Adventist University was looking for a person to help start up a graphic design emphasis in their communication department. He wanted to recommend Trent.

Trent has always wanted to teach and this seemed like a dream. He talked to someone a few weeks later, but we didn't really hear back from them for a long time. We were trying not to tell anyone either since we had no idea what was going to happen. During this time Trent took on designing the teen weekly magazine Insight.

In January we decided to go up to Philadelphia for 3 days since I had always wanted to go and you never know if we might move. On the last day while driving around Valley Forge, Trent got a call from the University asking if he would come down for an interview in February for a few days.

Working up to it we went through a ton more scenarios in our head. We knew it wasn't a full time job, so he could probably still do Insight. But we couldn't afford the move and they don't move adjuncts. We didn't want to get to hopeful since we were unsure if he would even be offered the job. He had been disappointed a few other times so we were opptimitically cautious.

The girls and I sent him on his way and this weekend was the start of feeling like my life was falling apart, but really it was just the beginning of understanding who God is and the lengths He will go/allow to let us have faith in Him.

The song selected for this post is a perfect reflection of where I was when I started this journey. I felt pretty ok about my relationship with God, I always wanted something deeper but didn't really know how to get what I wanted. I found out that what Josh Wilson writes is so true:

My whole world is caving in
But I feel You now more than I did then

How can I come to the end of me
And somehow still have all I need
God, I want to know You more
Maybe this is how it starts
I find You when when I fall apart

Part 2 Next Sunday :)

Love, Aly

I remember...

I remember I was sitting at my desk at work.
I remember I had been married for less then 6 months.
I remember that it felt to quiet in the school hallways.
I remember getting up and walking down the hallway.
I remember stopping in the religion room.
I remember the tv being on.
I remember seeing the second plane hit.
I remember calling my husband in shock.
I remember the Pentagon newsflash
I remember the prayer circle outside around the flag pole
I remember hearing about a 4th plan possibly headed to the mountain behind us
I remember the fear that it could hit us
I remember being so happy to be able to hug my husband.
I remember the tears
I remember the fear

and then I remember

  • the patriotism that flooded the nation
  • the pride that looking at our flag could evoke
  • the friendliness that was more apparent on the streets

since then I remember

  • seeing a soldier and telling my kids that is what a hero looks like
  • seeing a soldier and tearfully telling them thanks as the nation forgot to remember and started protesting what was happening.
  • seeing soldiers walk through an airport and the entire place erupting in clapping and tears
  • seeing and knowing soldiers and their families who are still dealing with the repercussion of that day.
To all our military and their families all I can say is Thank You! To the people directly impacted from that day all I can say is I am sorry. To everyone else all I can say is this

I will never forget
I choose to never forget