Theme Months!

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They’re baaaaaaack!

And we are so stinking excited to start up again.

Life got a little crazy last Fall when Isaiah went to school. His school did their own theme months of sorts, so ours went by the wayside. Sammy was also pretty little at the time.

But now? It’s Summer, and that means it’s the perfect time to start them back up. Plus, Sammy’s the perfect age to participate!

If you are unfamiliar with our theme months, you can read this post and get caught up to speed.

But long story short?

I’m a girl that needs some structure. And I love being creative with my children….in a non-complicated, EASY way. Theme months allow me to do just that.

It’s a home run for all of us. Which leads me to….

SPORTS MONTH! (See what I did there?)

We kicked off our June with a sports-filled Mystery Box.

Just a short recap: At the beginning of each month, I put out a Mystery box (got ours here) filled with clues to what that month’s theme will be. It’s usually filled with items we already have on hand. Sometimes I add a few dollar store finds to get them excited.

When they boys wake up on the first day of the month, they run SCREAMING to the box. It’s pretty epic.

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From that point on, we do one themed activity every weekday (either an activity, craft, or themed meal).

It sounds like a lot, but it’s honestly SO EASY. For example, I didn’t  have anything planned today because I wasn’t feeling well yesterday (P.S. It’s okay to skip a day, life happens!). So on a whim, I said… “Load up the car! We’re going to the Athletic Store!”

And honestly, it was one of our favorite activities to date! We spent so much time wandering around the store, learning about every kind of sport. It was our very own sports crash course.

Other activities take a bit more planning, but I get to pick those days, to make sure it all doesn’t become “too much.”

We’re posting our list a few days late. For those who follow along, SORRY. I’ll always try to post at the first of the month.

But better late than never, right??? At least, that’s what I tell myself.

Anyway, here’s our list for SPORTS MONTH!

1. Play plastic cup golf (use golf clubs to shoot plastic golf balls into plastic cups set up all over the house).

2. Go to a Baseball Game!

3. Make Oreo Baseball Bites.

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4. Go to your local sports store and PLAY.

5. Make a basketball snack.

6. Go swimming.

7. Make football hand prints.

8. Make up your own pep Rally (complete with stuffed animals).

9. Play touch football.

10. Go to a little-league Baseball game!

11. Play toddler tennis.

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12. Play a game of basketball (indoor or outdoor).

13. Learn how to play volleyball.

14. Go bathtub fishing (or real fishing if you can!).

15. Go to your local outdoor track, and let the kids race! 

16. Learn how to play soccer.

17. Go go-cart racing!

18. Play mini-golf.

19. Learn about archery.

20. Go cheer on a 5K or marathon!

 

I also like to throw in a few creative activities of our own, so I’ll be posting those as we go (as time permits).

Until then…

Happy Sports Month, Mommas!

 

Searching for the Sun

Searching For the Sun

It’s been raining for weeks here in Dallas. No, months.

In fact, I just read that in the month of May alone, we’ve had seventeen inches of rain.

And boy, does it feel like it. 

I’m not one for rain to begin with, but rain as a stay-at-home Mom? That’s a special kind of hell. Let me tell you.

There were days I thought I was going crazy. 

And not only has it rained outside, it’s also seemed to rain in my life. Everywhere it possibly could.

I’ve been trying to keep my head above water both literally and figuratively.

I met with a friend a while back, and as I told her about my past few weeks, I lamented about the rain. 

I told her that THIS RAIN, it was affecting me. And not only has it affected my day-to-day routines with the boys, but my mood as well. I wondered how much longer I could take it. I wondered if things would’ve been so rough if the sun had been shining. Probably not. Most definitely not. Maybe I needed a sunlamp. Isn’t that a thing? Are there vitamins for this? I just wish I could see the sun. I need it in my life, I need it to be “me”. I JUST NEED THE SUN, DANGIT!

And then she said it.

You know, Alli, it’s always there. Even if you can’t see it. 

It was one of those “well, crap” moments.

I knew she was right, the second I heard it. And in more ways than one. 

I sat there, surveying these last few weeks, replaying almost instantly the cloudy days in my mind. 

It was there. All along. 

In tickle fights, and family get-togethers. In laughter fits and “leftovers night”. In date night adventures and kissing smushy little cheeks. In learning first words, and jumping in muddy puddles. In wine after bedtime, and hot bubble bath escapes. 

And in little faces. Little smiles and little cries. Little hugs and little goodnights. 

But I was fixated. Fixated on the rain in my life. And because of that, I’d missed the sun…and so much more.

If only I’d been looking through the clouds…I’d have seen that it was there. Shining as brightly as ever.

I committed, in that moment, to do my best to search for the sun every day. And I’m proud to say I’ve seen it ever since.

Even when it’s raining.

In fact, that’s when I see it the most…

Because the harder you have to look, the more of it you see.

True Story.

Such an important lesson.

And one I’ll never forget. Come Rain…

Or shine.

 

Because Life

I haven’t blogged in forever, well, because life. Even as I’m writing this, my toddler is destroying the pantry behind me. True story.

So much is happening around here these days. So much to catch you all up on. And that same “stuff” is what keeps me from sitting down at the computer for days at a time.

WHO THE HECK MADE LIFE SO BUSY? I want to talk to them. Stat. Or at least, write a strongly worded letter.

Anyway, I thought I’d catch you up to speed in one all-or-nothing, random post. Here goes.

Easter came and went, and I didn’t write about it once. Which was hard on me.

I love holidays. And I love blogging about them. You’ve probably gathered that by now.

But sometimes, I just want to be IN the picture instead on the one taking it. Sometimes I want to do the craft WITH my kids instead of art directing it. And sometimes I want to dye Easter eggs like a four-year-old, instead of making the most creative egg possible.

Bottom line: Sometimes I just want to be a part of the moment. Sometimes I want to just DO LIFE instead of document it.

And that’s what I’ve been doing.

I made a conscious decision not to post any of our Easter crafts or activities this year. Will I regret it, for posterity sake? Jury’s still out. But for now, it was definitely the best decision for me.

This blogging world, it can be hard. You love. You do. You share. And pretty soon, you feel obligated to love, do, and share. And that’s not what I want for this little space of mine.

Along the way, I’ve vowed to post what feels right, when it feels right. And that’s the best this Momma can do right now. How does that saying go?

I will hold myself to a standard of grace, NOT PERFECTION.

So in that very spirit, here’s our last MONTH’S (no shame) recap.

We got a lot of snow.

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 And more snow.

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And this Momma had a meltdown of epic proportions. So I took a weekend away. Which is a whole ‘nother post in itself.

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St. Patrick’s Day came and went. So we celebrated.

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And hunted for gold.

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I worked on blogging for other sites. (Did you know that about me? Surprise!)

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We enjoyed a little Spring weather. Finally.

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We had Easter egg dinners. And Flashlight Easter Egg Hunts.

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The Easter Bunny came. Then baskets were destroyed.

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We dyed eggs. And some of us were grumpy about it. (Bad lighting, bad hair, don’t judge.)

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And then Easter morning.  (A shower does wonders, doesn’t it?)

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We celebrated at Grandma and Grandpa B’s. It was our last holiday in the house since they are moving this year. Yep, leaving my childhood home. I can’t deal. It’s a whole thing.

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And now we’re recovering from the weekend, with a candy-hangover and a house full of head colds. Thanks, church nursery, for all that you do. But most specifically…for strengthening our immune systems!

I hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend, wherever you are. Heck, I hope you had a wonderful month! I’ll try to do much better about posting. And in the meantime, if you want to keep up with our shenanigans on a daily basis…follow us on Instagram or Facebook.

Much love to you all!

Meet Lucille (Our Vintage Camper)

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to introduce you to our newest family member.

Everyone…meet Lucille.

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In case you didn’t know (or you don’t follow me on Pinterest)…I’ve had a love for vintage campers ever since I can remember. Heck, I have a love of all things vintage. Period.

But I’m pretty sure I can trace my camper obsession back to this little gem. Tell me you’ve seen it…

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If you haven’t seen The Long, Long Trailer with Lucille Ball…let me tell you, you’re missing out. From the moment I saw it, I just knew I was meant to travel the country in my very own camper, collecting memories. And rocks. (Watch it, and you’ll get it.)

Then I met my adventurous husband. He, too, has a love for travel. And all things vintage. But most importantly…campers.

It was a match made in heaven.

We always knew we wanted to buy one, to renovate and call our own. And when we found this one on our recent trip to Colorado, it was too good to turn down.

We spotted Lucille from the side of the road in New Mexico, and promptly pulled over to inquire about her. We met Leroy, her owner, who gave us a tour and told us all about her.

We drove away that day, vowing to “think about it.” And when we couldn’t get her off our mind, we made the return trip to bring her home.

We’ve got big plans for little Lucille. I can’t wait to fix her up, and style her out. But most importantly, we have big plans for our little family. Adventures we can’t wait to share with our boys. Camping. Traveling the country. Seeing sights that they’d never see flying from here to there.

It’s a lifelong dream, come to fruition.

I just can’t wait for the memories to begin.

A few details for those who are interested:

She’s a 1958 Play-mor. She sleeps 2 adults and 2 kids (one full bed, and one fold out). She’s got a complete kitchen with a dining nook. No bathroom (which we don’t mind–less to clean).

Here are a few “before” pictures. She’s got a long way to go, but we’re confident we can handle it. Projects like this feed our souls.

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The biggest challenge? Definitely the water damage. It’s practically impossible to find a vintage trailer without water damage these days. So when we poked around and realized her’s was contained and fixable, we decided to take it on. Everything else is strictly cosmetic. The electrical is intact. The gas stove is intact. The ice box (yes, icebox!) is intact. We’ve got original hardware and lighting (be still my heart).

I mean…she makes my giddy, y’all.

Now, if only I could fast forward to the design stage. I’ve known what I want her to look like from the moment I saw her. But patience…I hear patience is a virtue (just one I don’t have).

Can’t wait to keep you updated as we go!

 

To The Stay At Home Mom

To The Stay At Home Mom

I’ve been wanting to write you for quite some time, now. To apologize.

You see, I used to be a working Mom. Working day in and day out. Trying to make ends meet. Trying to stay afloat. Trying to do it all, with grace, style and sophistication–all the while feeling like I was falling short.

I was exhausted. Worn thin. And while I loved what I did, my spirit was breaking with every day that passed.

And I’m ashamed to admit it…but I would roll my eyes when I saw you coming.

I’d watch you drop your kids off at school, wearing your workout clothes. Headed to the gym, I would imagine. Probably Yoga or Pilates, with a shopping date to follow.

I’d see you standing in the school hallways, talking up a storm, as I rushed to my office to tackle weeks’ worth of work.

I’d watch you walk to your car with Starbucks in hand, jealous that you had time for a coffee run. I barely had enough time to take a bathroom break.

But I didn’t know…

I didn’t know you wore workout clothes, but never had time to workout.

I didn’t know that you rarely had any time for yourself at all.

I didn’t know that yoga pants were your uniform of choice, simply because they couldn’t be ruined by spit up, spills, or the occasional projectile vomit. I also didn’t know that you often stared longingly into your closet, wondering if you’d ever wear your “nice clothes” again.

I didn’t know that you lingered in the school hallways because you were lonely. Because you had no one to talk to, other than Elmo or DJ Lance.

And that Starbucks Mocha in your hand? I didn’t know that it was crucial to your existence–because you were running on little-to-no sleep. Up all night with two sick kids, with weeks worth of chores still waiting for you to tackle. And no sick days in sight.

Oh…and I didn’t know you didn’t have bathroom breaks, either.

I’m so sorry.

I didn’t know. But now I do.

Because I’m a Stay At Home Mom, two years in. Working day in and day out. Trying to make ends meet. Trying to stay afloat. Trying to do it all with grace, style, and sophistication–all the while feeling like I’m falling short.

I’m exhausted. Worn thin. And while I love what I do, my spirit breaks a little with every day that passes.

I didn’t know that, all this time, we were really just one and the same. That both of our paths are a rewarding, but difficult, existence.

We’re so often put into categories, aren’t we? Working or Non-Working.

But might I suggest that there’s only one?

We’re Moms–no matter the situation, no matter the place. And we’re doing the best that we can for ourselves, our children, and our families.

And maybe, just maybe, we’d all rest a little easier if we really believed it.

Maybe we’d stop comparing our workloads.

Maybe we’d judge a little less, and love a little more.

I didn’t know. But now I do.

There is no greener grass. There is no easier path. And there is no right or wrong.

There’s just us–working day in and day out. Trying to make ends meet. Trying to stay afloat.

And even though we all feel like we are falling short, we’re showing up anyway…and doing our very BEST.

Because we’re Moms.

Indoor Beach Ball Games

Isaiah and Samuel were busy showing their mad beach ball skills over at Modern Parents Messy Kids this weekend.

We came up with several indoor beach ball games to play on those dreaded days when you’re stuck inside. And I have to say, we had such a BLAST doing this post. Much more fun than I ever expected, really. We laughed for hours playing these silly, simple games. And pretty much every day since, Isaiah’s asked to play them again.

Bounce on over and check it out. Especially “blanket ball.” That was boys’ favorite, by far.

Hope your week is off to a fantastic start!

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Happy Valentine’s Day: DIY Tablecloth

Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

Valentines Day: DIY Tablecloth

I successfully surprised the boys this morning with a Valentine’s breakfast. (Fist Bump)

Michael and I are going out this evening, so I thought a morning fiesta would be the perfect way to celebrate this day as a family.

I love making holidays special. It’s kinda my thing. There’s been years I’ve tried to “skip” the magic, when we’ve had a lot going on. And I’ve always regretted it.

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This year, I knew exactly how I wanted to decorate. And when I started looking for the tablecloth, I couldn’t find it anywhere.

So I set out to make my own.

This DIY tablecloth could NOT have turned out any better. It was everything I imagined, and more. And SO STINKIN’ easy.

I just bought a white cotton fabric (enough to cover our round family table) along with a medium point black fabric marker.

Valentines Day: DIY Tablecloth

Then late last night, I started to write. I honestly didn’t even measure the spaces. I just did my best to write in a horizontal line, and made my way up the fabric. The whole project took about 45 minutes, but it was a mindless 45 minutes. In fact, I did it while watching a movie with my love.

I just love the pattern so much. And I still can’t figure out why this fabric doesn’t exist already?!?!

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We had such a wonderful morning. My favorite part was the donuts and milk.

As for the boys? I think the balloons won out, by far.

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I hope you are having a lovely Valentine’s Day, wherever you are. I’ve got a new dress I can’t wait to debut. I’ll be posting pics on Instagram*, because getting all dolled up deserves a picture, right?!? Especially when you’re day job means living in sweatpants.

 

*Do you follow us on Instagram? Oh, please do. It’s my favorite place to connect with you all. I’m losing interest in Facebook so quickly. Just search for @alliaars and meet me there! XOXO