Wednesday, January 30, 2013

In case you're having one of those days too

Y'all, I've been struggling to write this one post for a super-duper long time. It has been sitting half-finished, as I write it in fits and starts and snippets. Finally, today I sat down to add some pictures and finish it off, and (of course I did!) I somehow deleted the whole thing, never to be found again. Sigh.

I dont have the heart to start the whole thing over right now, so I'm sharing some videos and snapshots of our life instead. Because my kids are cute, and they can usually cheer me up. So just in case you're also having a bad day, please enjoy my adorable children as some cheerful medication. Maybe one day I'll feel up to actually writing something worth reading again, but then again - maybe not.

This first video is from Jayci's ballet class, which she now refuses to go to. Can I tell you how much I love seeing her sweet little focus and attention and hard work? What a cutie. My favorite part, however, is the girl next to her. Hilarious.

ballet - Wi-Fi from Becca Stanley on Vimeo.
One of Caden's favorite things to do is JUMP! He winds up (which involves squatting for so long  that I'm not sure if he is pooping or getting ready to jump), and then throws his hands up and "jumps," without his little feet leaving the floor. Adorable.

jump - Wi-Fi from Becca Stanley on Vimeo.
Our life these days: Zack is staying with us for a few weeks, and his workout routine involves doing push-ups with Jayci on his back every night. She loves it, and typically Caden tries to climb on as well, it's pretty hilarious.
We celebrated our awesome church's 2nd anniversary last week. The boys (and Jayci) were pretty excited about the fried chicken.
I made a fort for Jayci yesterday. Here's my confession in regards to the fort: I only did it because I was hoping she would stay in there and play quietly (without me!) for hours. It did not work out as planned, exactly.
Swinging in the late afternoon sunshine at the park while the boys practice basketball.
 Speaking of basketball, we have been watching a lot of games, and making the boys run, and supervising lots of practices coached by amazing friends who have volunteered their time (and know more about basketball then we do). I will be an expert by the time this is finished.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Updates, and a winner

Not sure how it is possible that we are already three weeks into the new year. Alas, it is true; as evidenced by the fact that I'm ALREADY two weeks behind on my 52 week project. And I already had to resort to using an iphone shot for my 2nd week. I actually TRIED really hard to take this really cool picture, but failed miserably and all the ones I took were out-of-focus and just generally not good at all. Evidence that we all make mistakes, right? And that for every beautiful picture you see on here, I probably took seventy-five NOT beautiful ones to get it.

Anyways, just popping in with a quick life-in-2013 update for the Stanleys. Our basketball teams have started their season (go Anteaters!) Despite devastating losses for both U18 teams last night, the boys were in high spirits and wouldnt stop all-the-talking after the game last night. Adam is making them run tonight, however, as a result of all-the-unruly and all-the-trash-talking.

Side note: I'm pretty head-over-heels for all these boys. Even the worst of them, like this one. He's rotten, I tell you. And I love him.

I also got my Blurb book in the mail. It turned out beautifully and was so fun to see a whole year's worth of growth and crazy and fun in one place. Love.
That said, I'm determined to re-invigorate myself to be creative and work on my 52 week project. Starting now, because weeks 2 and 3 weren't my strongest. Whatevs.
Also, I have about twenty-seven different posts started and half-written and needing picture etc. I'm struggling with a weird case of writers-block or something. Want to read some things I wish I had written (or that I just loved reading)? I added links up on the right hand side of the blog (if you're reading in a reader, you'll have to click over to see them). Also, you could basically read anything that Shannan writes and know that I agree 100% and she said the things I've been trying to articulate, only she said them a million times better and braver than I could.

And this one from Jen Hatmaker. Preach.

Finally (finally!) here's the winner of the fabulous Owl Sign giveaway, selected via Rafflecopter magic, I literally have no idea how it works but it seems random to me :-) Congratulations to Lynn Brown! Erica and/or I will be in touch!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, January 21, 2013

Legacy

Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. 

The house echoes with blessed, if unusual, quiet this morning. No pulsing music blares from passing cars at such an early hour; the wild-haired footie-pajama-clad toddler sleeps in his crib for a morning nap; our teenager (obviously) has yet to emerge from his bedroom this morning, and Jayci has spent the night giggling and talking in bed with her friend Ava (the first of many slumber parties for those two I'm sure). I nearly dont know what to do with all the quiet, first spending a few minutes in the Word, wrapping my hands around a warm cup of coffee, and then pulling out my current book to snuggle with Maverick (our poor neglected puppy with the mohawk hair-cut courtesy of Adam) on the couch under a blanket with the space heater blowing on polka-dotted socked feet.

I'm reading Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn, which is a history of Atlanta following two prominent Atlanta families, one black and one white. My years in school have taught me that history may never be my best subject. Dates and pertinent geographical/timeline/names etc sort of skim past me when I read, so keeping everything straight becomes difficult. I feel differently with this book, however, and I'm finding myself deeply moved as I read. When I recognize the people for whom our streets are named, when I read the variegated history of the neighborhood we call home, dates and locations crystallize more tangibly for me. Isn't that how it usually works though? Things dont matter to us until they have a face? And so tears carve a path down my cheeks as I recognize the paths that were carved by blood running through the very streets we walk on and garden beside. Descriptions of the race riots of the early 1900s include names like Whitehall and Lee, and I am laid low by the legacy of fear and prejudice that led white to turn on black and the lie that we are not the same, to triumph over the truth that no matter who-turns-on-who, the blood that spills runs red.

As the minutes tick by this morning, I begin hearing more signs of life, of a community and neighborhood full of people and work and school and cars. Though today is Martin Luther King Day, so I'm expecting the kiddos to knock on our door any minute, promptly forgetting that it's family day, their own schedule broken by the day off of school. And so today, particularly, I would like to believe that things have been made new (and of course, in many ways they have). To believe that the legacy of one who spoke up for truth has triumphed and his dreams realized. And yet this morning as I pop outside to call Maverick back inside, my eyes are drawn to the faded brown spot next to our carrot-tops and kale, and I am reminded that blood still runs through our streets.

And as long as blood is being spilled, as long as oppression and fear still has any hold over any of our neighbors, I will be a voice for truth. I will break the silence of the night, even if it scares me and even if people would rather not hear that racism and prejudice still exists in our great country. Because there is a boy sleeping in the back bedroom, and kiddos tromping up to the door this very minute, who MATTER. Who have faces and names and red-blood in their veins and a same-ness in their souls, regardless of the color of their skin.

This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation's self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.  

(words in bold are from the Rev. Martin Luther King's Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence)

"Bravery isn’t the absence of fear, but rather the mastery of fear for the sake of something greater."-SheLoves

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Painted Sign Giveaway

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but I have some pretty talented and awesome friends. My friend Erica has a blog called Spoonful of Imagination, and it never, ever ceases to amaze me how creative and artistic and lovely she is. She sees her blog as a place to inspire parents to be the best parents they can be by showing activities and crafts you can do to stay fueled. And she lives this out every day with her three beautiful kiddos. ANYWAYS, enough of my gushing and on-to what y'all are really here for: the giveaway. Erica hand-painted this beautiful sign just for y'all . . . wouldn't it be the perfect addition to a craft room, your nursery, or any room really? In fact, it would look just perfect in Jayci's room . . . hmmm . . . I wonder if rafflecopter will let me enter my own giveaway?

I'll leave this giveaway open for a week, so enter via the handy-dandy-giveaway-widget-thing right below these beautiful pictures of her creation. And dont forget to visit Erica's blog and leave her some love!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 10, 2013

366 in 2012 Wrap-Up, Book, and What's Next?

I spent the majority of the day putting together my 366 project into a book. Unfortunately, it only happened in like five minute chunks while I ran interference for Jayci's bout of terrible behavior, Caden's clingy-ness,  while pondering the impossibility of being a single mom. Kudos to every single momma out there. I literally have no idea how you do it. 

I have been so so excited to see the culmination of a year's worth of pictures in a book, and I decided to order through Blurb again since I had such luck with them last time. In case you were wondering, I think I ended up actually taking about 330 pictures, which considering my track record with keeping up with anything (ahem advent), is pretty-darn-impressive-if-i-do-say-so-myself. For those of you who are wondering, I used the Blurb "book smart" software, which makes putting together your photo book pretty easy; however, I did a lot of "tweaking" and rearranging, which is also allowed so you're not "stuck" with any specific layouts etc. 
Since I am about a month behind on here, I thought I'd do a quick catch-up post. And I'll be sure to share the book when it gets here . . . it is a little nuts, honestly, to see how much my kids have grown in a year (and all the kiddos too . . . when did Zack's mustache get so full?)

   
 
The logical question, of course, is what's next? What will I do for a "photo project" in 2013? I contemplated doing nothing, because exhausting. But then I saw the final product and thought about how cool it will be for Jayci and Caden to be able to look back on a whole year in their lives. . . So, since by the time I even thought about it, I was already 5 days into 2013, I decided to do a picture a week. 52 pictures seems a lot less daunting than 365. So without further ado, here is my first week's picture from 2013! Hooray for new beginnings and taking way too many pictures!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I Heart Faces: Best Faces of 2012

I'm not sure if you know it, but I take a lot of pictures. Like, a lot. So narrowing down and choosing just one picture from 2012 as my "best face" is a daunting task. And of course I think my two little darling children have the most beautiful faces of all, but I actually ended up choosing a picture that was not of my own children for this. See, I did this maternity shoot for my beautiful friend a few months ago (who now has a beautiful baby!) and there was this one picture of her that I just absolutely loved.

So without further ado, my favorite face shot from 2012. For more beautiful faces (as always) visit I Heart Faces.
Photo Challenge Submission

Friday, January 4, 2013

Christmas 2012 in words and pictures

 
This Christmas was beautiful and busy and lovely and crazy, a study in contrasts for sure. We tried really hard to limit the amount of driving all over creation we did on Christmas day, but somehow I still ended the day so exhausted that I fell asleep on the couch at 8:30pm. Party animal, let me tell you.
We kicked off the festivities a few days before Christmas (or possibly a few weeks before) with "Friday night double-features" (so dubbed by Adam), wherein we showed two Christmas movies in our back-yard for neighborhood kiddos (and adults who are kids at heart) every Friday night. We served Adam's delicious and spicy chili, and popcorn and hot chocolate.


Then we brought as many kiddos as we could fit in our cars to camp for Christmas at camp, which is always perfectly lovely - even when it's absolutely freezing outside! We rounded out our pre-Christmas festivities with a big Christmas party for 20+ kids, complete with a Christmas-photo-booth, Christmas karaoke, and a dirty Santa gift exchange. It was super-fun, and I especially loved watching the kiddos fight over the hot cheetos and takis we wrapped up for the gift exchange.

Christmas eve, we delivered the baskets to the cicu, which is always both hard and redemptive for me, particularly as I watched Zack peek through the doors into the cicu and hold Caden close while he tried to squirm down and acted every bit the normal 18 month old boy. I was reminded, once again, of how blessed we were (and are) to be surrounded by a beautiful community of believers and friends who supported us and who helped enable us to love on the families spending Christmas in a really hard place (not to mention all the amazing nurses and doctors). Seriously, we cannot thank you enough.


We hosted Christmas eve dinner at our house this year, particularly helpful in getting rid of leftovers because we always have extra guests popping by for a plate-ful or two. At one point Adam looked at me and told me how much fun he was having (he's an extrovert and people-person to the core) and how grateful he is that we have families who like each other, live near each other, and who support and encourage our crazy little life in the hood. I agreed wholeheartedly, particularly as we opened a plethora of generous gifts and watched family help do the dishes and clean up while we fed neighborhood kiddos and put our own babies into bed.
Christmas morning started when Adam came into our room (where he had sent me with strict instructions not to come out until morning), at about 12:25am and announced that it was Christmas and he wanted to show me my gift. I had been hearing all manner of drilling and hanging and hammering and what-not, so to say I was curious would be an understatement. When I opened our barn door, I saw the most beautiful new light-fixture he had made for me hanging above our dining table. He came up with it, designed it, and created it completely himself. He used 2 old wagon wheels, and old wood from another house in our neighborhood. The thing is HEAVY (forty pounds apparently), and he hung it using cool rope that should hopefully hold it up there securely for a very long time! Are y'all as impressed as I am by the best DIY chandelier ever?! I'll have to have him do a Stanley Man post about how he did it for y'all. You know, since we've been so faithful to do Stanley Man posts and all. New goal for 2013: have Adam post more.
I went back to bed after oohing and aahing over my new light for a few minutes, only to pop crawl out of bed again bright and early to watch our sweet babies play with their new toys and open the one or two gifts we got them (dont worry, they weren't wanting for gifts courtesy of the grandparents). We spent the day eating and laughing and feeling thankful for how many beautiful gifts we have been given, in more ways than one.

And then once Christmas was over, we breathed a great big sigh of relief because we had about three whole days with nothing on the schedule. Regardless of all the busy, life was enjoyable and beautiful and celebratory as we remembered Christ's birth and celebrated his coming.

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