Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mm Mm, I’d like to linger here...Mm Mm, A little longer here

Mm Mm, I’d like to linger here
Mm Mm, A little longer here
Mm Mm A little longer here with you
Mm Mm, It’s such a special night
Mm Mm, It doesn’t seem quite right
Mm Mm, That it should be my last with you
Mm Mm, And when the winter comes
Mm Mm, I’ll think of you and sigh
Mm Mm, This was good night and not good bye Mm Mm

Those are the words of one of my all time FAVORITE camp songs. I loved when we would sing songs by the camp fire at girl scout camp. We always started with the more fun and silly songs. Yet as it got closer to time to put the fire out and turn in for the night, thing moved to slower songs. I could never put my finger on why it was my favorite song, maybe I just liked the way it sounded. Yet now that I am older I get it. Sure I liked the way it sounded, but the words really summed up how I was feeling. I loved camp. I loved being with friends at camp. And I didn't want it to end. I LOVE CAMP!!

Fast forward many, many, many years. You would be a million more times likely to find me sporting a new purse with some super sassy shoes, than all grubby by a camp fire or hiking. Then  I got the opportunity to work as a day camp counselor at Camp Carter YMCA....It was like a switch went on.  I remembered why I worked so hard to sell a million girl scout cookies to earn all those free weeks at summer camp. I remembered they excitement waiting to see what new adventures would unfold in the "woods."  I remembered the feeling of how when you are at camp you felt like you could do anything, even stuff you would be afraid to try normally.  That summer as a counselor might be one of the greatest summers of my life. 

Alas, I graduated from college and got a big girl job, but my rekindled romance with camp didn't go away. Thankfully I worked for the MS Society who put on a 1 week summer day camp called Journey Camp. I got the opportunity to help take Journey Camp for 5 days held at our office to a full blown day camp out at Camp Carter. After 2 years of Journey Camp I thought I would never be apart of a more special camp experience and not being able to do camp was one of the hardest parts of leaving to go work for the Heart Association. I came to terms with  just enjoying those great memories. 

After a few years those memories became a little less vivid and my burning desire every summer to run off to camp subsided...till now! Journey Camp was amazing, but the last two days of Camp CARE have been beyond anything I could imagine. We have kids whose parents are extremely sick with cancer, kids whose parents are smack dab in the middle of fighting for their lives, kids who live with a sibling who has cancer, and several kids who have lost a parent to cancer very recently (including one whose parent lost their battle within the last 2 weeks.) Most of them could never afford to go to camp because their families are draining their budgets to fight cancer. 

Each day they attend music, art and play therapy sessions as well as doing normal camp activities. Seeing the kids work their emotions out in their sessions (for many this is the first time they have had a chance to try and work out their feelings with someone other than a family member) is inspiring and heart breaking all at the same time. Yet it isn't just the sessions with therapist where the magic happens. Camp is therapeutic in so many ways. As I said before, at camp you can do anything! For a few hours these kids are able to put aside the pain and fear they are dealing with and just be kids!  We are only though day to and I can tell you already that this might be one of the most amazing weeks I will ever experience. 

In the spirit of my craftiness and the tie dying activity I am leading tomorrow I worked up a few "sample" shirts for the kids to look at. A few of us are going to wear one of the samples I tomorrow, but of course just ti dying wasn't enough for me...I rhinestoned mine and glitter a back up for Thursday! Hey I am conquering the world one rhinestone at a time, right??? 

And to close this blog out I want to share a few of my favorite photos for my camp experiences as an "adult" (I am sure I will have several more to add after this week!)

Mm Mm, This was good night and not good bye Mm Mm

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Spring...Err..Summer Reorganization :)

Over the next few weeks I have several projects that I am working on (once again, my headband organizer has been pushed to the side...) While I have several projects going, I can't actually share them with you because they are surprises. But for now I did a little reorganization in the kids/craft room. Nothing major, just a few tweaks to make things I use frequently easier to assess etc.

Shelf and Sitting Area

Work Table/Closet (I need to update the letters on the wall with an F and a G for the boys) 

Craft Closest 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Princess Lala

Anyone who knows me or is friends with me on Facebook, knows about Lauren aka "Lala" and how much I adore this girl. Lauren is the middle daughter of my long time boss and dear friend, Melanie. I remember the pain and agony that came the first time Lauren was diagnosed with cancer in 2008. Not only did she have cancer, but she had a very rare form of  pediatric cancer. I remember the celebration that followed her beating that cancer.  I remember the shock of hearing the cancer had returned at her 3 month check up in March 2009. After several scary months of hard praying Lauren was headed back to college in September 2009 - CANCER FREE!  (if you are interested in reading about her entire journey, Dana, her step dad kept an amazing blog. http://dhwilson2.blogspot.com

Fast forward to April 2011. I still am working for Melanie, just not at American Heart, now at Cancer Care Services. (best decision ever!) It was a seemingly normal day at work, until Melanie asked me to come into Donna's office, where she closed the door behind us. I could see something was wrong as her eyes were red and she was fighting off tears. Lauren hadn't been feeling well and had gone to the clinic at Texas State. They did an x-ray and found a spot. The call Melanie had just received was Lauren asking her to come pick her up in San Marcus to bring her home for a CT Scan. Worse case scenario Lala's cancer was back and this time in her lungs. It broke my heart to see the pain in Melanie's eyes that day, all I could do is cry and pray. 

Within days she was in the ICU, they were saying she would never go home, and that they should notify the family. As a last ditch effort they were going to try radiation and chemo, even though it didn't normally work on this type of cancer.  Yet when Lauren heard she would lose her hair, she said she would rather die than to be bald. Thank goodness for her sweet Prince Dillon who was able to make her see she was is beautiful no matter if she had hair or not, and she agreed to the treatment.  Her breathing kept improving, it was a none stop party in her ICU room with friends and loved ones. And most of all her gorgeous smile never faded. Within a few days she was out of  ICU and on the oncology floor. And in less than a week she is discharged from the hospital all together. 

Lauren's biggest fear was losing her hair and a dear, sweet friend of mine, Jenna, owner of Halo Salon made an offer to help Lauren through this traumatic experience. Several people shaved or cut their hair to support her, Kipper was one of the first and Lauren was there with us. That same night Lala got a rock star make over and we were so honored to be there to experience it with the family. Jenna, Kellen and Rachel at Halo helped make something so life altering a little fun. 

 We all know she has a very long battle ahead. I will keep praying and supporting Lala and the family however I can. And when I get scared for her, I remember the words she told to her mom in the ICU. "I've Got This!!!"

 To follow Lauren's story you can become a part of her facebook group Lala's Soldiers

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hello my name is Allie and I am addicted to headbands and hair bows...

If there was a 12 step program for hair accessories I think Kipper would make me go. At one time he had me count all my headbands and I think it was something like 90. Since then I have lost a few, but gained many. I don't even want to know what the total is now. Yet one thing I do know is I have a MAJOR storage issue.

See what I mean? It has gotten so bad that my one large basket has flowed over to a shoe box. Half the time I forget what I even own because things get buried etc. Bottom line: I need a better storage solution. Stat. 

I remember the old frame that Momma gave me a while back that is just sitting in my bedroom (that I think I actually got from her to do something to cure this exact problem, but apparently lost interest in the idea...) 

So began my research for some inspiration so I can get this project on a roll! Check out what I found! I am excited to get started and to see how it looks in the bathroom.

Stay tuned to see how it turns out......Gulliver seems to be a little concerned about how Mommy's new project is going to turn out! LOL! 

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Big 3-0

Disclaimer: I promise I will get to an actual crafting blog this weekend...but first a look into the crazy things that have been swirling though my head the last few weeks.

I haven't given much thought to my approaching 30th birthday...other than hounding my husband about planning a killer roller skating, 80's themed party to celebrate. Which I quickly decided against after almost killing myself roller skating at the JWC BOD Christmas Party...if you don't count any of that I haven't give it much thought.  Yet the closer Oct 26th gets, the more I am thinking about it. Maybe panicking is a better term.

When you mention turning 30 you get so many responses from people. Anywhere from "I loved turning 30, I finally felt like a grown up!" to " I cried every time I thought about turning 30 " to my favorite "Wait, you are turning 30? Oh honey, if you want to have kids you really need to start thinking about that. It is all down hill from here!"  All these words of wisdom are really what have gotten me thinking about it the last few weeks.

To me 30 seems like that odd in between age where you feel like you don't quite fit in. Maybe that is because even though I am a silly person, I really am an old soul to begin with. On the other hand I think it is because I personally am in a weird place in my life. That sounds really deep and like I am unhappy (which I am not) so let me explain....

As a girl scout in elementary school I was always the top cookie seller in our region. I lived for cookie season. I generally spent 3-4 weeks away form home, at residence camp over the course of each summer. (And yes this was by choice!)

Then I joined the Texas Girl's Choir in 3rd grade. So began 3 day a week rehearsals, touring, being an officer...TGC became my life. By the age of 14 I had traveled to 16 different countries, sang at the white house, held a handful of officer positions, among much more. Because of TGC I was able to experience things most people hope to do in their lifetime before I ever hit high school and these opportunities helped shape me into the person I am today.

By this point in my life I had decided I wanted to compete for Miss Teen Texas. I spent countless hours each week on my platform, volunteering for several organizations and speaking to groups about the importance of volunteerism. This opened the door for so many wonderful opportunities that most people at that age would not get. By the age of 18 I had the opportunity to serve as 1 or 2 minors on an active United Way board as well as not only attend, but be a featured presenter at the Texas Challenge State Volunteerism Conference - twice.

Flash forward a bit - the girl who said she would never get married until she was at least 30 was engaged at 20 and walking down the aisle at 22. (one of my all time best accomplishments on my "bucket list" ) Because of connections I made while competing in Teen and Miss Texas, I was able to secure my first "career" position a semester before I even graduated college.

By the time I am a married, working adult I replaced AXiD with JWC. From the moment I joined JWC, I knew I wanted to direct Spring Show one day. Yet since JWC goes to 40 I didn't expect that it would be anytime soon. Well....I am 29 and have directed Spring Show twice now.  Oh and let's not forget that I wanted to someday give back to Miss Texas by being a director...well we have done that for 3 years now too.

You are probably wondering what all this has to do with me turning 30? I promise it does or at least in my head it does! lol.

I look at my life and feel like God has blessed me with so many amazing opportunities that I wouldn't trade for the world. But as people tell me the best years are still to come I have a flash of panic! How can I top all of this??  Or is it bad that a part of me just wants some time to go with the flow and not try to accomplish anything major? And where the heck do I fit in right now???  It is a struggle to put my feelings about fitting in into words.  It is almost like I am too old to hang out with friends that are early to mid 20's because I am just not hip anymore. Then sometimes I feel like I don't fit in with my older friends. And then there is all my friends who have recently had kids or are expecting....I am the weird girl who has been married almost 8 years with no kids.

The worst part of feeling this way about turning 30? I have the most amazing husband, family, friends and coworkers a girl could ever ask for! God has blessed me in more ways than I can name. And really what is the big difference between 29 and 30? It isn't like I am going to start qualifying for the senior citizens discount a Luby's anytime soon. :)

After writing all this out it is now clear as day to me. I have spent a good part of my life busting my butt to catch all the big waves. While I wouldn't be the woman I am today without those experiences, I think 30 is a time for realignment. My time to let the waves come to me every so often and to just enjoy the view.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Let's get this party started!

Hello my name is Allie and I am a craftaholic. It is my art! It is my therapy! It is a way I can express myself and give to others all at the same time. Even though I have always wanted to do a blog, I have never taken the time. But today that all is about to change!

I have been inspired by my adorable husbands new blogging project, Keep Calm and Snap On, to finally do something that is 100% for ME! Sure I hope others read it and enjoy my projects, but this is a project that I am doing for no one by me, myself and I as a way to journal my art. (Hey, therapy is expensive!) 

To kick things off I am going to start this week by doing a little re-organization in my craft/puppy room. (Yes, I decorated a room for my fur babies. And because Kipper was tired of the living room being by craft room the babies now have to share their room with the crafts!)  

You have to admit the room is rather adorable!! :)