Saturday, August 29, 2015

yellow belts

In July both Matt and Bryce started taekwando!  They both have been having a great time taking classes twice a week and I love watching the classes - they are both learning so much and enjoying it.

In the middle of August they tested for their first belt.  Everyone starts as a white belt, meaning "purity".  They both tested for their yellow belt, meaning "the seed of knowledge".  Bryce tested for his intermediate yellow belt and Matt his solid yellow belt, the youth have an extra step for their belts so they are in the same color for three steps and adults for two steps.

The tests were neat to watch - the families were allowed into the studio to watch and photograph the testing.

Bryce's test was adorable - he did his punches, blocks, a kick, followed new steps, and answered questions.  He knew the information and did the right steps but he chose to switch directions when it wasn't necessary.  He did great during his test and was so proud of himself.  

Matt's test was inspirational, older teenagers and adults were testing for every rank from white to black belt!  The knowledge these people held and were able to give during their tests was amazing!  They did patterns, one steps, sparing, and recited knowledge.  

It was also the first time we watched board breaking.  Board breaking is required for further belt testing but not white and yellow belts, however, Matt also had the opportunity to break a board, something he had not planned on.  He broke the board, and although he tried to contain his excitement, couldn't stop grinning from ear to ear.

A week later both Bryce and Matt had their belt ceremonies to receive their new yellow belts.  Their dojo did a great job at awarding the new belts with ceremonies and putting on the new belts.

Now they are onto learning new steps and patterns!


kerr family reunion

The first week of August our family went to Oak Island, North Carolina with my Dad's side of the family, the Kerr's.  We have been going to Oak Island as a family for many years and this year twenty-seven of the forty-one family members were able to make it!  

We had a wonderful time going to the beach, spending time by the pool, celebrating life events, playing games, and hanging out.  Bryce and Zoey loved all the new playmates and Oliver enjoyed all the attention.  We all enjoyed spending so much great quality time with everyone!

We had a great week and are already looking forward to seeing everyone at the next trip!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

stretch marks

I have often looked at the stretch marks across my stomach in disgust and embarrassment.  You know the marks I am talking about - the deep ones that turn white and make lines up the stomach, the ones that come from pregnancy.  I used to joke that they were my "tree of life" since they appeared during my pregnancy with the twins.
Still, four years later, my stomach isn't firm like the models in swimsuit and underwear displays.  In fact, it is covered in stretch marks, flabby, and wrinkled.  It is far from the definition of ideal or beautiful by any means.  It has been easy to hid it away and be ashamed of those lines and marks.  BUT my stomach did something expanded to carry two of our beautiful babies at once!
Getting pregnant wasn't easy for us.  We endured months and years of blood draws, tests, doctor's visits, ultrasounds, and negative pregnancy tests.  According to the National Infertility Association, 1 in 8  couples face fertility problems, which means 7.4 million women have received infertility services in their lifetime!  (Infertility isn't just a problem for women but the studies show the female statistics in couples.)  Of the couples who seek medical help for fertility, about 65% give birth to a child.  We were given a beautiful gift that over 2 million people don't receive - we got pregnant!
Being pregnant was amazing and I loved every minute of it.  I felt so privileged that my body carried two beautiful lives!  It nourished, protected, and cared for our twins...something I spent many nights praying for and feared would never happen.  During the pregnancy I was so amazed at what my body was doing for our children that I didn't think about the very quickly growing stretch marks!
There are so many women who would give up everything for those lines across their belly if it means they have a baby in their arms!  Why then should I feel ashamed of them, why do I worry about showing my less than perfect stomach, and why aren't the bodies that carried the greatest gift, life, embraced?
As I tried on swim suits last week, after spending a weekend with three beautiful women who were on their own fertility journeys, I looked at my stomach and smiled.  I didn't smile because my stomach is perfect or "swim suit ready" but because I was reminded that my "tree of life" is beautiful and shows the amazing things my body did!  No, my body isn't perfect by society's definition...I still have stretch marks, wrinkles, and loose skin but I had the honor of carrying two of my children in that belly.  That gift is one that so many long and pray for and one that I will never take for granted.  It is a gift I fought for years to be able to do and would be blessed and honored to do again.
I wouldn't trade my stretch marks for the world.  I will continue to smile when I look at my loose, wrinkled, lined stomach and work to embrace the societal "imperfection".  There are so many women who wish they could do the same.  

Sunday, July 12, 2015

fourth of july shirts

I hope everyone has been having a great summer!  Ours has been very busy and full of excitement, as you have probably gathered from our last post.  This month we have been enjoying the warm weather, pool time, and relaxing a bit.  We have really enjoyed not having a full schedule but that will soon pick back up in August!

This year for Independence Day, Bryce and Zoey made their own shirts (and I made one for Oliver)!  They loved every second of being able to make something they would wear.  We started with this tutorial from pinterest:  and white shirts/bodysuit, freezer paper, fabric paint, and our hands!

Like in the tutorial, I cut the freezer paper into stars and ironed it onto the shirts shiny side down (I got a simple star image from google images).  The freezer paper is very easy to peal off later but stays on very well to make the negative space of the star.  I also placed cardboard in the shirt so the paint didn't bleed through but it also made it easier for the kids to "dot" on.

The tutorial recommended using pencil erasers, however we didn't have any and we like a little mess with our projects.  To get the dots, the kids used their pinky fingers!  They enjoyed dotting around the front of the shirts and around the star.  It was just messy enough for them to have a lot of fun!

We let the shirts dry for the time recommended on the paint (ours said three hours) then pealed the freezer paper off.  

After taking the paper off, we left them to dry overnight to ensure all the paint was completely dry before wearing them.

The last step was to wear them and look adorable.

These were such an easy and fun project to do with the kids, they took less than thirty minutes and were quick to clean up.  These could easily be done with any shape and colors for a fun project.  Bryce and Zoey loved wearing the shirts and showing them off at the party we went to!

Enjoy making shirts with your little ones!!!