Life | January 20

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21.1.14

andreavictoria-weekendmobile-0120Who doesn’t love a Tuesday-Monday?! The beauty of the Tuesday-Monday is that your weekend included an extra day, and that your week is one day shorter. It also means that I can share these snapshots of our weekend and have it be right on schedule.

I’m a fan of surrounding yourself with pretty things. But when your pretty things smell heavenly, too, it’s a bonus | One of the many lessons life teaches us that is that it’s not fair. That more often than not, horrible things happens to the best people. I have been thinking about that a lot lately | We got to enjoy a championship season | Coffee + donuts and impromptu play dates – the best | I have officially dubbed this past weekend Super Sports Weekend. Two soccer tournament games, 4 basketball tournament games, and our Seattle Seahawks were crown NFC Champions and are heading to Super Bowl XLVIII!

How was your weekend?

 

Choose Love

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20.1.14

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As we recover from an epic weekend (Yeah, Seahawks!), we are reflecting on the life and words of a great man. Choose love, my friends.

 

Thoughts on Parenting | Be A Fan

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15.1.14

We are approaching a special time of year, Isabella and I. In the weeks to come, she will become my little ballet dancing protegé, and I her coach/mentor – we will be become a team.

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We’ve been a team before. We’ve spent countless hours making sure that each foot is turned out correctly, that each tiny toe is pointed to perfection, and that she has memorized all of the fancy French words on her syllabus. Though stressful, and often times full of worry, I have come to look forward to these special moments we have together each and every exam season. The two of us doing something we both love together.

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But this year, I want to be more mindful. We make a good team, this I know from her previous two exams. While I always challenge her, I will challenge myself even further. To be more mindful of my words. To be gentle with my coaching and corrections. Part of this want has to do with the fact that I need to start to let go. After all, I can’t be in the room with her, I am not the one taking the exam. (I have already had that experience.) That I need to start letting her make a few small mistakes of her own, when the stakes aren’t so big or costly. You always want to see your child succeed, for them to know that their hard work has paid off. But sometimes you need to let them fail, that even though they try their hardest and show their best work, it might not be enough. The other part is purely selfish on my end. I want her love to dance to grow and grow. If I am not careful, her love for dance may die. And for me, that is a huge tragedy.

I am just going to be a fan. A fan of the art of dance, and my daughter’s biggest fan.

As I try my hardest to be loving, gentle and kind, my mind wanders to my boys – who are very active in competitive sports. It seems like a stretch comparing a quiet dance studio to a noise filled basketball gym. Or ballet to basketball for that matter. But the same dilemma presents itself. As I sit on the bleachers it is all too easy to get caught up in the emotions of the game – sometimes saying (read yelling) crazy things during games. (I have been known to say some crazy things. We have video evidence, ha.) I have to take a moment to look around and see where I am sitting. I’m not on the bench with the players and coach, I am in the stands – where the fans sit. So that is what I have to be.

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Within all of us lies a coach wanting our children to reach their highest potential. But within us also lies the biggest supporter and fan our children can have. I’m choosing to be a fan. Her #1 fan. Because when I am not busy worried about turn out, perfect posture and pointed toes she seriously takes my breathe away. When I just sit and watch her, she brings a tear to my eyes because watching her dance makes me so happy. And that is what I will tell her. She needs to know.

 

 

Just for Me

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10.1.14

Though they are few and far between, there are moments when all I hear are my own thoughts. Most of the time these thoughts center around my family. Making sure that we are set for the activities of the day. Is it my turn to drive carpool? What are we going to eat for dinner? You know, the things that any mom asks herself countless times throughout the day. But there is time when my thoughts are all my own. It is in these moments that I take the time to examine myself, truly search my own soul, and ask, “How can you be a better wife, mother, friend, creative person?Aside from the kids and Eugene, what makes you happy?  When are you the happiest?”

Learning has always made me happy. For as far back as I can remember, I’ve always been obsessed with anything to do with learning. From devouring Brain Quest educational activity books over the summer, to pretending to be a teacher and torture, I mean, teach my younger brother. My time at the beautiful University of Washington was beautiful and I remember it fondly. It was there that I contemplated continuing my education and pursue a master’s degree. But I was called to learn something else, something that would last much longer than graduate school. I was called to be a wife and mother.

My education in life, love, laughter and patience is far from complete. But I feel like I’ve reached the point where I can shift some of the focus back to me. The dawning of a new year, while depressing to some, is totally inspiring. It’s the perfect time to learn something new. I’m using it as a catalyst for discovering and trying new things – just for me.

I have always thought I would go back to school after my babies were in school. While waiting for my babies to get to that stage, I taught myself how to make pretty things with a computer. A love for making these pretties was born, and from there it is still hard for me to believe what happened next. It has taken me to so many awesome places. Allowed me to meet and connect with so many awesome people. It has brought so many amazing opportunities my way. Because of this, I have been able to be home with my babies. To watch them grow, watch their every success; though there haven’t been many major ones, their every misstep, all the while making a career for myself. But now I think it’s time that I take myself back to school – sort of.

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I’ve been eyeing Skillshare for quite some time now. Even wish-listing a few classes. What better time than the beginning of the year to try something new? So I did it, I took a class. Dallas Shaw’s class combines two of the things that I’ve been wanting to learn – fashion illustration and working with watercolor.

 

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I am used to drawing flowers and creating patterns on a daily basis. But drawing people, completely foreign to me. Aside from the time in art class where we had to draw a portrait of our partner, I walked away with a beautiful portrait of myself. Wish I could say the same for my partner, ha!

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But Dallas made the process easy and fun. She walks you through sketching, applying color and finalizing your illustration – even sharing her favorite tools and offering great advice when working with clients.
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I am far from being able to call myself a fashion illustrator. But I learned something new. Something that I can turn to when I feel like I am stuck in rut in the creativity department. (Which really stinks when your job requires you to be creative.)  Something that I can come back to when I have another quiet moment to myself.

 

 

A New Year of Contradictions

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06.1.14

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Just like that, a new year has begun. No more staying up way too late and sleeping in until almost noon. No more lazy days spent in our pajamas. No more special days spent with our loved ones and friends. I thought that all of that fun and merry-making would give us a hard time today. But I am very happy to report that all 4 of the Victoria kids woke up easily (except for sleepy headed Eleanor) and were at school earlier than usual – high-five! (Hopefully I didn’t jinx my self for the rest of the year, ha!)

Each January we are gifted a blank slate. The mistakes of the past are wiped away. You are free to forge a new path to whatever your heart desires in the new year. You are the artist and architect of the days that lay ahead of you. From the things you can control, to those unforeseen bumps along the way.

For me, this year is going to be a tale of contradictions. I want to continue to be generous and giving of myself. Yet, at the same time, be more selfish with myself – doing more things that make me happy and fuel my soul. Allowing more time for just me. To become more, while becoming less. Hoping to have a healthy and fit year and finally maintaining an ideal size. To teach my children lessons, while allowing their journey to teach me more about life, love and parenthood. To hold on to these same children, and slowly loosen my grip when they need me to.

I hope to be able to come away from this year knowing how to walk that delicate balance.

What are your hopes and dreams for the year to come?

Krafty Fun with The Land of Nod

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03.1.14

Remember how I teased you guys about the event I hosted at The Land of Nod? Well, it’s about time I shared the details!

The Land of Nod is one of my family’s favorite places to not only shop and hang out, but to also be inspired. A single trip always leaves us, well maybe only the ladies in our family, dreaming of our dream bedrooms. I say we because the furnishing you find appeal to both the young and the young at heart. You will find pieces that will really grow with your children – en trend, yet classy enough to use in a ‘big kids’ room (aka grown up room).

Now back to the craft.

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Isn’t it crazy how you can be so excited about something, but yet, be so consumed with fear at the same time. The days and weeks leading up to the event left me a huge ball of nerves. Would the craft be too difficult? What if no one showed up? Or worse, what if I ran out of supplies? These thoughts were all silly really. Silly because everything went perfectly – better than I could have imagined!

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We made yarn wrapped kraft letters. The Land of Nod was super generous and provided the letters and everything else needed to have a wonderful time and create something special.

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While I worried that the craft may be too difficult for smaller hands, it was a worry that soon disappeared. What could have been a massive failure on my part turned into something magical. With the help of their mamas, their tiny hands created mini masterpieces. Together they transformed something rather plain into something unique and beautiful. But more beautiful than their letters, are the memories they made together in my small sliver of time. Hopefully seeing the letter they made proudly displayed in their own homes will bring back fond memories of the time they spent together that day.

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In the end, the event was a success. Crafts were created. Memories were made. Moms were able to connect with other moms. I so enjoyed meeting everyone who stopped by, just like their children, they were all so sweet and lovely. It was an amazing experience, and I am so very thankful that I had the opportunity!

 

 

Wise Words | January 2014

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02.1.14

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Pictures are worth a thousand words, but words hold a power all their own. This C.S. Lewis (he actually holds a special place in my heart) quote speaks to me of journeys past and the possibilities that lay ahead of us. What better way to start the new year with words that inspire!

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