Sunday, July 31, 2011


Birthdays were a bit different for the kids this year. In the past, we've decorated a venue outside of the house and had large-ish parties. This year our venue wasn't available and we decided we wanted to do something different anyway.

So we had a little cook-in (no "out" due to the burn ban in droughty Oklahoma) with just the kids grandparents, first cousins, and a little friend or two.

I had a lot of fun planning the details. I may or may not have spent around three hours hand-crafting that custom birthday banner. I'll never tell.

You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find a decent cake kit for The Cat In The Hat! But I made do by scanning photos from the book and printing and laminating them with sucker sticks inserted to hold them on the cake. I had to use a skewer for The Cat -- cake sticks were too short!

I used scrapbooking paper cut into strips (1" x 3" if you're interested) to wrap the little candy bars in a Seuss-ish theme. I added round Cat In The Hat themed stickers to the front of each bar, but the photo doesn't show those.

Please try not to laugh at my first attempt at using fondant. Our cake decorator was not available (and she is awesome!).

I made their applique t-shirts with fabric from etsy and t-shirt/onesie from Hobby Lobby. You wouldn't believe how easy!

Annika's Thing One & Thing Two hair accessory and tutu were Mama creations and Micah's hat came from Amazon. We had so much fun with the theming!

Micah was so delighted to have the cat placed on his cake during cutting time.

Mandi took photos for me -- I stumbled across this one on my card and liked it. <3

Too bad Micah didn't enjoy himself.

After cake was duly devoured, AJ had a bath and enjoyed tromping around outside in only her diaper during the water games.

Thing One didn't take his hat off once! I love this photo. The droopy birthday hat just demonstrates the reckless fun he was having, sitting in the water balloon tub and just having a great time with his buddies!

Oh and when it comes to water-games? Don't mess with aunties. Their initial dryness does not mean they are not a force to be reckoned with, as Christopher learned!

It was a nice, simple little celebration. Food, cake, and a water fight. The kids welcomed their baths and beds after all of their exhausting fun.

(Hi to my new readers, do leave a comment and say hello!)

Friday, July 29, 2011


I trimmed my bangs today. They were super overgrown and I'd resorted to pulling them back all the time. But, like always, my square-ish forehead was a little too visible and I needed my bangs back to balance it out with my wide cheekbones.

Micah said, "Wow, you look BEAUTIFUL, Mama!"

Annika frowned hard at me and looked taken aback for all of fifteen seconds.

It was hardest on Mocha (our little porkachi puppy). She bounced around snarling a little and barking, backing away from me as if I had suddenly morphed into an entirely different person, but strangely sounded and acted the same. It was almost too much for her. :)

I am currently waiting for paint to dry on a little de-stresser project. (Definition: A craft project that is entirely unnecessary and protentially ridiculous, but accomplishes the objective of chilling me out after a long, crazy day)

I am using the ice cream bucket from the kids' birthday party last weekend to make a bucket for Micah's cars. Really, it's entirely useable as is, but I wanted to jazz it up and make it look awesome. Pinterest worthy, if you will.

Basically it's just Mod Podge and paint. But I love the cutesy little custom things for toy storage. The kids think it's so special when Mom makes them something!


This^ was our lunch today. Inside out grilled cheeseburgers! :)

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and I didn't realize we were out of conventional bread until I was already prepping the pan and ingredients for grilled cheese. We made do and the kids loved our creative twist on a lunch staple.

Random tidbit: I had forgotten how much I love Katharine McPhee. Consider yourself remembered, Kat (and please go back to brunette!).

Also, in the realm of tidbits. While playing with self-portraiture today I found myself appalled by how much the selective framing of this photo (and maybe the striped shirt) makes me look like a GUY. And look at my goofy smile, so unsuspecting. Would I at least be a pretty guy?


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Grace for Moms

While taking a rare opportunity to scroll through my Google reader today, I stumbled across this post. The comments just wowed me; blew me away.

Moms need help. And not just a few of us. Each of us have those needs.

Interestingly enough, I am one of those moms who tends to feed myself the familiar lie that I should be able to do it all. And when I can't I ask, "Why can't I?"

Today I made a concerted effort to live out some of my maternal goals. Don't sleep too late, even if I have the opportunity, spend time outside with kids, knock out a lot of laundry, do activities with the children, do housework -- just be plain productive.

There were still tasks that this day didn't find checked off at the end. I missed my opportunity for devotions and then promptly forgot to make it happen. I wasn't as patient as I should have been. There were still holes and imperfections in the fabric of this day.

And even on our best days, our flawed humanity prevents us from always keeping a perfect momentum. Life happens. Interruptions happen.

I wonder if all moms take inventory at the end of their day, like I seem to. What did I accomplish? What moments of laziness stole time from my day? What distractions should I prevent tomorrow? Did I look my children in the eyes enough today and not just bark out commands and directions? Did I hold them enough? Did I speak like I would have if others were listening, and not just little people who have to take whatever I feel like handing out today?

Sometimes the report card isn't pretty. Sometimes it seems like my self-analysis would put me well below a D average and sometimes I feel like I do alright. It's interesting to come across an entire list of mothers cowing to these same thoughts and feelings and flaws.

We all need help and grace. Those who have the help of their husband on a regular basis and those who don't. All of us. Each and every one.

So for tonight, even though honey's work hours have been long and his home-hours have been littered with work calls, I'm thankful for the little break I did have -- even if it was just a trip to Wal-Mart for milk and diapers -- and I'm going to try a little harder tomorrow to make sure I speak like Someone Else is listening.