Friday, May 27, 2011

A fancy party, indeed!

Well, my girl is FIVE and we celebrated in a posh manner (that's a fancy word for fancy). Anna-Kate is crazy about Fancy Nancy books. Nancy is a little girl who adores all things fancy, French and abhors the ordinary. She uses flamboyant vocabulary and is such fun! It was the obvious choice for our soiree (that's fancy for party). Traditionally, at least half of the invited guests can't attend (see previous post on May being busier than December). Imagine my surprise (and delight, just a little fear at first, ha!) when 15 friends affirmed their attendance! Thankfully my parents and our dear friends stayed to help our parent/child ratio a bit. :) Per usual, I was a bit more ambitious in my planning than five year olds evidently like for a party. Sigh.

We did some crafts, ate, (Chick-fil-a nuggets, fruit, pretzels and strawberry lemonade) had cake, attempted our games {which flopped} and went straight to plan B, pull out the bounce house--STAT! We squeezed in some present opening and it was a perfect party!

Setting the stage...the place settings (with bejeweled flatware and fancy flower straws--thank you, dollar store!).

The centerpiece. We used some more boas and mom (the master gardener) fixed the arrangments. As I don't have 5 matching bud vases we went for what I do have five of, wine glasses. I think they turned out perfect!

Ooh la la! The cake! Tres chic! :)

Despite looking like the leaning tower of Pisa, it was actually straight, unlike my camera, evidently.

The boas displayed (to be used for our game).

Peppermint white chocolate lollipops for favors (with their fancy accessories)

Fruit kebabs

At the fancification (that's a word, right?) stations...they took turns decorating crowns with jewels and coloring wands (both for the "pretty princess" game we played later).


Poor guys. We were a bit lacking in the testosterone department. Thankfully, they were perfectly dapper gentlemen. :)

This is the look she got on her face each time (ie, at school, our little family singing on her actual birthday and today) all eyes were on her to sing "Happy Birthday".

Takes a big breath to get all of those candles out!

All of the party go-ers.

"I'm a whole hand Mama!" (and a big thank you to Mimi and Oompa for the fanciest of all Fancy Nancy dresses!)

I'm not gonna lie, when the party ended, I was exhausted. But, it was all just lovely, the girls were on their best behavior and Anna-Kate had a wonderful time. So, I'll call it a success!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I'm alive!

(where you doubting it with the lack of posts?)

I've said it before and I will say it again...May is crazier than December. End of the year ballet, soccer and school pics to come, along with THE party! ;)

Side note, excited to try out my blogger for iPhone. Does this make me a dork?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A whole hand

Gulp. She's five. I may or may not have cried {if I were you I would lean more towards the latter half of that statement).

Last night was a little rocky, but we rallied. I baked cupcakes for her school party today. Despite baking them the smallest amount of time recommended, they bottoms burned. Since I couldn't very well tell the 5 year old to tear off and throw away half of their cupcake, I scratched the idea of cupcakes (after icing and decorating them, of course) and made a cookie cake. Then wrapped presents. Then arranged flowers. It was a late night. :)

We had a lovely day--and the weather this end of May was pristine, a breezy high 60's. We had fresh hot pink roses waiting in her room when she woke up and Anna-Kate came rushing in to our room this morning to thank us both. I had donuts, eggs, bacon and orange juice for breakfast. Both big kids (and Jack, if you count eating seconds) repeatedly told us this was their favorite (or fabrit, as the case may be) breakfast.

I took Anna-Kate to school and the boys and I came home. My mom (who shares a birthday with Anna-Kate) drove up for the day and when she arrived we drove to school to surprise her and take her cookie cake (and juice box. Healthy, I know.). Mom treated us to Chick-fil-a (what a way to spend a birthday! Thanks again, Mom) and then we came home to play and read books. For dinner, we headed to our favorite deli for dinner and then back home for presents. Leigh-Ann and the kids joined us for cupcakes (or, the tops. Seinfeld was quoted more than once) and to play outside. As she got ready for bed she said, "my belly hurts so bad. I think I need to eat vegetables and no sugar tomorrow!"

Anna-Kate, you are a blessing to us! You have a sweet, tender spirit, are sensitive to the Lord and to Truth. You bring laughter, silliness and joy to our house. I love to watch you pretend and use the imagination God blessed you to inherit from your Daddy. You love to color, you are doing so well with your writing and are growing up every day before my eyes. I am so blessed to have a daughter, but you, my precious, are more wonderful than I would have known to ask Jesus for. I love you, sweet Anna-Kate. Happy birthday!

First picture

Enjoying sweet snuggles in the hospital. [Possibly the only time ever I will be seen without any makeup on {shudder}.]

First birthday!

2nd birthday {See, time is literally flying. There is tiny Ryan!}.

Cuddling your gift, Baby Kate--maternal already! {also, wearing the first dress I ever smocked}

Big 3 year old!

The birthday girls on your 4th birthday.

A princess at her party. :)

Today...a whole hand of fingers, she's five.

Birthday girls.

Ryan wanted in on the Nana in a picture action.

***Having issues with my phone, you know, where the rest of the pictures are. Will add more tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Birthday week.

Yesterday, at the breakfast table, Anna-Kate said, "have you made your purchases yet for my birthday breakfast?" {really, these are actually the words my still-four-year-old uttered). I laughed and said not yet, then asked her what she wanted to eat on her birthday. {boy, did I get an earful!}.

"Well, I would like those donuts (the small powdered ones from the grocery) for breakfast. And you can just go ahead and color me a picture, because I very like getting cards. And you can just run to Publix and get me some fresh flowers for my room. I very like having flowers in my room." I asked what her favorite flowers were. "Pink ones. No, pink roses, those are my favorite" she said.

I said, "Ok then, where shall we go for your birthday dinner?". She responded, "well, for lunch I want to go to Chick-fil-a, but not one that is just food, I want the one that has a playground too. Then, for dinner, I'd like to go to that place we go with Mimi and Oompa (Chris' parents) that you get a sandwich and I get a big hotdog (a local deli)."

Well of course you do. Anything else your majesty? :) At the age of almost five, she has birthday week.

{In case there was any doubt, she is my daughter!}

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Control {or the lack thereof}

I flipped out this morning.

A couple of weeks ago a note came home from school that all of the pre-K kids would be going to a nearby (like, across the street and up a block) elementary school for an early lunch to see what it will be like for next year. My initial reaction was, "this is stupid, she isn't even going to public school next year and areyoukiddingme, you think I'm gonna let my little girl walk across the street?!?" I figured I would get a sitter for Jack and Anna-Kate and I would do something fun so she wouldn't feel jipped.

I may have kinda been anxious about it ever since, then somehow forgot about it. Until last night. When I saw the reminder paper. I hadn't done anything about it, so decided I would take her in and ask her teacher what time they would go and just pick her up early or bring her back to school afterwards.

A little history. I have serious street issues. My brother was run over by a car and killed when we were younger. He wasn't being careless, in fact, he was with my dad {Who was also not be careless. Who, actually, was holding his hand.}. I seriously have to come inside when I see kids playing in the street. I know it's probably fine as our street is pretty low traffic, but I can literally feel my heart beating through my chest when I see it. It's so bad that when my kids see people crossing the street (in the crosswalk, mind you) they say, "Look at them in the street! They are not being safe at all!" Accidents happen. My "safety bubble" has been burst. Things happen to people, not just "someone out there" and it could happen to me {again} too.

Mandy (Anna-Kate's teacher) said when they were going and instead of saying what I had planned, I started crying, or, tearing up. Poor thing, (no kids yet) I'm sure she didn't know what to think of crazy Mama! I barely choked out that I had street issues because my brother was hit by a car and then couldn't talk for a minute. She promised me that she would carry Anna-Kate across the street and text me when they got back to school. I agreed to leave her and walked away, completely embarrassed by my emotional unsteadiness. It was an act of trusting the Lord. It was step one of relinquishing control over my girl. I'm sure it sounds so silly that I was so worked up about something so small. But I was.

I sat in the car finishing my mascara (or, reapplying what had been cried off, whatever). I was secretly hoping to take a long time and that they would leave early so I could watch them cross the street. I forced myself to drive away (though couldn't even run my errands as I wanted to be close to school). I drove the way they would be walking and prayed for protection. I literally was crying out to God to calm my fears, to protect my girl, claiming the peace He promises. And He did. It washed over me. Right on time, Mandy texted me. They were back and had a fun time and all was good again.

It's all so silly, really. But is so very real. This morning on the Christian radio station, one of the dj's asked what was one thing your Mom said to you as a kid that you rolled your eyes at, but turned out to be right (and I thought, "just one?"). The most applicable of them for today was after Mark died. She said I would probably have to re-grieve his death and deal with this again when I had children of my own. I told her I certainly would not that I had dealt with it and was fine. As I am not an anxious worrier by nature, clearly, she was right.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The valley

You know, today is just one of those days that makes me long for heaven.

No more tears, no more pain, no more hurt feelings, no more mis-communications, no more drama.

I'm praying for love and the ability to forgive and give others the benefit of the doubt. I need Jesus to take away my apathy. Chris wisely reminded me that I was not called to an easy life, but one of sacrifice and persecution. {Thankfully, mine isn't so much the physical kind.} Thankful tonight that God doesn't give me more than I can handle and that He promises to walk with me through the valleys.

That "mountain-top" is gonna be beautiful...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Just another day in paradise!

I mean, I grew up in Texas. Are you shocked that I automatically think of country music to describe emotions? (What? Don't know that song?? Try this. Thanks, Phil Vassar!)

I had the best Mothers Day weekend! (yes, I said, weekend, not day). Chris is so amazing and tried so hard to make my Saturday special since Sunday is so busy with church. We had an early soccer game and had Chick-fil-a breakfast to start the day off, then Chris did some planting/landscaping {including my new knock-out rose!!} for me while I made bows {more on that later}. The big kids went to Target with Chris and each chose me a gift from the dollar bin (HUGE "frog eye" sunglasses from Ryan and a dishtowel with a hot pink flower from Anna-Kate). Chris also got new carseats for the boys (on the to-do list forever and they were on sale) and he even installed Ryan's without being asked! The boys took great naps and Chris and Anna-Kate went out to buy food to cook a big dinner for me. For various reasons, we ended up going out to dinner that night (yay for a "free" groupon dinner!) and had pizza at our favorite local pizza place with some live music (sidenote, I love that my kids are still in the carefree kid age of dancing freely and not caring what others think. :)).

Sunday we went to church then home for leftover pizza. Our neighbors' son was baptized, so we headed over to celebrate for a little while. I spent the rest of the afternoon making bows (Chris even ran a bow-related errand for me, now that is love!). Our friends came over for dinner and the adults sat outside enjoying the last of the spring like weather as the kids played on the bounce house. I couldn't have asked for a more lovely weekend!

So hard to get everyone looking {and smiling} at the same place at the same time...

Could they be any cuter?!?

You know, I'm human and I'm sinful (I know, the most brilliant statement I've ever made, huh?). I often forget to acknowledge how truly blessed I am. I often let the little things in my daily life annoy {or anger?} me. I truly am living the life that I dreamed I would, as a little girl. I am married to my prince Charming who loves me and provides for me and our family, I have precious children, amazing family and friends...I truly am blessed. As I reflect on the constant laundry, the mess, times of frustration and tears, and the sacrifice that children require, I am absolutely struck by how much, so very much more, I get. I don't deserve it. Thank you Jesus for gifting me my husband, these children, these days...

Friday, May 6, 2011

A "tea"

Today was a special Mothers Day tea for the 4k kids and their moms at Anna-Kate's school. A friend from church (thanks, Laura!) graciously agreed to watch my boys and Leigh-Anns' girls so we could go and provide undivided attention to the big kids. We were there when the kids came down to the fellowship hall and Anna-Kate ran over, very excited to see me. She asked where the boys were and I reminded her they were home with Miss Laura. She had the biggest grin on her face the whole time we were there. She and I don't get many opportunities for concentrated one-on-one attention outside of the house. I so enjoyed our little lunch together!

As we sat at the table, I turned over Anna-Kate's placemat and saw this {I just love these things--double click to enlarge}:

We had some cake, veggies and punch {mysteriously, no tea to be found at this "tea"}. It was a sweet time with my girl. I am so thankful for her!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

She says

Wow, tough crowd. No comments on my first hand written note? Shame to the tens of you that read this blog! :) Guess I'll try again. Ha!

Yesterday, Anna-Kate came in wearing a skirt on her head. Clearly, her bridal veil.

I asked her to tell me a little bit about her husband and she said, "well, his name is James. He isn't a train, he's a real man (for those without little boys, James is one of Thomas the train engines' friends). He's a prince and he's tall and handsome and we are married now. So, I'm a princess now since I married him, just like the real Princess Kate, huh?" I told her that since Jesus lives in her heart that she is a real princess because she is a daughter of the King, to which she responded, "ya, but now since I'm married to Prince James I'm a really real princess here, not just in heaven."

So did not know how to follow that comment up.


Last night we went to our friends' house, as we rotate each Tuesday night. She and Adam are the best of friends, more like siblings or cousins than anything (Friblings, anyone?). Anyway, as they waited to use the bathroom before bed (we put the kids down in their sleeping bags for some adult time) they had a very serious conversation about today at school. They talked about what they'd do (draw). What they would draw together (a giant with 4 arms holding little guys--Adam's idea). What Adam would draw for Anna-Kate since she only likes "castles, hearts and flowers" (a princess).

Leigh-Ann and I sat in the hallway with those two and Ryan (always along for the ride when there is a social scene to crash) and just soaked it in. I walked away from that 10 minutes of staying up late so blessed. They were so sweet and genuine in their conversations and their love for each other. They were so innocent. I was struck by how often I might have missed little things like that as I put the kids to bed and rush away to do the fifty things on my to-do list. It was just long will they want us around to eavesdrop and snuggle?

Sweet times with sweet friends. :)


I have to add what Ryan said yesterday morning...he got up earlier than the other two (I wish I could say that was a shocking comment...) so was ready before them. He had his shoes on, tapping the floor with his foot and called to Anna-Kate and said, "Come on Anna-Kate, let's speed it up, girlfriend!". I about lost it I was laughing so hard. It's weird to hear yourself through your kids.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The power of words

I am trying to be extremely intentional and cautious with my words. Words hold an amazing power--to uplift, teach and encourage or to tear down and devastate.

The other day I dropped Anna-Kate at the soccer field and told her to start playing and I'd park and be there in a minute {our friends were right there to intercept her, it wasn't dangerous. We were late, what else is new?}. I came back and she was playing with a friend on the side of the field. I called her name and she didn't hear me, so I called it louder followed with "what are you doing I thought I told you to go play your game???" {or something equally as sensitive and kind...}. The look on her face brought tears to my eyes. I had beyond embarrassed and shamed her in front of her friends, and for what? She had misunderstood me, she was not intentionally disobeying. My words absolutely cut her down. That evening I pulled her aside and told her that I was so very sorry for embarrassing her in front of her friends and for not speaking with kindness and love. She smiled and told me she forgave me and loved me. I teared up--I had an opportunity to show her love and grace {and teach about giving others the benefit of the doubt} and I blew it by raising my voice. Shame.

The next morning she handed me this note. She got help with her spelling, but this is my first note from her. I will cherish these words, simple as they are, always.

When she read me her note she said, "I love you. Love, Anna-Kate. For Mom." and added, "I did your name in pink because it's our fabrit {favorite--I just will cry when she says this right. It's one of the few things she incorrectly says} color". :)


Ryan keeps me laughing with the things he says. So I can remember...

"I want a peanut bluller sandwich".
"I need persmishion?" {permission}
"Get these things of of me!" {desperately wiping tears off his face. This always makes me laugh and think of Seinfeld's "salty discharge" episode. LOL.}


Jack is now speaking, which is thrilling. In addition to "dada" {which he has said exclusively for months, little stinker} he now appropriately says "mama", "yay", {with arms lifted up to cheer for something} "anana", (banana) "Kaaa" {long "A" sound, Anna-Kate} and he is signing "please". I'm thrilled with his progress and desperately trying not to compare him to his much more verbal siblings. :)