Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Splish Splash!

So, I've always wanted matching swimsuits for my kids. {keep your snide remarks.} However, I am too cheap to spring for them. To get brother/sister matching, one must order from a trunk show or another pricey boutique line, which for four, would be close t0 $200 in swimsuits (!!). Clearly, not how I roll.

I bought swim fabric from Chez Ami a few years ago but have been too chicken to try it. Until now. With Ryan turning four this year, I figure this may be the last year I could pull light blue and white gingham. :) So, it was now or never. So, I chose now.

I made the boys' pretty quickly (side note, unnamed baby doesn't have one, but as his isn't needed for spring break, I feel I can safely put that one off a few weeks. :)). I thought about buying liner fabric, but then took the easy way out and bought swimsuits at goodwill for $1 each, washed them a few times, then ripped out the liner and put it in my swimsuits. (then sold the "shorts" sans liner at consignment...for $3 each. ha!) Perfect.

See the liner? Looks pretty good, if I do say so myself...

Finished {boy} product.

Now, Anna-Kate's wasn't as quick to whip out. I was pretty skeered of it. I mean, I didn't have a pattern. Try googling "swimsuit pattern" and you come up with some hooker options for your daughters. So, I winged it. The top went pretty well. Then I got scared again. See, I actually opted for a tankini (being one who also hates taking off a swimsuit to use the restroom--I was throwing my girl a bone). Last night, I finally finished the bottoms...and, drumroll, THEY FIT! Woo-hoo!

What it will look like on (totally cute and modest)

But, voila, two pieces! :)

It's too cold to ask my models to do their thang, so pictures of the suits on are forthcoming.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Birthdays are really important to me--always have been. :) Since becoming a mother, obviously, priorities shift (time, money etc) and the last few have been less than stellar.

Quick recap:

2007: we moved on my birthday and Chris, Anna-Kate and my grandparents (who we were staying with for a couple of days while homeless) were all puking.
2008: came home from the hospital after having Ryan on my birthday. Had an infected scar and a staph infection.
2009: in the hospital with Anna-Kate for pneumonia
2010: in the hospital with Ryan for breathing/stridor issues.
2011: I turned 30. :) Nothing bad to report, it was just a day. No pomp and circumstance. Forgive me, I'm whining at this point. :)

This year, Chris knocked it out of the park for my {mediocre} 31st year. :) He sent out an evite to some local friends (mostly from church) to meet at our favorite Mexican restaurant, organized with the restaurant to have a separate kids' table (woo-hoo!) and to have quesadillas and guacamole on the table for all and even blew up balloons. When I walked in, (on my birthday eve) I was greeted by about 50 people all there for me. I was blown away by the love! (HUGE thank you to Chris, and to all who came!)

Chris was even good enough to think to take pictures to document the festivities. Iphone quality was less than desirable in the dim lighting, but I am thankful for these!

Funniest thing, it was stuck on his head forever and he didn't even know it was there.

Looking down the table. The kids' table was just as big (in fact, I think there were more kids than adults there. :) ).

Me with my love, and Jack. :) The big kids were there too, but having too much fun with all of their friends.


Last weekend, when we were at my parents' house they gave me Cirque du Soleil tickets (and free babysitting to make that all possible!)! I was over the moon as I've always wanted to go and have never been. I am SO excited to see the show when we are in Orlando soon!!

On my actual birthday, I slept in (until 7:20...sigh.) and he took Jack to Publix to get donuts. :) I was given the day to sew and while I did that, he took the kids out to buy their gifts for me. I even was able to sneak away for a massage! (Thank you Mimi and Oompa!!). That night we attended a friends' 40 birthday party that was so fun! Chris bought me "The Meaning of Marriage" (Tim Keller) for us to read together, (which I love! He isn't a big reader, so this was a sacrificial gift! :) ) a 101 piece set of Wilton cookie cutters, (never fear, I will never not have a cookie cutter I need again!) a Willow Tree, (For each child we have a different willow tree, so this being our last-we think-it was especially sweet) and of course my super awesome new iphone case. It's hot pink with my monogram. I love it! He did such a good job and I am so very thankful. :)

Yesterday, he spent the afternoon baking a birthday cake for me with the kids. The kids loved it, but I think he was OVER it. Lol. He even made me homemade buttercream...it was quite the process. :)

So, my birthday weekend was wonderful--I felt loved. Thanks to all who participated in making it wonderful!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Super Ryan!

Here he is, the big FOUR year old!

Sadly, no family shot. At least I got pictures of all three kids (and their capes--which has hardly come off Ryan's body.)! :)

Ryan has been talking about his super hero party for months. As I am not a "character" person, (be it on a t-shirt or at a birthday party) I began scouring pinterest and the internet for super hero themed parties, sans specific "guy". Found some cute invitations on vistaprint (thankfully, the kid pictured had blonde hair as changing hair color wasn't an option...but hey, they were cheap!). I thought to myself, "Oh, wouldn't it be fun for each of the kids to have their own cape? Ya, that'd be great, it could double as their party favor...think how much money I'll save." {PS, when will I learn that, at some point, time is money?} Anywho. I spent a long time making the capes (which originally were going to be personalized on both sides. Ended up with the child's first letter on one side. :) You know me and taking the easy way out...).

The forecast was positively horrible for his party day. 100% chance of rain {side note, the invitation specified bounce house. There were 16 kids between the ages of 1-6. I was sweatin' it out!}. We, as a family, prayed all week for the Lord to hold off the rain for Ryan's party. Anna-Kate even prayed about it at school. What a beautiful thing it was to look up to a blue sky Saturday morning and to talk with my children about the ways that God looks after His children and answers prayer--even in little ways like holding rain off (until about 1 hour after the party!).

Chris did an awesome job of following my vision for a skyline cut out and totally did this for me! I told him it was "as good or better than I could have done myself", but he already knew that. :) It looked great and I was so happy with it! I also envisioned superhero's hanging from it, but as we have various sized ones, he did great about putting them out to make it look somewhat proportioned. (click a picture to enlarge it. You can see a little of the invitation that didn't get framed before the party--oops!)

I had fun with the food. We had "super dogs" for the main dish (healthy, you're welcome, parents) and "super sauces" (mustard and ketchup) or "turbo sauce" (chili) to top it off. There were cups of "kryptonite", (green jello. Side note, it was melon, and actually, really good!) "x-ray vision boosters", (carrot sticks) "super stars", (cheese cut in star shapes) "lightening bolts", (grapes on sticks) and "incredible crackers" (chex mix). I felt very witty. :)

I consider it a good {kid} party when everyone seems to be having fun, the kids are active, yet not destructive, and I am not constantly checking my watch for when they will all be vacating my home. :) I'm happy to call this party a success! My parents came up the night before to help get ready and between chatting with them and my (adult) friends, I had a great time too! :) In fact, the kids were having such a good time that we almost forgot to open presents! (in fact, some had gone home by the time I remembered).

The group of "super hero's" (minus a couple who left by the time I remembered.)

Ryan thoroughly enjoyed both the opening process and his new toys. Amazingly, there were no duplicates at the party or of already owned toys. My boy was in hog heaven, and it made it all--late night, cake making, cape sewing, sweatin' the rain--totally worth it. Thanks to all who made his day so special!

Ryan turns four!

Ack! Attack! It isn't possible! {but it is}

We tend to make a big deal of birthdays around here and they also tend to stretch for days. :) Last weekend was his birthday party, (another post for another day) followed by a trip to my parents' house to see them and my grandparents, and then, the actual day. I think all told we sang to him 4 or 5 times. He loved it each time. :)

On his actual birthday, we had a big family breakfast and he was allowed to eat breakfast fully decked out in dress up costume--big treat!(Chris had planned to go in late after a big breakfast, but as Anna-Kate threw up the night before, he ended up staying home so I would be able to take dessert to his class that day). We had powdered donuts and ham and eggs, a birthday tradition and favorite of all! Ryan loved the candle and singing and getting the special birthday plate.

After breakfast he opened his gifts and was especially excited about the imaginext Joker and car from Anna-Kate to play with his Batman he received from his buddy Henry (and has subsequently hardly put down). Jack picked out a spiderman cup and plate from the dollar bin and I scored a batman costume for $2 from consignment, new in the package! My boy was in hog heaven (but I am since regretting giving it to him as it results in a major meltdown each time he has to take it off...). I got Ryan a bunch of new undies (as his others were all 2t...ha!) and Chris found a smaller pirate ship to go with his bigger Playmobile one from Tuesday Morning. All in all, a happy birthday, done on the cheap...success!

Thanking sister...

Round 3 of candles!

BATMAN! (nuh, nuh, nuh, nuh, nuh, nuh, nuh, nuh--BATMANT! All I hear these days)

He is crazy about playing pirates!

I took him to school and later returned early with a cookie cake for his class. He (again) loved the candles and singing. Clearly, not shy of the attention. :)

That evening he requested our favorite pizza place for dinner (though he was so tired from the day that he fell asleep on the way there and only ate 1/2 a piece...). Our friends met us there and then we jetted out for his first soccer practice of the season. He is beyond thrilled that Chris is coaching his team. :) After practice, we gave him the choice of Chick-fil-a icecream or home for icecream with sprinkles and toppings. He chose home. Go figure.

The boy loves his chocolate!

As I wrote on facebook yesterday, which about sums it up: Happy 4th birthday to my precious Ryan!! He keeps me on my toes (and knees!) but I am so very thankful for my spunky, spirited, affectionate second born.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Making Memories

{so help me}

Despite my exhaustion last night, I trekked to Publix last night for a few ingredients for a special Valentines Day breakfast. Then I baked a pan of brownies for Ryan's party at school today. I planned to use my 2" heart shaped cookie cutter to cut them out, add icing and sprinkles. Unfortunately, I must have imagined owning said cutter as the only one I had was 4" wide--much too large to get 14 kids (plus their parents and siblings) a brownie. Sigh. Too late and too tired to fix the problem.

I awoke at 6 to preheat the oven for my heart shaped cinnamon rolls, showered got ready and put the finishing touches on my themed breakfast. The kids were overjoyed at their "stickies" (Jack word for them--actually sounds more like "sickies" but that's just kinda gross) and strawberry yogurt with sprinkles. Anna-Kate drank her pink milk in a large gulp while Ryan whined that he doesn't like pink, only white. Sigh.

We left a few minutes late for carpool as someone didn't want to wear her uniform, only something pink. {We compromised on a large pink bow and...gasp...red, pink and navy argyle knee socks. Such rebels!} The second I walked in the door, I threw some breakfast at Jack (so thankful he is eating reasonably well with a spoon such that "spoon yogurt" was not everywhere) and whipped up some mini cupcakes and some small cakes for the kids' dessert tonight. Got the boys ready and was preparing to walk out the door to take Ryan to school when it all fell apart. He didn't want to go because he likes me, jammies and home. Not cupcakes. Not ever. I think because he's had pink eye {oh ya, update, we've had that again. it's fun.} he and I have spent a bit more time together and just been "sick". Who knows really.

I'll just say, I did not cement mother of the year this morning. As I buckled a crying flailing Ryan into the car I heard myself yelling over him, "YOU HAVE TO GO TO SCHOOL SO I CAN MAKE TODAY A SPECIAL DAY FOR YOU!!!!"

{Yes, I really said that. Please don't judge me.}

He then responded that he didn't want to be my friend anymore. I delicately responded, "I HAVE FRIENDS AND I DON'T WANT TO BE YOUR FRIEND RIGHT NOW EITHER!!!"

{I know, I'm a horrible human being.}

Then he unbuckled his seat belt (oh no he did-n't!) Fire may have come out of my ears as I barely whispered, "buckle immediately". Again, while fault lies on both sides, I'm willing to admit it was not my finest moment...

We drove to school in silence as I wrestled with my emotions. I apologized and asked his forgiveness for losing my patience. Thankfully, when we arrived, he hopped out of the car and skipped in, holding my hand. He offered me a big hug and kiss at the door (without being asked!) and ran in to play.

I rushed off to grocery shop and then ice the cupcakes. I was home a total of 24 minutes and ran back to school with half a tray of cupcakes and half a tray of brownies. Thankfully, the kids didn't seem to mind the randomness. :) Ryan greeted me with a big hug and kiss then pointed to his classroom (we were in the hallway) and said, "now you go back in there. I have to wait here with my class and get sanitized." Lol.

I'm planning breakfast for dinner...ham and eggs with red pancakes and strawberries for the kids and a "date night in" for us tonight after they are in bed. I'm planning bacon wrapped filet, roasted asparagus, twice baked potatoes, fresh bread and chocolate dipped strawberries for dessert. Cause, you know, nothing says "I love you Valentine" like stuffing them full of high caloric food. :)

Thankful for my Valentine, for our sweet littles and for the Lord's grace that covers my stumbling through parenthood.

Friday, February 10, 2012

"Mama, it was a very special evening"

Anna-Kate's remarks on her date with daddy last Friday.

{Go ahead and just touch your heart and think about how precious that statement is.}

Anna-Kate's school hosts a father/daughter "Sweetheart ball" each year. For weeks she anticipated the big night. I lucked into a precious dress at Marshalls for $19 (which was still more than I wanted to pay, but it was too cute to pass up, I thought!). I was feeling prepared and then was asked by a friend where I had ordered her corsage from. {Corsage? What corsage? She's five...} Determined to save a buck, I decided to skip the florist and call Publix. It was going to be $23 from Publix! I did the only logical thing to do, googled "tutorial little girl wrist corsage" and proceeded to watch a million videos. Problem was, there are not tutorials for a single rose corsage for a little girl. Only big huge honkin' corsages. Clearly, that wouldn't work. So, I winged it. I gotta say, I am really proud of how it turned out! Flowers have never been my forte' (meaning growing them/keeping them alive. Why I thought I could do it, I'm not sure. That's just how cheap I am.).

The object of my stress:

I got the boys watching Toy Story and Anna-Kate and I got her ready for the ball! I painted her finger nails and toe nails. She wanted curls (my curlers from high school no longer work, so I used a curling iron. Yes, I curled all of her hair piece by piece. I don't think I realized how much hair the girl has! She sat very still and was just giddy to have real curls. I had a moment of intense sadness when she very politely, yet matter-of-factly said, "Mommy, I think I don't want a bow tonight. It's just not fancy enough for me." Sniff, she's growing up. Thankfully, I had saved her rhinestone butterfly hair clip from her ballet performance last spring and it worked perfectly with the "Butterfly Kisses" theme of the ball.

Decked out with her hair all fixed!

She loved the flower! Such a beauty, if I do say so myself!

With her date for the evening. They went to her favorite local place for dinner and then hit the ball.

Her sweet friend let us borrow a black cardigan with little rhinestone buttons. It was perfect and she was ready to hit the town!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

School conversations...by Ryan

Ryan: "Today Lydia told me at school that she was going to marry me. I told her I'd been thinking about it. We'll see, huh mama?"

Me: "uhh, sure. God already knows who you will marry we just have to wait and see."

R: "Well, I know all about how to marry a girl."

Me: "Oh really?"

R: "Yep. I have to kiss her. Then she gets a baby in her tummy. Then we are married."

Me: "Well, I'll say it's a bit more complicated than that...and let's be clear, God puts babies in tummy's after you are married."

R: "Right."

R: "I learned about Adam and Eve and snakes today. That mean old snake wants to kill all the girls."

Me: "Do you mean he tricked Eve and God made snakes and girls not like each other?"

R: "No, I think he kills them."

...I think he's missing a bit of the story...lol.