Monday, September 24, 2012

New Years Resolution #22

"I will make a big deal about birthdays"
Flip through the pages of this blog and you will find that mid September every year I write a sentimental post about the way that this girl has changed my life.  I write of how she makes everyday an adventure and a fairy tale all at the same time.  I write about how she dances when she walks and sometimes sings when she talks.  I write about stopping time to catch her, and demanding to anyone who will listen that she will stay small forever.
This year I was going to be grown up about her turning a year older. I wasn't going to get all teary when I remembered what it was like when they laid her on my chest.  I wasn't going to wish for just one more minute of that last amazing thing that she did.

So instead, I planned a ridiculous birthday party that I hope she remembers for a long time.  I resisted her request last year for a Disney princess party and tricked her into a Neverland party instead.   I knew that this year I would have to give in.
What I learned in my initial research for the party, is that one could easily spend A LOT of money on a princess party.  I did my best to make it as "princessy" as I could with out being tacky, and I tried to keep it budget friendly.
Here's some shots of the final out come and our fun day...I'll try to give a commentary.
The kids called the canopy the "castle."  I used a canopy frame and covered it in draped plastic table cloths..They only cost .97 cents a piece.  I bought 16 of them.  I also used a cheap white king size sheet as a back drop.   I made three dimensional stars that I hung inside of the tent.  I bought 2 different size packs of scrapbook paper packs, this made about 14 stars for about $8.

This was the "Royal Dressing Table"(this picture must be after the kids got dressed).  I found adorable knight's helmets and shields at the dollar store, plus scored some cheap little crowns there also.  I found a 5 pack of princess wands at Target for $2.  The mirror was one that belonged to my parents.  I knew that they hadn't used it in years so I asked my Dad to spray paint it silver so the little ones could see themselves all dressed up.  The awesome part was that most of the kids came in costume....which was absolutely adorable!

Okay, so I had one big splurge!  I came across this pumpkin coach at Hobby Lobby one day.   It was actually orange and green, so spray painted it silver and it matched the party perfectly.  I also picked up a bag of decorating pumpkins in the grocery store that I spray painted white and silver, I scattered them around here and there.  I had several sliver frames lying around unused so I framed quotes from the different versions of the Cinderella story.
I found the little silver pumpkins for .50 cents a piece.  I had the white pumpkins on hand already, so I cut them open and used them as vases.  All of the flowers I bought were on clearance, except the sliver sticks which I think I got 50% off.

Okay, here is one of my favorite parts of the party...  My friend Beth, not only took the beautiful pictue of Libby, but she also made her princess cake!  It was so amazing.  I made the little pumpkin cakes around the big cake, and I made little chocolate covered mice out of cherries and Hersey Kisses.  The favors were jars of mallow pumpkins.  The front of the jar said "Thank you for coming to my party.  Here's a midnight snack for after the ball."
 Here is the part that threw me for a loop.  I think that it was a bit too much for Libs...She almost acted shy, which was a new thing for me to manage as a mom, in terms of my big girl, I do shy all the time with my Littlest.  I don't know what to do with a shy Little...I can't ever remember her being shy in her life.
Before her guests arrived she tip-toed around and examined her party taking in every detail, and when they arrived, she clung to my leg barely even able to whisper hello to the party goers who came to celebrate with us.

Weeks before the party I has scoured the interent trying to find the perfect, yet affordable, Cinderella dress for her to wear.  I just couldn't find the right match.  In a moment of genius, I remembered I had a hand- me- down light blue dance leotard.  I made some changes to the neckline and sleeves and I made a full length skirt out of tule.  Total cost about $25.  She looked beautiful.  
 The moment that almost put my girl over the edge, was when my friend Julie arrived with her boys dressed as Prince Philip and Prince Charming. They were sooooo cute.
 I think the fact that she was dressed as Cinderella and Charlie was dressed like Prince Charming was just a little too close to the real story for her liking.  Sister wouldn't let go of my leg, she wouldn't even look up at him at one point.

Later on in the party, I heard her whisper to him that she liked his costume, but it took quite a while for her to warm up to the fact hat he was Charlie and not really Prince Charming.  I think she was afraid she would have to dance with him.
A month or so ago our friends went to Disney World.  As a surprise to Libby they cornered the real Cinderella and recorded a video of her sending Libby her own personal birthday message.  We saved it for her party and our girl and all her friends were amazed that "the real Cinderella knew Libby's name."
 Here's the crew of little knights and princesses.  Aren't they darling?  It was such a fun party.  It went way too fast, and in the end I was exhausted, but I love making a big deal about birthdays.  Every year when they are over I claim I'm not doing it any more...Not this year...Bring on the Littlest second birthday, I'm ready to start planning!

Earlier in the day I had switched th radio on for background music.  As the guest were filtering out, and we were busy tearing things down  on came a song that reminds me of her so much and just like that, despite my best efforts, I could feel the lump in my throat forming and tears making their way to my eyes..You know me, it doesn't take much...
 I suppressed it though.  I told myself to embrace my little girl that is so amazingly special to me.
 I'm not foolish enough to think that I've grown so much this past year that I will never again write a post lamenting the growth of my children...
But on this day I chose to enjoy watching her grow and change, and embrace our beautiful, quirky, feisty, free spirited, precious girl.

Happy 4th Birthday're our favorite Libby in the whole world.
Grace and Peace

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"A" is for Apple

Everything in me is telling me that I should put my computer down and go to sleep.  I have had the best of intentions all day to write this post, and it  is nagging at me that I didn't get it done, so here I am awake thinking about it.  Forgive me in advance for the run on sentences, the misspelled words and anything else that just doesn't make sense, bc I think it is going to be worse than normal.

We have one full week of our preschool schedule under our belt.  Last week's easy flow left me feeling like a rock star mom.  Everyday, when I had dinner hot and ready when the mister walked through the door, I foolishly thought "hey self, you have got this."  Then this week happened and I have been appropriately knocked back down to size...But you didn't come here to read about disaster days, you want to know about apples, or maybe you don't care for a thing that I write, you just come here for the updated pictures of the sweetlings.

Our first week of school was "a" is for apple, so on our down day, which is Tuesday, we went to an apple orchard.  I actually found some great books about apples at the library.  Several of them talked about picking apples at an orchard, then making apple food with the apples you pick.  My big girl was so into this.  My little girl was just into eating the apples.
    It was the perfect Virginia day, blue skies, crisp mountain air, and friends to share it with. We picked apples until our bags were brimming and then ate a picnic lunch.  An apple orchard is on my top ten places to take kids for a fun time.  It is right up there with the beach, but maybe higher because you don't have to worry about them being swept away to sea.  There is loads of room to run and laugh and not a lot of other people to annoy.The little ones never go to far away because they always run back to show you the amazing apple they just found and picked.  Perfect way to kick off school.

Libby was actually a little too into picking the apples. I had to make her stop picking them.  One of our books gave detailed instructions on picking apples, and Kev and Libby practiced the night before. We left with 13 or 14 lbs of apples!  I was sure that some of them were going to go bad, but after 1 batch of mini apple cakes and a lot of eating apples for snacks, we are down to three.

This was a great way to to start off preschool!  It was good to get a positive week for everyone under our belts.  This week has been good too, the routine of our days now is making a huge difference for everyone I think.
I'm off to bed...actually I'm in bed, just now I wrote this blog and I won't be thinking about it anymore.
Happy apples

Grace and Peace

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Letting Go and Hanging On

"You just have to own it."  These are words of my sister after I hammered her with questions about homeschooling.  How do you assess your own teaching?  How do you assess them?  Are they missing out on the classroom experience?  Do you worry that you are depriving them of something?  How do you keep them socially adjusted (Whatever that is.  Furthermore, do I really want them to be "socially" adjusted in our society...but that is a totally different post, for perhaps a totally different blog)? She looked at her oldest daughter, smiled and said "what do you think Sid, do we have fun?"  Sidney's face lit up and smiled right back.
  I wrestled with the decision of whether or not to send Libby to preschool this year (I wrestled all last year too.)  I know that she would thrive in a classroom filled with other children.  I know that they would do   amazing things and that she would learn a lot.  I get excited when I see what children around us are doing in school and it is not that I don't want that for our children.  Kev even encouraged me that sending her would give me a break and special time with just Maggie.

 I did pray and  think about this a lot.  Here is the conclusion that I came up with. There was something inside of me that felt unsettled with the idea of sending her to preschool.  As a mother, I have learned that sometimes, it is advantageous to listen to that unsettling feeling...that gut reaction, the mother's intuition, or that nudge from the Holy Spirit.  

I have of been given the gift of staying at home with my children and it is my hope that I can fully take advantage of this gift through doing school with them at home this year.
I'm already learning so much! I am letting go of the need to go-go-go every day in an effort to wear them out.  Mondays and Wednesdays we are staying at home so that we can do school.  I am finding creative ways to let them go, you know, so they are socially adjusted :).  I am hanging on to every day that I am given as their mother.  It is gift that I don't want to waste.

Here are a couple of pics from our newest activity.  GYMNASTICS!!!!  I signed them both up.  They were both so excited to go.  Maggie was a little shy getting started, but she warmed up and in the end was moving from one actvity to  the next faster than I could keep up with her.  It is adorable and so much fun...

Stick it!  Phrase of the week...
Grace and Peace

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


In my last post, I said that I may have a new favorite beach.  Let me just clarify,  this will always be my favorite beach, or maybe this beach, or maybe even this beach.  I will not deny that I was tempted by a little laid back place called Carpenteria just an hour and a half north of my sister's new home in California.  

I get this overwhelming calm when I go to the beach.  Something inside tells me "Car, you are suppose to live right here by the sea."  I lose all sense of time, and abandon all sensible parent skills like nap time and healthy lunch.  Somehow the sea breeze whispers to me  that even though we only thought we would stay a couple hours, all day sounds much better.  And that is exactly what we did on this day.

Since my sister moved to California all I have heard about is the traffic, and all the people, and the dessert and how everything is artificial.  After being there myself for a week I have come to the conclusion that they were just saying those things so that we wouldn't think that they like it there better than here on the east coast. 
  I found it amazingly beautiful with the Pacific Ocean to my left and dessert mountains to my right.  Not to mention the drive to get to the beach, which made me want to speak Spanish and watch an old cowboy movie.  Only after I stopped and picked oranges and avocados at every orchard we past.  It was so different than what I'm used to. Muy Bien.
 The problem I'm having with this post is that I have little to say and oh so many pictures that I want to include.  I'm being conservative in the amount of pictures I'm sharing of Maggie.  I can't help but take a million pictures of her at the beach because of what the beach does to her is one of my favorite things in life right now.  Little strawberry blond ringlets frame her head and if they ever go away I think I'm going to be really sad.
Here is my sister and her beautiful little girls that are not so little anymore.  In my mind they are Libby and Maggie's size, so I'm always shocked when I see them now turning into lovely young ladies.
 Here is my girl, who ignored me for a whole week because she was so enamored to be around her cousins. Literally, I think the only time she talked to me was on the plane ride home.
 These are the sea gulls that stalked our blanket.  As soon as we would leave our blanket the would swoop in and unpack our bags.  Seriously.  I have never seen anything like it.  Before the day was over I took to throwing rocks at them to keep them away from our snacks.
 Here is Amy and her little clone.  Looking at Sidney is like looking at a brown haired version of the girl who grew up in the room next door to mine.  Seeing Sidney makes me remember games we played and clothes we wore and all the fun we had together.
 Here is our one boy.  He was such a trooper dealing with all the girls around him.  He looks like my dad.  

 If you remember last year Libs and Christian had a love hate relationship.  This really hasn't changed much.  One minute they were best friends, the next minute they were wrestling and crying.  At one point Libby told me that Christian was bad.  I told her that he was not bad, he was just being a boy.  Through disproving tears she said, "well, boys are very rough and wild." Ha...I would say the same about her sometimes.

My little shadow learned a couple new words last week.  One was "ouch" or "out" and the other was "uh-uh."  I especially enjoyed hearing her use these words on the plane in loud voice while the "fasten your seat belt sign" was on.  By loud I mean screaming.  
Bless all parents who have to fly with small children.  Amen.
 Sweet Allison.  Amy told my mom that after we left she found her in her room crying b/c we were gone.  Such a sweet girl.
 Love this girl too.  My Little is so much like her.  So creative and imaginative.  Always going to fun places that the rest of us don't even know about.

This post is done.  I hope that what it lacked in creative writing was made up for in pictures of our fun day.  I loved this day.  It was one of those days that I didn't want to end...
 Kind of felt that way about the whole trip.
Love my sister and her family a whole lot.
Miss them so much it hurts sometimes.
Muchas gracious...just practicing in case we ever move there
Grace and Peace