Friday, February 26, 2010

Birthday Costume Party

Ugh, I've had the worst case of writer's/uploader's/creater's block. Just the mere thought of logging into blogger has put a scowl on my face the past few weeks. Not sure what's wrong with me - but I'm determined to get this post finished. Especially since I started it 2 weeks ago. I have barely even read any blogs...but I will surely get caught up one of these days. So...Sissy's birthday...
She turned 3 in mid-February. I think I may have said this last year, but now I really don't have any babies left in the house. She's potty-trained, sleeping on her own beautifully through the night, going to school, talking in complete sentences...she's a big girl now.
We threw her a Let's Pretend costume party to celebrate. I decorated with pictures of characters past and present, famous and not. Party favors were CDs that included such songs as Ode to Imagination by Joe Wise and See You on the Moon by Great Lake Swimmers, etc.
Yes, I know the cupcake liners don't match; they have red hearts...those kinds of things don't make me happy. I overcooked the first batch, using up all of the pink liners. I could have made a desperate, last-minute trip to the store, but I took a deep breath and let it go.My friend Lori, who brought her 4 kids (a cowboy, a chef, a cow, and Laura Ingalls), did a pretty thorough job documenting the party. I'm going to be a little lazy/blame my writer's block and say: please visit her blog for more complete party details.

In fact, I had to "steal" one of her pictures because I accidentally deleted the one picture I took of Tornado dressed as...what else, a tornado. As the party date approached, I took Tornado to the party store and offered to buy him any costume he wanted (so I wouldn't have to make one). He was SET on being a tornado, though, and he was set on making it himself. I thought it was great. He taped polyfil onto a garbage bag and stuck pictures like a bus, a farmer, animals, balls, a barn, etc. on with Velcro.
We had a roomful of very cute kiddos, like this transformer and his little "monkey" sister.
Sissy first started saying she wanted to dress up like Dora or a princess. Of course. I really wanted her to wear this costume, though, because Tornado and Dash had worn it at her age. It's just one of those items that makes me feel sentimental. So even though it's really a boy Indian outfit, she happily agreed to wear it when I promised she could accessorize with a pink headband and pink shoes.
I adored my little Peter Pan.
There were even many adults who joined in on the fun. This is my sister Tracy in her spectacular hot dog (Tofu Dog) costume. I love that I can always count on Tracy to be at our parties and play along.
Googie was a good enough sport to put on an apron and chef's hat.

Ryan dressed up like a knight, and I was his fair maiden. It was in honor of one of our favorite movies, A Knight's Tale.
I picked out my dress especially for Sissy. The goal was to get a dress she would love. This one had just enough pink and sparkly for her. When she first saw it, she totally gasped, "Oh, I love you (meaning "your") dress!" (In fact, I just asked her, "What did you like about your party?" She said, "I liked your dress. It was like a princess. There was pink on it. And my cupcake had pink on it." She really wanted pink icing, but I was out of my natural food coloring. I happened to have leftover pink frosting in the freezer, which I used for her one cupcake.)
another gratuitous shot of my knight in shining armor
The "Best in Show" winner himself: Papaw, dressed up like Bozo Texino. He has always drawn pictures of Bozo Texino so it was very fitting.
He went all out and was very deserving of his award.

Dad had a little competition with this cute cowboy.

Sissy was ELATED that her Mother's Day Out teacher, Ms. Jeri, came to the party with her husband and two kids. We loved that Jeri even joined Sis at the mic to sing their "color" songs.

For some strange reason, I put TWO candles on her cupcake, rather than three. So weird.

One of my favorite things in the whole wide world - the way my kids smile when a crowd of people are singing "Happy Birthday" to them. That is the moment when I feel like the hard work of a birthday party is well worth it. I want them to feel extra loved and special in that moment. I love the way they almost always join in singing to themselves.

And I love how every time someone told Sissy, "Happy birthday!" - she responded with a "Happy birthday!" right back to them.

Wow...I think I've done it. I think I just completed a blog post. Sigh. I might just surprise you and blog again during the next week.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Setting My Eyes on Things Above

holy experience

For those of you keeping track, I haven't been posting much lately. A few reasons: my sister and her kids came to visit for a week, I was getting ready for my daughter's birthday party (a costume party - I will post pictures sometime this week), and...I have had quite a debacle regarding my camera memory card.

One night I took it to Wal-Mart because I had to make a copy of a picture. I have a bit of a reputation for stuffing something (like a credit card) in my pocket because I like to have my hands free to tend to children. The reputation goes like this: I often lose things. I put it in my coat pocket, constantly checking on it to make sure it was safe. I did this the entire shopping experience...until at some point I forgot about it.

It occurred to me the next morning to check my coat pocket, and it was gone. All day, when I got the chance, I scoured the house, the car, the driveway...I even drove back to Wal-Mart and (holding my heavy/sleepy/cranky daughter and trying to keep up with my energetic/stubborn/wandering son) retraced my steps. I got out and looked in the parking lot. No luck. I was just sick and could focus on little else. By that evening, I would just randomly burst into a wailing sort of sob, thinking about the fact that...there were over 1,000 pictures on that card (WHY did we get the 8gb?!)...and...I didn't save them on the computer or back them up in any way. WHY NOT, you ask? I don't's something we always talk about. It's something I surely wouldn't know how to do. (I just learned how to upload a picture to facebook/blog a year and a half ago. I'm not technology-minded.) Ryan has had the best of intentions to purchase something that would allow us to do that. We don't have the greatest computer/set-up. And there's always something else to purchase instead.

During the midst of my sadness, over the loss of all pictures I've taken since August (fortunately, I have the ones I've posted on my blog), I would feel waves of calm come over me, and I could almost hear God telling me, "Child, set your eyes on things above, not on earthly things." So...deep breath...yes, that's what I'm trying to do.

Ryan and I were in bed that night, watching The Time Traveler's Wife, which I had been looking forward to doing. I couldn't even concentrate on the show, though. I sat up and said, "Should I go to Wal-Mart and look again?" Ryan said he thought I should. I got dressed, drove to WM, and with my flashlight, looked under the row of cars. (I couldn't remember exactly where I parked. You're AMAZED at my memory, organization skills, and good sense at this point, aren't you?) I was about to give up, when suddenly, there it was. My hand shot under that car so fast and plucked it out of a bit of a puddle (Boo, snow!). (It must have fallen out when I pulled my keys out of my pocket.) I praised God the whole drive. When I got home, I tried it in my camera and card reader. But it was wet and didn't work. I didn't praise God any less. I really am grateful that I found it. I'm so thankful that I'm not wasting time looking for it and feeling sick that it's just out there somewhere.

Where I'm at right's dried out and looks like it has made a bit of progress toward working (lights up now in the card reader), but it remains to be seen whether my pictures can be recovered. I pray I will get my pictures. I also pray that if I don't, I will give it to Him...that my heart won't be clouded with worry or anguish over something like this.

A couple of people have mentioned how great it is that I'm so happy and thankful, evidenced in my blog posts. I need to re-emphasize: my participation in this is an exercise. Yeah, on a whole, I am an easygoing person. I am pretty optimistic and generally happy. But...if you could look inside, you would see that there's a lot of junk in here. The past year or two, somehow I've developed a grumbly spirit. I try to hide it, but I have more complaints and disappoinment within my heart than I feel comfortable having. I have begun to focus too much on what's missing in my life - how different my life is than I expected it to be, etc.

I'm thankful that I can see the junk, though, and I have a Lord who loves me in spite of the junk. My family even loves me in spite of it. Which is...a relief. I'm choosing to focus on the outrageous, amazing blessings I have.

On a more superficial note - but important, nonetheless - I lost another pound (actually 1.9) since I mentioned it last. It was very exciting because it put me in a lower tens place! Yay! So now I'm 1_9 lbs. I have more Valentine's pictures on my damaged card (we had a party when my sister was here). For now, here are a few pics from yesterday. The kids opened their homemade gifts from Grandma Nona. She made them little bears (a bear pair for Sis, including a little quilt and pillow). They love them! Thanks, Grandma!

Ryan and I scooted off to see Dear John last night while Mom and Dad watched the kids. I liked it because I like any sweet, slow, romantic movie. I love Nicholas Sparks so much, though, that it was hard to see his book changed to such a degree. If I didn't know the original ending/details, I would have been happy with the ending, but...
And this was Googie and Papaw's Valentine gift to us. Thank you!
To read more from the Gratitude Community, including the always beautiful words from Ann Voskamp, visit here. My list of gratitudes within this post puts me up to...98!