Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Helping Hands

A few weeks ago I saw a very simple act occur during the third hour of our church.  In under 30 seconds the moment had passed, but the impact it had on me is still present and very poignant.

A woman in our congregation stood up to say the closing prayer after the womens' meeting had ended.  This woman has a disease that attacked her body about 6 years ago that affects her nerves.  Even though she's only in her early 60s she travels around with a walker to prevent ugly missteps since she can't depend on her body to be stable.

When Carol stood up and walked slowly (without her walker) to the front of the room to say the closing prayer, I watched from the back row as women on each side of her instantly stuck out their hand for her to grab onto as she made her way forward.  She didn't even need all the hands, but they were there anyway.  I don't even think anyone had planned on helping out.  It was just in their nature to reach out and offer support.  It wasn't that she couldn't walk.  She could.  And she actually probably would have been fine making it that 15 feet on her own.  But it took that much of her burden away to be able to reach out and grab a hand here, a hand there, until she reached her destination.

It struck me how profound this little act of love and service was and is for us as women in general.  It's not that we're not amazing, empowered women.  We are.  But isn't it touching that we are so ready in a heartbeat to reach out and lift each other up, even just a little bit, to help each other along this journey of life?  Even when we're struggling ourselves?  Compassion and service begets love, friendship, and strength

I think it's meant to be that we become even better people when we rely on each other, serve, and allow people to serve us.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Shutterfly Christmas Card Giveaway*


I may or may not have spent the wee hours of the morning browsing all the Christmas greeting cards on Shutterfly.

But I couldn't help it.  There are so many beautiful cards that I was happily imagining my family in all those layouts.  Of course, in my lovely daydreams, my children were frolicking about, WANTING to be part of the picture-taking process.

I mean, look at this angelic little girl.  Surely she gave her parents no grief as she skipped along looking impish.

And aren't these girls so close?  All wrapped up in a warm red blanket, glad to share their air and space with each other (and such lovely girls, too).

But this is my favorite one of all.  Especially with the little sister kissing her brother, and in another photo looking up so innocently at the camera.  Interesting that this is also my favorite card layout.  I love the colors, the fonts, the layout, and the styling of the big family letter. 

Maybe I'll just have to go round up my kids and trick them into taking some family pictures.  Wish me luck!  Once I've herded the kids to a nice photo op spot, and get their adorable faces into print, I can insert the pictures into my fave holiday design, which is the "With Love Blue Christmas" card.  I'll use both color and black-and-white photos. I don't think sepia tone would turn out right; it would wash out the card. And matte prints is a must. ALWAYS matte print. Don't believe me, ask my dad. : ) (the photographer)

Well, I guess you can't use matte print if you put the pics on mugs.  But you can on pretty much everything else, like on the cards and calendars.  I hope.

*To get 50 free prints, post a shout-out to Shutterfly via your blog after signing up here.  (And yes, I have most shamelessly used my blog to promote a website to get free stuff.)    : )

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Pirate Birthday Party

After Tami sent me this link, and I browsed a bunch of awesome pirate party ideas, I really enjoyed working with the kids to have a fabulous party.  With a TON of help from both Tami and Hope (especially Tami in even just getting me to act on all these cute ideas), we actually pulled it off!  

And, (cough cough) I'm only 3 1/2 months late in posting it all.

It started with staining a lot of paper with tea, then letting it dry.  Crumpling it up to make it look old, and then using it for various different things, from paper sails and the invites, to name tags for the pirate food.

Bryce made the invites himself.  I love how he used the curly font, drew the map going from the ship clipart down, and the pirate lingo he used.  They each said:  "To Buccaneer [Ryan], Ahoy Matey! Ye are invited to Bryce's Birthday Party if Ye Dare!"

We emptied out a bunch of IBC rootbeer bottles (ahem.  We drank them all), washed them out, and put just a little bit of sand in each one.  We also made name tags for all the kids with pirate names, which was quite a bit of fun.

Then we rolled up the invites and stuck them in the bottles, corked them, added the name tags and raffia, and I am extremely proud of how cool they turned out!

The cake was another venture all itself, not to mention all the pennants we sewed and the flags we painted.  The boys all got to help with each thing we made, at least to some degree (I didn't let them help out much with the cake).  I got the cake idea from family fun, and did my own thing to make it look how I wanted it.

I've tried to organize the pictures, but blogger is not being very friendly, so they're in haphazard order below, sorry!

Finished Cake with Shark Bait (fishy crackers), Pirate's Loot (candy), Peg Legs (cheetos), and Cannonballs (whoppers) behind it

The grub
Reading Clue #2
Digging for the treasure where the last clue directed.

Tape the flag on the treasure map.

One of the two pirate flags we painted

Getting into the spirit of things

Pirate ships

Pirate ship ring toss

Reading the first clue; Rob did it all in this great pirate voice.  Each clue led to part of their pirate getup, from flags and hats and eyepatches, to swords and loot and such.

Arrrgh Mateys!!

Ye scurvy mates

Walking the plank

Water balloon wars!

Ring toss!

Running to find another clue!

The end of the treasure hunt, where the buried treasure lay hidden

Finding the hats from Clue #2, and reading Clue #3

The squirrelly birthday crew 

Walking the plank and into the pool
Water balloon wars
Pirate beanbag throw
Birthday boy is about to "cut" the cake!
Cannonballs (whoppers) & Peg Legs (cheetos)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A First

I'm really bad with facts.  And by 'really bad,' I mean, reeeeeeaallly bad.  It's not just dates and events, it's names, and worst of all, BIRTHDAYS.

I am absolutely horrible about birthdays.  Remember year before last?   Yeah, it's pretty bad.  This year I worked very, very hard to remember my FIL's b-day. 

Well, I thought it couldn't get any worse....  
(and boy is that an epic cue line)

July 15th, 9 am-ish, cell phone conversation:

My mom:  Oh, and by the way, I wanted to be sure to wish you a happy birthday.
Me:  What?!  Is today my birthday?
My mom:  Um, no.
Me:  Uh oh--when is it?  (Having no clue the date)
My mom:  Tomorrow.
Me, genuinely shocked:  It is?  Tomorrow, really?  Tomorrow's the 16th already?
My mom:  (Probably hanging her head in shame, or at least trying to stifle a good laugh)

And there it is.  It's worse--much worse.  I forgot my own birthday.  Luckily for me, the following day, there were a lot of other people who did remember my birthday.  Thank you all for remembering the information stored in your brains!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Unner the bed

My 3 yr old nephew, Sean, had his hosting plans all set.  When we stayed at his house last night, he told Nathan several times where he was to sleep.  "Nathan.  You will sleep unner my bed," he'd say, emphasizing the word "under." 

We tried to convince him to let Nathan sleep ON the bed with Sean, but Sean was adamant.  "No, he can't sleep on the bed.  He can sleep unner the bed." 

It was so dang cute!  You probably had to be there to hear the way he said it, but I loved his conviction.  So cute.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Five months and counting the rolls of fat ; )

Here is our Chubby McChub Chub.  95th percentile in weight, and off the charts in height.  (All our other babies were off the charts--on the other end!  Or they were in the 2nd-3rd percentile)

He has discovered his toesies.  Sooooo adorable.  (Look at those thighs, by the way, in the picture of him in just his diaper.  They're so big!)

Notice all the bumbo pictures.  I've decided the bumbo seat is one of the best inventions EVAH.

Also notice how he's growing out of his swing and bumbo seat.  He's so big and long!  We sure love him. 
= )

And here are some more random pics for the fun of it:

Chewing on his finger, which he does a lot.
In his Sunday best including button-up collar and vest, an outfit from Tia Ana.

In a baby pool for the first time at friend Lincoln's 2nd birthday party.
Trying to eat me.  Again.  He loves to get ANYTHING into his mouth.  : )
Woweee!  Look under the exersaucer and take a look at those thighs again!  He's could be a little linebacker!  Chunk chunk chunk.

Wow--look at that drool monster!  This pic was taken today.

Our neighbor Lauren was holding Carter, end of April

Carter is trying to eat Nathan L.

That's our "little" boy.  = )