Saturday, December 22, 2012

Pre-Christmas Ramblings

I know it’s three days before Christmas. And I know that there are roughly 742 other things I should be doing right now besides this, but I am taking a moment to reflect. Indulge me, won’t you? : )

The holidays are upon us, as we all know. What I didn’t realize was that the holidays would tackle and attempt to maim me with all their festivities and joyfulness and craziness and—holiday-ness. We all feel the pressure of Christmas and all that it entails, but this year it all started to feel so completely unnecessary to me.

Don’t get me wrong; I love Christmas and the Christmas music and the trees, the lights, and the overall magic of it all. My girls have literally going insane with anticipation. But that’s part of the problem I’m seeing this year. The anticipation. Anticipation/insanity!

I guess this is the problem: I look around and I see people that are stressed, worn out and grumpy because they’ve spent the last few weeks or months trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on their list. They’re spending money they shouldn’t buying gifts no one needs for people who may or may not appreciate what they’re being given.

I’ve been rereading Dave Ramsey’s ‘Total Money Makeover’ as we attempt to get our finances in check once and for all. One of the things he says in the book that really hit me hard this time was—in summary—that the problem we usually face with being smart with our money is that we get so hung up on what everyone else is thinking of us. And for me, that’s so true.

This year we are spending very little on Christmas. Mr. Bug and I are not buying gifts for one another and our gifts for the munsters are small and inexpensive. They’re getting a few little candies in their stockings, PJs to open Christmas Eve (all of which I found either on clearance or secondhand), a book for each of the girls, and a DVD to share. Their big gift this year is a fish tank (which I got for free) and we will all go together to pick out a few little fish to go in it. We also got Eden a drawing pad and some pencils (since she has maintained her artist dreams for months now) and we got Sissy a little kit to make her own garden stepping-stone. Judah gets a Cars chair that I found secondhand for $5. All told we will probably spend a little under $60 on our kids for Christmas this year. I think $20 per kiddo is pretty good, don’t you? : )

As far as the rest of our family goes, the total for our brothers and sisters and moms and dads and nephews will end up at around $5 per person. At least that’s what I tried to keep it to. That sounds like so little and for some people it’s completely incomprehensible, but I tried to make each gift, however small, personal to its recipient. I’m hoping everyone will be excited with what we’ve got for them.

All that to say that I’ve been fighting off that urge this year to go overboard with the commercial meaning of Christmas. I wanted to get Eden and Adaleine’s teachers pretty gifts that would make them “oohhh” and “ahh,” but this year they got hot chocolate tied up with a pretty ribbon. For some reason, the teacher gifts were the hardest for me to skimp on and the biggest victory when I overcame that urge. With the girls attending a private Christian school there are a lot of families there with considerable income. We are able to send Eden to school there with scholarship assistance, which we are so grateful for! I think I feel the need at times to compensate for that by going overboard with gifts and such to show how ‘no one else is any better than us.’

It’s so silly, isn’t it? Maybe it’s just me and I’m letting the commercial season take its toll on me. Maybe it’s just the cloudy weather and the fact that we’ve been having car trouble. Maybe it’s the fact that almost everyone in my little family has been sick and we’re all exhausted. But I’m ready for a little simplicity. I’m ready to take control and pare down all the excess in my day-to-day. I want my little blessings to know that each and every bit of our life can and should be appreciated and used as a springboard for us to bless others.

I’m hoping to have a few more ‘Poop in a Group’ posts coming for you as we embark (such a fancy word) on this journey. I may even find a way to put together a more coherent post as opposed to this rambling thing you’re reading now. : ) Either way, enjoy this holiday. Enjoy it as a time to be with your family and remember that there is one True Reason we are celebrating. And it has nothing to do with Barbies, HDTVs or any Apple device.

 With love,
Momma Bug : )

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Party On! Adaleine's Rainbow Birthday Party

I am a bit overdue on getting these pictures posted so here’s the plan: I am going to post one meeeellion pictures of what we did for Sissy Bell’s Rainbow Birthday party and you’re going to bear with me. Capiche? Sweet. Here we go. : ) Starting with the invite...

 If you remember the two invitations that I used as a jumping off point for the party, you’ll see that this one is a pretty good mesh of the polka-dot and the pennant ones, probably leaning a bit more toward the ‘Landon’ one. I created these using my sister’s Creative Memories program, and let me say that I just love it!! It’s so easy and MUCH more affordable than Photoshop. I know if I had a bunch of photos to edit and such I’d spring for the real deal, but this program is perfect for what I need and my sister is nice enough to let me use hers until I save my spending money for my own. : )

I was uber excited about the d├ęcor behind the table. Similar to my inspiration here, but much more affordable than yards and yards of tulle, not to mention getting to skip the hours of pom-pom construction! And I think it turned out pretty dang good! If ah do say so mah darn self.

Here are a few pictures of the food table I set up for the party. You can see my pretzels inspired here, my fruit rainbow (blatant rip-off from here), and my colorful Twizzler display ala this site. My amazing sister spent 14+ hours making that rainbow layer cake we saw here, which means I get to go help her paint all the trim in her house in January. : ) The slushy punch is a recipe that I got from my sister (her mother-in-law is basically a slushy punch superhero) and I made a lemon batch along with a strawberry one. You can never have too much slushy punch. Word.

For decorations I actually kept it pretty simple (and cheap!) going with just streamers and balloons. The focal point was the cake table with the streamer backdrop, then I prettied up the stairs with some balloons and covered the beam right inside the door with all the colors of our rainbow. Please forgive the weird lighting and such; I didn’t take good pictures beforehand and the sun was coming right in during the party. Dang sun. My sister made the balloon wreath. ‘Cause she’s frigging amazing, but whatever.

To kill time during the party, I had our kitchen table set up with Froot Loops and string for necklaces (because everybody needs some edible accessories) and a toss game where the kiddos tossed little bundles of rainbow-colored balloons into different bowls for bragging rights. The kids had lots of fun, but I have no pictures for you since I don’t want to put other people’s munchkins on here without permission. ‘Cause dude, that ain’t cool. Just imagine lots of adorable kids having sooo much fun. There! You got the picture!

Before opening presents, I thought it would be a good idea to have all the kids sit down and listen to a story. If it had been any other party and any other story, this would seem like a lame idea but it totally worked! The book we read was ‘A Rainbow of My Own’ by Don Freeman. It’s a pretty simple book and worked perfectly for our group of kids who were mostly four and under. They loved it. 

Party favors were so much fun! I tied up ribbon scraps to make these little wavy garlands to send home with everyone just like here, and I loved this gal’s idea of the white bags to let the colors of the ribbon pop. Then I just wrote everyone’s name on their bag’s tag and sent them on their merry way after all the festivities.

Here’s the part where I just bury you under a bunch of cute pictures. Judah eating rainbow cake? Check! The girls with Nana and Papa? Check! Sissy picking out her birthday present? Check! Readyyyyyyyyyyy GO!

And that, my friends, is how I threw a Rainbow Birthday Party for my little Adaleine Grace. She had so much fun, we crammed 42--yes, 42!--people into our house, and I was exhausted at the end. Maybe next time I'll tone it down a bit. We'll see ; )

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Letter to Adaleine on her Fourth Birthday

This is a letter I wrote for Adaleine late the night before her birthday. Since I’m just now getting around to sharing her party, I thought I’d share this too. : )

 Dear Adaleine,

Today you are four years old. I just sat and looked at pictures of all your birthdays and I’m completely overwhelmed with love for you. Your Nana calls you Sunshine and no name could be more fitting!

 I love your 1,000-watt smile. I love your chubby cheeks. I love the way your hands are still squishy, reminding me you’re still my baby girl. I love your beautiful giggle and how much you love to laugh. I love your gorgeous curls! They are such a perfect reflection of your soft and glowing spirit.

 You’re my sunshine on a cloudy day. You’re my brave little soldier. During the weeks and months of dealing with your burns last summer, I was constantly amazed and humbled that God gave me a little girl so strong. So strong that she didn’t complain about the pain. So strong that she didn’t complain about the bandages. And so strong that I know that when you get older and someone asks about your scars you’ll be able to shrug it off and say it was just something that happened to you. They are simply a part of this beautiful package that is YOU.

You’re so fearless. Your first day of preschool you actually waved me away, telling me you were fine and I should go now! I love the fact that even though you are one of the biggest kids in your class, the person you seem most drawn to is the littlest girl. That shows me, my dear little Sissy, that you are pure and sweet to the core. My gentle giant. Taking care of anyone you can and making sure they feel safe and loved.

You are nothing but light. You compliment my hair when it looks awful, tell me I’m such a sweet mommy when you know that I’m struggling, and you love to snuggle up close. I love the way you’ll shrug and make a funny face for no reason at all except to make me smile. I love the way you give so much love to your little brother. The two of you have such a special love that I know you’ll be close for always.

My sunshine. My girl. My brave one. My sweet Adaleine Grace.

I love you.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rainbow Birthday Party: Planning & Inspiration

Like everyone else, we have had a lot going on this past month or so. The last time I posted I was getting ready for Halloween, working on Eden’s school fundraiser, attempting to slipcover a glider, birthday party planning, trying to figure out a paint color for the living room, and visiting family. Well all of that’s done now. I would like to say that I have updates for you on all of those things, but if I’m being realistic I will admit that that probably won’t happen. Such is life : )

I do want to share what we did for Adaleine’s birthday party though. It was so much fun and I thought it was quite the success! I will now bury you under a pile of ‘inspiration’ photos so you can see what I was going for.

 I'm completely obsessed with these triangle pennants. So that's what I took from this invitation and added it to...

...this one! I loved this invitation, and not just because it has my husband's name on it. : ) I love the color but also the simplicity on it. When looking for invitations I knew that I needed to find something that I can make myself. These aren't too high-priced at just $15 for the design and file to print, but I was trying to keep costs as low as I could.

I love the look of the poms at the top and the tulle down to the table. I ended up doing something similar to this, but a bit more cost effective.

When it came to the food, I wanted to have things that were colorful for our rainbow theme but still tasty and simple. These rainbow Twizzlers fit the bill 100%. The colors are so pretty and work perfectly with the theme.

I may have a slight obsession with pretzels when it comes to birthday parties. I think it's an easy way to break up all the sweetness with a touch of salty. I realized I served them at Sissy's third birthday party and also at Judah's first birthday party. That's okay. If it ain't broke, right?

I have a super yummy fruit dip that I LOVE with apples and I knew I could use that for the clouds instead of marshmallows.

Ah, the cake. There are about 3 billion different ideas online for cakes for rainbow birthday parties. Much to my sister's dismay, I lean toward simplicity and I really loved this simple and sweet cake. 

I almost lost it when I saw these adorable ribbon garland/wand/wavy things. No idea what to call them, but they seem so whimsical and nostalgic. Just what I love. I knew I wanted to do something like this for favors.

This table of party favors is uber-cute! I didn't think I would probably be able to pull off the ruffled tablecloth, but I thought that the plain white bags would be so fun with the ribbon sticks poking out of the top.

Now for the sweet little birthday girl's outfit. My sister is the reigning tutu queen and offered to make my Adaleine her own tutu for her birthday party. There were several rainbow tutus online, but I liked this one. 

I didn't link to the original sources on any of these pictures, but you can get there by checking out my Pinterest board here. Check back in the next week or so to see what I did with all of this inspiration. It didn't all look perfect, but we had a lot of fun!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Crazed and Confused

I have had a lot going on lately. Even sitting down to type this is a bit overwhelming because I feel like I should be doing other things. So I’m going to make it short and sweet and try to explain why I haven’t been writing for a couple of weeks. I’m sure I’ve missed it way more than any of you out there!

I think the fastest and easiest way to do this is just to list a few things off and you can tell me if you think it’s worth my having missed two weeks of blogging just to do a few little things that I’m sure a more organized person would have struggled far less to do. : )

  • I’m helping with organizing some details and data entry for a benefit auction for Eden’s school. The auction isn’t until next month, but between making a gazillion phone calls to iron out details of the donations and entering everything into the system I’ve been stressing out (to put it mildly)
  • Adaleine’s birthday party is coming up next month, and I’ve been pinning like crazy to figure out what I want to do, how I want to decorate, what I want the cake to look like and what games I want to play. I know this really isn’t a big deal to some people, but it is for me. ; )
  • I volunteered to make some curtains for a friend and to attempt to make a slipcover for her glider. To be honest, I’ve been putting this off because I am SO nervous about the glider covers. I’ve never done anything like it before and certainly not for someone else, so…yeah.
  • We (my sister and I) painted the kiddos’ bedroom at the beginning of the month. I’ve spent the weeks since then trying to figure out what color to paint the living room. I’ve gone through five or six sample pots from Home Depot and narrowed it down to two. Just when I thought I had made my final decision, I read in my Family Circle magazine that Nate Berkus calls one of the other colors I was thinking about his ‘go-to’ paint color. So now I’m back to two colors to choose from. Darn you, Nate Berkus!
  • Trying to find time in the insanity to also start work on Halloween costumes. Eden is going to be Little Bo Peep from Toy Story and Sissy is going to be Jessie. I am going to try to make their costumes myself, but I totally caved and bought Judah Bear’s alien costume off eBay. I know my limits. Kind of.
  • The kids and I made a trip back to my hometown for a few days with the goal of visiting family and friends. Then all of us came down with savage colds right before going so we spent the whole visit lying around and just hanging out. Although, it was actually really relaxing to get to lounge in t-shirt and jeans and just talk to my aunts for almost 48 hours straight, but I was bummed we didn’t get to see some of the friends we’d hoped to. Next time.
  • The day after coming home from our visit, we hit the road again (for just an hour this time) to spend the day at the zoo with my sister and her kids and my dad and his wife. Needless to say the kids slept like rocks that night!

Now that I look at it, it really doesn’t seem like that much. But trust me, I’ve been a little bit crazed. It’s been one of those ‘spin around in circles trying to figure out where to start and I have no idea so I just sit down and read a blog’ couple of weeks. Please tell me you know what I’m talking about! On that note, a big shout out to Young House Love, Bower Power, The Handmade Home and IHeartOrganizing for killing my time the past couple of weeks. I love you all : )

I promise to be back soon! I have so much to talk about (surprise, surprise) and I can’t wait to share. Until then, I leave you with this picture of my kiddos at the zoo last weekend. Miss Eden was sitting on a wet spot where a leaf had previously rested and she made me pay for it with that face. Ah, sweet little munsters!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Momma Bod

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve made it clear that being a mom is hard. Hard on your heart, hard on your sanity, sometimes it’s hard on your marriage. But that isn’t what I’m going to address today. Today is about something that we ALL struggle with. Our stinking bodies.

Rather than bore you with details of my transformation from pre- to post-baby body, I’ll give you the highlights. I’m not showing you any pictures. Not on your life, folks. : )

  • Let’s talk stretch marks. I’d heard the term before I had kids. I’d even read some of those stupid poems online about how women love their stretch marks because it’s a beautiful reminder of their baby’s growth or something and I thought I could be that woman. But I’m not. My stomach and sides look like rabid wolves attacked me. I’m not loving it.

  • Speaking of stomachs, what’s up with that? I feel like someone should have told me that all of my abdominal muscles would vanish after having kids. When Landon and I started doing P90X when Adaleine was about 18 months old, I was trying to do the Core Synergistics workout (I hate Tony Horton) and I literally could not sit up at the beginning. Landon thought I was kidding until I yelled something at him like, “I’ve had two little humans stretch my stomach out so much that I’m like Gumby!” Then he shut up. : )

  • I’m not going to talk in detail about what babies and breastfeeding does to your boobs. Suffice it to say you’ve been warned.

  • If you have your babies by c-section or as my sister says “the way God intended” you will generally retain bladder control. If you have babies the way that makes you worry about pooping on the doctor, you’re gonna want to invest in some Depends. I’ve had three babies the screaming/poop-worrying way and when I gotta go, I gotta go. Other problem situations are funny friends (I’m talking to you, Kassy Marsh!), multiple sneeze attacks, any kind of coughing fit, and construction on the interstate. A good rule of thumb is go early, go often.

  • Another bonus that is a bit more specific to me is a little skin discoloration. You’ve heard of pregnancy mask, right? Where you sometimes get skin discoloration around your mouth while you’re pregnant? Well, the upside of that is that it usually fades within a couple months of having your munchkin. The fun part of my particular case is that it didn’t go away. Bummer, huh? So I have some dark spots above my upper lip that make it look like I have an Errol Flynn mustache. Mr. Bug says no one notices but me, but I’m not buying it. (If you read this and see me afterward, please don’t just look at my lip. Tell me you want to see my ‘stache and I’ll feel a lot less self-conscious) : )

And there you have it. All that you have to look forward to. Men, please do not expect your wives to be an exception to any of these rules. She will have tiger gashes, she will not be able to do sit-ups for a while, she will occasionally pee her pants a little bit and she may end up rocking a ‘stache. Women, these things will probably ending up affecting you in some way, with the possible exception of the Flynn facial hair look-alike.

It’s not all bad though. I may not love those stretch marks, but if subtracting them from my body means that I don’t have my babies—no dice. And who really needs to do sit-ups anyway? I can roll onto my side to help heave myself out of bed at 3:00 in the morning when a little one starts to cry. And really the bladder control is hardly even an issue. Judah won’t be potty-trained for a while so I’ll have diapers on hand. Even the mustache effect isn’t too big a deal. ‘Stache parties are all the rage right now. Maybe for my 30th birthday? : )

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Party On! Eden's Gnomeo & Juliet Birthday Party

Before I get started here, let me just say something. I have written this post once already. I am incredibly frustrated because I can’t find it on the computer anywhere so I’m starting from scratch. Very frustrating!

Anyway, here I go again. I wanted to get back to all 12 of my faithful readers who have been on the edge of their seats. You’ve been patiently waiting for me to let you know how Eden’s birthday party went back in June. That’s right. June. Bear in mind this is my second time writing this. Keep your judgments to yourselves. : )

So I told you all about my ideas for Eden’s birthday party here. The theme was Gnomeo & Juliet and the fact of the matter is I totally nailed it. Just sayin’. I wasn’t able to do a lot of crazy expensive stuff, but the stuff that I got done was so much fun!

This was the invitation I put together. I cut out 6,000 Gnomeos & Juliets. (Slight exaggeration)

We had Eden's birthday party on Sunday, June 10th. We had moved to our new house on Saturday the 2nd and I worked like crazy to get settled in time for her party. Oh, and did I mention that we also made the trip to my sister’s in Omaha for another birthday party the day before? And that we took extended family pictures the morning of Eden’s birthday party, also in Omaha? Just so the insanity of the day is clear. : )

Here are some of our little friends prepping for cupcake duty

We had a bit of rain right before the party which could have made the outdoor festivities slightly horrible. But it cleared up just in time for us to enjoy near 90-degree weather for the afternoon. We had over 30 people in attendance with kids and grown-ups alike. The kiddos could choose to play Pin the Hat on the Gnome, Bowling for Gnomes, or run the Lawnmower Race Course. The lawnmower races were a big hit and all the kids were sweaty and ready for refreshments when the time came.

A friend of mine made Eden's Juliet outfit especially for her big day! She loved it!

I found this gnome bowling set online and picked up a couple of larger bouncy balls from Target for the kiddos to use

My sweet hubby drew the Gnomeo and Juliet posters and cut out all of those little hats. Yay for Mr. Bug!

For sweets and treats, we served Pink Flamingo Punch (strawberry slushy punch), Muddy Gnome Crackers (graham crackers dipped in chocolate), Wiggly Snail Jigglers (Jell-O jigglers cut into snail and hat shapes), and Lil’ Shroom Cupcakes (pretty self-explanatory). They were a hit all around!

Here are our Lil' Shroom Cupcakes. I tried a few different decorations, but my favorites are the pinwheels : )

I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of this story. I’ll be back before too long; Sissy’s birthday is next month and I’ve got ideas out the wazoo! Rainbow Party, here we come!

Here are the dessert tables. My awesome sister made the circle garlands for me 

My little labels for the treats : ) These were fun to make
For a fun thank-you for all of her fabulous gifts, I had prints of this made to send out. This may be my new 'thing' : )