Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Party On! Judah's Beatles Birthday Party: Decor and Activities

I’m basking in the afterglow of another birthday party! We had Judah’s Beatles birthday party yesterday and it was so much fun! I couldn’t wait to share pictures with you : )

I saw this Beatles party over on Hostess with the Mostess and had to go for it. The invitations she had put together by She Paperie were amazing, but at $2.75 per invite, they were way outside my price range. They are gorgeous though, so if you have the budget for it I would encourage you to take the plunge. I put ours together in PicMonkey and it probably took me about three hours. Once again, lack of sleep pays off! ; )

Upon their arrival, guests were greeted by some {kind of sad} streamers and a Beatles sign on the front door. It got better, though. It was just by the time I got to the front door it was time to go get Eden from school and I was completely out of steam.

I borrowed some old records from a friend of ours and hung them from the ceiling, along with streamers galore! I’m sure if you’ve seen any of my other parties, you’ve noticed a pattern with my d├ęcor staples. I just love streamers because they’re a low-cost item that makes such a difference! {Check the other streamer explosions here, here, and here .} Color, color everywhere and I just used rolls that I had left over from other parties. Mama likes free decorations, guys.

I changed up my washi tape wall with some Beatles lyrics printables and our menu for the day. I'll list the sources for all the printables at the end of the post. Again, some of them I created in PicMonkey since I didn't have it in my budget to purchase them, but all the credit goes to the original creators!

I printed off Beatles coloring pages (found here) for the kiddos to work on while we waited for everyone to arrive, and then we let the games begin! The kids got to play musical chairs (to Beatles music, of course) and everyone had so much fun. It's hilarious to watch one- and two-year-olds play musical chairs, by the way. : ) There were even calls to let the adults play their own musical chairs game but our space was too small/I didn’t have enough chairs/we didn’t have enough time.

I’ll tell you all about the food in a shorter post later this week, but after breaking for goodies it was time to open presents. This guy got so many toys! We now have about 700 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys, all the RescueBots, and some more toys I know nothing about. Someone help me : )

Once present time was over the kids went to the playroom to kill some time and the adults busted out The Beatles: Rock Band. We borrowed it from my brother-in-law and it was a huge hit! This was my way to let the grown-ups have fun, too. Kids’ birthday parties can be totally lame so Mr. Bug came up with the idea to have a sing-off. Winner got the Beatles poster you can see in the picture there. 

Here’s our winner (and the friend who loaned us the records). It was so much fun to have everyone rock out to the songs! 

When the little guests left, each one received a Beatles Fan Bag. I got the idea from this same party and this was one of my favorite things to put together. I had them all assembled and ready about two weeks before the party! They included Kaleidoscope Eyes, I Wanna Hold Your Hand Clappers, John Lemonheads, Beatles Juice (which Eden later told me didn't make sense) and Rock Star Sunglasses.

By the time our contest was over and all the kiddos had gone home I was exhausted : ) But I had so much fun with this party! I feel like I was more prepared for this party than I have been for any other, so it wasn’t stressful at all. I just got to enjoy everyone’s company and have a great time celebrating our little man. And this guy had a blast, which would have made any amount of stress worth it anyway. : ) 

 Sources for the printables are all in my Beatles Pinterest Board, but I'll list them here, too.


Friday, March 21, 2014

The Darkest Afternoon

I have a story to tell. There was once a 27-year-old mother of two. She had a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old, both beautiful little girls. She decided that two was enough, and since she had complicated ‘womanly times’ and a large fibroid in her abdomen anyway, she decided to talk to the doctor about a hysterectomy. After all, she didn’t want to use her baby-making organs anymore. Why not just get rid of them?

So off to the doctor she went. She told him what she was thinking and he completely understood. Just said he wanted to run a blood test to check up on some of the problems she had been having. She opened up a magazine and sat in that little doctor’s office for a bit until he came back in. He handed her a sheet of paper, saying simply “Look at the bottom of the page.”

Pregnancy test:  POSITIVE

In order to avoid making the doctor and his resident uncomfortable with tears of rage and sorrow, the silly girl started laugh/crying almost uncontrollably. The doctor smiled and said that they might need to hold off on the hysterectomy for a while. Wink, wink. 

She didn’t want that baby. She thought so many times while she was laying in bed at night that maybe God would just let her miscarry and get out of it. She thought how much easier it would be if they didn’t have to have three kids. They could all fit comfortably in a sedan, or a booth at a restaurant. All very rational and important arguments.

Months later, this girl was sitting on her bedroom floor. She had just had an argument with her sweet husband about something trivial like housekeeping. She had been slacking off. She had been dropping the ball on so many things. She was too distracted by this thing inside of her that was going to keep her prisoner at home for six more years. 

She started thinking. I can’t do this. It’s not fair to the girls. It’s not fair to my husband. They don’t deserve to have some crazy, exhausted, angry woman yelling at them all the time. He could do better for a wife. He could find someone who would love our girls better than I can. Someone who doesn’t have all this doubt and self-hatred. Someone better. They all deserve better.

Then the thoughts took a turn. I wonder if there’s a way that I could die without hurting the baby. If he’s far enough along and I let someone know right before what I’m going to do, the baby could still be fine. It’s not his fault he has a crazy mom who doesn’t have the capacity to love. He could live and have his daddy and sisters. He could still be okay.

I wonder if my life insurance policy would pay out in the case of suicide? That would be a weird question to ask our agent, though. I wonder if it’s in the paperwork? It’s got to be somewhere. I’ll find it. I’ll make sure they’ll be okay. 

Then she got up. I’m not sure what happened to her, but she never went back to that afternoon. She never went back to that darkness when she was sitting at the foot of her bed sobbing, wanting just to escape. It may have been a smile from one of her girls; it may have been a kind word from her wonderful husband. But she didn’t go back there. 

She went forward. She pushed on and came through the other side with a beautiful little boy, unlike anything she could have ever imagined. He was the bright and shining boy that was born despite the darkness of that afternoon. He shone light into her and helped her remember that her Maker would carry her when she thought she could go no farther.

**I wouldn’t fee l right about closing out of this post without a note to anyone out there who is struggling with their own ‘dark afternoons.’ If this is you and you’d like someone to talk to, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You are also more than welcome to email me, but those guys know a lot better what they’re doing! I hurt for you and I want you to know peace in your life and your heart.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Many Faces of a Three-Year-Old

This little boy turns three years old tomorrow. My baby! I’m sharing lots of pictures with you of our little Judah Bear over the past year, so I won’t slobber all over you with my mommy-ness. : ) I will just say this: this little boy has brightened my life on a daily basis. He is naughty and he doesn’t listen sometimes and he doesn’t share his toys worth a darn, but he is as sweet as sweet can be. Like, eat him with a spoon adorable. And sweet. Did I mention he was sweet??

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have a slight obsession with taking pictures of this guy sleeping. In weird positions and weird places. Roll film!

Sometimes he's silly...

Sometimes he's working hard...

...and sometimes he's crabby.

But he's mostly just a great big ball of awesome wrapped in love and squishy kisses.

I have to include this last one. This is the last photo of the boy taken with his baba. My sweet little man. I love you, baby boy.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Trying for My Babies

I’ve been trying very hard for a while now to be a better mom. Not a ‘do better so people will think I’m amazing,’ but be better so my kiddos will know how amazing they are.

Pinterest has been a curse and a blessing to me in many ways. (This may seem like a tangent, but bear with me.) It’s a curse because I could spend hours on there looking at clothes I don’t have, beautiful homes I don’t have, a great body I don’t have and so on and so forth. But it’s helped me a lot, too. Not just in the great ideas for parties or decorations, but in the little intangible stuff that is a part of everyday life. 

That’s where the whole mommy thing comes back in. I have been so very encouraged by some of the words I have come across on Pinterest. Like I said, they’ve been working their way into my thoughts recently and making a difference in the way I handle things. I’ll just dive right in and share with you what’s been knocking around in my head.


Comparison is the thief of joy. How painfully true this is. I have found myself online well after midnight looking at such and such a mom who obviously has it all figured out. She has a great house, beautiful kids, gorgeous hair, great figure, loving husband, etc. She has even pursued her dream of becoming a (fill in the blank) while my dreams of writing and capturing moments of time are seemingly lost forever. And you know what? That is very damaging. Teddy Roosevelt may have known what he was talking about here.


This one has hit me really hard the last few weeks. It’s so easy to think of the little things that the kids have to say as trivial and meaningless. When you look at it in a big-picture view (which I’m prone to do), it really doesn’t matter if someone got their picture torn at school and had to start over. But when I lean in and listen it occurs to me: these are their ‘big’ things. Their lives are small right now. So small that having a torn picture is very big. And just because the size of my life varies doesn’t mean that their happenings are any less important. 


Boom. How you like them apples? Think about this for a second. Here’s a glimpse into my thoughts right now. “Adaleine, for Pete’s sake, why on earth are you just standing there staring at nothing?! I asked you five minutes ago to get dressed! It’s not hard! I know you can do it! You’re not making good choices!” Ouch. Or “Eden, why can’t you just settle down?! Dinnertime is NOT a time to be silly and bounce around! I know you have better manners than this! Why can’t you show your family the same respect you show your teachers at school and just sit nicely and eat your dinner?” Ugh. Whether the statements I make are true or not, whether they should be listening better or not, there’s not a lot of love in those interactions. You know what’s coming across? ‘You are not good enough. You don’t listen. You don’t show respect. I’m disappointed in you.’ I don’t want that voice in their head all the time. They’ll have enough people clambering to tear them down. I don’t want to be in that pack.

Now don’t get me wrong—I still fly off the handle sometimes. There are times when I’ve just had it and I yell at my kids. I mean really yell. And I see fear in their eyes. Not because they think I’ll hurt them or anything, but because here is the woman who is supposed to take care of them and make them feel safe and she’s yelling over something trivial like knocking over a glass of milk. It gets ugly sometimes. I’ll own that. But I’m trying.

This is what I want to share. Trying is good. Trying means you want better for those little angels/monsters that God has entrusted to you. Are you going to screw up? Yes. But are you on your own? Absolutely not. 


I take such solace in that thought. I wear out. I dry up. I run too far and simply collapse under the weight of all that life and kids and husbands and family and friends pile on top of me. But it doesn’t end there. That saying that God won’t give you more than you can handle is wrong. Dead wrong. If you were able to handle everything on your own, you wouldn’t need the love, support and comfort of a Savior. But there comes a time when you just say, “I’m all out, God. I have nothing left to give. Carry me until you can pour your strength into me.” And He surely will.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Washi Tape Printable Gallery Wall

We’ve been living in the new house for just about six months now, and I have done very little ‘settling in.’ Nothing’s really decorated, and for the most part I’m pretty much okay with that. I hung posters on the wall in the kids’ room, we have kiddo drawings all over the walls in the office, and we hung curtains in the living room, but that’s really it so far.

The floor plan of the main floor has the living room, dining area and kitchen all really open as soon as you walk in the front door. There is one wall in the dining area that was just begging for some love. Since funds were limited (aren’t they always?) I wanted to get creative and come up with something simple and pretty but inexpensive. 

Enter the giant frame. I found a 30x40” frame on a Facebook exchange group for $5! I love the look of gallery walls, but picking up a bunch of frames can get pricey, so I decided it was time to jump on the washi tape bandwagon. I didn’t see any I loved at Hobby Lobby, but Walmart actually came through for me!

I hopped on my Printables board on Pinterest and selected a few of my {free} favorites. From there it was just a matter of printing them out and figuring out the best layout. Well, that and convincing Mr. Bug to hang the frame for me that night after work.  : ) He was a really great sport to do it for me on only four hours of sleep. Husband for the win‼

You can find all of these on my Pinterest board (and some other really cute ones) but I’ll link them all up at the end of the post, too. The whole project cost me less than $10 for the frame and the washi tape, and that’s even adding in a couple bucks for cardstock and printer ink. Not bad, huh?
Now I sit there in the morning to drink my coffee/try to get the girls to eat their breakfast and look at my lovely wall and smile. 

Find Joy in the Journey
C.S. Lewis Quote
Love the Lord your God - from The Handmade Home
Oh, Hello Hexagons
Pray More, Worry Less
Julia Child Quote - This one is Eden's favorite : ) She thinks it's hilarious!
Be Kind - this is our family motto. If the kids are struggling in their playtime together I just ask them what our sign says and they know just what I mean.  

*The 'Be Brave, Little One' and the Bible verse are just ones that I put together in PicMonkey. I'm putting them in the post so you can use them if you'd like. Let me know if you do! And I can't remember where I found the sideways one in the middle. Sorry!*


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Teaching Our Little 'Man'

My husband is kind of okay : ) I’m very grateful for the husband and daddy that he is, and I’m so glad that Judah Bear has such a good guy to show him what it means to really be a man.

One of the things that makes my teeny tiny heart melt is the way Mr. Bug is teaching our son how to treat women. He’s teaching him to hold the door for his big sisters and his mama, so every time he props the screen door open with his little rear he says, “Here you go, yadies.” He’s showing him how to be a gentleman and help his sisters on with their coats when we’re out. And then my sweet husband holds mine for me. Almost every time we go somewhere as a family, Landon will pull up to the curb to drop off the girls and I, and remind Judah that it’s good manners to drop ladies off before you go find a parking spot. 

We’re not teaching Judah—or the girls, for that matter—that women are helpless or that we need a man to do everything for us. Since Landon is gone so much for work my kiddos know that I’m perfectly capable of doing things for our little family. We’re just hoping to teach them what it means to respect and honor, even when we don’t feel like it or it seems inconvenient.

I feel incredibly blessed. I’m hoping that Judah will watch his daddy through the years and learn from him. Sure, there are things that my hubby needs to work on. He’s human. But he’s bound and determined to teach his son what it means to be a real man. And I love him for it.