Wednesday, May 26, 2010

its all about THIS guy....

and his last week as a kindergartner.. (sniff..sniff).. actually in five minutes, he will only have TWO more days.. We got his end of year reviews last week and I couldn't be more proud of him. He excelled in all subjects and scored way above the required levels. In fact for reading.. his numbers are right in line for the end of the year goal.... OF SECOND GRADE!!!
um.. yeah.. we didn't make a big deal about it cuz, he's probably just slack off the next two years of school.. LOL !!
The kid reads and asks questions all day long. He has so much insight into subjects. He really has a desire to learn. AND to teach his younger sister. Most days, he is 'acting as a mother hen" reading to her, pointing things out, explaining, teaching all kinds of things.
(kinda makes this mom job a little easier this go around.. lol)
He also had his LAST soccer game on Saturday and we were so stoked for him! He really progressed during the season.. scored a few goals and really "got" the hang of what the game was all about. We are already into t-ball now.. and swimming lessons will start in a couple weeks. and then football.
We are celebrating him all week long...
at school they have fun activities planned every day, and at home we are celebrating him too.
Doing a few extra fun things and having a few extra special treats..
I am taking lots of pics and will share soon.. right now I am swamped in business edits... so the fam will have to wait.(hey. at least I still take family pics right?)
Hoping to get back here to share in a couple days..

off to go hug my guy.....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

in the kitchen

yep.. surprising isn't it? well.. I do like to bake.. MUCH more than I like to cook. Luckily I am blessed with a man that does love to cook (and prepares most of our meals).. and little side note.. even though our rule is One person cooks, the other cleans up.. HE is pretty much the "other" person most nights too.
been in the kitchen a lot lately.. it all started last week when Brigham had his last TOP DOG (helper of the day) at school. awww.
He got to celebrate his birthday, and wear a special hat, and got a goody back from his teacher. He was SOO excited. I love to see him get pumped up about these little kinds of things. (well, to a 5 year old, this is HUGE, right?)
I made these cupcake cones, which were a really big hit, despite their appearance. ( the foil flew off as I was walking them into school and they toppled all over each other). chocolate was. everywhere. hoping my choice of snack doesn't look bad on my kid! lol

and little man is now eating most of his meals right in big sisters chair! He looks so little here, but I can totally tell that he is all big and proud of his accomplishment. My kitchen has become a baby food factory lately, as I am grinding up vegis and fruits.
this morning was pears, mixed vegi's and sweet potato. He is really loving his food these days.. but still loves mama's milk the best. Tatum weaned herself at this age and I was really bummed, so I am really hoping that he keeps it up for awhile anyway.

this morning, Tatum-girl and I decided to make some triple chocolate chip muffins... in my new pan from Demarle Home. Went to a friend's home party a few weeks ago, and had to restrict myself(ok, the budget ) restricted me.. lol. There stuff is really cool, but REALLY pricey.
Like their muffin tins are $53.00 !

and so I got one !! and just had to take extra time refilling the cups to make a batch.

pretty sure these should not be classified as "muffins".. chocolate, with 2 kinds of choco chips and white choco chips. mmmmmm.
yep, they were good.

and lastly.. THIS guy turned 10 months. totally haven't had a chance to get his 'chair' pose yet.. but I snapped this quickly this morning in his "peas" shirt. when I saw this at Target, I just had to get it. He wore it to Nashville in honor of his first(well, third) Peas get together, however he had stunk it up pretty bad on the drive so we changed him right away.

super cute eh?
...and been super duper busy with photo stuff... had EIGHT calls last week and just trying to figure out dates for everyone.. and then had 2 more yesterday!
I am doing a couple of pretty fun things with my biz too, but you'll have to wait to find out.. lol !
(I am mean like that.. lol)
head over to my blog to catch up on some recent sneak peeks. I still have 3 more to put up so check back often!
We had a great weekend hanging out in our little down town. It had its first Gallery Walk of the season.. in and out of studios/ wine/treats/ music.. the kids loved it and we had a perfect night to enjoy some fun culture.
We always love when summer comes around.. there is a big art show next weekend, and then a few festivals coming up which are always a blast!
well.. I am off to edit some more pics while 2 kids are napping and the other is consumed with Spongebob(yes.. we have given up control.. the crazy sea dude is allowed in small doses now)

Monday, May 10, 2010

my baby girl turns THREE !!

Happy Birthday to my full of spunk and sweetness, Tatum Isabella ! We thank God for sending you to us three years ago! What a joy you have been in our lives!
Did a mini (as in 25 min) photo session for her today. I had a newborn session, so since I had everything out , went ahead and did it. I *really* was hoping to go get her first haircut and then take her pics.. but guess that will be happening some other time. I am still torn between leaving her beautiful curls and giving her a super cute bob for summer!

This was her party dress... had to go with the theme right? For those of you who saw my plea for advice on face book.. I saw THE perfect dress a few months ago online , but the price tag was $89.
well.. you're only three once right? and luckily, this dress , which is custom made, doesn't really have a size.. so she'll get a couple years out of it.
and a big thank you to grandpa (my dad) who wasn't able to say no to his baby girl for her baby girl ! lol

and so our Strawberry Shortcake party started out with some Berry Sweet invitations, which I didn't scan in.. so just "imagine" pink/green cuteness and Miss SS herself on the front. Totally wanted to create my own handmade, but I found some adorable custom made ones on Etsy.. so I went that route in stead. totally worth it.

Planned the party thinking its May.. so it will be nice and sunshiny and everyone will want to be outside playing and carrying on, and what better then to quench their thirsts but digging into my Lime Green drink bucket and pulling out one of these:

and we also served, Sprite, Red Creme Soda, Strawberry Lemonade and water bottles. the super berry luscious sweets table....

and yes.. we had plenty for our 25+ guests, and a whole lot more!!

I over estimated when I bought the JUMBo strawberries at Sam's.. got 3 packages of them and then just got a little carried away dipping them! LOL

the main food table:
chicken salad croissants for the adults, strawberry shaped pb&j for the kiddos, strawberry applesauce, vegis and dip(of course only green/white/red ones) and Fruit (only green grapes, kiwi,strawberries, red and green apples) along with some amazing strawberry fruit dip,chips and strawberry trifle.

oh.. and my mom made a yummy spinach and strawberry salad with poppy seed dressing!

we are going to be eating this same meal for the next couple days for sure!
and the cake.. I am pretty sure I made enough for a small wedding.. Ha.

The pink throne for her to open her gifts..

of course we had to have our traditional pinata.. or as Brigham calls it a PINGONTA !

It was near freezing.. so the kids all ran out , gave a few whacks.. the parents mostly stayed and watched from the window!

the mad dash to catch the candy loot!

and then it was present time.....

I love how all her little friends joined right in.. they all wanted to sit right up close and some even started opening their own choice of gift!

We thank you for all the great toys, books, clothes and other fun stuff. What a great day!

and then it was cake time...

She was a little embarrassed when we sang to her, but she got over it when she saw the PINK cake!

Doesn't this look cool?
notice all the fondant balls on the table? Um, yeah... note to self.. fondant looks nice, but tastes horrible.
I made my own secret butter cream recipe so that was good.. and I just didn't think to flavor the fondant before putting it up. Oh, well, we were not lacking sweetness in any way, so I am sure it turned out fine.
We had a wonderful celebration with friends on Saturday evening and then we got to celebrate with her again on Sunday , which was her actual birthday.
What a beautiful mother's day gift for me to celebrating my sweet baby girl's special day.
We prepped the party (well, mostly I did) for two days straight, so by 11pm on Sat night, I was pooped.. my fabulous hubby stayed up and did all the dishes, wrapped up all the food, cleaned up the rest of the house.. AND let me sleep in Sunday morning.
well.. actually he helped with the kids' promptings of their attack on me in bed so they could give me their gift.
Um.. yeah.. hubby did great again.. totally took them out last weekend when I had two photo sessions and painted pottery with them.
They made me an adorable cookie jar complete with 3 varying sized hand prints, a few scribbles and a couple pretty flowers.
It turned out SO cute and will look perfect in my kitchen!
Andrew then took charge of the children , allowing me to sleep another couple hours. At which time I awoke, to a near spotless house, and he took me out to my choice of restaurant.
I can be simple when I want to.. hee hee. I chose Noble Romans. Gotta love their bread sticks!
Later that day we headed over to my mom's house to celebrate with her. We had a great dinner and opened up some more presents for Tatum from the out of town grandparents.
It was an amazing weekend and I am so thankful for my wonderful little family!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

brace yourselves...

I am gonna get a bit "churchy" on you all for a post or two...
The last year or so, I've had a lot of things going on..been seeing amazing things God is doing in my life, feeling an overwhelming peace and enjoying a life full of joy and happiness.
One huge positive in my life as been my involvement in MOPS(mothers of preschoolers). If you are a mom, then you MUST check this group out in your area.. (or if you're local) then check out the fabulous group of women at ECC's MOPS =).

So anyway, a couple weeks ago, we held our spring tea. The focus was on God's love for us. Pretty basic huh? Well.. we heard some very incredible and tear moving stories from a few woman who shared thru their experiences how they KNOW how much GOD LOVES THEM.

As table leader, I shared my story with my wonderful group of girls too.
I have to preface by saying.. the term "kingdom story" was something foreign to me.
I had always heard "testimony".. and heard countless people get up and share how their life was meaningless and then BAM.. one day they found Jesus. Life is all better now. The end.

So the thing about this terminology is that everyone has a kingdom story. In fact most Christians have several stories about their relationship with JC or how they have seen God work in their lives. Didn't say their lives were perfect. I said God was working.

The point of these stories is that we as Christians can use them to further God's Kingdom by sharing them with others(unbelievers). Pretty cool huh?
And they don't have to be these super polished(with Christianese) verbiage.. they can be simple stories to teach others about this person called Jesus. I used to think that I had to have this major, tear jerking story.. or it wasn't "good" enough.

I am so glad I shared my story, b/c I know that it touched people.Had several people approach me thanking me for being real. I have gotten emails where people are saying "me too".
What a comfort to know we are not alone in this journey.
so here goes.. my kingdom story:

I have always gone to church and I have always believed that Jesus died for my sins.
I grew up in a Christian home , was involved in Christian activities. I knew what Christians were “supposed “ to do and what was right and wrong.
However, God was not center of my life. I did not rely on him.. When we had our first child, we started going to church again. Selfishly, besides thinking it was ‘the image’ we should portray as new parents, I also longed for the abundance of friends that had disappeared since I left college.
Instantly we were met with acceptance. We were receiving invitations for this group, that bible study, this moms group and couples groups. I was diving deep into bible studies and my faith was growing. We were attending church on Sundays and we were part of this social “club”. Our schedule was full and I had “learned” what I was supposed to do as a church goer as I obtained my worldview of Christianity from the people around me. All the time I was maturing in my walk, I was also being held captive. Though I didn't know it at the time.
I thought that because I was actively pursuing a deeper relationship with God and with other Christians that life was going to be lollipops and rainbows. About 6 months after getting involved, stress and conflict crept into my marriage as I tried to achieve what I thought my role as a mom and wife was to look like. My outgoing and generous nature blended with what I saw in my church community. It became the norm for me to be extending invitations, helping with childcare and taking meals on a weekly basis. My time and energy was being exhausted as I tried to live the way that these people said I should live and not what God was telling me . My husband could see a difference in me, and after awhile, I could too. I had placed so much emphasis on doing for others, that I was forgetting about my family and more importantly forgetting about my relationship with my Heavenly Father.
I was soon learning that much of what I viewed as the “right” way to live out my faith was not real and not what God had intended for my life. I had become consumed by a culture of keeping up appearances and pleasing people instead of God.
The next several months contained a series of events that proved to me that God loved me and wanted the best for me. For what was once a time of comfort of activities, friendships and fun.. soon became speckled with hurts, confusion and ultimately severed relationships.
This was devastating to me for 2 reasons. One,- I had felt such happiness and comfort to be so accepted and included. And 2- how in the world could situations like this happen within the church community?
All the while I was enduring these hurts, I knew that there was purpose. I had learned thru my bible studies that God puts us thru trials to refine our character. I guess this is what he was doing.. but it sure sucked at the time.. I knew I had to just be patient, listen and turn my focus to God and I would have a sense of peace. Amazingly it did work. Even though the circumstances were yucky.. I still had a sense of peace about them. I knew that God was working in my life.
My husband and I continued to feel nudges as God used others (sometimes in a painful way) to get our attention.. I still wanted to hang on to the comfort and the false reality that I had created. I was going to this building and involved with the people, but was I involved with Jesus?. God knew that my faith was going to be stagnant if I stayed in this environment, and he made it clear that we were to move. It took me awhile to fully surrender and give up control, but we finally did.
It was not long before the Holy Spirit was alive in me. There was a fire burning and I couldn't’t get enough. I did'nt care about the people around me, I just wanted to be in church on Sunday to be in God’s presence. I had never experienced worship like this before and I was left in tears nearly every time. I started to sense some amazing things God was doing in my heart and in my mind. My family became my focus instead of those around me. My husband and I started working together based on what scripture says, instead of what our peers were saying. My expectations of how we were supposed to be living as a Christian couple were being met because God was showing us how to reach them. My schedule was freed from the play dates and activities so that I could actually get out my bible. I began to have a real comfort of simply being with my family instead of out being seen.
My husband noticed this huge change in me and I have to say that it is such a wonderful feeling knowing that God was directing my path instead of me trying to call the shots. It is has been so refreshing to be furthering my relationship with my Creator without the distractions of trying to keep up the appearances. I am back to being real. I am back to accepting who God has made me. I am finding that my acceptance lies in God and not in people. I know that God’s love is more amazing than I will ever be able to comprehend, and one that I will never be able to earn from people. I have realized and accepted that people will let me down. I have learned to put my trust in God, for He is my rock. I have learned what an amazing gift it is to extend grace to others despite hurts cast upon me. I have been able to connect with Jesus on so many cool ways. I know that I will still go thru yucky times, but I also know that God has great plans for me and he will bring me thru the valleys and give me strength to climb the mountains. I am turning to Christ for my worldview and finding refuge in knowing that He will never leave nor forsake me. I have realized that even though I am called to be part of a church community.. my identity lies in Christ.
feel free to leave a comment or ask me a question. I don't think it was random that the following Sunday our pastor preached on "taking the masks" off and revealing "your" story. It was profound, and I can't wait to share it with you all next time!


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