Posted in Children, Family, life, Uncategorized

4 year old My Little Pony/Rainbow Party

Okay, here we go. I must start this blog with a disclaimer.

  1. There are bloggers who make money blogging. I’m not one of them (although that’d be swell).
  2. There are bloggers who have perfect pictures of projects that people pin on Pinterest. I’m not one of them. I don’t even know how to put a P on my pictures so that people could pin them on Pinterest (although that’d be swell).
  3. I’m just a mom, who happens to blog, who is trying to celebrate my kid’s birthday in a fun way using ideas from Pinterest that I’ve stolen from other people who make money with their blogs.
  4. You will not find anything original here. Or anything perfect. You might even see messy. Or real. And that’s my life. Judge not (that’d be swell).

So my little daughter EK turned 4 and she requested a My Little Pony party. My town (consisting of Walmart and 14 dollar stores) had absolutely nothing in the way of My Little Pony party supplies. So we stole the idea of using Rainbow Dash pony as our Lead Horse and combining rainbows with My Little Ponies, but mostly just rainbows. When I say we, I mean me. Because rainbow parties are cool. Rainbows are cool. She’s 4. And if I put a few ponies out and about on the tables, that’d work, right? (Secret: I don’t even think I had a Rainbow Dash pony out anywhere!)

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Parties can get a bit out of hand these days. It seems like  moms keep pushing the envelope. How big can they possibly get?  I really really really really strive to have a simple party. But then suddenly it gets bigger and bigger and bigger. And then I look around and I’ve got ponies and rainbows and icing up to my elbows. And you know what else? I don’t even like parties! But I will tell you, that when my little girl walked into the room and saw the decorations, her little face lit up. She jumped up and down clapping. Ran over and hugged me around the legs. She kept saying how excited she was and it was right there in that moment, I realized that I may not like parties but my little girl will only turn 4 once and even if no one else came to help us celebrate, we will celebrate. It is her life.  The day she came into our world and changed it forever. She is worth celebrating! The party may not have been picture perfect, but we had a great time and here it is.
I didn’t have time to get a great invitation together because at almost the last-minute, something came up and we had to move the party up a weekend. So I just did what we did in the “olden days” and bought invitations at one of the 14 dollar stores in town and handwrote the Who, What, When, and Where on the blanks ha!

Decorations:

Doing a rainbow theme is easy when it comes to decorations, because you can find the colors of the rainbow anywhere and everywhere. The backdrop in the following picture is made out of plastic tablecloths that are hung in the colors of the rainbow and the poufs and balloons are supposed to be clouds. I used some old banner and tablecloths from her 2nd birthday Sesame Street themed party and added them to save money.

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Food

Because our party was from 4-6, we served some hotdogs and chips. I also threw together a veggie platter, trying my derndest to use the colors of the rainbow, but really other than orange bell peppers and eggplant, some veggies just don’t come in the colors of the rainbow. Also a fruit platter, that when you look real closely may, in just the right light, maybe with one eye shut and your head tilted at a 30 degree angle, might look like a rainbow with some marshmallow clouds.

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Our cake was a 5 layer rainbow cake following the colors of the rainbow. At first, I was going to make the batter and use food coloring to color different batches of dough, but at the store, I found already colored pouches of cake mix. It was still a booger to make (lots of dirty dishes) and cutting it was a chore, but it turned out fun. We added skittles to the outside for a little extra rainbow flair. J-Dub of course helped me with the cake as I was about in a near tizzy when it came to icing it and a full-blown tizzy at cutting that tall sucker. It started to look like the leaning tower of Piza. It was taking both of us to try to hold it up and cut it without making a total mess. I can’t say we succeeded on not making a total mess. It’s just a good thing kids don’t care!

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For fun, we dipped some Oreos in white chocolate and sprinkled them with rainbow sprinkles. EK really enjoyed helping with this. Now, this isn’t as easy as it looks, there’s a couple of tricks to getting the stick to stay put without breaking the Oreo into fragments.  You get to eat a lot of broken Oreos while you’re doing this! Well, you do if you’re me.

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I baked a few cupcakes and since there wasn’t too much chocolate and I personally prefer chocolate, I put some chocolate icing on these which turned our reminding me a little bit of hot mess of dog poop sitting on top of a cupcake, but if anybody else thought so, at least they didn’t say anything. Again, kids don’t care.

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Activities/Games

I always worry about the activities and games. I think it’s the school teacher in me. I have learned from a schoolroom full of kids that when their time isn’t filled with  structured activities, they will find a way to fill it, and it may not be what you want them to do. So I always overplan on this part and they usually  just end up playing their own games instead of mine. Maybe one day I’ll learn to relax and trust the process a little.

It  worked out that since we lived in the country and EK’s daddy had a horse available, we were able to offer pony rides to go along with the theme of My Little Pony. We also asked a friend from church to come out and give each child their own “cutie mark” with face paint. EK wanted a piñata, and so a few kids got in on that, but we were running almost out of time and many guests left before this. Unfortunately, during all the hustle and bustle, I wasn’t able to get  pictures of any of these activities.

I had also bought a little photo booth kit, you know one of those funny faces photo booths? I thought the kids would love this, but they didn’t. I practically had to drag kids into it to participate. For this age of guests, I think I should have put up a mirror near it, so they could at least see what the looked like before the picture was snapped. I did have a few willing participants. That’s EK in the cat eye glasses and a few of her cute friends.

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Emma had a lot of fun with her friends and family and it turned out to be a great time. As soon as it was over, she said “I can’t wait to turn five!” She’s already planning her next birthday! Thankfully I have a year to rest!

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Posted in Family

Summer twenty thirteen

I’m such a slacker and I make myself so mad when I don’t blog regularly.  My thoughts and words are a bumbling rambling mess in my head which means the best approach to empty out  is with a list.

  • Today is the first official day of summer.  Here in Ruidoso, the weather is a dream come true to us.  We don’t even have air conditioning in our house and the highs are in the 80’s right now.  It gets a bit warm in the afternoon but not unbearable.  Especially if you’re laying around, which is pretty much what I do.  Despite the cooler temps, I still hate cooking in summer.  Blah!  Heck, I hate cooking in winter, spring, and fall too.  Who am I kidding.
  • My baby is a week away from 17 months old.  It doesn’t seem possible.  We did a practice run at potty training the other day, and well, let’s just say we need a lot more practice.  Within 45 minutes, we’d been through 5 pairs of training panties and a pair of sheets.  Laundry, laundry, laundry.
  • I lost a chicken the other day.  Another mystery in the art of poultry ranching.  My last black chicken was lying dead in the yard.  It could’ve been the dogs, but they’ve lived with the chickens for more than 2 years without killing one.  It could’ve been another chicken, it could’ve been a stroke.  It remains unexplainable.  Nevertheless, I’m down to only 4 chickens but still plenty of eggs and noone to give them too. You may be hearing me describe all the ways I can prepare eggs soon:  fried eggs, scrambled eggs, poached eggs, boiled eggs…..
  • EK talks like nobody’s business.  It’s not always decipherable by most, but me and daddy have it down pretty good.  Yesterday she woke up from her nap.  I asked her if she’d like a snack.  She ran to the pantry and said “m&m’s, chocolate, donuts”  in that order.  No worries that we’re raising a health nut here.
  • I’ve had a lot of people tell me over the years that I should write a book.  That is such a huge undertaking, but not out of the question.  I’d love to, but I’m not there yet.  So, I’ve taken a direction with my writing that comes as a bit of a surprise as I’ve been hired to write a little romance novella.  I’m actually going to get paid a small pence.  Haha!  It’s a bit ironic as I have as much romance in me as a white boy’s got dance moves, but with a little help from wine, I’m hoping to unleash my inner love starved heroine.
  • egg florentine, egg drop soup…….
  • We’ve finally found a church here that we’re enjoying and meeting new people.  I think the hardest part of moving is losing the familiarity of people.  But all in good time, all in good time.
  • J-Dub and I had an anniversary this month.  We celebrated 8 wonderful years and one really bad one.  Nah, I’m just kidding.   It’s not an easy thing, but it’s a good thing.   I hope to grow old with him and watch our grandchildren play in our front yard, feeling satisfied that we did our best.
  • egg custard, eggs benedict, egg salad…..
  • I’m currently reading 4 books, yes 4.  What the heck is wrong with me?  I’ve got a romance, because obviously I need some research in that department.  A book club book by Jodi Picoult, and Remember Ben Clayton.  Also Captivating another book club discussion.  So many books, so little time.
  • Currently I’m in love with a rack of dresses at Walmart.  Economically priced at $9.94 and in a myriad of colors, I am the proud owner of 3 so far.  I’m not usually a dress person, but you know what?  These don’t bind me up.  They flow, they’re loose, and airy.  It’s almost like wearing a gown all day and who can go wrong with that.
  • Life is good.  It really is.  I’m happy in this season of my life.  God is good to me, and His love is indescribable.   Sometimes I’m filled with so much love, I don’t know what to do.  I only hope that it overflows out of me and splashes onto others a little.

I enjoyed writing this little love letter to you, but supper doesn’t stop because it’s summer.

So I’m off to cook steak.

And eggs.

 

Love,

Angel

Posted in Faith

A Friend

I’ve never been a good friend maker.

I’m an introvert, and definitely not a social butterfly.

I’ve been called shy, quiet, and aloof.  It’s just who I am.

I consider myself nice.  I will speak if spoken to, I’ll answer your questions, I’ll smile at your stories, but I’m not usually one to offer my own or go out of my way to strike up a conversation, especially if I don’t know you.  I know that probably sounds super weird since I tell all my stuff through this blog, but it’s easier for me to write than to speak.  Through writing, I have time to think and I use the backspace button a lot!

I’m not completely friend-less.  I have a few dear and true friends in my life.  There are people who would bend over backwards if I needed help, and through our move to New Mexico, we have had so many people offer and extend help our way.  It is truly remarkable to know my family is cared for by so many.

As we leave “old” friends, my prayer the last few weeks has been for God to help us make new friends.  For all of us.   Ashlynn, Jason, and Emma will have no problems.  But me?  It’s not as easy.  But God never ceases to amaze me.  He is so good.  He cares for the little things in our life.

I was thrilled Friday evening when while I was putting sheets on Emma’s crib mattress, my next door neighbor came over to introduce herself, and instantly it seemed I had a new friend.  A beautiful, fair-faced, redhead named Summer.  Who happens to have a child one year younger than Ashlynn who will be attending the same school. Who happens to have a bloodhound named Daisy.  Little do you know, I have always wanted a bloodhound, and when I was much younger, I wouldn’t let my sister name her Golden Retriever Daisy because I was saving that name for my future little girl.  I didn’t follow through with that of course, but I’ve always loved the name.

We chatted it up for a few minutes and exchanged numbers.  She told me of a play group I might get connected with, where to pick up the mail and the where the school bus stops.

It was a nice visit.  I felt at ease.  And relieved to have met a new person.

We had to leave the next morning to return to our former town for business, but when we get back I’m going to get some courage and do something big, like walk over there and knock on her door or something!

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Life in the Real World

I have an addiction to Facebook.

Before that I had an addiction to MySpace.

And before that, I had an addiction to different community forums like exercise and teaching ideas where I could converse with others and learn from them.

I guess it’s not the worse addiction you can have, it’s not terribly expensive, but like any addiction it controls my mind and steals my time.

I remember when the internet was invented, yes I do.  I was at my sister’s house, she was showing me around the World Wide Web and it was a confusing mess with its browser buttons and home page.  I remember thinking I would never understand it and why would I even need to.

Then, for me anyway,  computers were for writing college papers and nothing more.  A fancy typewriter that didn’t need correction tape.  There were no such things as digital photos or downloadable music.   We had 35 mm film and a cassette player.  What more could we possibly need?

I have grown to love the internet, in the most unhealthy of ways.  If I counted the hours of my life that has been, dare I say it, robbed by sitting in front of the computer, I would be riddled with guilt.  It is my Encyclopedia  Britannica.  My source of information at my fingertips.  It is my friend finder, connector to others and relationship builder.   And with my blog, it is my voice.

It’s not all bad.  The internet has taught me much.  Where would my brain be without all the useless knowledge with which I’ve filled it?   It has brought me closer to others.  In the last few years of my dad’s life, we grew to know one another  in a deeper, more personal way.  A way in which we never would have experienced if left to our own conversational abilities, of which neither of us are considered stellar.   And I cherish that.  But with the invention of smart phones, the connection to the internet has gone overboard for me.  Even though I want to believe it is enriching my life, I often wonder if it is in reality sucking the life out of me.

Two weeks ago I deactivated my Facebook account.  Like an addict, I can say today it has been 14 days since I’ve drunk in Facebook, snorted the comments of others, inhaled the sometimes hateful, sometimes loving, sometimes funny, sometimes snarky remarks and jokes of friends and family.

I ain’t gonna lie, I’ve missed it.  It is the first thing I think about doing when I wake up, and throughout the day I catch myself wanting to write on my wall and cyberstalk others.  But it’s been one of the best things I’ve done as well.  I long for the connections with others, but I tell myself that anyone who gives a rip about me has my number, knows my address, maybe has my email and can find me if they truly want to.  It’s nice to have been missed by a few, but for the most part, I’ve discovered my “friends” are merely “acquaintances”.

Will I be back?  Who’s to say.  I’m working on my real-life relationships instead.  Trying to improve my real-life self and draw meaning from this place called life.

So if you’re reading, thanks for stopping by.

I wish you’d say hi.

I probably miss you.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Red River

My niece Ashy has a word she uses a lot.

It’s “Amazing”.

“This dessert is amazing, this smells amazing, my aunt Angel is amazing”.  Well, actually, I made that last one up.  She’s never really said that, but it doesn’t mean she shouldn’t.

It’s a bit ironic.  Her middle name is Grace and she was born under distressing circumstances, yet pulled through and has been our little miracle ever since.  My dad quickly nicknamed her “Amazing Gracie”.

So here we are in Red River, New Mexico, and according to Ashlynn everything is simply “Amazing”.  The mountains are amazing, the smells are amazing, the air is amazing.  And she’s right.

We’re vacationing with some of our good, best friends,the Hoganson’s (Matt, Jaxson, Revelle, and Gage) and enjoying it abundantly.

We’ve spent our day fishing and catching moss.

Then we rented jeeps to head “off road” and upward.

Of course like everything else at the beginning, the excitement and anticipation is high.   Everyone is all smiles.

But after two wrong turns, four hours, and three stops to pee in the woods we were ready to get back on level ground, or at least some smooth pavement.

It was a bumpy, rough ride I tell you.

At the end of it, our teeth were rattled, our bones were jarred and Matt is worried that Emma might be retarded now.

But boy, was it pretty.

Here’s proof:

I love this Aspen forest.  Isn’t it enchanting?  I imagine myself in a long flowing white dress sitting in its midst with butterflies and fairies dancing around my head and unicorns eating sparkly food from my hand.  I’m weirder than weird.  I already know.

But my most favorite picture is this one.

Isn’t it amazing?

Posted in Uncategorized

Gobble, Gobble, Wobble

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  Yes, I know the song refers to the Christmas season, but I disagree.  I believe the Thanksgiving season is the most wonderful time.  It is my favorite by far. 

This thanksgiving, 2011, I am blessed beyond my wildest comprehension.  There has been loss.

And there has been gain. 

 

 How much things can change in one year.  
This time last year, I saw my dad alive for the last time.  We sat on the steps of my old house on a beautiful Autumn day as birds honked above overhead.  I mistakenly called them geese.  He was quick to inform me they were sandhill cranes.  He always loved the birds. 

We took a drive around the old Celanese plant  where he spent some time working years ago, and although we didn’t say much of anything, I’m sure he was venturing down his own memory lane, just as I am now.   Days gone by.  Out of reach.

I snapped this last picture of him and my sister lying in the floor, right before we watched Four Christmases together.  He forgot that blue handkerchief when he left.  It’s now washed and folded and put away in a box of things, along with a pair of glasses left forgotten.  He passed away the following February, and I have missed him everyday since. 

But we shall meet again, and there will be rejoicing.

This time next year, we will have a 10 month old little girl crawling around, possibly beginning to pull up, yanking all the popcorn and cranberries strands from the Christmas tree.  She will have brown hair and brown eyes and little dimples on her knees.  We will play peek-a-boo and patty cake, feed her pumpkin pie with lots of whipped cream, and smother her in kisses. 

And I’ll be tired, but it will all be worth it.

Things change.  There’s no doubt I’ve changed. 
And thank God for that.

Robert Frost said he could sum life up in three words.  “It goes on.”

And thank God for that too.

I hope you take a moment to be thankful today and everyday.  We are so blessed. 
Praise God.

Cherish Loved Ones.

Be happy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Love,
Angel

Posted in Pregnancy

Pics from the Reveal Partay!

This past Friday, some friends and loved ones joined us for a gender reveal party. 

Some wore pink, thinking it would be a girl.  Some wore blue, thinking it would be a boy.

Some wore black, thinking it would be…….uh, nevermind, I guess they hadn’t had time to do their laundry.

J-Dub and I were both decked out in blue.  No doubt in my mind it was a boy.  No doubt.

There were more folks dressed in blue than pink. 

The survey from my blog predicted boy over girl.

 

We began with a little game of “What do the Old Wives Say?” where different old wives questions were thrown at us, and the majority of our answers revealed boy. 

Boy, Boy, Boy.

The contents of this box would reveal the truth.  Would it be blue or would it be pink?

The moment of truth arrived with hearts all a’flutter.   Anticipation hung heavy in the air. 

 

The florist was the one who received the sealed envelope.  He was the one who first saw the ultrasound picture.  He was the one who packaged the box.  We were the ones to open it with the ones we love.

Pink and white balloons drifted out, screams and cheers lifted up, and tears flowed down.  Happy tears of course.

It was a day of love, happiness, celebration.

 Hugs.

Congratulations.

 

 And smiles.

Lots and lots of smiles.