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!

Posted in Children, Family, life, Love

When Motherhood Becomes a Battle…….the Side I Choose


We danced in the rain, arms outstretched, face upwards.

We water-colored and crayon colored.

We cooked and sang.

We kicked a soccer ball and practiced writing the letter S.

We read books and looked for hidden objects in the pictures.

There are a million things my mind tells me I should be doing. Like packing to move 400? miles away. And cleaning the house. And fulfilling commitments that I promised I would do. I should be doing laundry and keeping a more daily skin regimen and I should not be eating icing from the can with a spoon.

I sneak in my “Me” moments, (which are not “Me” moments at all, but just the stuff you have to do to keep life running) at times when I can. I try so hard to balance the attention I give her with the other things that need my attention. Am I harming her more than helping, I can’t help but wonder. Will she turn into one of those entitled, selfish brats that I read so many articles about because of my “overparenting”?

Those are the things my mind tells me. And my heart tells me that sticky fingers do indeed wash and wearing the same jeans two days in a row is not the end of the world. That knowing she is loved and cared for is truly more important, isn’t it?  Isn’t it the most important? My heart tells me this time with my daughter is short; shorter than I realize. I have friends posting graduation pictures of their children on social media, and I count the years remaining. Fifteen. I actually count those years more often than I should. Fifteen years until I can have an uninterrupted conversation with my husband. Fifteen years until I can sleep late again. Fifteen years until I can go to the bathroom without someone barging in. Actually, I have way less than fifteen, I know.

Motherhood is such a battle at times. Your heart battles your mind. Your shoulds battle your should nots. Your selfishness battles your self-sacrifice.

Some days I wish it were easier. I wish that I could be assured that everything I’m doing is right and good and that this little person is going to grow up with fond memories of family and fun and me. That she will possess responsibility, integrity, morals, and high standards. That she will grow up self-sufficient and independent, yet never act arrogant nor pretentious. That she will grow up and know love, and be able to show love to others. I choose to give her my time and my attention. I choose to help her know she is important and she matters. Only time will tell if I’m doing it all wrong.

We picked a fluffy dandelion and she asked me what I wish for. I looked into her deep brown eyes and said I already have everything I could ever need. I wish for her wishes to come true. She looked around the yard and saw her purple chair and said she wishes for a purple chair.

Perhaps we both already have everything we need.

That’s what I hope.
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Posted in Children, Family

A Few More Emmaisms

I’ve got this almost 3-year-old, going on almost 30-year-old.

She says some of the funniest things.  I posted about them last here.  One of my faithful readers and commenters, Donna, coined them Emmaisms and I thought that sure sounded catchy.

Today I put on my 80’s playlist to get myself moving to clean the house after the holiday storm that rushed through here a few days back.  Trying to get back in my groove.  I began singing rather loudly to Journey.  You know how you do whenever Journey comes on. It doesn’t matter where you are, or what you’re doing.  When Journey plays, you sing.  It was a little bit of  Separate Ways.   I was belting it out pouring her some milk.

Someday love will find you, break those chains that bind you.  One night will remind you…….

Emma looked at me and said,

“Mom, let them sing by themselves.”

She lives in a fantasy world most of the time.  Princesses and fairies.  She takes turns wearing her dress up clothes with the matching shoes and hair.  Yes, hair.  If she’s Elsa, she has to have a braid.  Cinderella, a bun.  Belle, a half bun.  It is exhausting how many times she changes clothes and hair styles in a day.  The other day she just wanted to be Emma.

“I don’t want to be a mermaid.  I just want to be a human from America.”

Good enough for me, kid.

Don’t make the mistake that these little kids don’t learn how to make excuses at a very young age.  Whenever she doesn’t want to do something that she’s been told, she collapses into a limp noodle in my arms and exclaims,

“But I don’t have any feet!”

She’s my little homebody.  She never wants to go anywhere, not even the playground.  Or the store.  She says she’ll just stay home by herself.  The other morning, she looked at me with all the seriousness in the world and said,

“Mom, I’m not leaving today.  I’m just going to stay home and be naked.”

On that naked note, Material Girl is playing now and the house isn’t cleaning itself.

Have a great Tuesday!

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Posted in Children, Family

2 Years Old

Emma Kate Darling,

Happy, Happy 2nd Birthday to you!!!

Oh I hope you know how much you are loved. But I’m sure you don’t. Of all the thousands upon thousands of words I have to use, there aren’t enough to convey it.

And not to boast or anything, (well maybe just a little), but you love your mommy right back. I mean a whole lot. Me and you? We’re like peanut butter and jelly. Or milk and cookies. Like hot chocolate and marshmallows or strawberries and cream. The two are better than one. Of the two years of your life, so far we have only been away from one another for a few hours at a time. 24/7 that’s me and you.

I keep thinking back to this day two years ago when you came screaming and crying into our world. People said my life would never be the same, and boy is that the truth. It is all the more enjoyable because of you.

So what does a 2 year old like you like? Right now, you really love Cinderella and you sing a lot. You pick up items to use as your microphone, and sing into it. You like to play dress up in your plastic, clompy heels and have tea parties with your daddy. You really love the playground and don’t like leaving once we’re done. There’s so many other things. Your dogs: Drew, Grace and Ozzie, your chickens, and your new fish Snowman. You make sure we wait for you to get your purse and put it on your shoulder when we take out the trash. You like to drive your daddy’s truck, so for Christmas you received a pink Barbie jeep but you barely push it to make it go one inch, then stop it.

People think you are timid and shy, but I think you are cautious. And that is a smart thing to be. You like to stay close to your people when we’re in a new place or around a lot of people and you don’t really talk to strangers or even look them in the eye. And that’s just fine for now. There’s not an impulsive bone in your body. You are an observer and a thinker. You wait and watch rather than jumping right in. And even though others might think they can boss you around, you know how to stand up for yourself. You have a strong voice and an opinion and you aren’t afraid to use it. Some of your favorite things to say right now sound very oppositional if you know what I mean.

But you also say so many sweet, kind things too. You are learning your manners very well and say thank you so much, please, excuse me and you tell people bless you when they sneeze. You say “I love you much” and if we’re really lucky we get hugs and kisses. You like to give long kisses until we start to laugh and our teeth bump. You give love pats and like to snuggle up in bed. You have a tender little heart at times and are learning compassion. You crawled into my lap and placed your hands on my face and asked me what’s wrong the other day when I was frustrated with something. Just last night you made me laugh when you fell upon the ground with your head resting on your forearms repeating, “It’s no use. It’s no use.” (learned from Cinderella) when you didn’t get your way. It is very obvious that you are a result of your environment and your daddy and I are trying our very best to show you the right way and give you strong examples to follow.

Of course books are still one of your favorite things but you’re pretty fond of movies as well. We take a weekly outing to the library for a story time and we take a weekly outing to a play group where you have lots of friends. Right now we’re working on learning to share and not be a Bossy Bessie!

Of course you’re smart. You have been from day one when you looked at us with those big alert eyes and understood everything we said to you. You are a talker with a big vocabulary, but you get a little frustrated at times when we don’t know what you’re trying to tell us. You have things memorized already like songs and the previews to Cinderella. You found this Youtube video months ago called egg surprise that you watch over and over and can recite verbatim. You are fully potty trained right now and are showing your independence with wanting to dress yourself and put your shoes and socks on.

You are a small, petite child. And healthy!!! Fortunately, we haven’t had to see a doctor in quite some time, so by our calculations you are about 32 inches tall and weigh about 22.5 pounds. You’re fearfully and wonderfully made and uniquely you. There is no one else like you sweet Emma. I must say I believe I won the jackpot with you.

Two years ago, you came into our world and settled right into our hearts. I have a very special place for you in mine. You will always be my little baby no matter how old or tall or heavy you grow and my desire is for you to have the best possible childhood available to you. I want you to know you are loved. I want you to remember good times with your family. I want you to understand that spending time with you is more important to us than spending money on you. I want you to be kind and generous and compassionate to others. I hope you read this letter when you’re sixteen and you think I hate you. I want you to know that always and forever our love for you is full, unlimited, and unconditional. That nothing you could/would/should ever do will change that. Ever. You are my joy, my love, my sunshine, my hope, my wealth, my legacy.

You are my love.

Happy Birthday, cupcake.

XOXO,

MomMEE ( how you say it, with emphasis on the second syllable)

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Posted in Children, Family

18 months old

Dear Emma Kate,

Today you are 18 months old.  One and a half.  You are a delight to this world.  You make it a better place to live already, in just 18 short months you’ve truly made a difference in many people’s lives.  Remember to always strive to add beauty and make this world a better place.

Let’s see……there is so much to say about you.  First off, you are talker!  You aren’t easily understood except by those close to you, but you talk up a storm, and I don’t just mean you babble.

You like to pray, and that makes my heart so happy.  When we sit down to eat, you remind us to “pay” and you reach for our hands.  You bow your little head, but still peek out from under your hair (we know that because we’re peeking at you too).  When we’re finished, you say Amen and squeeze three times.  It is so precious.

You love books as always and want us to read to you all the time.

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You are so smart.  I know I’ve told you that since you were born, but you were born smarter than most adults ever manage to become!  You love to write your letters.  You call them all E, A, and O’s.

You sing songs.  Your favorite is Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and you have these sweet hand motions that go with it that you learned from play group.  You also sing If You’re Happy and You Know it, B-I-N-G-O, You are my sunshine and lots more!

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If you had a choice, you’d be outside!  You are not a prissy pants, although you do like dressing up in necklaces and grown up shoes and calling yourself “toot” (cute), but you also eat dog food, waller in dirt, and don’t mind a little grit under your fingernails.

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You love our dogs Drew and Grace and it is so funny to hear you talk to them.  If you’re not giving them hugs and kisses, then you’re telling them “Go, Move, and No”!  You also love the chickens and you hug their butts all the time.

You are just a little thing.  We’ll be going to the doctor soon for a check up but I bet you weigh just barely over twenty pounds.  You can still wear 12 month clothes and the 18 months are just a little roomy for you.  You are super healthy and have never been too sick!!!  I’m so happy about that.

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As far as your personality goes, you are adorable!  You like familiar people, and it takes you a good while to warm up to others that you aren’t around much.  It hurts their feelings sometimes I think, but they’re grown ups and can deal with it.  So you keep on being careful around others and be choosy in your friends.  You are a watcher and an observer.  You don’t just jump in and do things, but you analyze situations and sit back rather than dive right in.

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You are a mommy’s girl!  And you’ve even started being jealous if someone else touches me or tries to love on me.  You yell “no no no” and wring your little hands.  It’s so cute.  I know you won’t always be a mommy’s girl, and there will be times that you, dare I say, will even think you hate me.  But I will love you no matter what.  Through all the highs and lows and ups and downs.  You are my baby girl.  You’re growing up and I am so proud to have you!  Always know how much you are loved!

I love you!!!!!

xoxo

Mommy

Posted in Children, Family

Day In, Day Out

I never  awaken on my own.  I’m usually smack dab in the middle of some amazing dream when a little person whose feet are in my ribs begins to stir and repeatedly request “muck”, the translation of milk in baby talk.  Staggering out of bed with my daughter in my arms, leaving my dream of lottery winning or beach lying behind forever, I put aside all my needs, never considering even a trip to the bathroom, to satisfy hers instead.  Because that’s what mothers do.

Eventually, I manage a cup of coffee or two, breakfast consists of oatmeal with brown sugar and milk, while a well-worn DVD of Sesame Street or Barney provides the background noise.   I sing along and speak the lines by memory knowing I could recite the entire episode better than a 7th grader reciting the Preamble to the Constitution in History class.  Repetition will do that.

Our outdoor surroundings are breathtakingly relaxing and outside time is a must even on cooler days.  We’re surrounded by trees, pines, hummingbirds, deer, and birds of all colors.  So Emma and I spend our time in the backyard with our dogs, chickens, slide, and sandbox soaking up Vitamin D.   My girl toddles around exploring the ins and outs of pine needles, rocks, dog water, and sticks and I use this opportunity to read a short story or a chapter in a book.   I might take my notebook and colored pen out and attempt a little short story of my own.  But my mind gets weighed down with my character or the conflict that needs to surround him, the voice of inadequateness drowns out the voice of creativeness until I seek refuge in facebook or a round of Words with Friends on my phone.   Eventually  I become distracted enough with technology that I don’t even notice when my fictional character  sneaks away and drowns in the river next to our house.

Lunchtime comes and goes, a cuisine suited to a toddler palette:  noodles, goldfish crackers, bananas and the like.  A yawn or sometimes a one year old frenzy indicates  naptime so  we shake the sand from our shoes and climb into an unmade bed for an afternoon nap.  She wallers and hums.  I pat and sing, and eventually she dozes off.  I then sneak out of bed and quietly bottle around the house doing odds and ends; housework, exercise, more reading or occasionally I may be so bold as to nap with her.

During late afternoon, we pack up and head to the Middle School to pick up my niece Ash from school, then it’s back home for more of the same.  Usually after it’s too late, I realize I didn’t plan anything for supper.  This realization throws me into a maddening search on the internet for a recipe consisting of tomato sauce and salmon.

My husband returns from work, and the evening passes as all other evenings in American households.  Supper, dishes, baths, and bed.

Once a week we join a playgroup and two days later we visit the library  where I engage in adult conversation, usually about kids.

I spend most of my day on a toddler level.  I sing The Itsy Bitsy Spider, I read Goodnight Moon, I blow bubbles, mold homemade play dough, hold hands while climbing steps, clean noses, wipe butts, give hugs and kisses and receive as many back, wash high chairs, cook spaghetti, step on hair clips abandoned on the ground, wipe crayon off the wooden floor, wash sticky hands and faces, and wipe tears.

Through it all, I dream of writing.

Some days I wonder if this is all there is.  I am in the trenches of motherhood.  Stay at home motherhood.  There are times I feel very purposeless, unimportant.  Cooking and cleaning is my existence.  But deep in my soul, I know there is no greater purpose for me than this girl named Emma, whose hair hangs in her eyes, whose nose wrinkles when she grins.  I am the most important person to her right now.  I won’t always be.  This time is numbered, and I’m doing my best to make it count.  For both of us.

 

 

 

This entry is #12 on the list of 30 things.  Describe a typical day.

Posted in Family

A Post Where I Make Fun of my Niece and All Teenagers In General

I have a teenager in my home.  She’ll turn 14 in about 2 weeks.

Just in case, you don’t have a teenager in your home, let me tell you what these strange creatures do.

If they have any type of electronic device, they spend hours taking self portraits (selfies) with various faces, and posting them on social media sites near and far.  They are then to be “liked” and obviously the more likes you get taking pictures of yourself, with various faces, the greater the intrinsic reward.  I know this to be true, I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

The teenager who lives in my home is away visiting her grandmother right now.

Today she got a haircut.

And I got a picture text, of course.

A selfie, of course.  Along with the text, “What do you think of the haircut?”

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I actually received two pictures.  She’s got to show all angles.

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It’s a beautiful haircut.  She is a beautiful girl.

But what is with these faces?

We’ve talked about it before.

me:  Why don’t you just smile, you know like normally?

her:  that is my smile.

me:  really?  you raise your eyebrows and do your lips like that when you smile?

her:  yeah.  See?  {click.  another selfie}

Today, after receiving her picture texts, my husband and I immediately began making jokes.

J-Dub thinks she looks like she’s sitting on the toilet, although that’s not exactly his choice of words, when she raises her eyebrows and strains her face all up.

And then there’s the pucker, the “duck lips” as I’ve heard them called.

So, we decided to text her back and tell her we thought her hair was beautiful.  We also asked what she thought of Jason’s hair in these couple of shots.

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Oh my, we were laughing.  I don’t know how he kept his pose or how I kept the camera from totally blurring we were laughing and snorting so hard.  Tears were flowing down my cheeks which isn’t hard to do when I get truly tickled.

EK was all up in our business during this charade.

She thought she needed to have some duck lips too.

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Just in case I needed a reminder that she will be a teenager one day too.

 

And already playing the part.