Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hanging with Hairy

Jack had trouble deciding his favorite part of the Lady Dawgs game...the giant cookie or meeting Hairy Dawg.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A bit of insider trading

This is Sam watching big brother's t-ball practice this evening. All things considered, he did okay...but this lollipop was my saving grace. Might want to consider buying stock in tootsie pops, people. I'm just saying.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Medicine for the Heart

You may recall my post from last week about how I was caught a bit off guard by my oldest's words. I didn't lament over it, although I do recall he seemed to mouth the same phrase at me a couple of days later following another incident.

And, even though I wasn't stewing on it, it did feel good to hear him do a 180, without any thought to his previous statements. On Monday, while he, Sam and I were eating lunch, he said, "You're the bestest Mom." I smiled and said, "Oh, thank you! What makes me the bestest mom?" He said, "Well you are always fixing things. And you make the bestest things." He could have meant I make the best hot dog, pineapple and pretzel lunches or perhaps he meant I had done a good job at fixing him and his ailing brother as Monday was a bit of a sick day. Either way, it felt good. I told him how much I loved hearing him say that, and that it made me feel very good.

On a related note, Saturday night as I rocked Sam before bedtime, I was telling him how much I loved him. I told him that I love him, and that was the reason I made him a birthday cake and we had a special party. Without skipping a beat, he muttered, "I wuv Ooo too!"


Almost nightly Sam insists on reading his "I ye book" (Ali book = photo album from last summer's VBS). Highlights include "every ba ee cups" (the photo where all his classmates have their juice cups. Also, "like a my cake" on the photo of a round road sign, which resembles a pancake to him? Of course he enjoys "find yachoo libberpy!" (statue of liberty)

Jack always lobbies for a different book, but I don't mind. I love it!

One more party post

Can you stand it? One more post about that darn birthday party for a two-year-old!? Just wanted to give a shout out to Pinterest for the great resources.

There was of course the cake!
There was the Nail It activity.
There was the Dig It activity.
 I bought two tubs and plenty of sand, but after some guest estimating I decided to only put out one since there would only be four kids 2 and under. Surely, the big kids wouldn't want to play in the sand? You can see who is crowded around the table.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday fun

Can you tell what we're doing on daddy's afternoon off?

The Cake

Since it took me weeks to prepare (and psych myself up) for making Sam's cake, it is only fitting the cake should receive its very own blog post. Again, a friend shared this cake with me on Pinterest, and I decided to go for it. When I first saw the cake, I thought it might be a challenge, but really thought it looked cool. Then, I saw the inside of the cake, which is beyond cool. But, also made me rethink my decision to make my child's birthday cake. My child's birthday cake that other people would actually see. I mean I've done cupcakes before. Cupcakes I can handle, but a cake?! I was a little intimidated by the prospect of a from scratch cake...I'm definitely more of a "semi-homemade with Sandra Lee" kind of girl. A friend convinced me I could do it with box cake, so I went for it.

I gathered my ingredients, and borrowed some gel food coloring from a much more experienced birthday cake creator. Day one was mixing, coloring, baking, cooling and leveling the cakes. Since I needed a yellow layer and a black layer, I tinted a yellow mix and a chocolate mix. I finished with four total layers, which I froze overnight on Wednesday.

Thursday morning, while the boys were at preschool, I gathered my supplies. The most important of which was this incredibly handy step-by-step photo tutorial of how to cut the cake, hence the laptop.

Then I unwrapped my layers and got to sawing with my bread knife. 

I think this was the most nerve-wracking part because the whole time I'm thinking: "I hope you know what you are doing. This better not be a total fail. I guess there is always the Wal-Mart bakery." When your counter starts to look like this, you might panic a bit.

 And it only gets worse, before it gets better.

But, it does get better, and you start to think: "Maybe I can follow simple instructions. Maybe this cake might actually look like it's supposed to when we cut it open. Maybe I'll bake my children's birthday cake's more often. Hey, wait...let's not get carried away here.

Then, these puppies (four total, I cut & photographed them in pairs) went back into the freezer overnight Thursday. Friday evening I pulled them out and covered them with a yummy chocolate buttercream I whipped up using butter, powdered sugar, cocoa, vanilla & milk. Thankfully by this point my mom was in house to help and was a great assistant on the parts that sort of crumbled or broke. We excavated the first cake and then covered with oreos, and soon moved onto the second cake. I already had some white cake boards, from when we created this beauty. So, I flipped it over to the cardboard side, to match my construction decor, and we were in business.

And what do you know, when we sliced actually looked like it was supposed to. (Although mine didn't stay together as neatly as the original (probably because I used box cake), but overall I was pleased with my attempts. Best of all, the cake tasted fabulous. We barely finished the one cake, so we're still enjoying cake #2. FYI, it goes great with a cold glass of milk.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dig In!

As I mentioned, the idea started small. It certainly grew from there. As you can see, we had great fun celebrating Sam's second birthday this weekend.

There was cake.

There was coloring.

There were candles.

There were creative kids.

There were really cute kids.

There were cones,


and more cones!

Friday, February 17, 2012


Dear Sam,

Today you turned two. I know you enjoyed us singing "Happy Birthday" to you and you even joined in and grinned, but I'm not sure you knew what it all means. Certainly you can't fathom what it means for your mama to have you reach yet another milestone. I'm proud. I'm sad. I'm hopeful. I'm teary. I'm excited. I'm exhausted...but that may have something to do with staying up late to finish your cake for the party tomorrow.

Last time I remember celebrating a two-year-old's birthday so vividly it was your big brother's milestone. We had a train party complete with a train giving rides around the block, and you were just a couple of months away from making your first appearance in the world. For that very reason, I don't think Jack's two was such a roller coaster of emotions. I was excited for him. He was about to be a big brother, and I was going to get to watch it all...for better or worse.

How can you be sooo big? You are talking in full sentences and basically tell us whatever you want. We are working hard on "yes, mam" and "yes, sir." I guess having a brother around to socialize with has made you aware. I'm continually amazed at your language. It's definitely time to start a 'Sam Says' feature on the blog.

Maybe now I know why I went so overboard planning your gives me something to do so I won't think so much about how big you are getting. All the fun tomorrow will certainly distract from any bittersweet feelings about having a two-year-old.

I love you, little man!


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Birthday Eve

It's one of those that's gotten out of know what I mean. My child's birthday. It started when I found personalized stationery and gift labels (which I transformed into favor bag labels) dirt cheap after Christmas. The construction theme was born for Sam's 2nd birthday celebration. I mentioned the idea to a friend who had done the same theme for her son's birthday a few months prior. She mentioned she had found this incredible cake after the fact, and she and her mom convinced me I could pull it off. I was not so sure, but I thought it would look incredibly cool at my party Sam's birthday party.

So, for the past couple of weeks I've been consumed with what I always tell myself is going to be a no-big-deal, low-key gathering. I planned out my baking, mixing, building, etc. for the week. Yesterday was spent baking layers and building dirt cups, which were shared with Sam's sweet friends at preschool today.

It's not really too much work, but I do seem to sort of let everything else slide (hence the reason Josh didn't have any clean undershirts last Monday morning) when I'm in party planning mode. And, I know it will be great fun and all will turn out well, but it's not like a two-year-old will notice all the work put into it, right? Oh, well...such is the plight of a preschool party planning mama.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Valentine

Just a quick shout out to my valentine. I hope you know how much I love you. How much I appreciate you. It is not just for the big things, although loving me, taking care of me and providing for our family is huge! I also appreciate the little things... how when you were out of clean undershirts Monday morning, you didn't say a word. Instead you slipped a silly Dukes of Hazard tee (the boys & I gave you for Christmas) on under your sweater before leaving for work this morning. how you always call on your way home from work and ask if I need you to pick up anything, which I rarely take you up on, because I can't bear to keep you away from your haven or delay you any further from seeing the two boys whose faces light up like firecrackers when Daddy walks in the door. how you always kiss me goodbye in the morning, even though I'm almost always still in the bed mostly asleep (oh, how real school will change that soon enough). how you brag to your friends (or anyone else) that will listen about how I know more about Georgia football than you do (even if it's not exactly true.)

Many (probably too many) moments pass without me saying or expressing how much I love you, but I hope that you know how much you mean to me. Thanks for being my valentine. I love you!

Monday, February 13, 2012


I assumed it would happen eventually. I've even told myself it was a mark of being a good parent, but that didn't make the sting any less piercing. Sunday night when Jack asked if he could watch a DVD in the car I told him he couldn't. He had just made a series of less than optimal choices when preparing to leave church, and I explained that he had to work harder to make good choices so that good things could movies. His reply: "You're mean!"

Ouch! That hurt. I know he doesn't think I'm a mean person. I'm hoping it just felt my restrictions were mean, but it still hurt. I didn't tell him how much it hurt me, but I did spend the next several minutes reminding him of all the things that I had done for him to show him that I love him.

I wasn't prepared for it to start so soon. I hope it is just a fluke. Surely boys can't be so dramatic, right?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A song of prayer

Each night when we go through our nightly bedtime routine, we help the boys with saying a prayer. Sam's are usually prayers of thanksgiving, as are Jack's peppered with requests for forgiveness. In the last week or so, Sam has elected to sing songs at prayer time. The first couple of times it was "Jesus Loves Me."

The other night he threw in "Jesus Loves the Little Children," then promptly transitioned directly into "We Will Rock You."

A Web of Smiles

Are you sure you can trust this smile?

P.S. this is what happens when you combine just the right PJs and super cool swimming toys.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Emmy Time

I guess when you think of Emmy, this little statue may come to mind. But in our family Emmy has much bigger meaning. That's the name my sister has earned from her loving nephews. We were expecting a visit next month when her school takes its spring break, but she and her husband made the decision to come home last week to spend time with family after the loss of my brother-in-law's grandmother. While no one was thrilled with the reason they had to hurry home, we have all been enjoying their time here.

On Tuesday, Aunt Emmy and Uncle Jonathan came with me to pick the boys up from school. Jack & Sam had no idea I'd be bringing visitors along with me to school. Jack was excited to see "my Emmy!" It was also pajama day at school, and he just so happened to choose the Lightning McQueen pjs a certain aunt & uncle sent him for Christmas as the attire for the day.

We were overjoyed to have Emmy spend part of three days with us. We also had some wonderful weather and enjoyed lots of great time outside. Wednesday night Josh's R.A. class was studying about a missionary in Germany, so Emily agreed to talk to the boys and field questions about Germany. Questions like, "are you afraid of Germans?"

We were sad to see Emmy leave on Thursday, but are looking forward to some more time together before they head back next Thursday.