Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Balin is recovering. He has nests in several rooms here at my moms house. He has the movie nest in the media room where we slept last night. He has a nest on the couch in another room where he can "be where the talking is."( Don't we all crave community? ) He lies in his nests and every once in a while I move him to the next one, or carry him to the bathroom.  He has two incisions from surgery. Although smaller than his last surgery, they both ache, and to see them, for him, is worse. He panics that he will see something ugly. Something bloody.  I think about this book I am reading and the soul holes. I think about sin and recovery. How sometimes, it is the very sight of our sin that is so painful. We don't want to be reminded. We don't want to risk what might be there. What if the bandages we have covering the ugly actually come off and reveal what they hide?  He clings to me and begs me not to let him see. I promise he won't. I promise him that its not like his last surgery, but fear has a way of blinding us. How many times do I beg God not to let me see. Usually its disguised in prayers for something else. Bandages. Cheaper rent. A bandage over debt we have sinfully acquired. Quiet children. A bandage over my impatience. Weight loss. Covering the void I fill with food. But as afraid as he is, I know he is healing. I know his sutures will hold. I know his scars will fade. I know the medicine works. Just like our Father, who holds us in his arms, and gives us a place of rest. He covers us with mercy so we don't have to see until he's ready for us to. Mercy. Recovery.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Being a mom feels like...

the deep end of a wave pool. Its been one of those weeks. Ayden leaves for a long trip to see his Colorado family on Saturday. He loves it. Gets to go camping, fishing, hiking. Gets to breathe cool fresh Colorado air under blue rocky mountain skies. Gets to eat Big City Burrito. Or not. I'll miss him and if I think too much about missing him and my friends and the air and the food and the friends and the friends and the friends it starts to feel like the waves are going too high. I can't touch bottom. But then Silas takes steps and the waves stop and I rest. Or my husband comes home after 36 hours away and hugs me. rest. Then the phone rings and the hospital asks for too much money before Balins surgery on Monday. Half a paycheck actually in just a matter of days. Not possible. Waves. I start crying on the phone with admissions when she says that all she can offer, waves , but she will leave a message with financial services. Financial services accepts my offer of 200$ and I rest then she calls back and tells me I have four months to pay the rest. Waves. He is having surgery. Waves. But its with the chief of pediatric urology at a hoity toity amazing hospital rest.  I read the first book of Harry Potter to Ayden and read great articles that show Grace and give reason for Christians not only enjoy the books but to love them, rest. One more chapter mommy! Rest. But then Balin wakes up with a stomach virus Tuesday night. Waves. And Ayden wakes up last night with the same. Waves. And the baby has really sad diapers. Waves. Waves Waves. My toes are getting rubbed raw from the bottom of the pool. But rest is near. I just have to reach for it. Balin's surgery is scheduled in the afternoon. Another Wave, but he can eat clear liquids and jello- meaning breakfast! until 9:00 am Monday. Rest. My husband will be home all weekend. rest. My mom is helping with the baby, rest. My dad will be home from Africa a day early, rest.  My savior lives. rest. rest. rest. All is to His glory. rest. rest. rest.

My 1000 gifts this week ( a sampling)
friends so good you still miss them after 9 years
burritos so good you still miss them after 9 years
healthy children
talented doctors
novels that inspire imagination
eternity written our hearts
husbands who want to be home, even when they cant
husbands waking in the middle of the night to prepare bottles
soft boy child hair
chocolate eyes framed in licorice lashes
mothers who baby sit
awkward, tipsy first baby steps
confidence I did not teach
children who forgive
bed piled high with pillows

Simply Party::{Balin's 4th part 2}

A well planned party will A {Celebrate celebration} B {Organize Celebration}and C {Inspire Celebration}. All of this to bring Joy. Joy and thakfulness for what is being celebrated and Who gave us celebration in th first place. Our precious Balin, who is a gift from a good and knowing God, requested crabs and pirates for his 4th birthday celebration. I obliged. I went a little crazy at the dollar store, but they had a huge selection of tiki and pirate themed items. I wanted every child to feel fully outfitted as a pirate so I got hats, compasses, maps, hooks and of course eye masks. I then planned activities based around the idea of being pirates. Lets try this in a list...

Pirate Party Activities are in red

Commissioning : have a treasure chest set up with all the pirate fare- hats, eye patches, maps, hooks ect. as your guests arrive. This takes the place of loot bags at the end of the party, as your pirates gather their loot along the way. For an additional activity your pirates can make their own hooks by poking holes in the bottom of a black plastic or paper party cup and then inserting a gold or silver pipe cleaner through with the inside end balled up so it stays put.

Ayden's pirate party 2006-wasn't he so cute?
The dollar store had hooks this time so we went with that. I made some brown burlap loot bags to carry their stuff in and finished off their look- for those willing- with hypoallergenic brown eyeliner "mustaches."

Kate- the pirate Princess

Balin and his friend Jacob

Pin the Treasure on the Map: Found at the dollar store, a stick on the wall version of pin the tail on the donkey. All of the kids had fun with this one,even the big ones! We used a scarf to blindfold the big kids rather than the paper mask it came with.
Treasure in the sand: Again, a repeat from Ayden's party, we buried treasure in the sandbox and the kids had to use shovels and sifters to find it. tip: keep a list of what you buried :-).

Rescue the Ducks: I consider this game a FAIL. We filled a splash pool with water and originally planned to float rubber duckies.  The set up was that a crab shaped beach ball was keeping the duckies prisoner and the kids had to use scoops to get the duckies to float to them and be rescued. Some duckies would have gold coins attached under them. Hot glue doesnt stick to rubber duckies and oriental trading company duckies dont float upright. We also had the uncomfortable moment when the birthday pirate stripped down to his skivvy's and jumped into the pool. oops.

Pinata. Easy time taker because it can go as long as you let it.. just make sure little guests and birthday boys get to go before big kids. you know.. to avoid tantrums. And chocolate on a hot day is a bad idea. but I knew that and didnt send toddlers to gather melted chocolate bits out of my grass. right.

We tied our games together with a bigger story. The crew of pirates would earn a clue with each game that would ultimately direct them to the treasure (the birthday presents in a treasure chest). I printed pictures from the Graphics Fairy and wrote the clues out.. they were something like this:

The treasure you seek grows warm in the sun...
Beyond Grassy plains your treasure remains...
What you seek lies under the great Oak...
To find the treasre of our tale, look behind the wishing well!

The clues were intended to be easy for my 4 year old and younger pirates. We have one giant oak tree in the backyard and an ugly wishing well thing (joys of renting). After the fourth game they came in and were fed provisions. While they ate my husband snuck the treasure chest out back and put it where they could find it. After they had their snack they found it and then came in for cake. While they ate cake he opened gifts.
There was a little time for playing after that, but most guests were ready to leave by then. All in all it was a fun party! It lasted right at 2 hours which I feel is perfectly appropriate for a four year old's backyard party.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Simply Party:: {Balin's 4th part 1}

Four years and 1 day ago I was pregnant with my second baby. I went in for a Dr visit and got the best birthday present of my life. She sent me into the hospital! We stopped and had icecream with Ayden to celebrate first, and then took him to a friends house where he spent the night. The next afternoon I was holding my sweet babe.   This weekend was a BLAST. We celebrated Balin with a so- much -fun pirate party. (Ahoy!) Here are a few details in case you want to throw your own!

There is nothing I enjoy more than a planned party. Kids tend not to get  bored. Your house stays clean (at least the parts you want to keep clean) and everyone has a better chance of going home happy :-). Pirate themes are super easy for summer birthdays, and we had good fortune by finding tons of favors and props at the dollar store!
 For today I'll give you just the food.

First:the cake. The cake is always the center of parties I throw. I'm learning new methods all the time, and really think any one of you could actually make a better cake than me.... I'm just crazy enough to do it! This was a three day cake. The first day I baked the cake and dirty iced it. I used chocolate cake mix (duncan hines) nd then made my own banana cake mix for the "lid".. recipe will come in another post. The icing was banana butter cream, which I tinted yellow for my four year olds sake. The second day I made marshmallow fondant and then layered four sheets of cake for the base. The top sheet got a square in the middle cut out to make a place to store all the treasure. The treasure is, of course, the best part! We used Hershey's pot of gold chocolates and chocolate coins my husband bought while in the big city at a World Market store. I threw in some unwrapped ring pops and clear jewel toned jelly belly's for fun. Balin wanted crabs, so while I was making the red fondant for the "leather" strap I gave Ayden a ball and he made crabs. Request completed. As far as snacks go I had the party starting at 10:00 am. I knew parents might want kiddos to have something on their tummys before cake so we made fish shaped pb&js ham and cheese triangles and lots of fruit. I served chicken salad premade at the H.E.B (the rotisserie one, so good) on croissant "shells" for the grownups. Pinterest showed me a pirate watermelon fruit bowl. Goldfish finished us off!

For my basic table settings I used mostly items I already had. Under the cake I used a tan sheet and layered it with brown (non sparkly) tulle. I tore some holes in the tulle to look like netting. I had the conch shell laying around and then surrounded the cake with ground up Graham cracker to look like sand. On the snack table I just threw down a strip of burlap, used serving trays from the dollar store, set out the pinata when we were done and called it complete!