Sunday, January 26, 2014

Chicken and Tractor Party

So Tommy has had his party planned for quite some time. Clear back in November, I had asked him what kind of birthday party he wanted to have. He immediately declared that he must have a chicken and tractor party. Over the next month or so, I suggested a farm party multiple times to tie the two together and he adamantly declined and started chanting, "Chicken an dactor pawty!!" I finally succumbed and decided the d├ęcor would just be a random mish-mash of chickens and tractors.

Have you ever tried to find chicken party decorations? Don't bother googling it for ideas because all that comes up is a few measly chicken balloons and some Chinese websites with sex toys on them. Awwwwkwaaaaard. And I know you just googled it, didn't you?

Lucky for me, my mom cleans for an old family friend that just so happened to have a ton of John Deere stuff and some chicken tablecloths and placemats. Random, but it worked. I forgot to take any pictures BEFORE the party started (and I SO wish I would have because all the food looked so yummy!), but here's some of the after math.......
 "Chicken scratch" (chex mix) favors and the watering hole (lemonade)

The "veggie garden" (obviously a veggie tray), the "Pig pen" (pigs in a blanket) and the "potato patch" (chips).
Under the "Chicken Coop" sign, we had shredded BBQ chicken sliders and deviled eggs.

I borrowed these John Deere tractor lights from my mom's friend.
Here's the chicken table cloth and tractor "center piece."

I hung some chicken pot holders with the lights just to jazz things up a bit......and cause I had no other ideas about how to mingle chickens with tractors :)

He had such a good time! We decided to keep it small this year (which still felt big in our tiny living room!) and just had immediate family and a few of Tommy's friends. This little boy is SO loved. And I'm so grateful that his great granny, all three of his grandparents, all 8 of his aunts and uncles and all 4 of his cousins made it. We had such a good time and felt so blessed to have our "little" family all together under one roof!

And boy, did he get everything he could have ever wanted! He got tons of tractors, a farm with some animals, a punching bag, Mr. Potato head, cowboy boots, some books, a bike helmet, soccer ball, a Hummer and the big kicker was.......a Thunder hockey jersey!!! Oh man, did he LOVE that jersey. He's worn it every day (that we would let him) since he got it. I make him wear regular clothes to Brooke's during the day and then as soon as he's home, he wants his Thunder jersey or his Broncos jersey on immediately! Funny boy.

This was his mean shark face :)

I made his cake the night before and was relieved when the few people I quizzed on what it was supposed to be understood. Just in case you couldn't's a field of grass with a tractor plowing out the number 3!

Overall, the chicken and tractor party turned out much better than I had thought it would! We had such a good time! Thank you so much to everyone that helped make my baby's 3rd birthday so wonderful!

Monday, January 20, 2014

On your 3rd birthday

Thomas James-

On your 3rd birthday, I can finally admit that I never wanted to be a boy mom. It wasn't in my plan. It didn't fit into my world of pink tutus and hair bows. I'm even gonna go so far as to say when the sonographer told me we were having a boy, I cried a little. And not happy tears. I was disappointed to know that you were a boy. I haven't told many people that because it sounds so horrible. That's not to say I didn't love you.....I just wished you were a girl! But I realized as soon as you were born how crazy I was. Now.....

.....Now, I have lived through three years of snot, poop, dirt, bugs, farts, peeing outside, nose picking, dirty underwear, licking, hitting, jumping, yelling, arguing, crying, fit-throwing and hockey pucks, footballs and basketballs to the face. I've played cars more times than I can count and have found out I'm not very good at playing trains. I have stepped on countless tractors and blocks. I put away at least 4 balls every thirty minutes. I find dirt clumps in your bed. I've explained private parts and aiming at the toilet. Boogers are an every day occurrence and scratching your butt in public has been banned.

 But in those three years, I've also lived through toothy smiles, heart melting hugs, listening to made stories, sticky kisses, thousands of "I love you"s, sweaty boy hair, wilted flower bouquets, kissing away boo-boos and cuddled you to sleep more nights than I can count.

I've done it. I've become a boy mom. And it's the best. I get the dirty, gross stuff along with the sweet, amazing stuff and it's all bundled up in one handsome little 32 pound, blond haired, blue eyed, three year old boy. If you would have told me three years ago how much fun I was about to have, I wouldn't have believed you. But it's been so amazing to watch you grow. I love how balanced you are. You stop playing in the middle of your "hockey game" to give me hugs and kisses. You wrestle with your sister until she cries and then you hug her and tell her it's okay. You have such a tough front, but such a sweet heart.

Tommy, now that I know you, I have never wanted anything more than to be a boy mom. You are the BEST boy I could have asked for. I love you so much that it hurts sometimes! Your funny personality, your sweet disposition, your insanely hot temper, your lack of coordination, your love for sports.......I love every single thing about you. Thank you a million times over for making me a boy mom!! Happy birthday, sweet boy!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Does your right hand know?

I was trying to think of an introduction for this post, but it just wasn't coming to me. So I'm jumping right in.

I've seen a lot of good things going on lately. GREAT things. People doing nice things for others, attitudes getting better, lots of helping hands and ministries. And I think that is SO wonderful. I really do. But I've also heard a lot of people telling me and others about the wonderful things they're doing. And it's kiiiiiiinda rubbing me the wrong way.

Please hear my heart in this. I don't for a minute think you're a bad person or shamefully advertising your wonderful-ness if you're talking about something nice you've done. That's not it. And if you're in a discussion where you're sharing what you learned from it or ideas for ways to minister to others, that's a whole other ball game.

But I feel like sometimes people share what they've done to get a pat on the back. To hear someone praise their efforts and tell them what a good person they are. I don't think some people even realize they're doing it. And I totally get that. I've DONE it--multiple times in my lifetime. It's really hard to do something nice for someone that's out of your comfort zone or take a risk to help someone and not get any recognition from it.

But about 5 years ago, an awesome lady in my life (who I won't name for the sheer fact that this post is all about remaining anonymous!) did something amazingly nice for somebody and I found out only by having caught a few details from the giver and the receiver that made me put two and two together to figure out what had happened. I asked this wonderful lady why she did what she did in secret. First of all, she was embarrassed and mildly annoyed that I had found out because she was trying so hard to keep it secret. And second of all, she quoted this verse in the Bible that has changed my view on giving:

Matthew 6:2--"So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3 "But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."

It really made me think about my motivation for giving. Was it to please God or to make myself feel good? It feels SO great to give and it should, but you need to make sure that's not the only reason you're doing it. We should help others because it's what God has instructed us to do--that's how we can share His love.

So my challenge to you is this. Do something nice for somebody once a week for four weeks and don't. tell. a. SOUL. Buy breakfast for someone behind you in the drive thru.....leave a cup of coffee on a co-workers desk when they're not looking....type a note of encouragement for someone and leave it in their mail box....give money to the people standing on the corner. And I think you'll find that it feels even better to know that you and God and the person you helped are the only ones that know it! It becomes fun--like some kind of secret mission (cue the Mission Impossible theme song!).

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Did you know.....

 .....even super heroes get time outs?

New Year Resolution knew it was coming, didn't you? The obligatory new year resolution post. Don't worry. I'm not going to talk about dieting like every other human being that starts the new year trying to be healthier. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But this year, I want to focus on my spiritual health.

I've been a Christian my whole life. I used to think I had a boring testimony because I grew up in a Christian household and have almost always gone to church. But the older I get, the more I thank God that that's how I came to know Him.

At church and youth camps, it always sounded so dramatic and climatic when someone has had to go through an addiction or abuse or a tragic childhood and yet, they overcome it and find Christ in the end. For awhile, I thought that's what my salvation had to be to be exciting. Twisted, I know. And while those stories ARE amazing and I'm so glad they end the way they do, I want to start feeling excited about MY story.

While growing up a Christian has benefited me in so many ways, it's also made me complacent. Things that are interesting and exciting to some new Christians (and even dedicated "old" ones) had kind of become a chore. To be completely honest, I couldn't tell you the last time I had a quiet time or devotion. I would start a devotional book or a "read the Bible in a year" plan and do it for a few days and then my dedication and excitement about it would wane and I would gradually forget all about it. I still prayed every day and felt pretty proud of myself when I started and ended my day talking to God.


I'm totally calling myself out on this. I have zero legitimate excuses. Don't get me wrong--I still loved God, still believed He could do what He said he could do, still went to church. But I want to WANT to get to know Him better. I don't WANT to be complacent. I don't WANT to want to sleep longer instead of having a daily quiet time. I don't WANT to hurry through my kids' bedtime prayers. I WANT to be excited about my testimony!

So that's my resolution this year. To chase after God the way He chases after me. To have a full blown relationship with Him. There's a song I hear on K-Love all the time that says, "Let them see You through me." I want so badly to do that. My biggest place of ministry is my job and I have to be honest when I say that's where I have the worst attitude. It's so hard to be kind and gracious to patients who are snotty or ungrateful for our time or an hour late with no legitimate excuse or that trash our exam rooms and leave without a word about it. I have a hard time seeing people take advantage of Medicaid and other types of disability or government assistance while I work my butt off for every single thing I have and have to pay out of my pocket for stuff while they slide by paying for no bills but have an iphone, freshly done acrylic nails, North Face jackets, driving nice cars... it's infuriating and feels unfair.

But I've come to a realization that as simple as it is, shook my world.

Jesus loves them anyways. He loves THEM as much as He loves me. It is not my job to worry about why they do the things they do or to get mad at them for it or to judge them because of it. That's God's job. I'm no better than them because I don't do those things. I've been fighting a battle that's already been dealt with. My job is to let them see Him through me.

I've been having a quiet time almost every morning. I read a chapter a day and pray that His word comes alive to me and that He gives me a thirst for knowledge about Him. I've missed a few days and I can tell you that I notice a difference in the way my day goes when I don't start my morning out with Him. My patience runs thinner, I got angry easier and I didn't have a smile on my face. I've been working really hard the last few weeks to show joy. To CHOOSE joy. To seek Him and spend time with Him.

And to let God to the hard work while I trust Him.

Friday, January 10, 2014

And most photogenic goes to.....

NOT TOMMY!!!! I was going through my pictures again and I just had to share these that I found from the last year or so. Don't get me wrong, I think he's the CUTEST boy ever, but his knack for capturing hilarious/scary faces in a picture is UNreal!

 Pooping or smiling? Not sure.
 Mad? Happy? Who knows?
 Scary smile....I think.
 I think this look says EXACTLY what's going on in his head at that moment! He was deliriously happy about being outside.
 Yeahhh.......I just don't even know what's happening here.
 I think he's going for "forlorn" in this one.
This is his , "I'm exhausted because I refused to sleep last night and I don't want to take this stupid picture AGAIN" look. 
And then there's this. What can I say about this? I love this kid.

But just to show that he's not COMPLETELY incapable of taking a good picture, here are a few of my favorites....

Love you, bud!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

An ode to Diet Pepsi......the greatest drink ever made

One of the days on my staycation, I started having a lot of kidney pain. The doctor tested me and said there was no sign of infection (even though I've had this pain several times in the past and that's always what it is). So they wouldn't give me an antibiotic. But in the past, it's always helped if I give up pop......and that's SO hard for me, because as you're about to see....I love pop. So here it is. A tribute to the greatest pop ever.

A week I've gone without you
Though 7 days can feel like years
There's been lost sleep, hours of pain and
Countless caffeine-free tears

Your bubbly fizz, your cool burn,
The browness of your hue
Diet Pepsi, OH DIET PEPSI,
I'm dying without you.

Why do you have to hurt me;
Make my kidneys pain?
My life without my Pepsi

Is making me insane.

Most will say I'm crazy
To write a poem all about pop
But Diet Pepsi, I don't care....
My love for you won't stop.

Maybe some day soon, DP,
We can reunite
When my kidneys are all flushed out
And pain is out of sight.

But until that time, my friend,
Keep on doing what you do.
And I will drink my water
While I'm dreaming about you.

Monday, January 6, 2014


I took a lot of time off over the Christmas holiday. Our office closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and on New Year's day, so I took off December 24th through January 1st. And it has been the BEST!!

Nick and I were going to go to Kansas City for a few days over that time, but due to some scheduling conflicts, we ended up deciding to have a staycation at home! We got my mom and sister to babysit the kids Friday night through Sunday afternoon. And it was wonderful.

Friday night, Nick's friend that lives out of town came back and we got a group of friends together and went out. We don't go "OUT" out very often. It's usually dinner and a movie. But Friday we got to have dinner and drinks and then we went to Stooge's for some drinks and karaoke. It was SO fun. I danced. And karaoked. And if you know me at all, you know that is SO out of my comfort zone. I just love that group of friends because there's no drama.....just FUN! We may have had a few drinks, but Nick's friend Dillon said something amidst all the singing and dancing that made me think. He was trying to get me to karaoke and I told him no way. He said I needed to work on that in 2014. So I told him I would work on caring less of what other people thought of me. He stopped me and said, "No. You need to care less of what you think about yourself. What other people think isn't what's stopping you. YOU are stopping you."

Simple, but true. So many times I don't do things because of how I think it'll make me look or because I'm too nervous or scared. So that's MY "new year's resolution." To stop stopping myself.

Saturday, we slept off our previous night and then I got to go shopping! Woot, woot! I FINALLY bought a new pair of tennis shoes. The soles on my other ones were literally falling off. Looked a little trashy. Nick went hunting while I was shopping and then we met up at Chili's for a delicious dinner. It was SO good. And we didn't have to take care of any screaming children while we were eating! We rented a movie that night but ended up falling asleep by 10:15pm. Lame, but we felt amazingly refreshed the next morning.

The kids came home around 10:30am Sunday morning. It was good to see them, but we definitely enjoyed our time as a kidless couple! If you're married with kids, I highly recommend you do this. It's a great way to get refreshed without having to spend a lot of money!

The rest of my time off was amazing. The kids behaved so good every day. We did a lot of snuggling, movie watching, shopping, reading and just enjoying each other. They are the sweetest kids (most days). It almost made me want to be a stay at home mom! There was no way I could have done it when they were younger, but now that they're older and easier to get around, it was so much fun!

But back to work I went...................when's the NEXT vacation?! ;)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Tessa Grace--17 months

So I might've missed a few months. My bad. Tessa, if you're reading this 15 years down the road, please know I do not love you any less than your brother because I missed a few months. You just keep me a heck of a lot busier than he ever did!

At 17 months, you are:

*25 lbs and I believe around 31 inches. I think.

*in size 18-24 month clothes and some 2T if they fit small

*wearing size 5 and size 6 shoes. Your feet are growing like crazy!

*in size 4 diapers

*becoming more picky. For awhile, you were eating anything and everything we put in front of you. Now, you're eating a lot less.

*FULL of attitude! Your favorite thing to say is, "No-noooooo!" You say it over and over and over. You also cross your arms and jut your lip out when you're mad. It's hilariously cute and completely unintimidating. You've also been hitting a lot, thus spending lots of time in time out.

*still an excellent sleeper! When you're tired, you are TIRED. There have been nights you walk to your bed and shake the rails until we let you in. We can usually lay you in your crib at night and we don't hear another peep from you until 7:30 or 8am the next morning. You take a 2-3 hour nap every day. And you can sleep anywhere, any time.

*saying quite a few words. You've really started repeating a lot. Consistently, you say mama, dada, dog, nana, Bubba, Tessa, please, no, yes, love you (which sounds like luuuuuub boo), hug, shoes,  boots and Shhh!

*really getting into dolls and babies. You love them and carry them around everywhere. You insist on sleeping with one and cry until we put her with you.

*developing the funniest personality! You always have us laughing and you definitely keep us on our toes. You love to "put on makeup" and LOOOOVE doing your nails. You could sit and try on shoes all day if I would let you......and sometimes I do because I like it too! You are normally very happy and smiley, but when you're upset or your feelings are hurt, it is ALL drama. You get the cry face going and I'm a goner. You climb more than Tommy EVER did--we find you on chairs, on top of tables, getting ready to leap off the couch. Crazy girl! You have no fear!

*following your brother all the time. You constantly have to be doing whatever he's doing. Sometimes he loves it, sometimes he hates it. But you never give up! You want to potty like him, dress like him, walk like him, play with his's pretty sweet how much you love him! You guys USUALLY have a good time playing and wrestling.

 Tessa Grace, you are the best surprise I ever got!! I love you so much! Mommy and Daddy can't imagine life without your cheesy grin and spunky personality! You are not a perfect little girl, but you are perfectly wonderful. I can't wait to see what kind of young lady you grow up to be! Love you, sweetie girl!