Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lately, and Pinterest Week.

Hey Everyone! Hope you all had a good weekend. Don't be jealous, but my kids and I enjoyed a 5-star lunch at Waffle House today after church. (Chad left this morning to fly to Iowa for business.)

Then we went grocery shopping at Publix (because I didn't feel like facing WalMart on a Sunday), and I realized that I really need to take a couponing class for Publix. I don't really care about all the other stuff (CVS, Walgreens, etc), but I'd love to know how to master Publix. I used to coupon a lot, but after Sam was born I kind of let go of the habit. Are there any good sites that teach you how to do the Publix thing? Or do I just need to take a class? If anyone can help me out here I'd mucho appreciate it.

Other than eating waffles, smothered-n-covered hash browns and grocery shopping, we've been taking it easy at the house (read: kids have been taking it easy, mama has been crafting and rearranging and DIY-ing; what I do best when we're stuck at home.) Sam had his second urology surgery last Tuesday, which is the reason for being stuck at home, and it went even better than they expected; meaning he won't have to have a third operation - woo hoo! That is great news! We've been so blessed lately with good news regarding little Sambo and I am beyond overwhelmed with thankfulness. Our God is so good! He's doing well, recovery wise - as well as you can do with 6 incisions from your belly button down! We've dealt with pain and bruising and so far he's been a trooper. We go back in a month for a follow up.

Mom and Dad were here for the week to help out, and they cleaned and did laundry and cooked for us too. They are the best, yo. And then on Thursday night, I found out Chad was leaving to spend the night in Atlanta, because he had to be there during the day Friday for work, so Mom offered to stay another night and keep the kiddos on Friday so that I could go to Atlanta with Chad! It was great! He had a room at the Westin in Buckhead so I took a heavenly shower and slept in their heavenly bed and the next day while Chad worked I went to .... IKEA!

I love it. Well, I love it & I hate it. For different reasons. But all in all it was a great day. I also hit H&M, one of my favorite clothing stores, though I never actually buy clothes when I go. I always end up with earrings and stuff for the kids. This time I ended up with 2 dresses for Mary Ella and that's it; no earrings. Why? Here's why. Did you know that stud earrings are back in style? Well, they must be because I tell you the truth, I went in H&M for big huge earrings because I love big huge earrings, and did you know they did not have ONE PAIR of big huge earrings? In fact, they didn't even have ONE PAIR of ANY earrings that dangled, even a little. They were all studs. Studs in every shape and every color. And to be quite frank, I ain't wearin' no studs. Sorry, nothing against them, but I just happen to like big dangly earrings, because they make my big dangly face look skinnier. So if you see any on clearance anywhere please shoot me an email. I'll buy 'em all!

Anyway, Atlanta was fun, and we got back Friday evening and Mom went home that night.
On Saturday I stayed here with Sam and Chad took Mary Ella to a fishing/hunting store and then to SnoBiz, to knock an item off our bucket list (eating a shaved ice.) Mary Ella chose a blue-strawberry flavor and they enjoyed their daddy-daughter date then came back home.



That night we went to Regions Park for a minor league baseball game (which was also on our bucket list!) The kids really enjoyed the game; well, mostly the entertainment between innings and the constant flow of junk food. I took Sam some of his own favorite snacks (graham crackers, puff corn) and Mary Ella ate pizza, popcorn, nachos and peanut M&Ms. We try to be real healthy over here. By the end of the night we were all sticky and sweaty and pooped. But it was a lot of fun and I'm sure we'll go back before the season ends.









Last inning... you can tell they are worn out! The pouty face and thumb sucking say it all.

And I'm happy to announce that I'll be participating in this week's PINTEREST WEEK!

YAYYY!

What? You haven't heard of it? Well, you're probably just not as popular as me, or something. Cause I totally got invited to do Pinterest Week on my blog.


Ok, I made that up. And I made up Pinterest Week too. And therefore, it exists. And this week is IT. A Pinterest project a day, people. Yep, seven blog updates in a row from yours truly. In other words, I'll show you 7 things I've found on Pinterest lately that I've done around my own home, and give you the how-to on how YOU can do it. And chances are, I've probably taken a few short cuts and made it more cost effective, so it'll be way cooler if you just check my blog rather than follow those pin links.

You can thank me by sending me an Ikea gift card. Or just follow me on Pinterest. And make sure you follow the people I follow, because I spend most of my time just re-pinning their stuff, making me the not-so-original one. But hey, I am the host of Pinterest Week, I got stuff to do, places to be. I can't be surfin' the net all day looking for original stuff to pin, ya know? (Thank you to those of you I follow/copy/repintodeath.)

Ok! Gotta GO! Have a great week! Check back tomorrow for my first Pinterest Week project.
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Help please

Hey people... Do me a favor, would you please?
If you have a blog that you know USED to appear over there under "My Friends," and you don't see it listed anymore, (even when you click the "show all" link), can you leave me a comment so I can add you back to that list?

OR... If you have a blog and you just want to be on that list, leave me a comment for that too with your blog address and what not.

Sonehow a few weeks ago, while I was doing a blog makeover for someone, I deleted a couple of my own gadgets thinking I was signed into a different account. I've added back a lot of y'all (which are mostly people in my family or people I've done makeovers for recently) but it seems like every day I realize "Hmmm... I haven't seen an update from so-in-so in forever!" only to realize that *HELLO!?* they have not been added back yet! So check it and let me know!

And feel free to suggest blogs you'd think I'd enjoy reading too (crafty people, great DIY blogs, etc.) thanks a million!

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday Trivia

Which of the following happened to me yesterday?

a) I washed a load of clothes, only to realize (too late) that my daughter had stuffed an orange sharpie in her pants pocket.
b) Sam had the #2 poo of his LIFE and it went through his diaper all over my living room rug.
c) My dishwasher started leaking massive amounts of water out onto our kitchen hardwoods.
d) I stood, unknowingly, in a fire ant bed for about 3 minutes before they all started biting me, and now I have a swollen right foot and over 18 ant bites.
e) all of the above.

If you guessed letter (e), you are correct. You have won the grand prize.
And the grand prize is that you get to come do my job for an entire day.
Congrats to you and yours.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

A cuttin' and a junkin' and a re-doin'

Howdy folks! Hope everyone had a great weekend. We've been getting in some family time ourselves and trying to stay cool in this Alabama heat & humidity! It's not an easy thing to do these days - almost too hot to even go to the pool! Such is life in the south, though.

Last week was busy; Chad was in Miami for the week on business (poor thing, huh?) and we had a few doctor's appointments and other things to tend to, like projects and junkin and such. I had a couple of helpful visitors who stayed with me and made my life MUCH easier! My aunt Kristi, mom's younger sister, came on Monday to hang out with us; while I was gone with Sam, she cleaned my entire upstairs and did dishes and folded clothes! Then she met us for dinner and then let me sleep until almost 10am the next day, which was MUCH needed. She also helped me give the Sambo a much needed hair cut. He's got some crazy growing hair, for sure. I wish I had snapped a "BEFORE" picture, but I forgot. He basically had a long rat-tail mullet and hair that was hanging way over his ears as well. We snipped a few locks and it made a huge difference! Such a big boy now!




I then I did something I normally don't do; I dressed him in a big boy Alabama polo shirt and sent this picture to his Daddy in Miami!


And then I immediately removed the shirt and put him in a day gown and swaddled him in a blanket, because I was sad that he looked so grown up. Ok, not really, people. But I wanted to! :(

On Tuesday night, our MeMama and Grandaddy brought us some wonderful dinner from Jim and Nick's and played with the kids for a long time! It was good to see them both, as usual. Then that night, my college best friend Jenny Fine arrived from Ohio. Mary Ella was so excited about Jenny coming, even though I told her it would be very late before Jenny got to our house; she had been asleep for a few hours and I had fallen asleep on the couch waiting up for Jenny to get here; around 11:30pm Mary Ella woke me up and said, "Mama. I'm gonna pop me and Jenny some popcorn, ok?" Ha! She had already gotten the popcorn bag out of the pantry and had her stool pulled up to the stove so that she could reach the microwave! Crazy child. I went ahead and obliged and we popped popcorn and sat up and waited until our friend got here. Over the next couple days, we spent our time hanging with the kiddos, eating (of course), and junkin - what we do best. On Thursday we drove up to Florence for Charlie's 8th birthday party, which was pirate-themed, and we had a great time hunting for treasure and riding all over the farm on the 'pirate ship' (aka Grandaddy's trailer wagon, pulled by his red tractor!) The kids loved it. All of Charlie's friend came dressed as pirates and they looked so cute. Of course I left my camera battery at home so I have no pictures; but my aunt Amanda will probably have some up soon. And after the party on Thursday, I did something else that I normally wouldn't do... (deep breath...)...

I LEFT BOTH KIDS WITH MY PARENTS. 

(breathe. breathe.)

We decided to come back late Thursday night around 10pm... and though I had planned to leave Mary Ella, I had not planned to leave Sam; I've never been away from him for a night, and he's a big time, I mean BIG time, Mama's boy, so needless to say I was anxious about doing such a thing. But Mom convinced me that it'd be safer to do that than to drive him all the way back to Birmingham in the middle of the night. And it was super hard to leave him, but I did it! I'm so proud of me. Yay me. Go me. 

He had a great time on his first overnight trip to the Compound (which turned into a 3-night stay! thanks Mom and Dad!). I received hourly pictures of him through text, as I'd demanded requested, and he was good and happy the entire time! I'm so thankful! 

On Friday, Jenny and I decided to go junkin! If you've never been to Birmingham, I'll tell you the best area to go junkin... Roebuck Parkway! (off Interstate 59 towards Gadsden.) It is AWESOME! They have 3 stores there that are sure to please - The Big Saver, America's Thrift Store, and Planet Thrift. We hit all three in a matter of a few hours and found some great things. My favorite find of the day was this beauty:

A restaurant-style wooden high chair in near perfect condition for only $10! (Well, it was $19.99 but had a white sticker, and the white stickers were 50% off that day! Woo hoo! So ten buckaroos!)
Chad and I had been wanting one of these for a while - it's funny, because we had even gotten in the habit of asking our restaurant servers if they'd sell us a high chair! We were never allowed to purchase one but were always told to go to the restaurant supply place downtown. And low and behold, I find one in Roebuck! I was so pumped. I immediately texted Chad a picture and he couldn't believe it. That afternoon, our wooden high chair was painted red and now sits proud in my kitchen. I was more than happy to get rid of our $25 plastic high chair from WalMart. This takes up far less space and is way cuter. 

Sam seemed pleased too. Now he sits at the table with us!


And lastly, the re-doin' part of this post has to do with my latest project. Chad makes fun of me because, literally, every time he leaves for a business trip, whether for an entire week or just overnight, he comes home and there is always a DIY project underway. I met him in the garage late Friday night and told him not to freak out when he walked into our downstairs entryway. He gave me the "What have you done?" look, as usual, but I led him inside and showed him what I was up to...


It's actually board and batten, but I think his first thought was that I was out of my mind for adding wood paneling to our walls. Ha! So I had to show him some pictures of board and batten in blog world in order for him to give me the "go ahead and finish" look. Which he did.

In true form, I didn't snap any official "BEFORE" photos, but basically we had bare walls in our entryway. They were all painted this beige color (Behr paint, "Mesa" is the color.) And after seeing various DIYers attempt and SUCCEED at board and batten, I wanted to try it. My friend Amanda, also a crafty queen and resident DIYer herself, did this for her daughter's nursery and it turned out super cute! She gave me tons of tips, let me borrow her wood glue and nail gun, and answered all of my 56 text messages regarding this project! Couldn't have done it without her.

Here is a picture I took after adding the wood strips to the wall.

And here's the basic how-to:

1) Decide which room/wall/area you'd like to board & batten.
2) Measure your room/wall/area for the cross-boards (the boards that run horizontally) and also decide how high you'd like them to be on the wall. This is really a matter of personal preference, although I would recommend not doing it at exactly the halfway point; it just looks better if you do it below halfway, like a chair rail, or above halfway, like me and Amanda did it. How far you go either way is up to you! So, measure the height from your base board to the chair rail height, and measure across the wall.
3) Go get your supplies. You will need:


  • Plywood (also called "underlayment"); I bought one sheet of plywood for around $10. It comes in a 4-foot by 8-foot sheet and you can find it in the lumber section where all the large sheets of wood are located. I used the plywood sheet for my chair rail bars (the thicker, horizontal bars that run across the top of my board and batten.) Mine are 4" in width and are all various lengths depending on the wall length. I had all the horizontal bars cut from this one piece of plywood. (You can also have your vertical strips cut from this plywood if it works out, like Amanda did; unfortunately I did not have a great employee that day so my guy couldn't figure out how to cut the vertical strips out of that same piece of wood.)
  • Lattice Strips (You will only need these if your home improvement store lumber dude can't cut your strips out of your piece of plywood!) The lattice strips are also in the lumber section; they come as 8-foot strips and are about 1.5" wide; these are what I used for the vertical strips. Since they came as 8-foot strips, this was easy for me, because I knew I wanted my vertical strips to be 48" or 4 feet long; so I just bought 8 strips and had him cut them each in half. Easy peasy.
  • Wood Glue (I used Elmer's Wood Glue.)
  • Nail Gun (I used Amanda's Stanley-brand nail gun, which took 5/8" nail brads, which turned out to be perfect!)
  • Paint (I used Glidden paint in "Pebble White" from Home Depot, in a satin finish.)
  • Sand Paper (I sanded all edges of the plywood because they were a little splintery and unfinished; the lattice strips were pre-sanded though.)
  • Hand saw (just in case your measurements are a little off and you need to cut some excess)
  • Level

So here's my skinny on measurements:

Also, it's important to note the thickness of this wood: both the plywood and the lattice strips were about 1/4" in thickness. You need to measure how far your base boards come off the wall before you have your strips cut; you don't want your strips sticking out further than your base board! They need to be the same thickness or less.

Then, all you do is glue your wood to the wall using the wood glue. Make sure you also use your level because you don't want it to be lopsided. I glued my vertical strips first, then just affixed the chair rail on top of them. You can choose the distance between your vertical strips; I chose 16 inches. I would say go no less than 12" and no more than 24". After you've glued them, use your nail gun to reinforce them.


And when you're all done putting your boards on the wall, you can PAINT! Just paint the boards as well as the walls in between!




 I feel like this made a huge difference in our entryway and I can't wait to add some personal touches. I plan on buying and painting a couple more lattice strips and affixing them to the top of the chair rail as shelving, to hold photos, artwork, etc. And I'm looking for some cute hooks for bags and coats and such. Here are some of my inspiration photos for how I'd LOVE this area to look one day: (all images via my Pinterest; did I mention I'm addicted to Pinterest? Ummm yes.)

 via Martha Stewart

 via Centsational Girl

via the House of Smiths blog

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

so true...

encouragement for you and me. love this.




you dwell in the songs that we are singing
rising to the heavens
rising to your heart, your heart

our praise is filling up the spaces
in between our frailty
and everything you are,
you are the keeper of my heart...

and I'm restless... I'm restless
til I rest in you
til I rest in you
I am restless... I'm restless
til I rest in you
til I rest in you, Oh God.
I wanna rest in you.

oh speak now, for my soul is listening
say that you have saved me
whisper in the dark, the dark

cause I know you're more than my salvation
without you I am hopeless
tell me who you are,
you are the keeper of my heart
you are the keeper of my heart

and I'm restless... I'm restless
til I rest in you
til I rest in you
I am restless... I'm restless
til I rest in you,
til I rest in you...
I wanna rest.

still my heart
hold me close
let me hear
a still small voice
let it grow
let it rise
into a shout
into a cry...

I am restless... I'm restless
Til I rest in You
Let me rest in you
I am restless... so restless
Til I rest in You
Til I rest in You
Oh God.

Let me rest in you.


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Monday, July 11, 2011

Mary Ella is 3!!!

This will be a long post with 3,482 pictures. You have been warned.
(Just kidding. But seriously, this will be long. But I have to catalog everything for my memories!)

My little Mary Ella turned 3 years old on July 2nd. I cannot believe she is already 3!
Wellll... actually, if I consider her diva-fied attitude, her "I can do it ALL MYSELF" antics, and her frequent toddler tantrums, I can definitely believe she's 3.
But other than that, I feel like the time has flown by and it's hard to believe three years can go by so fast.

Here she is the day we left the hospital, in all her chubby glory.

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And here she is the night before she turned 3. Clearly too cool for school.

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The night before her birthday we decided to take her to a Japanese hibachi place.

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We didn't know if she'd like it or not, but she LOVED it. She drank the soup, she drank the salad dressing, she gobbled up every grain of rice and every noodle and every single piece of protein that was on her plate. And I'm pretty sure she provided more entertainment than the actual hibachi man. The people at our table were laughing so hard at her expressions and her comments. Since then she's asked every day if we can go eat at "the place where they shoot chicken in your mouth." Ha!

When we got home that night, Lucy presented Mary Ella with an early birthday gift - a Disney princess bicycle helmet.

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Then Mary Ella convinced Sam to go ahead and let her open what he'd gotten her too. And Sambo gave in; she was ecstatic to find a pair of Tinker Bell roller skates. And this gift deserves a post of its own. Let's just say that roller skates + a severe lack of coordination = guaranteed broken bone by age 4. I will spare you the video of her first few attempts at skating and the 241 falls that ensued.

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The next morning, on her actual birthday, we invited her Daddy's side of the family over for a pancake breakfast. Since it was her birthday, I let her pick out her clothes, her hairdo, and pretty much let her do what she wanted.

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She was so happy on her birthday and she even seemed a little more grown up. (*tear*)  :(


She received some wonderful gifts from our family; a God's Little Princess devotional book, a 3-DVD set of Shirley Temple movies (right up her alley!), a princess Barbie, some new place mats, a Dora makeup set complete with glittery press-on nails, and a pink scooter from her Daddy. She loved all her gifts!

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And here is her signature move.

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More pictures from the pancake party:

MeMama and Grandaddy (silly Grandaddy!)

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Silly cousins Brooks and Case

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And silly Uncle Jason and aunt Keri Lynn

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And finally, this past Saturday we celebrated with her "little friends" at her puppy-themed 3rd birthday party. It was so much fun. I think I had just as much fun as the kids did. Here is our doggy table and our decorations.

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I love these hanging tissue ball puffs. They are such a cheap and easy craft, and they add so much to a party room! I think I'll hang them in my craft room next - they are too cute to throw away.


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Our centerpiece is a tissue puff and a little metal cake stand I bought years ago, topped with a few of her favorite canine companions - Quigley, Woofin and some Littlest Pet Shop pals.

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And here's our buffet, where we displayed her invitation, her cakes and cupcakes, some 'dog treats' and a few more puppy pals.

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The banner is made out of scrap book paper. And by the way, a book/tablet of scrapbooking paper is my #1 go-to item for planning a party. I use a ton of it! And I use it for everything - invitations, banners, place cards, games, signs, etc.

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The dog bowls are from the dollar sections at Target/Walmart. The dog treat dispenser is from Big Lots. Tablecloth, napkins, etc are from Dollar Tree.

The puppy chow cakes were my favorite thing about this party. This is something I found when I googled "Puppy Cakes." It's just a boxed chocolate cake mix, baked in a Pyrex bowl (I used a medium sized bowl, baked for probably 40-50 minutes; I just watched it until it was done.) Top with chocolate icing and a generous supply of cocoa puffs! And let me tell you - this cake was absolutely delicious! Pure doggy heaven!

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I also made cupcakes with my leftover cake batter and added paw prints to the top using Junior Mints and chocolate chips. (Cupcake 'stands' are just 2 boxes that I wrapped in fabric.)

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When the kiddos arrived, we had a doggy dress up station; each child got to pick a pair of doggy ears and have their face painted. The ears were cut out of felt and glued to cheap plastic headbands. I also made each kiddo a doggy collar out of scrapbook paper and put their name on them. They were all so cute dressed up! Each time someone arrived, all the 'doggies' would get on all fours at the top of the stairs and bark to welcome the new guest.

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After everyone arrived we let the kids perform dog tricks. After each child did their trick we rewarded them with a sugar cookie bone. Some of our talented doggy tricks included...


sitting...

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begging...

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playing dead...

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rolling over...

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licking our paws...

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and panting! Ha!

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Here's a group shot of most of our pups.

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After tricks and a quick photo, it was time for cake and ice cream.

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We sang "Happy Birthday" and Mary Ella blew out her 3 candles. She kept telling everybody, "Hey everybody! I'm 'free' now!" (three)

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Then I introduced this puppy friend of mine, and told all the kids that all her spots had someone gotten lost, and that they'd be in charge of finding them. So off they went on a "spot hunt." Chad had hidden them around the house while they were licking their bowls clean.

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In a matter of minutes they all came running back, their hands full of black spots. We all took turns glueing on the spots. They seemed to love this part too.

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And finally, we moved on to opening gifts. Mary Ella received lots of sweet presents from all her special friends!


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Sam enjoyed the party too, despite being a little fussy because of the huge top tooth that has invaded his gums. He hung out with Amanda and Ann Marie.


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I tried to get a cute shot of Sam and Mary Ella. She wasn't too thrilled with the idea, as her brother has an undying affection for her curly locks. As you can see, she was in no mood for hair pulling.

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Finally, though, we managed to get a few smiles.

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The kids went home with doggy bags filled with goodies - dog stickers, a bouncy ball, a sugar cookie bone, their doggy bowls, and their collars and ears.
(Oh, and I made their shirts. Normally my incredibly talented mother would do this, but she had this crazy idea to go and spread the gospel in Antigua the week of our party, so I forgot to place my order before she left the country. Agh! Insert midnight panic attack because I realize my kids won't have anything to wear. Also insert crazy insane mother who knows better than to worry about her kids wardrobe when their are children in the world who don't on A shirt, much less a hand made puppy shirt for a birthday party. I feel stupid for freaking out about this now, but I did go ahead and make them a shirt with the scraps of fabric I had in my sewing bin. Please don't zoom in. Me and my sewing machine got into a knock down drag out fight around 3am the morning of the dog party. We still aren't speaking.) 


*Hello Chad, are you reading this? I need a new machine. Ok, thanks.*



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It was such a great day and the kids were worn out after the party! I'm so thankful to all our sweet friends and family who came out to make this day special for Mary Ella! And thankful to MeMama for capturing all these sweet moments for me on camera! Thanks so much!

And I have to admit: although it is so much fun to plan these theme parties, it is also crazy and stressful and hectic. Sometimes I ask myself why I don't just order pizza or go to Chuck E. Cheese! And then I'm reminded of why I do it...

That evening, in the middle of dinner, Mary Ella said,

"Mama, I have a question for you." (meaning I have something to tell you.)

"What's your questions?" I asked.

"I had a really great time at my party."

And that's all I needed to hear to know that the late night hours of crazy planning, banner making, burning my fingers with the hot glue gun, baking, decorating and sewing were ALL worth EVERY minute. So here's to many more years of party planning craziness!

Happy 3rd birthday to my precious Mary Ella! I love you!

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