Everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday, Ty!

It’s birthday party season here at the Allen household.  As I mentioned earlier, Ty chose Duck Dynasty for his party theme.  Y’all know me.  I loooove to plan my monkeys’ birthday parties, but it seems the more monkeys I have, the harder it is to get everything done.  So this year I tried really hard to scale back…somewhat. 

The fun started at the back door with a rustic sign to welcome party guests.

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Although I completely forgot about them once the party started, I prepared some photo props for goofy pictures.  Oh, well, at least I got one picture of Lucy.  Can she rock a beard or what?

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I always tell my kiddos they can have a killer cake or a killer party, but they can’t have both.  I’m not super mom.  Personally, I’d rather spend my time on party planning rather than cake decorating.  Luckily, they agree.  Initially, I baked this small cake for Ty and colored the batter so that it would look camouflage when cut open.  After the cake was all baked, Ty decided he’d rather have a cookie cake.  OK by me.

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Let them eat two (simply decorated) cakes!

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Would you like to take a stroll around the food table?  Here we go…

Duck Bills:  Pringles and dip

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Sausage and Quackers:  Homemade summer sausage and Ritz

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Duck Calls:  Pirouette Cookies

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Yuppie Food:  Fresh fruit and veggies

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I set the cakes on the buffet and made a garland to string across the mirror.  I included images of the Duck Commanders and some funny quotes from their show.

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Ty had a talking Jase doll figure that was perfect for the occasion, and I found the gator head at Dollar Tree.  Of course, I had to include a picture of our family with Phil and family from the time they shot the commercial at our restaurant.  (More about that here.)

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For party favors, I bagged up some fishing bait, or gummy worms, and I packaged marshmallow ammo for the marshmallow guns we made. 

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I also bought the kiddos flag bandanas like Willie wears.

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The Tool Man worked really hard and finished our swimming pool and deck in time for the big party.  The kids had a blast swimming!  They spent most of their time practicing their cannonballs and belly busters.

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When we finally dragged the kids out of the pool, we all had cake and ice cream while Ty opened his gifts.  Then the Tool Man led the kids in building marshmallow guns using PVC pipe.  Once the guns were assembled the kids really got into decorating them with assorted colored duct tape.  Redneck craftiness at its finest! 

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Happy, happy, happy birthday, Ty!  You’re the sweetest kid a mom could ask for.  I love you!

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Now it’s time to start planning the next party.  It’s less than a month until Lucy’s big day.  She has requested a cupcake decorating/ swimming party.  I don’t know how we’ll be able to squeeze so much fun into just a couple of hours, but I’m sure we’ll manage.  I’m also sure that whatever we do will involve a TON of sprinkles!


Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Clean Sweep

At the time of year when most little boys and girls are spending hours upon hours at the ballpark practicing and playing baseball, my kiddos are outside, ripping and romping in our yard, riding bikes and scooters, climbing trees, playing in the dirt, chasing chickens and puppies, and swimming in the pool.  I admit, I’m more than a little thankful that Ty expresses absolutely zero interest in playing summer baseball.  The Tool Man and I enjoy the freedom we have by not being tied to practice and game schedules.  We enjoy not being involved in the ballpark drama.  And most of all, we enjoy getting to spend precious, one-on-one family time with our very own children.

That being said, I do feel that it is good for Ty to have some sort of goal to work towards.  Something to look forward to.  To practice and prepare for.  A skill to improve.

Enter water sports.

Last year, the Tool Man introduced Ty to the wonderful world of water skiing, and Ty loved it.

This year it’s kayak racing.

A couple of months ago a friend of ours informed us of an upcoming kid’s kayak race near Jackson, Mississippi.  Ty expressed interest in it, so we signed him up, and he started practicing.

Last weekend we loaded up the kayak and headed over to Jackson for the big race.

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Actually, Ty got to participate in three separate races.  One for kids using rental kayaks, one for kids using their own kayaks, and one for kids using either their own or rental kayaks.

The weather couldn’t have been better.  It was an overcast day.  It never rained, but all the clouds helped keep the temperatures cool.

Of course the girls came along too to support their big brother.

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Lucy enjoyed cheering on her brother from the bank.  She also got a kick out of throwing rocks and sticks into the water.

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Here’s Ty in the kayak we brought.  Thanks, “Coach” David, for letting us use your boat!  Ty was moving through the water like a torpedo.  Lol.

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Ty did great.  He ended up winning all three of his races – a clean sweep.  Woo hoo!  (You didn’t hear it from me, but Ty was the only competitor in his second race, since he was the only kid in his age division who brought his own kayak.  The other two races had about 10 kids each, though.)

Daddy, Tacy, and Mr. David watched as the medals were awarded.

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Lucy couldn’t help but congratulate Ty with a great big hug.

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After the races the Tool Man interviewed the big winner.

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Congratulations, Buddy!  We are proud of you.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Tacy Mae–8 Months

Time again for a monthly update on Miss Tacy Mae.  It really is becoming quite a challenge to take these pictures.  Tacy is no longer content to lie still on her back.  No, sir!  She’s far too nosy and busy for that.

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I am asked all the time if I think she looks like Ty or Lucy.  (Funny how no one ever seems to mention whether she looks like me or the Tool Man.)  Over time I’ve seen both Ty and Lucy in her.  Honestly, I mostly see my Dad.  Who’d a thunk it?  Today was definitely a Ty day. 

Perhaps the biggest new thing going on with Tacy this month is that she has learned to crawl.  Yippee!  For now she does more of an army crawl than a normal, baby crawl, but that doesn’t mean she can’t get around quickly.  She can zoom across the floor, under tables and chairs, and even from room to room lickety split.  If you don’t want Tacy to get her hands on something, you better keep it off the floor.

This little girl is really something.  Tacy’s only been crawling for 2 weeks, and already yesterday she pulled up to standing all on her own.  More than that, she actually tried climbing onto the couch!  I’m afraid she might be following in her sister’s footsteps – the fearless, daredevil mountain goat girl. (Who by the way fell off a stool yesterday and had to have her chin glued back together.)

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Let’s see…  What else is Tacy Mae up to?

She’s doing a lot of babbling and laughing.  Although she does say Mama and Dada, I’m not sure if she’s doing it intentionally or not yet.  I’d like to think that she was, though.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  Tacy is the best baby ever!  People ask me if she is always so good and happy.  The answer is most definitely YES!  Happy, happy, happy.  The only times she frets are when she’s hungry or sleepy.  If you can stay on top of that, she never cries.

This month, our whole family went to summer camp with our church’s children.  Of course, Tacy was a dream.  She was perfectly content the entire four hour drive, napping, cooing, and playing.  While we were at camp, she was so sweet.  She must have been going through a grow spurt, though, because she spent the majority of the trip napping.  And when she wasn’t asleep, she was scarfing down food.  She ate every last drop of baby food we packed, and all kinds of table food from our plates - turkey, potatoes, fruit, Cheerios, pancakes.  Baby sister was hungry!

I’m continuing my mission to get Tacy to eat healthy foods.  She still nurses about 5 times a day.  In between those times she eats rice cereal, a variety of baby food vegetables (I stay away from the jarred fruits and blends because of all the added sugar), grilled chicken, pork, oatmeal, potatoes, cucumbers, and fresh fruits (the newest being mango – which she loved).  Tacy also enjoys eating the little Gerber Puffs cereal, and she is very adept at picking up the tiny pieces with her thumb and index finger.  She can even pass the pieces from hand to hand, which is quite a feat for such a little girl.

One thing’s for sure.  No one can accuse Tacy of not getting enough to eat.  She’s got rolls on top of rolls.  Tacy is wearing anywhere from size 12-24 month clothes!  Don’t even think about trying to squeeze those chubby arms into a size 9 month.  It ain’t happening.

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Lucy was not into taking sister pictures this month, but Ty was more than willing to step in to take her place.  But first, he asked me to take his picture building this tower and explain that he was being a distraction to the whole photo session.  It’s true.  Tacy definitely was more interested in getting to those blocks than lying still for her picture.

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Tacy may not know it yet, but she is quite blessed to have a brother who loves her so much.  Ty’s very good with his little sister.  He likes to be the one to get her out of bed in the morning, and he’s even willing to change a diaper if it’s not too dirty.  Now that Tacy is getting older and can play more, Ty really enjoys making her laugh.  This night he was setting up obstacle courses with the blocks for Tacy to crawl through. 

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Wow!  Eight months down.  That first birthday is speedily approaching.  You know me.  I’ve already begun party planning.  I want Tacy’s first birthday party to be as special as she is.  But we’ll save that discussion for another day.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Birthday Interview, Continued

I finally coaxed Ty into completing his birthday questionnaire. (If you missed the first half of his interview, you can find it here.)  I think he enjoyed answering a few questions about himself.  I could tell he was really putting some thought into it.

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So here are Ty’s answers to the remaining questions:

13.  I love my mom because she makes me breakfast, loves me, bakes, and much, much more.

14.  I love my dad because he gave me life and more.

15. I like to go to Papa and Sandy’s house because they have a hot tub and much, much more.

16. I like to go to Pappaw and Grammie’s house because they are just fun and much, much more.

17. My favorite Bible story is Jonah in the big fish.

18. Something I need to work on improving about myself is how reluctant I am at school.

19. Three of my best qualities are:

a. I’m a good sport.

b. I’m a good math worker.

c. I’m good at making friends.

20. My favorite season is May(season?) because it’s my birth month.

21. My idea of the perfect day is no rain, no school, and a lot of swimming.

22. My bedtime is 9:00 and I sleep with a pillow and a blanket.

23. My favorite drink is Sprite.

24. My favorite movie is I don’t have a clue.

25. My favorite cereal is Cocoa Puffs.

26. For my birthday I would like a new phone.

27. If I had $1,000 I would buy an iPad and a car and much, much more.

Obviously I have to comment on a few of his answers.

First, to question 14… Seriously, Ty??  Sure, Dad had a little something to do with it, but a nod to Mom would have been nice. Ha ha.

To answer question 24, I would say that Ty’s favorite movie is Wall-E.

Question 25.  Yes, Ty likes Cocoa Puffs, but he probably would opt for plain-Jane Cheerios if given the choice.

Question 26.  A phone?? Ain’t happening.  Sorry, Buddy.

And according to his answer to question 27, Ty has a lot to learn about how far (or not so far) money goes.

Well, that was fun.  I hope to continue the birthday interview tradition for years to come.  It’ll be fun to see how Ty’s answers change over time.

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Now I need to get to work on planning Ty’s birthday party.  We’ve been on the road so much already this summer, that I’ve had to push his party out a few weeks.  Ty finally decided he wanted a Duck Dynasty party.  I was thrilled he still requested a themed party.  I’m afraid that he’s about to outgrow big birthday parties, but at least I got one more year out of him.  It should be an easy party to plan.  We’re keeping it small, and I’m sure we already own enough camo to decorate the entire house.  Hey, all I need to make is a cake and some sweet tea, Jack!