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, July 31, 2014

Lucy’s Cupcake Party

This year Lucy had no problem deciding what theme she wanted for her birthday party.


I guess she got the idea after she received her very own mini cupcake maker for Christmas last year.

After we installed our swimming pool this summer, Lucy’s birthday plans expanded into a cupcake/swimming party.  That’s a lot of activity for only a couple of hours, but, hey, there’s no easier way to entertain a bunch of kids than to throw them into a pool!

There’s one thing I’ve learned from planning birthday parties over the past 10 years.  You can’t possibly schedule a party at a time when everyone can attend.  This party was no exception.  Many of Lucy’s friends and family were out of town, so this party turned out to be an intimate event.  But that was totally OK.  It turned out to be a fun day (although it was 97 degrees out), and the kids had fun splashing in the pool and pigging out on pizza.

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Maybe I’m getting old.  Maybe I’m getting lazy.  Maybe it’s the fact that I have three kids sucking the energy out of me (literally), but I feel I really dropped the ball with this party.  I had such high aspirations for food and d├ęcor.  I’ve been pinning party ideas on Pinterest for months.  But when it came down to it, I cut so many corners it’s a wonder I even got a tablecloth on the table.  Ugh!  I hate it when I do that.

How about I show you what I did manage to eek out?

Let’s start with the birthday cake.  Lucy wanted a giant cupcake.  Sounded good to me!  I don’t think I could have handled an elaborately sculpted princess or sugar tiara this year.  I used three 6” round cakes to carve out this colossal cupcake.  It was easy-peasy to decorate, and I think it is absolutely adorable.  (Not to mention yummy!)

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This next treat was a Pinterest find – strawberry wafer cookies, dipped in white chocolate, and sprinkled with…sprinkles!  I got the monkeys to help me out with these.  Even though the cookies were easy to assemble, they certainly did make a big, visual impact.

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In keeping with the sprinkle theme, I mixed up a creamy, vanilla dip, topped it with more sprinkles, and served it with pretzels, butter cookies, and apple slices.  (There was certainly no shortage of sugar on this party buffet.)  I also set out a couple of bowls of pink and white iced animal crackers.  You know, the ones covered with sprinkles?

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Like I said, other than the food table, I didn’t manage to get much decorating done.  I only threw up a couple of garlands.

I made these with scrapbooking paper, cupcake liners, and twinkle lights…

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And this simple swag of twisted tissue paper dressed the back door.

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We let the kids go swimming first.  Like I said, it was hot!

And humid.

Don’t forget humid.  Gotta love Louisiana!

Our little family of geese observed from a safe distance.

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Once we coaxed the kiddos out of the pool, we got down to the business of cutting cake and opening presents.  Everyone wanted a picture with the birthday girl.

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How about that birthday hat?  Lucy remembered I made her a hat for her third birthday, and she asked me to make her another one this year.  So one afternoon Lucy and I pulled out the poster board, hot glue gun, fabric scraps, and ribbons, and we designed this cute party topper.

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Lucy got all kinds of fun gifts for her birthday.  My Little Ponies, a Rapunzel doll, various coloring books, Leapfrog DVD’s, a tea set, rubber stamps and markers, manicure supplies, and this super cool, girly long bow.  It’s the perfect weapon for shooting that annoying, big brother!

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Truth be told, considering this was supposed to be a “cupcake” party, not a lot of time was actually spent on cupcakes.  But Lucy and her friend Cassie did have fun decorating a few.  I never knew how much candy and sprinkles would fit on a mini cupcake until I saw Cassie decorate one.  She could really pile them on!

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I don’t think the boys ever slowed down long enough to decorate a cupcake, but I did see them sneaking candy every time they made a pass by the table.

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Ordinarily, my birthday party duties would be over for the year, but no more!  Miss Tacy Mae will be celebrating her big one in only a couple of months.  I already have her theme picked out (my little secret for now), and I’m making party plans in my head.  Maybe if I start working today I will have everything ready for her party.



Monday, July 28, 2014

Lucy’s Birthday Interview

As I did with Ty, I decided to have Lucy answer a few questions about herself on her birthday.  Hopefully, we will continue this tradition over the coming years and one day have an interesting compilation of answers to look back on.  I think it will be fun to see how the kids’ interests, personalities, and dreams change as they mature.

In the interest of time, I’ve selected just a few of the more interesting questions/answers to share with y’all.  Enjoy!

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  1. One thing I learned to do this year was hula hoop on my arm.
  2. If I could change one thing that happed this year it would be I would not be a bad sister.
  3. My favorite subject in school is crafts.
  4. The best thing that happened to me this year was I became a Christian.
  5. I love my mom because she teaches me schoolwork.
  6. I love my dad because he goes swimming with us.

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  7. My favorite Bible story is Noah and the Ark and about the golden calf.
  8. Three of my best qualities are:
    1. helping with Tacy
    2. doing good schoolwork for Mama
    3. helping Mama clean up
  9. My favorite drink is Purple Crush, thanks to Papa.
  10. My idea of the perfect day is baking a cake or cupcakes with Mama.
  11. If I had $1,000 I would buy a whole Barbie house.
  12. My favorite memory is Tacy being born.
  13. When I grow up I want to be a mama.

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My favorite answers have got to be numbers 12 and 13.  It’s true.  Lucy is destined to be a mom.  She talks about it constantly.

(If you missed Ty’s birthday interview you can check it out here.)

We finally had Lucy’s birthday party this weekend, even though all five of us have awful colds.  Ugh!  Who gets a cold in July??  Anyway, it was about a billion degrees at the party, but the kiddos had fun.  I took tons of pictures, so I hope to get around to editing and sharing them with y’all soon.  Although, I expect to be pressed for time this week, since I’m planning to start our school.



Yes, I’ve been prepping like a dooms-dayer for over a month, and I think I’ve finally got everything ready to begin.  Supplies are stocked and organized, textbooks are in, and old materials are packed and put away.  I’m ready!

I’m super excited about the new year, mostly because Ty will be using some new curriculum for science, history, spelling… OK, he’ll be using new curriculum for everything except math.  I’ll save the details for another post, but we are looking forward to a more relaxed, involved, hands-on, activity-driven, Christ-centered school year.  I can’t wait!


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Happy Birthday Lucy!

Last week was Lucy’s 5th birthday.  I don’t know if it’s because there is a new baby in our house, or what, but it seems like Lucy has matured tremendously over the last year.  She has really made the leap from toddler to “big girl.” (Which is a scary thought to the me and the Tool Man.)

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As I did with Ty, I had Lucy complete a birthday interview this year.  I’ll share some of her responses with you later, but first I wanted to share some of my own thoughts about Lucy.

If I had to sum up Lucy’s personality in a few words, I’d put it like this:  she’s stubborn, dramatic, independent, fearless, spirited, and a little bit shy.

Lucy’s is one the most strong willed people I’ve ever seen.  I’ve mentioned before that sometimes she absolutely refuses to speak.  It beats all I’ve ever seen.  When she makes up her mind she doesn’t want to talk, there’s nothing you can do to make her say one word. She’s the same way about eating too.  I’ve actually had to hold her nose to get her to open her mouth to eat.

I remember one episode when Lucy was about 2, when she and I had a battle of the wills.  Lucy had spilled a bowl of dry Cheerios, and I asked her to pick them up.  She refused.  She looked me square in the eye and refused to pick up one Cheerio.  I coaxed, demonstrated, bribed, etc., but Lucy didn’t give in.  She had decided she wasn’t going to touch one Cheerio.  Little did she know, I had decided that she was. 

It wasn’t pretty, but I finally figured out a way to get her to pick up the cereal.  Her hand in mine, I had to move her fingers to each Cheerio and make her pick them up.  I never will forget that day!  It was the day I realized just how hard-headed that little girl could be.

Perhaps stemming from the fact that she’s so stubborn is Lucy’s fearless spirit.  She doesn’t let a little danger stop her from doing what she wants.  I knew the Tool Man and I had a daredevil on our hands when Lucy started climbing before she even learned to walk.  She climbed on the couch.  She climbed up stools.  She climbed on tables.  She climbed out of her crib.  And what did she do once she made it to the top?  Why, she jumped down, of course! 

All that climbing culminated in the ultimate climbing challenge earlier this summer.  Our entire family went to church camp with our children’s group this year.  At the camp was a 55 feet tall zip line.  55 feet!  The only way to the top was by way of a light pole.  My 4 year old sweetie shimmied all the way to the top of that pole, while 8, 9, and 10 year olds clung to the pole, weeping in fear, just 10 feet off the ground!  I’m telling you, that girl is a monkey.  (I do have tons of photos documenting this feat, but they are all on another computer.  Hopefully I’ll get a copy of them one day to share with y’all.)

Lucy is one of the most animated people you’ll ever be around.  That is, if she’s not in a shy mood.  Sometimes she hides behind the Tool Man and me, with her head tucked down, not making eye contact with anyone.  (Like yesterday when I took her for a hearing test, and she wouldn’t look up or say a word.  I was afraid the doctor was going to dub her deaf and mute.)

But other times….

Other times she comes alive!

Her facial expressions are priceless.  She has hilarious faces for every emotion:  anger, shock, surprise, dejection, excitement, worry…even sadness.  Couple those faces with over exaggerated body language (eg. hands on hips, head tilts, finger pointing, eye rolling) and Lucy can put on quite a show.

Throw pain into the mix and Lucy becomes the biggest drama queen on the planet.  She feels two levels of pain.  None and Nearly Dead.  She’s either completely pain free or she’s about to lose a limb, and she wants everyone to know it.  Even so, in Lucy’s eyes there’s no injury so severe that a Disney princess Band-Aid can’t fix it.

Lucy also loves dramatic play, and she’s not one to play alone either.  She’ll worry you to death with complicated, make-believe games about babies, sisters & princesses, cooking & baking, or grocery store.  The conversations she has with herself while playing are a hoot, but funnier still are the songs that she makes up.  She sings incessantly!

Take a look at this video I shot of her last week.  I believe the lyrics for this song include, “We work, we work, we work.  I’m trying, I’m trying, I’m trying!”

Lucy especially likes to make up songs while riding in the car, which drives her big brother (and parents) stir crazy.

She’s good at that – driving her big brother crazy.  Lucy and Ty fight like cats and dogs.  Not physical fighting, but arguing and fussing.  Lucy certainly receives her fair share of grief and torment from her brother, but she knows how to dish it out too.  Don’t let her sweet, angelic appearance fool you.  Lucy is an expert in aggravating.  She’s a master skilled in the arts of blame throwing, injury feigning, whining, and all around pestering.  I guess that’s just the way siblings are, though.  Especially those who spend every waking minute of every day together.

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Being a little sister is a tough job, but being a big sister?  Now that’s something Lucy can sink her teeth into.  She was born to be a mama.  Lucy loves all aspects of caring for Tacy.  She loves feeding her, burping her, bathing her, and yes, even changing her diapers and powdering that cute little behind.  Lucy enjoys picking out Tacy’s clothes and coordinating her hair bows and shoes to match.  Lucy even likes folding and putting away Tacy’s laundry. (A task she can do just as well as I can.)

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I could go on all day talking about Miss Lucy.  How she loves to wear makeup, choose her own outfits, bake cupcakes, do school work, and hug frogs. (Yes, Lucy likes to cuddle real, live toad frogs.)  But, alas, motherly duties await.  I’ll be sure to share excerpts from Lucy’s birthday interview soon.

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Happy birthday, Lucy!  You are truly one of the most interesting people I know.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Way back at Christmas, Santa brought Miss Tacy a fun little rocking horse.  Six months later, she’s finally grown big enough to ride it. 

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Tacy sometimes rocks in the conventional way…

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But sometimes she does trick riding like this…

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Of course, if it were Lucy, she’d be standing in the saddle.  Lucy was, and still is, such a little dare devil.

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And to let everyone know, the results from Tacy’s hip ultrasound came back normal.  I’m still a little skeptical, though, because I can actually feel her hip popping in and out sometimes.  I guess it’s just something we’ll have to keep our eyes on.  Hopefully, it won’t turn into anything serious.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tacy Mae–9 Months

Can you believe it?  Tacy Mae is officially three-quarters of the way through her first year.  I’m still amazed (and a little bit sad) about how fast the time passes.  She’s definitely no longer the little baby who does nothing but eat and sleep.  Nope.  She’s a little mover and shaker, who is full of curiosity and is getting into everything.

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Let’s start with the basics, shall we?

I took Tacy for her 9 month checkup yesterday where she weighed in at 19 lbs. 12 oz.  She measured 28 inches in length, and her head circumference was 18 inches.  That put her in the 75 percentile on the growth charts for all three measurements.

So, what does a girl have to eat to keep up such a healthy figure?

On average, Tacy is nursing three times a day, morning, noon-ish, and night.  In between those feedings, Tacy is chowing down on all kinds of delicious foods.  I’m still on mission to get her accustomed to eating healthy foods before letting her have sweet junk.  (My plan is to hold out at least until her first birthday. Can you think of a better birthday gift??)  So far, Tacy hasn’t met a vegetable she doesn’t like.  Some new foods she tried this month were eggplant, mushrooms, quinoa, ribs, sweet corn, cabbage, Cheerios and black beans. 

I guess the biggest change in Tacy this month is the improvement in her mobility.  Tacy’s method of crawling has to be one of the funniest I’ve ever seen.  She’s an army crawler.  Her belly never leaves the floor.  She uses her hands to pull and her big toes to push.  Let me tell you, this method certainly works for her.  She is fast.  Super fast!

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Tacy has also mastered the ability to pull up, which means we no longer have the luxury of leaving anything on the coffee table.  ‘Cause if something’s up there, she’s pulling it off and eating it, for sure.

Even better than what’s happening on top of the coffee table, though, is what’s going on under it.  Under the table is one of Tacy’s favorite places to hang out.  I try to keep her toys stashed under the table, out from under foot, but she loves to crawl under there and push them all out and under foot again.

Now that the weather is nice and hot, Tacy has been swimming in our new pool several times.  What can I say?  This girl loves the water!  Tacy likes for me to hold her on her tummy and let her kick and splash with all her might.  I’ve never seen a little baby who loved splashing herself in the face, but Tacy certainly does.  A little water in the eyes and up the nose doesn’t bother her one bit.  She’s the same way in the bathtub, too.  By the time I’m finished bathing her, the walls, the floor and I are just as wet as she is.

I thought I’d throw in this next picture just for fun.  It’s not the most flattering picture, I know, but I couldn’t help myself.  I think Tacy looks so much like baby Ty in this picture…baby Ty with a wig, that is.  Lol.

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I had a bit of trouble getting a good picture of Tacy this month.  Her new found mobility means she’s not at all content to lie flat on her back and make pretty faces at the camera. 

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As soon as I lay Tacy down, she wants to roll over on her tummy and make a getaway (or eat the photo props), which explains the look of torture on her face in that picture.  (Coincidentally, this is the same look I’ve been getting when I change her diapers or try to dress her every day.  She’s recently decided she doesn’t like that anymore.)

It was just as much, OK more, trouble to get a picture of Tacy with Lucy this month.  In fact, this was the best I could do…

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Oh, well.  They can’t all be perfect pictures, right?

One more thing worth mentioning is that during her last checkup, Tacy’s doctor noticed that her left hip slips out of place.  Eek!  Sounds painful.  So today we are headed to get an ultrasound to see just how severe her problem is and what, if any, action has to be taken to help correct her hip.  I’ll let you know what we find out.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Lucy’s Re-Birthday

As a parent, there are certain developmental milestones that you look forward to in the life of your child.  There’s that first sweet smile and those wobbly, first steps.  The first night in the “big kid” bed and the first day of Kindergarten.  But as a Christian parent, the most anticipated milestone in the life of your child is the day that your son or daughter prays to receive Christ.

Unlike other events in your children’s lives, there’s no specific or guaranteed age at which this event should occur.  But my prayer for my children has always been that the very first time they feel the call of God on their hearts they will respond in obedience.  Not only that, but that God would call them at an early age, so that they could begin living and working for Him as young as possible and live a full life of service to Him.

God has been faithful in answering this prayer.  Ty became a Christian at 6 years of age, and just a few weeks ago, at the age of 4 years and 10 months, Lucy prayed a simple prayer and asked Jesus to come live in her heart.

So today, I want to write about Lucy’s Re-birthday.  Just as the children of Israel collected rocks from the bottom of the Jordan River as a reminder of their miraculous crossing (Joshua 4:1-9), I hope this story will serve as sort of a spiritual marker for Lucy, to remind her of the day she crossed over from spiritual wilderness to the Promised Land.

It was May 19, 2014.  I’ll never forget the date, because it was our 13th wedding anniversary. This particular evening was like any other. No special anniversary plans for me and the Tool Man.  Just a night of playing with kids, eating supper around the coffee table (because that’s what we do here), washing dishes, and picking up toys.  The only thing different was Lucy’s demeanor. She had been scolded once for not eating her supper (which is nothing out of the ordinary since the child never eats – at least not without some persuasion). But for some reason this night, Lucy got really upset when her daddy got onto her for not eating.  What started as a pouty lip and little whining, gradually escalated into uncontrollable sobbing.  I soon realized that this was something more than just hurt feelings.  Something was really bothering Lucy.

But the thing about Lucy is that when she gets upset she refuses to talk.  I mean it.  She won’t say one word.  I was determined to get her to open up, though.  I took her to my bedroom where I could talk to her in quiet.  I began asking her questions, and through a series of head shakes and thumbs up and down, I started to understand what was going on.  Lucy was feeling the conviction of sin, and I knew that this was the result of the Holy Spirit speaking to her (John 16:8).  How else could you explain a four-year-old feeling such guilt and shame over all the wrong she had done in her lifetime?  She was crushed under the weight of her sin.

I tried to be very careful as I talked to Lucy.  I did not want to lead her into doing or committing to something she was not ready to do.  We talked about sin (Romans 3:23), its consequences (Romans 6:23), and the only Cure for its curse (John 1:29).  I asked a lot of questions, and she slowly opened up and gave answers, even though it was hard for her to talk through the sobs.  Finally, I asked if she wanted to pray and ask Jesus into her heart.  She did.  She wanted Jesus to come in and make her clean.  I prayed, and she repeated.  In a soft, but clear and sure voice, Lucy confessed her sin and committed her heart to Jesus.  That simple.  It was a done deal.

The Tool Man, who had been listening from the other room, came in to give Lucy a hug.  He told Lucy how proud he was of her decision.  But Lucy still seemed pretty upset.  After talking a while with Lucy, the Tool Man could tell she was still bothered by her sin.  So he took Lucy through the Scriptures, explaining that when Jesus cleanses us the sins are gone…forever!  He also talked to Lucy about the enemy – how Satan would like nothing more than to tell us a bunch of lies and try to keep us from experiencing joy.  Together, the Tool Man and Lucy agreed that Satan is a “nerd.”

It’s been several weeks since Lucy made her decision, but the Tool Man and I wanted to take some time to be sure she really meant and understood what she did.  After all, she is only four years old.  We talk to her frequently about her decision and ask her questions often.   She knows she’s a sinner, she’s sorry for that, and she believes that Jesus is the one and only Way to forgiveness (John 14:6).  As far as we can tell, Lucy has a very good understanding of her salvation.  In fact, at four years old, she’s actually got a better understanding of the Scriptures than some 40-year-olds I know!

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Thank You, God, for saving my sweet little girl.  Thank You for giving her eternal life (John 3:16).  Guide her thoughts and actions as she seeks to live for You (Proverbs 4:11). Help me to be a good example and teacher to her, and give me wisdom as I aim to train her up in the way she should go (Proverbs 22:6).