Fiona’s Birthday Celebration Tour

Posted by on Jul 24, 2013 in memories | 0 comments

It has been two months since Fiona’s birthday, so it feels a little ridiculous to write about it, but I’m falling victim to the “keep everything equal” conundrum. I wrote about Madi and Parker’s “Cele-Bake” birthday back in March, so I have to write about Fiona’s big day. I kinda feel like I can’t move on until I do. Weird.

Now for Fiona’s birthday tour. We kicked it off with the McClelland boys at the farm. I can’t believe that I actually got this many of the kids to stop for a picture before they scattered. All we were missing was Judah, and he was probably already out riding one of the Jeeps around the barn.


I knew that the kids wouldn’t stick around for much, but we did get them to run around finding fun little scavenger hunt clues that Madi made up, all ending at the big mail bin in the front yard. That was about their limit…


Then it was off for cupcakes and presents. And yes, I realize there should be four candles on the cupcake. Brain hiccup.


I love how deliciously happy she looks. As the youngest kid, she has to “go with the flow” a lot, so it is always great to have a special moment just for her without having to share everything.

The next weekend, we drummed up a little pig-themed party at our house. Yes, pigs. Fiona loves pigs with a vengeance because…well, I’m not sure why. Maybe because they are pink? But for whatever reason, she can’t live without them, so Mom and the girls set off to make pig cupcakes. They turned out so cute, just like the pig cookies I remember my Mom making when I was a kid, complete with marshmallow noses.



For the party, the kids made pig pictures…


…played Pin the Tail on the pig, courtesy of Parker’s art project from school…


The kids grabbed cotton balls with silicone pig potholders…


…and helpful aunties blew bubbles…


Fiona got a pony to go along with her new American Girl doll…


…and it ended as it had started…with more silly, silly faces…


Those kids love to mug for the camera, especially when it involves crossed eyeballs and wacky looks. Maybe a reaction to the millions of pictures that we subject them to? If I still had 24 exposures to work with and a little square disposable flashbulb, I certainly wouldn’t be asking them to make such awesome faces.

Happy Birthday, Fiona!

The “Cele-Bake” Birthday!

Posted by on Apr 18, 2013 in memories | 1 comment

I feel some responsibility to share the outcome of our “cele-bake” birthday party last month for a couple of reasons. First, I was inspired by Pinterest, and I am compelled to add our adventure to the mix. Secondly, the kids had such a great time celebrating with their friends…and for the very first time, we had the space for them all to run and play without stomping all over each other. Lastly, this may be the last year we can get away with a combined birthday party.

So…the adventure.











We were ready for the kids to arrive!






After the kids finished their aprons, it was off to play in the basement while we got the next round of activities ready…smoothies and cupcake decorating! All the grownups were a bit skeptical of my idea to make smoothies with 15 kids, but I had all the frozen bananas, berries, and yogurt measured out ahead of time, all three of my Ninja pitcher blenders ready, and lots of little cups so everyone could try each of the three smoothie recipes.

It could have been a giant disaster, but it worked out somehow. Everyone happily ingested some fruit, which was my goal, because the next activity was a free-for-all cupcake decorating extravaganza.




…and after loading on the frosting, sprinkles, and candy, we finally cut them off so that we could sing Happy Birthday and EAT!



The kids loved the party. It was fun to have a gaggle of their friends around and to see them be a little crazy. The grownups were Exhausted with a capital “E”, but it was the good kind of exhausted. The thankful kind of exhausted. The can’t get off the couch kind of exhausted.

I love celebrating my kiddos…and I’m so glad that we were able to do it up well this year.

My Madicakes…and her “fun birthday”…

Posted by on Mar 19, 2013 in memories | 1 comment

I’m a little behind with my post about Madi’s birthday last week…and the kid’s birthday party…and I’m sure plenty of other things too, but I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to my Madi-cakes. She is the girl who reminds me so much of myself at that age, with her nose in a book and the world sometimes in a haze around her. She is compassionate and kind, worries intensely about others, and can hold her own in a debate around the dinner table. Last year for her birthday, we ended up at Meijer Gardens after school and Parker puked all over the hallway, we were living in the rental house, and it was a bit more low-key, so I was really glad that she had a “fun” birthday this year. She played…













It was a great day…topped off with a pan of ooey-gooey brownies and two big white bookshelves for her room! I love this girl, with big dreams of owning a bakery someday and daily dreams of writing stories, winning her favorite game on the Nook, and every day inching her way towards teenager-dom. Happy Birthday sweet girl…you make every day special!

Moments with Madi: How to Draw a Rose

Posted by on Mar 12, 2013 in moments with madi | 0 comments

Have you ever wondered how to draw a rose – the right way? Well, there may be more than one way, but I think this way is the best. You see, I learned how to draw a rose from my art teacher at school last year.


1. Draw a spiral like you would do for the top of a lollipop, but leave room underneath it.

photo 1



2. Draw a U connected from one side of the spiral to the other.

photo 2


3. Draw a stem.

photo 3



photo 4


Written by: Madi


on being six…and an impromptu dance party in Spoonlickers…

Posted by on Mar 7, 2013 in memories, motherhood | 2 comments

Parker turned six earlier this week, and he celebrated in style.

Piling the sprinkles on his school treat cupcakes…


…eating his “special-request” dinner…


Opening his “special-request” present…


…and trying out his surprise gift!


I love the look of pure joy that was plastered on his face all day. Everything was about him, and he gobbled it up like a giant bowl of Lucky Charms. And really…there is just something really cool about watching a six year old boy enjoy life. He loves flipping the thick swath of blonde hair out of his eyes, jamming on his new guitar, dancing along to whatever music he hears, and loving on his mom without an inch of embarrassment.

In fact, we were in Spoonlickers today, celebrating Madi’s birthday with some fro yo, and he couldn’t stay in his seat with the music playing over the loudspeakers. He jumped up and started to dance, right in front of the yogurt machines.

This kid loves life. And I love him…with every inch of my heart.

on The Easter Egg…

Posted by on Feb 27, 2013 in faith, memories, perspective | 0 comments

Recently, I pulled a few books off our shelf to review on Mom Colored Glasses, and of course, it meant that those books made it into the bedtime reading rotation. One of the books was The Easter Egg by Jan Brett, and my kids were intrigued again with the story about a little bunny with a big heart. Instead of creating the “perfect egg” for the Easter bunny, he spent cold and hungry days sitting on a little robin egg to keep it warm after it fell out of the nest. The story ended well, with the Easter bunny rewarding his sacrifice for the newly hatched robin, and they rode off into the sunset together to deliver the eggs for Easter.

It is a great book, a sweet book, but I wasn’t prepared for what happened next. Parker looked over at me with a serious look on his face and said, “What the bunny did? It sounds like something I learned at school.” “What do you mean, buddy?” I asked. He thought for a minute, and then told me that he learned to “think about others first, not himself.” I agreed wholeheartedly, “Yep – that’s exactly what the little bunny did, and so should we.”

He ran up to brush his teeth, but I couldn’t stop smiling as I sat there on the couch. As parents, we spend serious time trying to embed Truth in our kid’s lives. It’s a difficult task, one that sometimes feels like you are running up an icy hill with flip flops on. But sometimes, between all the positive influences in their lives, from home to school to church to family, something sticks. They begin to recognize Truth in the obscure and start to understand what living a Godly life looks like, even if it is in the form of a little fuzzy rabbit.

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