Friday, April 16, 2010

wintertime birthdays

Being a Type A, I'm a planner by nature. The older I get, the more I seem to "let go" of the need for constant planning, but, still, I plan a whole lot. Or, at least attempt to.
Before I had children, I always said that IF I got the choice, I'd prefer not to have a child born in December or January, and November and February were the next "least desired" months on the list. Why? Birthday parties! Fun birthday parties in the winter months are scarce. Plus, the winter calendar is pretty much overtaken with Holidays and holiday celebrations.

So, fast-forward a few years. We decided to grow our family. What'd we get? A boy born January 9, about two and a half weeks after Christmas. And then, three years later, a girl born December 9, about two and a half weeks before Christmas.

I had a miscarriage before Jax, and another miscarriage between Jax and Joy. Those babies were "due" in August and May, definitely not winter or Holiday-dominated months! I guess God definitely has to show us who the real planner is from time to time!

Soooo, since both of my kids have birthdays in the midst of the winter and Holiday hoopla, now maybe you understand why I'm just now posting birthday party pics... in APRIL!!!

Let's begin with Joy. Her first birthday. I'm still in shock over how fast that year flew by. When I went to the hospital early that morning (Dec. 9, 2008), it was nearly 70 degrees outside. I am NOT hot-natured by any means, and I can remember pushing the sleeves of my long-sleeve t-shirt up while I was filling out paperwork. When we left the hospital two days later, it was SNOWING. And I do mean SNOWING! in Mississippi!

Since we have this unique story of bringing Joy home from the hospital in the snow, AND since she has a winter birthday that is not exactly conducive to a cool pool party or outdoor fun, I thought it would be neat to go with a snow theme for her party... a Winter ONEderland!

Honestly, I ran out of time and wasn't able to carry out the theme as thoroughly as I had planned, but it was sufficient. We had snowflake sandwiches, snowman soup, and hot chocolate at the party, among other "snow"-themed edibles. We decorated the house with pale lavender, turquoise, lime green, white, and silver snowflakes. It was actually fun planning the Winter ONEderland. But the best part of all wasn't actually planned. Not planned by me anyway. SNOW. Real snow. Yep, it actually SNOWED -- in Mississippi -- AGAIN -- just in time for Joy's Winter ONEderland party. How cool is that?!!!

First, here's a few pictures of the snow. Joy wasn't really interested in getting in it. She had been woke up for this?!!?!!! ha ha, she stayed out long enough for a few pictures, and a quick look at the snowman greeter Jax built!

Inside, it was warm...

It took some warming up, but she loved her cake!

Joy has lots of friends her age. We were happy so many of them could join us for the celebration. I regret that I was unable to get a picture of ALL of her friends together at the party. I guess you have to be SUPERMOM to get a group shot with these busy toddlers these days! Of course, BAY (blankie) was invited and attended the party.

It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to... You would cry too if you were this tired! LOL

Joy's party was held on the 5th; here's some pics taken on her actual birthday, Dec. 9th:
Opening her cards - she already LOVES mail!

Ok, so one winter birthday party was a success. Now, on with the seasonal festivities - it was such a busy time! I'll post a few pictures of Christmas and the Christmas festivities in another post. Let's move on to Jax's birthday party since we're in a "birthday party" kind of mood.

Jax made the big "4" on January 9, 2010. He was super-excited about his party. We opted to have his party at our church so we would have plenty of space for the kids to run around and play. My house was just not up to another event after Joy's party and the Christmas celebrations. Jax and his Daddy love to watch UFC fights on t.v. Jax has watched it since he was a small dude. I guess it may be the quick movements that catch his attention, I don't know. His Daddy thinks its the coolest thing; his Momma does not. I fear that my son will learn aggressive behavior from the experience, or develop a fear of injury or something - hey now, there IS some blood on there. However, Josh assures me this will not happen; they have discussed that it is a professional sport, and that Jax is not a professional fighter and therefore will not try to mimic the behaviors he sees. We wanted to do something different for the birthday party, but had limitations for activities due to the cold and unpredictable WINTER weather, ugh. So, I got the idea for a boxing party! Josh did not agree with the idea at first --can you believe it?-- but I did a little research and planning, and he came around to the idea. I ordered a pair of inflatable oversized boxing gloves for every child, and let them play with them at the party! It was a little wild, and maybe somewhat scary, but the kids LOVED it! Plus, the boxing gloves replaced the traditional party goody bag -- they got to take them home, and box until their little hearts were content at home. LOL You're most definitely welcome, parents!!! ;-D

His cake was a "boxing ring," complete with his picture! We LOVED the cake - sooo creative, Mrs. Lisa! She also made Joy's cake - both were perfect, and yummy yummy!

The gloves were tons of fun, for both boys and girls, of all ages... even a few parents got in on the fun!
Boxing can wear a little fella out! Hey, now, Boxers sleep sometimes too!!! :-P
THANKS to everyone for taking the time out of your busy holiday schedules to help my Sweeties celebrate their special day!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

a unique dwelling...

NO! It's not a mouse! look again...

NO! It's not a rat... It's a SQUIRREL. An adolescent squirrel, I'd say...
... who happens to have taken up homestead in...
We have already evicted him once, but he's baaaaaack!
and, this time, I didn't stick my hand in the box to get the mail without looking inside first! :-)
that's right, squirrelly... fooled me once, shame on you; fool me twice?, no way!!!

no t.v. = even better times

I am so disappointed that I have missed nearly all of American Idol this season. I have not been an American Idol fan from its beginning. As a matter of fact, I have never watched a whole lot of t.v. at all. But I did discover American Idol and became somewhat addicted the year that Jax was born (2006). Jax was born in January, which happens to be the month that the new AI season begins each year. Since I had a newborn in the winter months, I did a lot of "just staying in," rocking, and watching t.v. during that time. Each year since, I have tried to make it a point to watch AI, even if I didn't get a chance to watch anything else. I like the audition phase as well as the competition phase. This year, I saw the first two shows of the season (the first week) and then... our satellite went out! It's been "out of order" ever since. Josh attempted to readjust the satellite, but he's not really a Mr. Fix It - in other words, his attempts didn't help. Obviously. I have been hesitant to call the company because 1) it's never a quick call - and screaming children always seem to work their way into the picture when I get on the phone with this type of call, and 2) we will have to be home when they send a technician out to look at it -- and, that's hard to plan! The only guarantees they will give is that someone can come between the hours of 8 and 12 or 1 and 5 during the week. Well duh, that means either Josh or I would have to take off the entire day. I'm trying to hold out until summer.

Anywho, Jax was just starting to get interested in some television programs just before we lost our signal and all connections to planet T.V. When we lost the service, he was disappointed at first, but now it seems that he has adjusted to NOT having t.v. access... just like some of the rest of us. The withdrawals were not that bad at all, ha. As a matter of fact, we've had some pretty good times around this house with no t.v. lately. I'm wondering if I should really make that call to the satellite company when Summer arrives....???

We haven't been tempted to forego the family suppers at the table in exchange for a perching spot in front of the t.v., as we have been guilty of in the past. I think we've all really enjoyed discussing each other's day during the meal, and, surprisingly, I have been more apt to actually cook with no t.v. around. One night, we did pick up some yummy Chinese from our favorite Chinese Restaurant in McComb (China Palace) and then returned home where we had a picnic in our living room floor -with NO t.v. It was nice, very nice.

Josh taught Jax to play Go Fish! one night - that would have never happened if the t.v. had been available. Jax has really gotten into "games" since the satellite service died. He got Gator Golf for Valentine's Day, and Hungry Hungry Hippos for Easter, and he's been practicing up on his skills with those; and he's also learned some jump rope skills too.

Jax and Joy both have been enjoying the great outdoors more --heck, what am I saying? -We have ALL been outside more since the t.v. doesn't have us tied up inside. We have all enjoyed playing with the new puppies (those pictures and the story coming soon in a separate post), back-porch sittin', riding the 4-wheeler/rhino, and the kids have re-discovered the swing set.

We have read so many books! And, this is great! I wish we had time to read EVEN MORE but I am proud of the times that we have had, thanks to the failure of the satellite.

Besides games and books, I feel like Jax and Joy have fostered their lurking creativity skills too by being forced to play with each other and their toys - without the background noise and sometimes-distraction of the t.v. These boxes, for example! Who would have ever thought two young'uns would have soooooo much fun with just a plain ole box! It never cesases to amaze me how children prefer the "make-shift" toys over the pricey REAL toys.

Let the imaginations run WILD!- there is no t.v. service here! And, who ever said that t.v. is a necessity?!! I'm seeing that t.v. is not THAT important afterall. Not even American Idol!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Great American Postcard Swap

We are so excited to be a part of the Great American Postcard Swap (GAPS). For my readers who are not familiar with GAPS, let me explain: Aimee over at Adventures and Pursuits has coordinated a fun postcard exchange with one family representing each of the 50 states. Each state rep-family will send postcards to all the other GAPS members over the next year. The postcards depict each state's uniqueness, so this is a great learning opportunity for the kiddos. We have already received Alabama, Alaska, and Arizona postcards. Jax has so enjoyed getting "mail" and getting to see the pictures on the postcards. He's only 4 years old, so maps are still a bit arbitrary for him, but this opportunity is still so beneficial in helping to promote the development of spatial skills. We have a small U.S. map that we are looking at each time we receive a postcard. We talk about the location of the state and compare it to our own state of Mississippi. We have also been talking about the differences in weather (like, Alaska) and terrain (like, Arizona), etc. He is coloring in each state on the map as we receive the postcards. This is soooo much fun!
We send our postcards in October, but we are already talking about what kind of postcards we want to send. Any suggestions? We want to send postcards that share the really cool stuff about our state! What should be the Mississippi postcard theme? Help us decide!
I hope to post some photos soon. Stay tuned.