Yesterday was Emelyn's 9th birthday! (I feel so old!) We had a party for her last weekend followed by a sleepover. 6 kids came to her party - 3 girls (who stayed for the sleepover) and 3 boys (who didn't :) ). It was a great party. Garr and I talked about what an easy party it was- one great thing about the kids getting older. All the kids she invited were wonderful, respectful, all-around super kids. We started off with dinner - pizza and punch that my Grandma always used to make for holidays - just mix kool-aid and gingerale - it doesn't get any easier! The kids raved about the punch - it was the funniest thing. After that the kids did apple bobbing. I was a little concerned over the sanitary issue but my mom commented, "No one has ever died from apple bobbing!" I had to agree. The kids were so excited and had a lot of fun. Then we went down to the basement for a couple games of tug-a-war. We did equal teams - boys+Abby against the rest of the girls, then we did boys (3) against girls (5). Abby was on the winning team each time, so of course, she thinks she was the clincher! Then all the kids against Garr- that was so funny! The kids won! Then Chris won the singles tournament - no one could beat him. The rest of the night was spent opening presents, eating cupcakes and ice cream, having a coloring contest, making "ghosts," and playing in general. After the boys went home, the girls stayed up to watch a movie. Then in the morning, we did pedicures and they painted and decorated wooden dolls. I didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked (my batteries died), but we had a great time. Instead of goody bags, I made "candy apples" out of rice krispies on a pretzel stick dipped in chocolate and sprinkles. They were SO good! I got the recipe here. There are a lot of other neat rice krispy ideas on there. I think for Christmas we are going to do them again. This time we'll use candy canes for the pretzles, possibly use food coloring to make the rice krispies red or green, and then dip them in white chocolate (for snow!) and colored sprinkles. Yum Yum!
Yesterday, for Emelyn's actual birthday, we surprised her with tickets to go see High School Musical 3 at the theatre. Mom and I took the girls. Katie met us there with Justin. Katie walked around the mall with Daniel while we took the kids into the movie. Justin slept through half of it. The movie was cute. Afterwards, we came home for dinner, cake, and presents. All in all, a very special birthday!
Listening to us sing 'Happy Birthday'
Finding money in her card from Grandma and Grandad
A camcorder that Aunt Amy and her fiance got Eme for her birthday
The birthday girl
Showing off the ghost she made (sucker wrapped in tissues, tied with yarn)
I read this on a friend's blog and it was just too good not to share. Here is her post:
I read this little story on one of the forums I moderate....so who knows if it's true or not. That being said, I think it's a great little analogy of one of the fundamental differences btwn. Conservatives and Liberals. Vote for Less Government Nov 4th! Vote McCain.
"I was talking to a friend of mine's little girl, and she said she wanted to be President some day. Both of her parents, liberal Democrats, were standing there, so I asked her, 'If you were President what would be the first thing you would do?' She replied, 'I'd give food and houses to all the homeless people.' 'Wow - what a worthy goal.' I told her, 'You don't have to wait until you're President to do that. You can come over to my house and mow, pull weeds, andsweep my yard, and I'll pay you $50.Then I'll take you over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward food or a new house.' She thought that over for a few seconds 'cause she's only 6. And while her Mom glared at me, she looked me straight in the eye and asked, 'Why doesn'tthe homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?' And I said, 'Welcome to the Republican Party.' Her folks still aren't talking to me. "
We recently found out that Eme needs glasses. Considering our family history, we knew this would be coming sooner or later. (Turns out Abby needs them too, but they aren't in yet) Here are some pictures of Eme in her purple plastic frames. She also has wire ones.
Abby started Tae-Kwon-Do last week. She LOVES it. She's such a tomboy. As much as she loves to dress up and wear pink sparkles, she loves to wrestle and play football with the boys. Here she is in her new gi.
I watched the debate last night and I've been researching the candidates. It irritates me that so many are against Sarah Palin, but very little is said regarding Obama'a anti-Americanism. I can't be the only one concerned about the fact that our lead candidate has a predominantly Muslim background; has terrorist contacts (although he says they are just acquaintances); for many years (until his campaign came under fire for it) had a pastor who dislikes whites and America; not to mention a questionable relationship with the group, ACORN (or more info here). This doesn't make mainstream America nervous? They would rather spend their time ridiculing Palin because she's a soccer mom? She's a strong, God-fearing, passionate, America-loving person. They are concerned about her inexperience? If Palin were to become President, she will not be on her own - the President always has many advisers. Our concern is who will the President choose to be advised by? I trust that Sarah Palin will make good choices in her advisers. I can't say the same for Obama.
We've been watching a lot of the Glenn Beck show around here and that has been eye-opening (check out the "Obama National Anthem" under 'featured videos' - yikes).
I'm not a political guru and I never planned to 'talk politics' on my blog. But this situation is scary to me and it's what is on my mind. What do you all think?
By the way, "Joe the Plumber" did a great job on his interview with CNN. I'm tempted to vote for him! Check it out here... Joe the Plumber
I'm struggling. In this economic crisis, we all have to cut back and "live greener." But it's not that easy. We are accustomed to a way of life. In some ways I think this crisis could be beneficial to America - to bring us back to our roots and away from the commercialism that has claimed our lives. But I'm still struggling.
I want my kids to have it all. I want them to "fit in" and be comfortable with themselves around their peers. And for some reason, I think more "stuff" is going to enable them to do that. When I was a child, my parents couldn't afford to put me in the dance class that all my friends were taking. They wouldn't (couldn't) buy me the jeans with the triangle on the back pocket or the name brand sneakers. My grandma actually bought a pair that were too small for her and she gave them to me. I was in 6th grade and they were a women's size 6. Today - at 30 years old, I wear a kid's size 4. But I wore them. I wanted to fit in and "be cool."
Now, Garr and I don't go all out. There are numerous electronic gadgets that our kids don't have that many of their friends have. We buy them nice clothes - but they come from Target, Old Navy, Penney's, Children's Place - and we use coupons. Eme's response to being allowed to shop at Limited Too once was "Am I in heaven?" I plan for birthdays and Christmas and I worry that it isn't enough and then, it's too much. The kids don't even cherish what they have because they have so much. Eme wants pollies and Barbies for Christmas. Mind you, we had a yard sale this summer, and must have sold 15 Barbies. When I mentioned this to her, she responded, "I know, that's why I need more."
How do I back up and find the right balance and not completely disappoint my kids (because of what they are used to)? I think this is the right idea:
A few days ago, it was mine and Garr's 10th wedding anniversary. (I keep meaning to post about it - but haven't taken the time yet) We spent the day at the Pumpkin Patch with the kids. That evening they wanted to go to a Fall Festival at their school. $5 per person + cost of food, crowded, etc. We said no. They were very disappointed. They had looked forward to this for weeks. We felt pretty bad. We bribed them. We did. But you know - it was the right thing. We came home and carved our pumpkins. We had hot cider and doughnuts and we played a game together as a family. It was a perfect evening (aside from Garr slicing his hand open - he's ok.) My girls had a lot of fun and even admitted (without too much prompting) that spending time together was better than going to the festival!
This is what I want for our family, long-term. That we spend QUALITY time together. Not just sitting together in the same room, while two people are on computers and 3 people are watching TV and someone is reading, but time togetherconnecting. And not so much time running here and there. All this stuff we buy takes time - to go buy it, to set it up, to maintain it, etc. It takes away from our time together.
How can I bring this into birthdays and the holidays? How do we make these events special without spending - without overspending? How do I teach my children these values AND help them maintain good self-esteem - healthy self-esteem, not based on their "stuff"?
My friend, Bridget, has some great tips on her blog for painting with little kids. Feel free to look around her blog - she also has some great tips for coupons, menus, and frugal living in general! Here is a link: Painting Post
Daniel continues to surprise us. He has begun to open cupboards and pull everything out. He likes to follow along behind his sisters and be in the middle of whatever they are doing. And many days, when the girls are in school, he is good at keeping himself occupied for little bits of time. The other day was just such a day. I was busy working on Awana stuff on the computer and realized that Danny had gotten quiet in his spot behind the couch. I went to check on him and found that he had climbed into this box all by himself and was intently checking out this baby doll (gift for a friend's bd). And when he saw that I had discovered him - the smile. It was too cute.
We have had a busy week. I have lots of pictures to upload, and will try to do so a little at a time this weekend. Garr did the SeaGull Century Ride on Saturday, Oct 4. It's a 100 mile bicycle ride from Salisbury Univ. to Assateague Island and back again. He loved it and had a great time. He is trying to get me to do it with him next year - we'll see! The kids and I hung out with friends in Baltimore (the hubbies went on the bike ride together.) We attended a parade in Towson for Michael Phelps, Olympic gold-medalist. He set a record for 8 gold medals this summer! Afterwards we went back to Gina's for pizza and catch-up time! Eme and Abby spent the night with their friend Lucy. This was very special for them, as Lucy will be moving back to Slovakia in the next few months. We will miss her and her family very much!
I'm trying to find the right balance in life. I'm attempting to be a great mom, wife, daughter, Christian, friend, teacher, and homemaker. Some days are better than others. I'm learning it's ok to not be perfect. I'm learning to be content in all circumstances. I'm learning to take better care of myself so I can take better care of my family. I'm learning to enjoy the little moments in life instead of always focusing on what's ahead. I'm learning to embrace the now.