They say it’s your birthday

180 cookies
5 dozen brownies
2 trifles
8 bags of M&M’s
36 chocolate covered pretzel sticks
20 individual parfaits
75 cupcakes
10 hours of decorating
1 full week of baking (and I mean full)
Countless hours of planning
One happy birthday husband

Here are some pictures from the party (hopefully you’ll take this as my apology for being absent)…

First, the invitations. 

The idea for the invitations came from here. Love.this.site.

They cost too much to mail so one day the boys & I went around town to do ring-and-runs. I’d drive up to a house, one of the boys would get out, run to the house, leave it by the door, ring the doorbell, run back to the car and we’d speed away! It was so much fun.

Then the day of the party arrived…

Someday I will give you the recipe for these cupcakes. They are the best cupcakes I’ve ever tasted. Wish I would have come up with the recipe myself.

This decoration is brought to you by my talented parents. I just love the look it gives the room. It’s very inexpensive but brings a nice big punch to the room.
I left the tables uncovered and decorated them with black, grey and yellow tape:
I made the placemats out of cardstock as well as the napkin rings and the toppers to the party favor cookies. Someday I’ll tell you all about the Cookie Debacle of 2011. But not today. Today we shall only remember the good times.

This one is from Anna. If I can get a bigger one, I’ll update this post.

Ken’s brothers told a few funny stories about roasted him.


After we ate, I opened up the dance floor. Some of our friends danced to Ke$ha’s Blow and Ken got into the action as well. He’s such a sexy dancer, sometimes I get him confused with Justin Timberlake. 

I didn’t get a good picture of the centerpieces that night so I took one here at home. My dad cut out all the 40s and made the half circle so they’d spin. Told you he was talented. 

It was a great night spent with great friends. Happy birthday, Ken!

So the hunt begins. Again.

I’m a little behind on blogging and taking pictures but I have a good excuse. Ken was laid off on Monday. It was not really something we saw coming but it’s also not something we’re really worried about. I know this is a bold statement to some but we know that the source of our income wasn’t Empower Software but God. And we know and trust He has a plan for us and for Ken’s job. Get this: Yesterday Ken received three calls and an email at 11:00 at night. Three out of the four opportunities seem to be a great fit for him and the other one has really good potential, as well. Unfortunately, being without a job isn’t anything new to us. He was laid off in 2009 and was looking for nine long months. We joke that he is an expert interviewer because he’s had so much experience.

We would appreciate your prayers as he’s on the hunt. And maybe, just maybe this’ll be my opportunity to get the heck outta Florida!

On another note, the boys started school on Wednesday. I asked them what grade they were starting. Not sure what Jackson said to Ethan to make him crack up like this but this is a daily occurrence.

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They’re so goofy together and most of the day is spent like this picture above.

Tonight I decided I needed a pedicure. Our local Walgreens actually paid me $2.01 to purchase this nail color. Yep. The nail polish was on sale for $3.99 and I had a coupon from Revlon for $1 off and a Walgreens coupon for $2 off. This week Walgreens is giving $3 Register Rewards for Revlon nail enamel. Never hurts to make money for shopping!

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Thank you Walmart?

There are very few places that I really don’t enjoy shopping. Walmart is one of them. I practically despise the store. It’s always busy, the aisles are always full of merchandise, you can never get your cart in and around the junk, the checkout lines are always long and it’s….not Target. When a huge building sat empty for months and months, the rumor around town (listen to me, I’m talking like I live in a town with a population of twelve) was that a Walmart would soon be erected. I was so disappointed that it wasn’t going to be a Target that I curled up in the fetal position and cried for a week. OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration but I was still disappointed.

Opening day came and went and I didn’t visit the store. Then a few weeks later I needed to take my grandmother grocery shopping. The grocery store was farther away and Walmart was the best choice most convenient. I’ve since visited the store a few times and it’s part of a new brand of Walmart stores: still a super store with groceries and the regular things but smaller and the architecture matches that of the surrounding area. It’s new, clean, and checkout friendly. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

But the biggest thing it’s given me is a photo-op. The Walmart is 1/2 mile from my house. But it’s a half mile of roads I don’t take on a daily basis. When I went shopping for school supplies the other day, I found a burial ground of sorts. It was a resting place for all things Postal related.

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Because of this find, I say thank you, Walmart. And as my youngest would say, “I can’t believe I said that without puking.”

Crystal River

On Friday evening we headed up to Crystal River to celebrate Molly’s third birthday. Crystal’s parents own a boat and we spent almost the whole day out on the river. And would you believe that all of us got into the freezing cold river to swim? It was such a great day. The cold river water was a nice break from the heat. I took lots of pictures but none of the really pretty areas we had to swim to. I like my camera and figured I’d better keep it dry. Here are a few shots from the day.

 

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Random kids jumping into the river. It was fun to cheer them on!

The lodge where we stayed had a natural pool. This means the water for the pool is fed by the spring. The 2nd pictures is what it looks like inside the pool.

This guy must make a million dollars during the summer!

It was such a great day. Thanks so much to Crystal and her family for letting us come along!

Wow moments

Tonight the Mister and I were given one of the best compliments that could be dished out to us. We were told that we were someone’s favorite married couple. Then she asked us how we do it: how we stay in love after so many years. (We’ve been married for 16 years, dated for 5 years before that & have known each other for 25 years.) It wasn’t an “oh my gosh, I could never have what you guys have” question. It was just a matter of fact question. It thrills me to know that other people can tell we’re in love. We’re not constantly making googly eyes at each other and we don’t make it a habit to play tonsil hockey in front of others either but somehow it just shows up in our everyday life.

I told her that not every day is swoon worthy. Sometimes they’re just regular days but then sometimes…sometimes I get “wow” moments. Moments that I can’t believe I married that 18 year old boy from long, long ago. Then I compared it to a child. When you first have a baby, you can’t help but stare at him, counting all the fingers and toes. You want to watch his every breath and you don’t want to miss a single thing he does. But as time goes on, you get used to the fact that you have a child. Counting his fingers and toes is not something you constantly do. Do you love that baby any less? Of course not. That love deepens and becomes more special than the first day you laid eyes on your child. It’s still love. It’s just different.

I could have told her that we work hard at our marriage but that’s not the case either. We’re simply blessed that our marriage is really easy. I wanted to marry someone who was my best friend and that’s just what I did. I not only love him, I really, really like him. That helps more than you’d imagine. 

It could be that we married young; before either of us got stuck in a groove being alone and having things a particular way. It could be that we didn’t let sex have a part in our relationship until we were married. It could be that his parents were divorced and he didn’t want to end up divorced, too. And it doesn’t hurt that I have wonderful role models either (my parents just celebrated 42 years of bliss). Maybe it’s the perfect storm, I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m totally, head-over-heels in love with the man sitting next to me reading his iPad. Wow.

The Grapes and middle school

Friends of Giants had a small show tonight; not open to the public. It was probably one of our smaller crowds most definitely our smallest crowd but I feel that it went really well. We played with one of my local favorites, Alexander and the Grapes. Such a talented group full of super nice guys as well. Here’s my brother, Jacob, with our drummer, Micha before the show.

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So…the boys will be going back to school next week. Truthfully, until today, I wasn’t ready for the end of summer. Not ready for making lunches, helping with homework, sitting in car line…but today was just one of “those” days. One of those days where the boys were particularly loud and a tad on the annoying side. I’m still not 100% ready for the start of another school year but I do want to find out if anyone has any clever ideas for the first day of school pictures. I’m such a loser when it comes to those. No matter what time we get up in the morning, we’re always rushing around on the first day of school. But Ethan will be in middle school this year so I really want to remember it. Middle school. When did I become old enough to have a middle schooler? How did that happen?

All grown up

Know what makes me feel old? Seeing my kid brother’s friends all grown and adult-like. The kind of adults that hold down jobs and own businesses. Last night my band toured a studio owned by one of my brother’s friends. This “kid” spent countless hours at my parents’ house. He was in almost every band my brother was in when they were teenagers. And now he owns a recording studio. I think that’s just crazy. I still see some of those “boys” as…boys. According to the State of Florida they’re adults but according to me, they’re still sixteen. 

Here’s a little tour of the studio. The guys were interested in the equipment. Me? I wanted to check out the decor:

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