Wanna know the last time I got excited to throw my kids a birthday party?
When Livie turned 1. And before that? When Hannah turned 1.
My reason for saying this is because until Hannah turned 9, for her 8 other birthdays, I threw big parties. I STRESSED OUT. I invited all of our family and some friends. I spent money (that I currently don’t have) on decorations and a cake, presents, food…etc. Last year I asked Hannah if she wanted a party or if she’d rather us give her a bigger present and have a little party with just the immediate family. She opted for the bigger gift and I’ll tell you what- that’s the way to go.
I can remember about 3 of my birthday parties ever. Sure, there are pictures and I knew I had fun but to actually remember it?
This year Hannah opted for a hotel night with her cousins instead of a party and I guarantee you she’ll remember that way more than one of her other parties.
Livie’s birthday is next month. Her first and second birthday we did parties at home with just a few people. Last year for her third birthday we invited A LOT of people- all of our family AND friends, got a bouncy house plus all the food and decorations. Want to know the difference between this
About $200. Why?
The first picture was just the close family with no extras with just a cake and a few decorations. Last year I went all out. What I realized today? Both parties were fun. Both were memorable….FOR US. She’ll never remember either one.
I’ve been mulling over what I wanted to do for her birthday next month. I can’t get away with no party like I can for Hannah yet BUT do we really need a bouncy house? Do we really need balloons and decorations?
No. We don’t.
So here’s what I decided and after getting the opinion of a few close family members I knew I made the right choice: have the immediate family over, get a cake, skip the decorations, skip the bouncy house, make an easy and cheap spaghetti dinner, and call it a day.
She’ll still have candles to blow out. She’ll still have presents to open. She’ll still smile and know it’s her special day. And us? We’ll have saved a LOT of cash.
Kids birthday parties are expensive to throw. And since I suck at being thrifty and pinterest is a nightmare to me, throwing the party like this is all I came up with and also all I’m willing to do. Life keeps getting more expensive, I keep getting overwhelmed, so this year I decided to make some changes but still give our baby a good party.
Related: can you believe she’s going to be 4 next month? Oh. Em. Gee.
Also, a couple quick random pics because I still am so grateful they play together even if they’re 6 years apart.
Here’s to minimizing stress and expenses in 2013!
I will continue to enjoy my life with my girls and really take the time to enjoy things like Christmas mornings just a little bit more…
and continue to appreciate how amazing my in laws have been in adopting me as their own since my family is so far away…
and also to continue to appreciate how amazing The Man is to me and how blessed we are to have brought in our 15th new year together…
and to continue to love how gorgeous it is here even in the winter.
There will be ups and downs this year just like there have been every year before this one. It’s how we handle the downs to make it back to the ups that keep us going.
Goals for this year to keep the ups coming:
Go to church more
Stand up for myself more
Take more pictures on my actual camera
Read and comment on the blogs of those of you who read and comment here
Here’s to a fabulous 2013.
I really try, for the most part, to find the good in a situation or people, even if I can only find a little bit, when I can. When I began blogging almost 7 years ago (my blog anniversary is in 6 days!) I really thought that my blog was truly going to be what my headline says- rainbows and unicorns and happy faces and bowls of cherries and fields of daisies to everyone that read it.
Something I am? Naive.
I freely admit that because in trying to find the good all the time sometimes I forget that not everyone is always good. It doesn’t mean that they themselves are bad but that they make mistakes just like I do.
My mistake was being naive when it came to blogging. My other mistake was saying I was done blogging.
I thought I was ready to be done. I guess another mistake I make often is being impulsive. Usually it leads to good things…sometimes it doesn’t. After I said I was done blogging I got emails, Instagram comments, and tweets reminding me that y’all are out there…reminding me that there ARE good people reading this blog. I was wrong to act impulsively and just decide on a whim that I was done here.
I’m not done here.
In fact, I think I might just be beginning. Again.
My previous posts are all private so here’s what I decided to do- I am going to republish some favorites from the past 7 years that mean something to me…posts that I feel define me or changed how I thought. The rest will stay for just my eyes to read.
Something very important that I’ve learned lately is that I can’t please everyone. That’s hard for me because I am a major people pleaser. But if I tried to do that, I’d be disappointed often because I’d fail miserably. What I can do though? Be proud of who I am and the kind of mother, wife, sister, friend, family member I am. And? I am. I am proud of all those things. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do…someone somewhere will criticize you. The bigger picture is that for every 1 person that thinks you’re wrong or bad or stupid, there are 10 people who think the opposite.
So, Life Out of Focus is back in a new way…a better way.
Betrayal (or backstabbing): The breaking or violation of a presumptive trust or confidence.
I’ve been betrayed before, each time different than the last. The thing about betrayal is that almost every time it’s happened to me in the past I wasn’t surprised. There were warning signs- a diminishing relationship…a jealousy…a rift in friendship.
The thing about betrayal is, it never gets easier- especially when it blindsides you.
I began this blog Jan 10, 2006. It’s been almost 7 years that I’ve had my own little space on the internet and for 7 years it has brought me joy. I loved being able to share my life with friends, family, and even strangers online. I’ve met many awesome people through blogging and I’ve learned a lot about myself while I allowed myself to put my thoughts and feelings out for the world to read. I guess that in doing this I never imagined that things that I said on this blog would be misconstrued or twisted to mean things they didn’t. When something like that happens, it kind of sucks the joy out of blogging.
What I haven’t shared on this blog is that for months now I kind of toyed with the idea of ending this blog. There wasn’t a concrete reason…I felt like, just like many other things in life, it had run its course. I wasn’t sure when I was going to do this, or even if I would at all, but the idea was there in the back of my mind. But now? I am sure it’s the right choice. I considered making this space of mine private, making all future posts password protected. Right now, though, that doesn’t seem like an option for me. Probably in the future, but not now.
I appreciate every single one of you who read this blog with good intentions. I appreciate the friendships I’ve made and all the good advice you’ve given me in 7 years. You have made this so much more than I ever could have imagined.
This did not ruin Christmas. It has instead made me appreciate the people that love me just a little bit more. My husband loves and stands by me, my children are happy and healthy, and I am truly blessed. There isn’t much more I can ask for.
This isn’t a goodbye but rather a see you around. You know where to find me and if you don’t, email me.
Hope you all have a happy new year.
10 years. That’s how long my baby has been on this earth. 10 years ago I gave birth to the child who made me a mother.
The daughter I dreamed about since I was a little girl. The daughter I imagined each time I played house. The daughter I prayed I’d have one day while I imagined my perfect future life.
And then she came.
After a long 9 months of waiting, she came. Hannah was born.
My perfect baby with gorgeous, thick hair and big blue eyes with long eye lashes.
Even as time went on and she grew up, through sickness and stubborness…
through easy times and hard times…
through becoming a big sister…she has been my baby still.
It felt different when she turned 5 and now it’s different again at 10. Milestone birthdays are always extra special to me. They’re a bigger deal for some reason. Her turning 10 is the first year of double digits. I remember turning 10 very clearly as I’m sure she will too. We’re making a big deal this year over her birthday. She got an iPad mini. She’s going to stay at a hotel with us girls in the family and her friend. We’re going to spoil her rotten because you only enter preteen life once and it IS a big deal.
Happy birthday to my baby who will always be my baby whether she’s 10, or 100.
When I was a kid my mom used to buy album after album of Christian songs for us to sing and learn. She brought us up in a very Christian home and we weren’t allowed to listen to secular music. I never minded though at that age because I loved the albums we had and I have very vivid memories of my sisters and I dancing and singing all of those songs.
When I woke up Friday morning I began my day just like any other day. I made coffee, packed backpacks, and took Hannah to school. Livie and I are off work/school on Fridays and we spend our whole day running errands with family so like every other Friday, that’s what we did. We went to breakfast. We went to the post office, Target, the mall…and finally ended up back here at our house so my sister in law and I could watch Grey’s Anatomy. Such a simple, run of the mill day. Halfway through watching Grey’s, The Man texted me that there was a shooting at an elemetary school in Connecticut. I paused the TV right away to read what I could find online. I read from our local news station’s website out loud to my sister in law and we both sat there wondering how in the world this has not only happened again, but this time in an elementary school.
Later that night through tears I began to think about how those babies must have felt in their last moments when suddenly I remembered a song from one of the albums I loved as a kid. The title was “My Father’s Angels” and the chorus said:
They’re all above me
They’re all around me
My Father’s angels all protect me…everywhere
I imagined that right before these innocent babies took their last breaths, in the midst of the chaos and fear, they saw angels. Their angels. And these angels took them to Jesus.
I have/am currently struggling in my faith. I’ve been questioning a lot of things I learned growing up regarding being a Christian and what the Bible says versus what it really means. But this I am sure of and will never waiver on it- we all have guardian angels and the Bible says in many places how closely children’s angels stay to them. I know with all of my heart that angels brought these souls to Jesus and he is holding them all so closely now.
I can’t make sense of anything else that happened Friday. I have shed so many tears reading and watching the news and just thinking about these parents and families of the victims…and how it’s Christmas…and just everything. I am so emotional over it all.
I took this picture before I took Hannah to school Friday morning without knowing that I’d stare at it throughout the day ever so grateful that my babies were with me yet wondering how many of those parents of those babies took similar pictures before sending them to school that day.
Pray for the families. Pray for healing. I’m not sure of everything I’ve learned my whole life but I know God does listen to us, and he does provide comfort. Pray for comfort and healing for the families affected Friday.
I love them so much…even more after all of this, if that’s even possible to love them more than I already do.
I said in the last post that I was going to hop on the Christmas train down a red, gold, and green rainbow.
You know what? Not only did I get on the train but I rode up front with the conductor. That’s how much I’m embracing Christmas right now.
2 things contributed to this:
1. I had to have a serious pep talk with myself. I had it before I hit publish on the last post but I guess now is the appropriate time to elaborate on said talk with myself. I told myself that just because I’m going to let go of things and move on with the season didn’t mean that the things and/or people that were holding me back were going to disappear. I was smart in telling myself this because none of it disappeared. It pretty much goes on what I said in the last post- you CHOOSE happiness therefore you CHOOSE to let those people or things, whether they’re annoying you or you miss them and can’t be with them this time of year, be. Let it be. 3 simple words. VERY hard to do. The things that were bugging me a few days ago? Still bug me. I’m just choosing to not let them ruin my day anymore. The people I missed 3 days ago? I still miss them so much it hurts. I just can’t let that keep me from moving on with my life. It’s okay to be annoyed. It’s okay to miss people. It’s not okay to stand in the shower crying for 20 minutes while your family waits on you for the bed time routine. (Guilty as charged). Will I be annoyed tomorrow by people? Probably. Will I miss the people I miss tomorrow? Definitely. Am I going to let it wreck my day? No way in hell.
2. It’s cold. I know I complained that it was too warm for December. It’s like Mother Nature heard my bitching because on Monday she blew in with the hand of God behind her. The temperature dropped from mid 80s to mid 50s. We said we were going to wait until it got cold to see Christmas lights because it just wasn’t the same sipping on hot chocolate when it’s 75 and breezy. So Monday, while the temps were well on their way to the mid 30s for a low we went to see the lights. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited in my life to wear a scarf and sip on hot chocolate with gloves on.
The bigger kids were loving it. Livie? Not so much. She had Daddy hold her most the time and said she was cold a few times. I’m definitely raising Texas babies.
So here’s the thing: we plan to do this together as a family every year. The Man and I pack up the kids, but so do his cousins and his mom and step dad go. It’s a big to do. I realize that the kids don’t see the big picture like I do and that’s okay. They don’t have to because I see it all the time. Tradition is a big deal in every family and this is one for us. The kids may bicker along the walk. Noses run. Cocoa gets spilled. The bigger picture? We’re all together and it’s Christmas.
My Christmas is back to being holly and jolly. Mission accomplished.