Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Mermaid Birthday

What a fun party! Some things got done and some didn't...but everyone (including Mommy) relaxed and had fun so I'm counting it as a total success. And I stayed on budget - less than $30 for everything except gifts.

An ocean cake was blue, green, and purple on the inside. And this recipe for frosting really didn't melt, although it wasn't the yummiest I've ever had.

Brenna helped design her own invitations

We printed a mermaid picture and she colored it with a little help. I scanned them and had them printed (free prints from CVS), then we attached cardstock to make postcards.

No need for planned games. Casey set up sprinklers and kiddie pools...along with water guns and soaker balls, they kept the kids busy for two hours!

Instead of sending the kids home with candy and cheap junky toys, we gave each boy a watergun and each girl got a bubble wand. It may have cost a little bit more, but since we only had a few kids I was happy to skip all that sugar:)

Highlight of the day for me...Casey getting in the kiddie pool to play:)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Group photo

Thanks to my mother's generosity and my sister's gentle prodding:) we finally got pictures of all four (clean and combed!) kiddies. If you're an aunt or grandma who hasn't gotten your copy in the mail...well, that's because I haven't mailed them yet. Please do not hold your breath! But I promise I will get them to you asap(when there are four small children involved!).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

How we had the perfect wedding without breaking the bank

Please ignore the crayon specks from my scanner :)

Brenna asked to watch our wedding video the other day. She loves to see us all dressed up and even likes to plan her own wedding. "I'm going to wear a big white dress like you, Mommy, but I'm not going to invite those noisy kids (her much older cousins)."
So I've been thinking how much I loved our wedding and how happy I still am about how it turned out. We spent about a 10th of the national average (and by we, I mostly mean my parents, who would've been happy to spend more-they're very generous like that). So how was it that we spent less and yet I'm still thrilled with it almost 12 years later? Especially considering that, since then, I've heard brides complaining at their own reception!
I think the most important thing we did was consider very carefully what kind of wedding we really wanted. Casey wanted only close family and friends - there were literally only a handful of people he felt had to be there. I wanted the whole thing to feel very homemade and familiar. And I knew I wanted our families to be very involved.
Small and homemade is naturally going to be less expensive than big and fancy! In fact, I skipped invitations entirely and either called or hand wrote notes to everyone. But we still had to figure out the details. We picked a date two days after Christmas, which worked out perfectly, even though it seemed crazy at the time. My granny provided most of the decorations just by moving her Christmas decorations to the rustic log cabin we rented for the ceremony and reception. I use the term rented pretty loosely there - I don't actually remember if we paid anything for it at all. And it was a Boy Scout cabin. But after (a lot of) cleaning it worked fine. I had a sentimental attachment to the cabin because we'd had my dad's welcome home party there when he came back from Desert Storm. And it was perfect for a Christmas wedding.
The flowers were one place I bucked all the money saving advice. I wanted real! My aunt was working with flowers at the time and I talked her into making my bouquet. We bought white roses (and pink for my little sister) and baby's breath and my aunt used greenery trimmed from ivy and ferns. We bought a few red roses for the men and that was it. My grandmother rescued the ivy (which represents fidelity, by the way) for me and rooted it so we both have all the ivy we could ever want.
My grandmother also made my wedding dress for me. She'd been sewing for me since I was born and I picked a pretty simple pattern. It also left her with extra fabric to make dedication gown for me when Levi was born. It's all about the sentimental stuff with me:) I slapped together my own headpiece at the last minute by attaching tulle and seed pearls to a ivory satin barrette.
Casey found a tux he really liked at the local bridal shop and rented it (after we looked at every suit in the mid-state area). His bestman rented the same one and my dad and brother both wore their military uniforms. My sister was my maid of honor, even though she was just seven and my uncle told her that if I backed out, she would have to marry Casey! My mom bought her a very cute Christmas dress that matched our colors and she got a little more wear out of.
The cake was my only disappointment. I asked at two bakeries about having a red velvet wedding cake and neither would do it! Since we were running out of time I ordered a regular white cake and had a red velvet groom's cake made for Casey. If I knew then what I know now, I'd have pushed harder:) "Different" wedding cakes are all the rage now...I was just ahead of my time:) But it did turn out nicely. We had the bakery frost the layers very simply and not stack them, then another aunt made floral toppers and we put them on pedestals of varying heights. Actually the pedestals were upside-down vases temporarily attached to glass plates.
The food was lots of dad and I made the majority of it the night before. I just thought of all my Christmas favorites (fudge, shrimp cocktail dip, apple cider, etc!) and we fancied it up as we went along! We borrowed lace tablecloths from everyone.
My mother really splurged on a photographer (not the one who took the above picture!). She's still splurging on pictures for me to this day! And my brother in law volunteered to video the whole thing for us. Unfortunately, my granny made him set up at the back so you can't really hear us, but you can hear my noisy nephews:) I'm glad to have the video because Brenna loves to watch it, but I probably wouldn't have paid for one. The pictures, though, I love.
I love weddings...I would love to get married again someday! But I'd always pick Casey:)

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Reading about boys

Finding out that baby #5 is boy #4 has renewed my determination to raise Godly young men. That, and an influx of jokes about various bodily functions at my dinnertable, made Kay West's How to Raise a Gentleman required reading last week. Each chapter details manners for different situations - everything from sleepovers to sportsmanship. I don't think I can say I learned anything new - my mom was big on manners - but it was wonderfully fun to read through and I really needed the reminders.
My aunt's two boys have incredible manners - not just that they say "yes, ma'am" instead of "yeah," but also the way that they hop up to give up their seat or help entertain my kids without being asked. They're both exceptionally considerate and that's something I really hope my boys will learn.
I'm also re-reading two other books on raising boys. James Dobson's Bringing Up Boys and Raising a Modern Day Knight, both of which are really good.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

25 Week Update and other stuff

Our homeschool group's end of the year picnic was last week at a beautiful park near the river. We all had a blast, but it was hot in the sunshine! Christian had a lot of fun checking out other people's picnic baskets (maybe his nickname should be Yogi?) and chasing bubbles.

Week 25 has gotten here pretty quick. Only about 14 weeks left! The last week has been a little rough - I had some nerve pain from the old csection scar that was not fun and I've had pretty bad morning sickness for the last two days. But, overall, this has just been such an easy pregnancy compared to what I'm used to! I can't believe this little guy will be here so soon! Lots to do before I'm too big to do much of anything!

In the meantime I'm busy planning a Mermaid birthday party, trying to keep the kids busy without schoolwork to do, reading fifty books with the kids for the library's reading club, figuring out how to make Father's Day extra special this year and trying to watch the first two seasons of Jericho on Netflix - I missed it when it was on tv. Hmm, that's weird. It doesn't sound as exciting when I write it all down.