Monday, July 30, 2012

A Letter to My Blog...

Dear blog,

Between vacations and the Olympics, I am neglecting you. I have partially downloaded pictures I want to post, but every evening a thrilling gymnast or sexy, er, athletic swimmer is beckoning me to watch.

When I'm not nursing my Olympic hangover each morning, I have these two things called kids. And they demand things of me. Like food. Clean clothes. Attention. Sheesh.

Fun and creative projects to post about? One day sweet blog. One day soon.
At the moment, our garage looks like a psych ward for a serious hoarder. A stinky one at that. 
We happened to miss trash day last week while we were gone and I am afraid I might have put a cantaloupe peel or two, or three?? in there. Add Evie's birthday trash on top of that and you might find the table, benches, barstools and chairs I've been aiming to paint underneath the knock your panties off stench. Yowza. I better tip our sweet garbage man extra this week.

Well, I have to go. Bob Costas is talking about something important.
And an early work day at that tomorrow. You would think I would turn off the tv and go to bed wouldn't you?

Any one else in my current predicament?


That Ranch Girl

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Evie's Carnival Birthday Party

If you've been around me for very long, you know that one of my favorite things in the whole wide world are kids birthday parties!

A dinner conversation topic MONTHS before our girl's actual birthdays are "what  theme do we want to do" for their special days.

We love to bake.  We love crafts.  We love people.
Birthday parties are such a fun way for all of this to come together.

This year Evie decided, upon a little persuasion from her big sister and I, do do a "Carnival Party".
(Side note:  She was really struggling about wanting a Hello Kitty Party after we saw the crap, tacky junk, cute stuff in the party aisle at Walmart.)
But way to go Evie.  Way to persevere with your crafty self and not make us do an entire theme around a white cat.

First up was making the cupcakes.

We got BOOKOOS of vintage supplies and cute ideas from my fancy smancy twin sister's Etsy shop.  (you can check out the link on the side page of my blog).
With the help of her little cupcake holders, we baked up some good ol' Duncan Hines cakes and then frosted them.  The girls had a lot of fun using their brand new craft scissors to cut the mini marshmallows into popcorn looking toppers.

Here is Evie brushing on a little yellow food coloring mixed with water.

And then Grace's turn.  Because every mom with more than one kid knows about the abso-freaking-lute importance of equality and fairness.

Because of all of the traveling we've been doing (which is why my blogging efforts have gone to the toilet), we made these ahead of time and froze them.

With a little help from some online searches, we totally stole Martha's idea for the invitations.

These are Martha's.  Ours looked much more authentic and kid-like.

Then the countdown and fun began!
Grace got so into making posters for all of our activities.

And as if I don't need to beat a dead horse about this obnoxious summer weather, we decided to have the party mostly indoors because of the balmy 104 degree temperatures outside.  I am done sweating in places you don't need to sweat.  Boo.

From Dollar Tree, we found a balloon animal kit.  You guessed it.  A buck. I love cheap.  I meant, thrifty. 

Walmart has the "color your own" tablecloths as well.  Clever...

And see who we convinced to be our Balloon Animal Craftsmen?
Way to step up dads!

The sheer dedication to their trade.  I mean look at that face!
(FYI.  Stephen is one of my all time favorite people in the whole wide world.  He could have his own tv show and we would all watch and beg for more).

And as if this little cutie isn't the sweetest thing in the whole world, she might have loved the balloon animals the most.  

For those of you that might be reading who don't know me,
these are some of "That Ranch Girl's" besties.
Give them an Oriental Trading Company fake mustache and they are entertained for hours...

Gotta love a photo booth.  Silly is all over that business.

Have I mentioned my wonderfully artistic and type A oldest child?
She made a chart and everything to organize her face painting corner.
The little girls loved it.

 After visiting and running around the house, it was time for dinner.
Or a visit to the "concession stand".
On the menu were hot dogs, a nacho bar, giant pickles, and fruit/veggie cups.

Thank you Aunt Lisa for sending us all of the cute containers!

Wanna know what the kid's favorite food item was?

Drumroll please.

Icecream?  No.
Cupcakes?  Nope.
Hotdogs?  Uh Uh.

The giant, sodium packed, ginormous, chilled sour pickles.

 After our bellies were full, we braved the heat for a couple of games outside.
When I was a little girl, I remember playing the "pencil in the bottle" game.
Of course, we used old Coke bottles, but since those are hard to come by, I had to get two volunteers to drink some Bud Light which wasn't hard at all.

We tied a string attached to a pencil around our belts.  The kids then had a relay to go dip their pencil down into the bottle.
If you think it is funny watching the little ones do this, wait til you make adults try it.

Because I am so thoughtful, I didn't post any of those pictures.  (You are welcome, friends).

With Daddy's pairs of jeans, we had a sack, jean race.
Go Evie!  

After the M&;M counting contest and the coin toss, we had a prize (or we prefer to call it ppize) station for the kids.

This is where I realize we have WAY to much junk downstairs in my "gift" bins and we empty it out.  

Have I mentioned how much we love birthdays?

Such a fun day.  Hard to believe our little Evie girl turned five.

She will head off to kindergarten next month.  Her first day is on, you guessed it, my birthday.
There should be a law against that.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Best. Hugs. Ever.

Today, our friends and us got to pick up our kids from camp.
It was eight days since we have seen them.

If we never let our kids go, we miss out on moments like this.

As I downloaded, I couldn't help but think of the Bible verse in Luke from the about the prodigal son.
"When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him."


Monday, July 2, 2012

Taking Grace to Camp

We took our oldest to camp Saturday.
Kanakuk is down in Branson, over a four hour drive from home.
Long day in the car but we were all smiles when we finally arrived.

Grace and her friends are walking the half mile road down to camp registration.
(So I might have made them walk like this so I could take the picture).

A quick pose before camp officially begins.
(Promptly at 2 p.m. all of the counselors announce camp is open. Then all of the kids race down the hill to a "high-five" tunnel.

And they are off!!!
(I have to admit I was praying this entire time that none of the kids tripped and fell. Concrete on a 101 degree day...Yikes).

The theme for this summer...

My friend Karen is walking Evie down the hill.
Did I mention it was hotter than two mice wrestling in a wool sock???

Here are Grace and her best friend Charly getting introduced to the counselors.

Here are the girl's counselors for the week.
And Grace's favorite part of camp....getting to meet the life-changing counselors who will correspond with them throughout the school year.

Evie and Grace.

Thank goodness for snow cones. Especially blueberry ones.

Once the kids meet their counselors, it is time to head to the tee-pees to unpack.
Let's not talk about how much Mama sweated while climbing to the top bunk to assist making the bed.  Oy.  

As you can see, hair does incredibly funky and gnarly things in this kind of heat and humidity.  And let's not even mention the bra sweat. Mine of course. Holy moly.

Then, before you know it is the time for final goodbyes.

Since this is Grace's third year at camp, this part has definitely gotten easier.

But as a mom, I have found it hard to let her go for 8 days.  Our only communication can be letters and cards sent to her.  
I like to worry.
Will she be okay?
Will she remember to eat breakfast?
Put on sunscreen?
Wash her hair? (Last year her brand new shampoo bottle came home with the seal still on it.  Ewww).
Make friends?
Take care of herself?

Each day on Kanakuk's website we are able to log in and see pictures of their activities.  

Each morning I wake up with an ache for her.  
The only comfort is knowing that she is relying on others to take care of her.  
More importantly, I know that she is relying on God to care for her.
And, she is having the best time of her life.

Six more days..