Reflecting & Recovering

I turned 41 yesterday.
My sister has decided I am old…. “only 9 years from 50 now….”
But no, I am not old.
In fact right now in my life I love my age.  Who knew the 40’s were going to be so stinkin’ awesome!?!
(insert happy dance here…)
So many wonderful things happened at 40.
A work in progress …. 95 pounds down!
And 41 is going to be just as amazing!
Audley swept the kids and I away for a weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Fun and adventure was everywhere we went, starting right in our hotel.
We ran into Jessica Limpert and Ramon Medeiros from season 12 of the Biggest Loser while in the gym at the hotel.
As you know, the Biggest Loser has had a huge impact on my own weight loss journey.  Jessica and Ramon were totally awesome and really great to talk to.  It was also encouraging to see them still working out and finishing the journey that they started.
We got very little sleep this weekend and lots of incredible action.  I am so tired and dragging this Monday morning, but I’ll give you a clue to what our weekend did consist of….
I can’t wait to share all of the details with you.
But they will have to wait until after I get the laundry caught up and bags packed again for an mini road trip with my daughter.
Have a wonderful Monday!

Sunday Grace

My youngest child, my precious son, turned 13 yesterday.  I cant begin to put into words how this makes me feel.  He was an unexpected surprise that has come to mean the world to me.  He loves this family, even his sisters and has a fun (although annoying at times) personality.
And he loves the Lord.
I love to listen to him pray.
He speaks as if he is having a personal conversation with God and they are very best friends.
It is very humbling.
So today I am focused on the gift of children my Lord has blessed me with.
And how glorious is that blessing!
The many faces of my Bradley
My son in all his teenage glory.

 

Bowling at his birthday party yesterday.

 

Pizza, Bowling & Cake!

I think one of the hardest things a mom has to do is watch her babies grow up!  When they are small you can still snuggle and cuddle with them as they tell you they love you forever, dress them up, play tea party, and hold their little hands when you go out with them
Then they turn into teenagers.  
Tea parties became make-up parties, they don’t want your opinion in dressing up, and the only hand they want to hold is the boy in school who seems to have her heart as well.
So when one of those babies asks for us to celebrate her 14th birthday at Chuck E Cheese pizzeria, I’m going to do it no matter how much I despise that place!

And, of course we had a wonderful time!It was capped off by my parents who drove five hours (one way) just for this little party, knowing that they had to return home the same day so my daddy could preach on Sunday morning!

 

Not only did we play at Chuck E. Cheese for two hours we also went bowling, making this birthday celebration an all day affair!
The girls brought the boyfriends….. thankfully my son isn’t into girls yet; at least the ones his age (college girls on the beach are an entirely different story!) !
With six strikes I had a great night bowling!!
MINE!
But in the midst of all the birthday fun and laughs was was a cake.
Madeline asked for a green cake.
Only my child.
We looked at several pictures on Pinterest for inspiration before she decided on one that combined two decorating elements:  rosette swirls and ruffles.
via Pinterest
via Pinterest
Now I had done swirls before, but ruffles was a whole new game for me.
I have a long way to go.
But I tried to give her what she wanted.
First I baked the cake using my favorite white velvet cake recipe.
Each of the four layers was a different shade of green; the popular ombre style.
I only used two recipes of the white velvet cake …. each 8-in cake pan held 2 cups of cake batter that I had tinted green in separated bowls.
I used Wilton paste in Leaf Green for the color, adjusting the amount and even adding a bit of white to achieve the colors I wanted.
After baking the layers and letting them cool, I leveled, stacked with basic buttercream icing between each layer, and then lightly (or dirty) iced the cake to keep my crumbs contained and give myself a base to work with.
And then I started playing with the icing.  I used the same Wilton Leaf Green paste for tinting my buttercream.  I made three recipes of the icing to make sure that I had enough.
I did the ruffles first and discovered that my icing was not stiff enough to stand, so they don’t look very good.
That means practice because I am a perfectionist and won’t be happy until I can do this technique correctly.
The rosette swirls made the top of the cake.
The main thing was that Madeline loved her cake and it was green!
I used taller candles to add a little elegance to the cake.
OMBRE!
I forgot a decent knife to cut the cake with, so we had to settle for a plastic one at Chuck E. Cheese.
Madeline’s birthday was a truly special day …..
It was a day for counting our blessings for sure:  you just can’t be anymore blessed than having a happy, heathy family who truly enjoys being together and grandparents who go out of their way to make sure they are a part of it all.
God has been so good to us!
It’s birthday season for our family, so now to plan Bradley’s 13th celebration for March!
Lot’s of fun!

It’s a Celebration!

Oh my goodness at the busy week I am having!  With a few smell-good candles lit, my favorite house cleaning tunes playing and a to-do list a mile long, I’ve been making our home sparkle and shine as we get ready for  a weekend full of guests.

 My Madeline is turning fourteen on Saturday and we are going to celebrate!  She’s my baby girl and growing up way too fast!

 

 

 

 

To celebrate her special day, we have family coming in (my parents from Tennessee) and of course she will have a few friends over!

I know we are going to have a grand old time and a memorable weekend full of laughter and joy.  Planning Madeline’s party has been rather simple.  I asked her what she wanted to do and of all the things she could have possibly chosen, we are going to Chuck E. Cheese for pizza and games.  I love the simple childlike heart of my little girl.

She makes me smile with all of her silliness and joy.

Madeline and I enjoyed a rare Friday night alone a couple of weeks ago.  We dressed up and went out to supper, then I asked what she wanted to do.  We spent an hour and a half in Michaels looking at yarn and playing with colors and textures until she found exactly what she wanted to make a scarf and hat to wear.

One of Madeline’s scarves

It makes me so proud to see how creative and busy she likes to be!

Oh, I am so thankful for the joy she brings into my world!

 

“…. children a reward from him.”
~ Psalm 127:3
 

Spending time one on one with my children is just so important to them and me.  They need to know they are special and not lost in the bustle of a busy family or nutty world.  There is nothing more precious than to have that time to reconnect with your babies, to talk openly about what is on their hearts and minds, especially in this crazy world where so many kids love to hide from authority, deceive their parents, and in a world where even 8th graders are having babies!  I want my children to know that they can come to me with anything on their heart & mind and I will be there!

“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”

~Proverbs 22:6 NLT

Each one of my precious children are special and I wouldn’t trade anything for them!  They are all well-rounded, goal-oriented, healthy and happy.  They all are Christians and love the Lord.

How blessed can a mother be?!

And I must admit, I am so proud of them all!

 

 

 

“May the LORD make you increase, both you and your children. May you be blessed by the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” 
~Psalm 115:14-15

Take some time to enjoy your children without the hustle and bustle of daily living.  Set aside some time without the television, a night off from extra-curricular activities, and keep (or make) a special connection with the special children in your life.

I promise you that you won’t regret it one little bit!

Now I’m off to design a cake for the birthday girl …. she wants a green one.

Only my child.