Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Solon's Birthday 5th Birthday: Blast Off to Space!

Step 1 running upstairs to get the cord for my phone to get pictures downloaded - check!
Step 2 uploading said pictures and getting a blog post written - check!
Realizing all the actual party pictures are on your camera - womp, womp!

SO this will be a party decor post :) :)

This year, as I shared in a previous post, Solon has been VERY into the Solar System (just this week, he wanted to check out EVERY available book on the subject...we left some for others, I am nice like that.) We are all well versed in the universe!  I will say, the subject has made me really think about God and His design a lot....our universe is beyond my comprehension.

Ok side bar done - we have a solar system theme on our hands folks and NO, read NO, box store has any solar system related birthday stuff.  Luckily it was Amazon prime to the rescue, I knew I accidentally signed up for that for a reason.  We purchased some plates and napkins and the rest we gathered from around the house or made!

Birthday parties are a labor of love and I know no one (ie Solon) cares as much as I do about the presentation but when he saw it, the hard work was worth it. "It looks awesome mommy!"

I borrowed his glow in the dark hanging planets from his room, the globe from the family room and blew up some balloons.

My sweet friend Lisa is gifted in many areas, including making cake pops.  She outdid herself with these planet-inspired pops.  They were as delicious as they were cute :).  I made the sun Styrofoam centerpiece (from Hobby Lobby and spray painted) so it looked as it the planets were orbiting around.

We served "rocket fuel" juice boxes, "space junk" munchie mix, cake pops and blue velvet cupcakes.

I made the little tags and printed them off...I used the same background template for the invitations, signs and gift bags.  I downloaded a free font that was space-themed.




For the gift bags, we found spritz brand hand air rockets and then the kids also placed their pinata candy inside the bag.  Each bag had a sign that said "Space Ranger (child's name), thanks for making  my party a blast!"

Solon asked for a pinata and I took the opportunity to make a home-made one.  I ended up doing most of the dirty work on the deck by myself.  We used a balloon and paper-mached around it (equal parts water and flour and newspaper).   Then I spray-painted it blue and did a rough interpretation of the landmasses in green, making sure to represent our favorite places like Australia, Madagascar, and the USA ;)!  The only snag we hit was that, it broke easier than a store-bought one, which was good but the string was the first thing to break which was bad.  Scott held it bravely while the kids finished off the job :).

We also played a few other games outside before a water fight broke out.  We took hula hoops and a beach ball and played "Ring Saturn" by tossing the hula hoops over the beach ball.  Then we played moon landing, which were gunny sack races from one side of the yard to the other while carrying an American flag and depositing it across the yard.  Of course we also crumpled up lots of computer paper and played meteorite shower.  We played several rounds where you had to toss all the  meteorites across the line, to the other team's side.  And lastly we played Asteroid Splash Down - aiming water balloons at different space objects, like planets and the black hole.

It was an hour and a half party and we had a blast with games, snacks and of course present opening and all the kids went home a little more tired and wetter than they came.  

It was an out of this world party for sure :).




Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fulfilling a dream, writing a book...

We were playing some sort of boxed game, the one where you say something that could be true or false about you and they have to guess who is telling the truth and who is lying.  Maybe you know the game.

My statement was - I have always wanted to write a book.

That is true.

It has been a dream of mine since early on in my walk with Jesus.

But fear has prevented me from pursuing my dream.  Isn't that what holds us all back? Fear.

Fear that I am not wise enough, Christian enough, capable of finishing or have enough words, that it won't be helpful, make sense, you name it, I have thought it.  At the end of the day, fear held me back.

I have time to read again (say what?) so I picked up the book "The Best Yes" by Lisa Terkuerst.  It was written for me.  The premise is evaluating your obligations and demands to determine what God has really called you to.  It talks about when you say "yes" to one thing, you might be missing out on what God has really called you to.  There are many great opportunities but they are not all designed for you.  I am sure someone out there can relate, yep me, that's me.

As I read the first chapter, I was reminded what God is calling me to do....that thing I have been running from, like Jonah ran from Ninevah.

Write a book.

Hmmm....

Ok God but I am not an expert in ANYTHING. NOTHING. NADA.

I am an ordinary girl stumbling through life, through motherhood.

As I talk with friends, neighbors, acquaintances, the lady pulling her hair out at Target (oh that's me, yep I talk to myself).  We all seem to be muddling through motherhood with a smile on our face and on the inside hoping desperately no one sees our failures.

I fail A LOT.  I need God's grace A LOT.



I want to write a book that when a mom sits down with it for the 5  free minutes she has (those precious moments on the toilet, nap-time or when you finally fall into bed at the end of the day), that they would be encouraged, that they would feel valued, that they know they are important and their job matters and most important that they are not alone.

I started running this spring and I am knee-deep in training.  I am so close to 3.1 miles, I can taste it but I haven't yet reached my goal and I desperately want to give up but then I remember how far I have come.  But I had to start in order to succeed.

It's time to get to typing...


So here's a question for you --
What topics are on your heart?  What things do you struggle with?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Solon is 5...

Dear Solon,

You are 5 and are so proud of it.  You have been telling everyone you see that you are 5 now.  This was the first birthday, you just couldn't wait to celebrate and we celebrated for weeks, it seems.  Your extended family loves you so much, they all wanted to celebrate with you.  You are a blessed little boy.  This year was extra special because your cousins are home from Australia and you love spending every moment you can with your buddy and cousin Lance!  You two are thick as thieves!  This was the first year you requested a friend party with just little boys and had a theme picked out months in advance.  It wasn't a surprise, you picked space and planets.

It was a unique theme and I will detail it in another post but you had a blast!  You have memorized the order of the planets and have them all hanging on your ceiling.  The first go around hanging them they were not in the right order and you had us correct that pronto.  You love to draw the planets with chalk and are always making sure to include Jupiter's great red spot, the Earth's moon, Saturn's rings and color Neptune blue.  You know A LOT about space and love to read book after book on the subject.  You even talk daddy into finding youtube videos that you watch together.  It is fun to watch you soak it all in.  

You are a smart cookie.  

Your latest favorite toy are snap circuits.  You can connect different snap pieces to create different electrical circuits.  You love to come up with new and different circuits...it is fun to watch you stick your tongue out and really concentrate on your project.

You still love, love, love to play football and tackle and be tickled and wrestle.  We have a family match almost every night.  We all end up on the floor laughing hysterically trying to tickle daddy! 

You learned how to ride a bike without training wheels this summer.  You are so competitive and tenacious, you saw a neighbor doing it and that night had daddy take off the training wheels and an hour later you were off...

You continue to love to swim and have become quite the fish, diving and jumping off the diving board in the deep end.  Mommy's heart stopped momentarily the first time you did it independently!  

You still love to snuggle at bedtime, in the morning and while Vera is napping.  You no longer nap but have mastered the art of a quiet rest after some practice.  You play quietly in your room for about an hour and then come down and watch a tv show while Vera naps.  

Your favorite shows these days are on Disney Jr, you have perfected the art of working the remote control and know 7-0 = Disney Jr and 2-4 = Nick Jr.  

You love cars, trains and anything with wheels as well as your power wheels and playing outside.  Your latest thing with daddy is going geocaching or "treasure-hunting".  

The way you talk and say funny phrases always puts a smile on your face....from "I am sorry to say..." to "we keep him aruond for a reason" or "sin is messy".  You obviously are listening closely to someone...we better watch what we say :)!

You love school and can't wait to get back to it with your buddy Max.  Playing with the neighbor kids is also a favorite.  You are still shy and require mom to go with you to knock on their door though.  

Your favorite foods include mac n'cheese, Mexican food, Jethro's mac n' cheese (which is what you chose for your birthday), chocolate shakes and sparkling water (close to pop without the sugar or caffeine, which is why I think you like it :).  

You wear size 5 clothing these days and are atleast a size 12 shoe but you mostly wear flip flops.  You get yourself dressed and I have to remind you everyday to wear your glasses and many days we have to hunt them down...your eye continues to need some help but we know God will take care of it!   You have no loose teeth but you can't wait to lose it, so you can get some money!  

You do a few chores around the house and really like to help most of the time...you unload the dishwasher, put your clothes in the laundry room and clear the table after dinner.  

You got bunk beds and love to sleep on the top bunk and love when daddy makes up silly stories for you before bed and then request mom climbs up top for snuggle time :).  You like a night light to sleep and still sleep with your blanket and your favorite stuffed pal, Kitty!  

You have been asking lots and lots of questions about God and prayer and the world, you are just so curious.  We continue to pray you ask Jesus into your heart when you are ready.  Your discipline these days is less and less.  Occasionally, we have to take away something special and normally that reminds you misbehaving is no fun for a few weeks.  You still get crabby when you are hungry and tired (just like your dad ;).  

You love to sing, dance and do your signature fist pump dance and love to laugh and be silly!


A great big brother
(September 2013)

Big boy
(October 2013)

1st trip to Disney!
(November 2013)

You visited NYC and know so much about it - we think you will live there someday!
(December 2013)

Cutie Patootie

Adventurer
(February 2013)

Silly and Sweet
(April 2013)


Daddy's little guy

My little fish
(June 2013)

Max and Solon - great friends

Momma's boy (forever ;)
(July 2013)

Solon Robert Port
5 years Old

You are so compassionate and empathetic and equal parts tenacious and competitive.  I see a lot of both daddy and mommy in you.  I get choked up thinking about how much you have grown in the last 5 years, it seems like yesterday, I felt a love I had never felt, when I held you in my arms for the first time.  God knew what he was doing when he gave me you.  We are extremely blessed and humbled we get to be your parents and raise you.  We love you more than words can express and God loves you even more.  We are excited to watch you grow but remember you told me you would always be my baby and snuggle me - I will hold you to it.  

As you would say right now....I love you to pluto and back Solon Robert!

See Solon grow from last year - click here


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Running the race...



I was out for another jog.  A beautiful afternoon with a slight breeze and HOT sun.  I had been running for a solid 20 minutes and I was becoming weary.  I remember as I ran by the quiet pond, I needed help.  I was not going to finish in my strength alone.  The sun was beating down on me and I could feel the sweat dripping down my back.  All I wanted to do was stop and lay in the grass.  It was too hard to continue.   It was too hard and I was not capable.

I cried out to God - help me - I cannot do this.  But I don't want to give up like I always do when things get tough, that's my nature - run (well in this case not run), quit.

And in that moment, God met me and we finished together.  It was hard but the victory was sweet.  We had done it together.

I don't like tough days.

I don't like pain.

I don't like to wait.

I want it easy.  I want my life to be easy. happy. joy-filled and that means in my feeble mind, life should go my way.

But what happens when the run gets hard and you feel like throwing your hands up in the air and saying I am done?

Cry out to God.  His help is above all else.

He is faithful always.

I have days (namely at the end of the month ;) that I spend time in a pool of self-pity mixed with guilt for being in that pool because my pain pails in comparison to those around the world.  But that guilt isn't from God, comparisons are the death of us, from the enemy. And we  have bad days - hope I can get an amen?!  I have bad days.

Our pain, our struggle, our story -- God knows it and he knows our heart.

After 6 months on this road with God of waiting for another child, I have moments of weakness.  I have moments of "are we there yet?"  I surely can't do this anymore.  I want to give up trying.

And just like that, like on my run, God uses people, verses and most importantly himself to wrap his arms around me and remind me He is faithful.

He's got this and he's got me.

And we can continue on...running the race marked out for us.

Our pain is all different, our circumstances, our stories but God knows it all and He is willing and ready - His hand is extended out....have you grabbed hold?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1

#dothethingyouthinkyoucant
#allthingsarepossiblewithGod

Monday, August 4, 2014

Madelynne Visits IA {State}...

After our 4th of July vacation, my cousin Madelynne came home with us to IA.  She stayed with us for the week and we introduced to what we do everyday.  We spent time at the pool, playing outside, hanging out with the neighbors, catching frogs, and the list goes on and on.  I also took her to yoga and zumba at the gym, it was fun to have her here.  We were also trying to not so subtly persuade her to come to college in IA.  Her mom went there so there is definitely a draw.  SO basically we wined and diner her, Ames style!

We headed to Hickory Park first to have cheese curds, ice cream and yummy food...

Then headed to campus to check out the sights and get her some ISU gear...
Vera really wanted to get in the fountain!

We stopped by the camponile and we may have practiced camponiling... ;)
...he was so cute and willing, how could I resist :).

Then the littles were melting so we headed home while Ellen finished off the tour with Madelynne, meeting with a music person on scholarships, etc and getting more nitty gritty...

She has some time to decide and I am partial but we think ISU would be a great fit for M and we could spoil her year-round!


The rest of the week was spent doing things like the above.  She went home more tired then she came I think but we all have lots of memories tucked away in hearts that we will treasure.  So thankful she shared part of her summer with us :).  We love you M!

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