Sunday, May 31, 2015

Minecraft sword cupcake-cake

Since this is the final year to send birthday cupcakes to school with my final child, I wanted to do a little something more. 

Every year I bake cupcakes and send them with the kiddos to school. The last two years I haven't done it for Caleb since he is in jr. high but I have still been doing it for Jansen. 

Jansen heads off to jr. high himself next year so this was it! His party theme this year was Minecraft and I was almost just going to make some Creeper picks and jab them in some cupcakes, but then I Try to make that sword Jansen has been talking about. 

It was pretty easy, but it just took me 4 hours to make because I only had one square cupcake pan. 

And, I wish I would have made the middle diamonds a lighter blue. I got a light blue dye but it definitely got darker as it sat out a bit. Oh well. I think it is pretty awesome!

He will be sharing these with two classes...his homeroom class and his language class. Hopefully the kids will enjoy them. Sunrise, sunset. Close this chapter of mine and his life. 

Jansen's 10th birthday

My youngest child is now in the double digits!

This child, born 10 years ago, was a breath of fresh air. Everything with Caleb had been so difficult. Every day was just a trial, going through testing for Autism, trying to get him to eat, managing meltdown after meltdown, screaming, crying, vomiting...and Jansen was born. 

He was the sweetest, quietest, most relaxed baby I have ever seen. He loved to be snuggled, cuddled, sung to, talked to, and just had the best disposition. It was refreshing to have two children with completely opposite personalities. 

Today, we celebrate Jansen. He is officially 10. 

Last night, Caleb and I did a bit of decorating for Jans. We blew up balloons, I taped them to Jansen's door, and Caleb numbered them from 1-10. Caleb wanted to help make his brother's morning special, which says a lot #1 because they are brothers, and #2 because Autism makes Caleb quite selfish. It was so cute to watch him arrange things for Jansen. 

This morning, the birthday boy requested French Toast. French toast he got!

Later on this afternoon, we will be baking cupcakes for his classmates at school tomorrow, and then when his Dad comes home, we will head out to his restaurant of choice. All to celebrate Jansen. Happy birthday monkey. Today is your day!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Career Day-chef

It's Career Day at Polk!

Jansen has always loved food. It is his one true love. Honestly! One year for Christmas, he asked for cheese. 

While he is interested in a few other things, nothing quite involves him like food. We bought him this chef coat for Christmas 2013, and while he has grown and it no longer buttons, he can still kind of wear it as a jacket. 

This was the easiest thing to do this year. 

Chef Jansen, at your service. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Pre-summertime thoughts

For the last 5-6 years, I LOVED this time of year, not just because May is the busiest month of the year for us, but because it always felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff ready to jump into vacation. The excitement of relaxation and freedom was almost too much for my stomach to bear. 

Quitting my job to be home with my kids was the best decision we could have made...for us. Raising very small children and working 10 hours a day was more than I could personally handle. So while I looked forward to sending the children to school/preschool in the mornings so that I could have time for myself to grocery shop in peace, get a pedicure, or just clean the house, my favorite time was always SWEET SUMMER!

We would sleep in until 8, which is late for us, and a couple days a week, I would go to zumba while the kids played kickball in the Kids Club. We would go to the library to read books for the reading club, rent dvd's, go swimming, make crafts, do science experiments, run through the sprinklers, take afternoon naps, bake cookies, go to the museum, see concerts, go to the zoo, build blanket forts, pop popcorn, paint, sing, you name it, we did it. 

So this year, it comes to my attention, that not only are my kids getting older and wanting to do less of those things that I thought were so fun, but I'm going to be back in school before they even get out for summer. School. Nursing school. My summers will never be the same, as next year, I graduate and will begin a new stage in my life as a nurse. 

I'm not handling it well. 

My emotions are all over the place. I'm feeling nostalgic. I'm feeling anxious. I'm feeling apprehensive. I'm feeling excited. I'm feeling like why did I go back to school? I had a great thing going here. I got the opportunity to spend all of my time with my kids and I really loved it. I'm not ready for it to be over. I have been blessed with a husband who works hard to enable me to make the choice to stay home. We have a home, cars, healthy children, family, and friends here. I have made my own schedule around whatever I needed to for the past 6 years. I've been able to have day dates with my husband when he was switching from days to graveyards and the boys were in school. We were able to take off for quick trips whenever Josh's schedule allowed and take the kids. I was able to be present for anything and everything that the kids had a school. If they were sick, I didn't have to bat an eye...I was home. If Caleb had a particularly rough night, I could come home and sleep after he went to school. That was a rarity, but it was an option available to me. It was a cushy job! 

Don't get me wrong, it was difficult. There were days when I felt if I heard another fight, or door slam, or "MOM", or description of Pokemon, or had to clean up another spill, break, or mess that I would scream. But I was born to do that. 

So enter nursing school. From what I have seen and experienced thus far, I enjoy it. When thinking back to what I wanted to BE, my first inclination was always a Registered Nurse. It looked like the most challenging and rewarding career to have. But am I ready? I LOVE being "just a Mom"! For real, I LOVE IT! But "just a Mom" is going to go by wayside soon as my boys get older and eventually move out of the house. 

I need to be able to provide more financial support for the family. I need to have my own identity once they are gone. I need to have something for me, that makes me feel complete. 

Will nursing become my passion? I sure hope so. I hope that once I get out of school I will fall madly in love with the art and science of nursing. Right now, all I see is that I would rather be planning a summer of activity for myself and my kids than reading Nursing Care of the Child for a quiz the first day of class next week. 

Life is so short. Time is so precious. One more year of school is just the tiniest drop in my bucket of life. I just don't want to turn the faucet back on yet. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Minecraft party complete

Well, the party is over. I always feel a little down after a party. I spend so much time planning, organizing, and creating that it is a let down every time it's over. 

It was a successful party though! This was Jansen's first sleepover and his brother even loved it. My husband was at a competition with his cookoff team so it was just me, the two poodles, and six boys age 7-12. 

They played video games, jumped on the moonwalk, ate tons of pizza and cake, drank me completely out of Sprite, and just had a good time. 

Thank you to all who came to help Jansen celebrate!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Minecraft party decorations

Well we are all set up for the Minecraft party tonight. 

Lord help me because my husband is away with his cookoff team and I am going to be by myself with 7 boys at my house. Yikes!!

But Jansen wanted a sleepover this year and I have never hosted one before. It will be ok!

Here's what I made...

Here is the front porch...

And the mantle in the living room...

And the kitchen set up before all the pizza is delivered....

And the table set up...

It was pretty easy to get everything set up. The backdrop is a $1 tablecloth hung on the curtain rod. I made construction paper creepers with $1 streamers taped to the back. The banner was a free printable hung with some left over string. 

On the table are two $1 tablecloths. The chips are in lime green dollar store buckets, the Sprites are wrapped with free printable creeper juice wrappers, the cake I made is sitting on top of a creeper head that Jansen got for Christmas a couple of years ago, the goodie bags were made from goodies I got at the party store, and the napkins were from the dollar store as well. 

The island was covered with a dollar store tablecloth and decorated with streamers and free printed creeper faces. It will soon be covered in pizza!

All in all, things look pretty cute. Pray for me!!! :)

Final Elementary Concert

No more elementary school music for Jansen. He and his classmates completed their elementary music career with their recorder program last night, and might I say...they were pretty cute. 

We have a new music teacher, and he has high expectations for these kiddos. They have been working on a program called Recorder Karate, where they memorize pieces of music and play them each week to gain "belts". Jansen made it to black belt this year and really enjoyed learning to play. 

I am proud of this kid.

While we were there, my husband took our oldest, Caleb, to his end of year concert, Band O Rama. The area jr high bands, high school bands, and Winter Guards all come together for a presentation. I was not really sure how the whole thing would go since it was Caleb's first year to participate, and my phone died during the program. I should have planned better. 

But I was able to get this one shot of the two jr high schools playing together. They did a great job!

Ah, the school year is barreling to a close. Another year...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Field trip: Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge

Jansen's final elementary school field trip was today and I was able to chaperone! It's the one that I dread the most just because it is all outside in the wetland heat. Boy, was it hot today!

He was really excited and it was so cute to see him be so into something. 

He is a world class scare-de-cat and today, he touched a snake and a baby alligator. How cool is that?!

It was a good day. 

We took a bus tour...

Learned about crabbing...

Practiced our fishing skills....

Studied water samples under a microscope....

Learned netting skills...

 And held reptiles....

Sunday, May 17, 2015


Some friends and I got tickets back in January to go see the New Kids on the Block. I mean, really...if they are coming to Houston, I am getting tickets. But the thing that just sweetened the pot was that Nelly and TLC would be touring with them. 

I was so ready to see Donnie again!

It was seriously 3 concerts in one. That concert was over 4 hours long. Nelly and TLC did open for NKOTB, they each did their own concert. No one disappointed!

We had a blast, from the trip up there to the trip back. We started off eating at Olive Garden in Pearland. 

On the way there we saw trucks with guns...

and a car full of clowns...

and then we got into traffic, got there late, got in the wrong parking lot line, went in the wrong parking entrance, and got to the venue just as Nelly was coming on stage. 

He was awesome. I have to was starting off wonderfully. 

I was really looking forward to seeing TLC. The CrazySexyCool album was getting me through high school. I didn't know how they would do it without Left Eye, since she passed away a while ago. But they showed pictures, had her recordings of the songs playing, and it was sad but oh so awesome. Those girls put on a show. We were jamming from the get go. 

Then round 3 began with a loud announcement of "Let's get ready to RUMBLEEEEEEE". It was so loud! 

And again, totally amazing. New songs, old songs, in between songs. They have been going strong for 27 years and I have been enjoying it all! Shirtless, then in tuxedos, then in regular clothes, cameras in the quick change room. This was my 6th or 7th time to see them (I've honestly lost count) and every concert I think was the best. But this one really was. It was worth every penny!

Then on the way home, we got almost to our exit and got pulled over by the highway patrol for a headlight being out. He was shining his light all through the car and asked us if we had been drinking. No way...none of us had and if someone did, I would have driven. I am always the designated driver. Carmela tells the officer that usually if she bangs on the light it comes on. He asks us where we were coming from and we tell him a concert. He asks us again if we had been drinking at the concert. Nope. He asks if this was a reunion concert. I say that they got back together in 2008. He lets us off with a warning to get the light fixed. 

We laughed so hard. I am sure he thought we were crazy. But to see my friend be so nervous that she asks to get out of the car and bang on her of the highlights of the evening!

Oh how I needed this time out with my friends. It was worth every penny!