Thursday, April 26, 2012

Happy 6th Good Lookin'

Happy 6th Birthday Good Lookin' 
Another Birthday.
Another Year of Victories.
Another Year of looking back and seeing how far this little guy has come.
This child of mine who has challenged my every bit of parenting skill and made me fall on my knees and beg for His insight and help.
This child of mine who is as tough as nails.
Incredibly brilliant and funny.
And one giant ball of energy.

 He asked for a Lego Ninjago cake this year. I googled some ideas and made the mistake of him sitting next to me. "I want THAT ONE mom! It's AWESOME!"
It was made with fondant and I've had this terror of trying to tackle fondant. I've had a recipe for a year and would look at it and then go back to what I know how to do. But a sweet friend of mine convinced me to take the marshmallow bag and sugar by the horns and go for it. It was easy!!! REALLY! Sticky at first, but EASY!!
Then I realized I had another problem. I had no round cake pans. The same friend pointed out that I had stainless steel mixing bowls. Why not try that. Viola!!! Half a head! Bake two; slap then together with icing and a WHOLE head. : )

Then it was time to roll out the Play-do...ahem....sorry fondant.
Did I mention that NO ONE has taken naps in the last 2 weeks?
That means 1 ten month old. 2 three year olds. 1 almost-6-year-old who was quite worried that the cake wouldn't look right, but by golly we got 'er done and they were truly a help!
Also, rolling fondant kept them all really busy...except the baby. He was all eyes and I kept feeding him little puffs to keep him from throwing a fit at me for not giving him fondant.

The two round halves together worked well for the sort of oblong shaped Lego head.

 Then I frosted a small flat cake to set the head on. (Kinda like shoulders only those would have to be some serious shoulder pads). I told my friend when I started that I was afraid the whole thing would look like a decapitated Ninja and that was NOT the look I was going for with 6 year old.
Fortunately when he was all done and wrapped in fondant, he looked like he was supposed to look.

 Good Lookin' and I also cut some long strips of left-over felt and made all the little party friends Ninja headbands to take home with their chopsticks and bubbles (because bubbles go so well with Ninjas?) (I was just trying to fill the party favor bags with something they'd like...not candy...and cheap). They LOVED them.
Oh, disclaimer here.
To my High School Japanese friends or cousins who live in China who might read this: I have no idea what characters I wrote on the headbands. They were copied from a decoration that I borrowed from a friend. She purchased them at the Dollar Tree. I chose those characters because they looked like the easiest to copy. I have no idea if it's Chinese, Japanese or Korean. : )
But, the little boys thought they were pretty awesome.

 We had planned on some fun Ninja-inspired games outside, but a snap of cold wet weather tossed all that out the window.
Luke and one of Good Lookin's little friend's dad from Pre-K became the bad guys and fought all the little Ninjas for a solid hour much to the delight of the boys. I stayed upstairs and away from the loud chaos that was erupting below. The poor dad of the little boy from Good Lookin's Pre-K we had only met when he brought his son to the party was a great sport at being thrown into the hand-chopping, wrestling fray.

He loved the cake and declared it his "Best Birthday Ever!!"

 Then it was present opening time. One of his favorite gifts: a fish he'd picked out from the store that very morning. (You know, we don't have any aquatic animals on our rapidly growing little farm).

A happy Birthday boy with his little friend from Pre-K.
They will go to Kindergarten next year together and I'm praying they get assigned to the same classroom or at least same hall.

Ninja Power!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring Break 2012

It's been a while since I've been able to write anything. Baby goats, fencing, bottle feeding, toddlers, flu, RSV, the list goes on for why I haven't blogged or written anything down. But, I wanted to share that we got to go back to my childhood home town for Spring Break.
My parents have settled back there after 15 years on the Mission Field and are back in the same house where I grew up. It was a serious time warp being back again.
The kids spent a lot of time playing LEGOS, coloring, making up stories and plays with their cousins, and playing outside in the wet Springy weather.
Luke had to stay home due to work and once again, I am so thankful for a husband who is willing to send off his wife and kids for a week without him in order to connect with "the other side of the family."
For part-time work, my dad has been hauling grain to a hog lot. These are people I grew up with and it was surreal bouncing down the dirt road in the cab of the huge truck with my dad and another generation of children with faces plastered to the window--wide-eyed and delighted at the country-side passing them by.
I had these memories of being a kid sitting on the floor by my dad while he drove the big school bus to another choir or sports event or two week mission trip down south of the Border.
My boys were fascinated at the long arm that poured the grain from the truck to the silo and shot out a bazillion question of their own. We got to peek into some of the hog buildings and glimpse the HUGE sows that live their whole lives in one building. (It also made me not want to eat any more bacon).

That afternoon, mom and dad's "new neighbor, (she may have lived there several years now, but mom and dad have been gone 15 years) came over and gave us a lesson in how to cut apart seed potatoes and get them ready for growing your own. She is a Master Gardner and has written a book on Organic Gardening and ran her own CSA farm up North before buying the ramshackle little house across the street from my old house. Now she teaches gardening classes at the local library and shared her wealth of knowledge with my eager mother and sister-in-law. (I'm a bit jealous and I am frequently asking questions of my mother on gardening).

Mr. Smiles and his little cousin were practicing their Chinese Chef skills learned from Kung Fu Panda 2.

Meal Times with the cousins = a little bit of crazy and a whole lot of fun.

Poor Uncle Matthew tolerated the torment of younger nephews who hang on his every move and word and worship the ground he walks upon.

We girls also had a tea party of which I will post later because I'm the mom and a girl and I can devote a whole post to a tea party if I want.

It didn't seem to matter that it was wet and we had come from 80+ degree temps to 50 degree temps and I had not brought adequate clothing. They were happy outside on the collection of trikes and bikes my parents have collected for when the grand kids visit.

The empty lot past the neighbors house that was an empty lot when I was a child and I have no idea why no house has ever been built there but am secretly glad one never has, is a stage for young Directors and Actors who have stories to tell. Someone has rigged a rope swing and the children spent hours running around the lot and swinging in the tree.

Next to the lot is an empty house for sale with a little barn, 2 acres of pasture and a lone Shetland pony whom the kids named Star and spent more countless hours feeding it carrots and hay and brushing it with an old hairbrush.
Precious Jewel cried as much about leaving that sweet little pony as she did leaving her cousins and begged us to put it in the trunk of our van and bring it home. When I informed her that I could not take off with some one's pony and it could not ride in the trunk of our van, but we could take home a picture of it and ask her cousin to check in on it every so often, she consented to instead have her picture taken beside it.
Mr. Smiles decided he had to have a picture as well.
They are still working on Luke and I to buy the pony and haul the little thing back to our fair corner of the world and I'm a bit afraid of what we will do if we ever found out the owner would sell it!
The last teary goodbye was to the snake found in the front yard the morning of our departure.
You see, where we live, the kids have it drilled into them not to EVER EVER touch a snake unless it's brought to class by a teacher or declared safe by a parent. We live in the land of cotton mouths and water moccasins and I know there are garden and King snakes in our woods but I've seen as many of the poison kind as any of the "safe" ones. So when the boys discovered that I had grown up in a land where ALL the snakes were safe (unless you were chased by boys with snakes that had been unfortunate enough to get caught in the lawn mower) and you could pick them up, they were delighted!
Good Lookin' insisted on bringing home in a jar the dead snake he'd found and more than a few tears were shed again when I told him that under no circumstances was he bringing with him on a 9 hour car ride a dead snake in a jar. No matter of pleading and pouting and tears could move me on this one either. I know my son too well and his fascination with all living things. That thing would not stay in the jar and was surely beginning to stink anyway. My dad was no help and encouraged the poor kid. : S Goof!
After I loaded up the group of teary kids who didn't want to leave their grandparents, cousins, aunt and uncle and new live and dead pets, we began the 9 hour road trip home.
We got to drive through the little town where Luke and I lived our first year of marriage when we worked at the Children's Home. I pointed out to Precious Jewel the little house that we lived in and the first place she called home.

We made good time for the first 3 hours and then the bladder issues began. I swear this trip to the record for the most pee stops EVER!!! Even when i made the children who protested that they didn't have to go still get out and use the bathroom when the child who was causing the next stop to stop, we still stopped a whopping total of 14 times in 9 hours!! Can I just say RIDICULOUS!!!
On one of our pee breaks (where we had just passed a Rest Stop and no one had said "yes" when I asked them if they had to go) we pulled off onto a dirt road and in the yard of an old abandoned farm house to use the bathroom and I also decided this was as good as any place to eat lunch.

So, the boys sat on the top of the van and Precious Jewel inside and we imagined aloud what the family must of been like who lived in the old abandoned farm house. They came up with everything from smugglers and burglars to scenarios harking from Charlotte's Wed.
I have to say that I was so very glad to see the lights of our home and the faces of our over-sized puppies when I drove into the yard that night.
And we were all bouncing around a happy daddy after a week of being apart. Home is a happy place to be.